Hurricane season ending after record damage
MIAMI, USA (AFP): The Atlantic hurricane season in 2008 is coming to a close after producing 16 storms, including eight hurricanes, and inflicting record damage, a report by university researchers said on Wednesday.
The storm activity was "well above-average" overall and "very active" in terms of storms making US landfall, a team of forecasters at Colorado State University said.
The Atlantic hurricane season extends from June 1 to November 30, but experts do not expect new tropical storms to form in the closing days of the season.
Forecasters Philip Klotzbach (R) and
Of the eight hurricanes that formed, five were intense storms (category 3-5 on the the Saffir-Simpson scale), with "Gustav and Ike both causing tremendous amounts of devastation in the United States and in the Caribbean," the report said.
An average season has about 11 tropical storms, including five hurricanes with two of high-intensity.
Even though no major hurricanes struck the United States this year, Gustav and Ike carried winds of up to 109 miles per hour, just shy of levels that define major hurricanes, at 110 miles per hour.
The damage caused by the spate of storms in the United States was estimated at 20 billion dollars, according to the report.
"The year was one of the most destructive years on record from a damage perspective," Phil Klotzbach, who led the study.
Hurricane Ike, which struck the Texas coast in September after hitting oil installations, caused insured damage amounting to eight billion dollars, the report said.
The team of forecasters, Klotzbach and William Gray, said their predictions at the opening season proved mostly accurate.
In April and June as the season began, the team forecast 15 named storms, eight hurricanes and four intense hurricanes. In fact, there were 16 named storms registered, eight hurricanes and five intense hurricanes.