Hurricane season officially over

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, November 30, 2009 – The 2009 Atlantic Hurricane Season has official come to an end after below-average activity that left Caribbean residents breathing a sigh of relief.

While 14 storms were predicted initially, and the figure then revised down to 10, nine named storms formed during this season – the fewest since 1997 when there were eight.

“Activity in 2009 was reduced considerably due largely to the moderate El Niño event that developed,” said forecasters Philip Klotzbach and William Gray in their summary of 2009 Atlantic tropical cyclone activity.

“This event generated significantly stronger-than-average vertical wind shear, especially in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. Consequently, only nine named storms, three hurricanes and two major hurricanes formed in 2009. This activity was 61 percent, 38 percent and 51 percent of the 1995-2008 average activity for named storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes, respectively.”  

Tropical Ana, formed August 11th as the first for the season. That system, as well as tropical storms Erika, Grace and Henry, and hurricanes Ida and Fred, were not responsible for any deaths and caused minimal damage.
The second system, which was also the first Hurricane – Bill – caused two direct fatalities, and Tropical Storm Claudette was responsible for two deaths, while one person died during the passage of Tropical Storm Danny.

The season was also marked by a late start and the unusual occurrence of five named storms – Ana, Danny, Erika, Fred, and Henri – dissipating over the open ocean.

Klotzbach and Gray are expected to issue their first forecast for the 2010 hurricane season next Wednesday, December 9th.