Luckily uneventful: Hurricane season comes to an end

A little help from Mother Nature spared Southwest Florida, as well as most of the United States, from the brunt of the 2010 hurricane season.

“We had a well deserved break and a little bit of good luck,” said Collier County Bureau of Emergency Services Director Dan Summers about the uneventful hurricane season coming to an end today.

The 2010 Atlantic hurricane season -- which began on June 1 -- was actually the most active hurricane season since 2005 with 19 named storms and 12 hurricanes, according to a statement released Monday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Yet, Southwest Florida and the U.S. shores were spared a major strike, for a fifth consecutive year.

In March, Hurricane Forecaster Joe Bastardi, with the AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center, predicted the active season correctly but was wrong when saying two or three of the hurricanes would make major landfalls in the U.S.

“It’s interesting that everyone pays attention to that initial forecast,” said ABC-7 Chief Meteorologist Jim Reif reflecting that this year’s forecasts were very accurate.

But there was a key component missing from those predictions, he said.

“It does not tell you what kind of season Naples will have,” he said. “The $1 million question is whether it’s going to hit us.”

Reif did agree with Summers, that Southwest Floridians were extremely fortunate this season.

“When you get as many as 12 storms, and to have none of them hit the United States is amazing,” said Reif calling the 2010 season unprecedented. “We were lucky.”

This year, record warm Atlantic waters, combined with the favorable winds coming off Africa and weak wind shear aided by La Niña energized developing storms, NOAA officials said. The jet stream’s position contributed to warm and dry conditions in the eastern U.S. and acted as a barrier that kept many storms over open water, NOAA officials said.

Also, because many storms formed in the extreme eastern Atlantic, they re-curved back out to sea without threatening land.

“You could say the season was a gentle giant,” said Jack Hayes, Ph.D., director of NOAA’s National Weather Service in a statement Monday.

Other parts of the Atlantic basin weren’t as fortunate.

Hurricane Tomas brought heavy rain to earthquake-ravaged Haiti, and several storms, including Alex, battered eastern Mexico and Central America with heavy rain, mudslides and deadly flooding.

Most importantly, Reif said people need to remember that even though the 2010 season was quiet — future seasons could be very different.

“All it takes is one,” Reif said.

© 2010 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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