held their breath this past hurricane season, from Wilma to Katrina
the United States and the Yucatan Penninsula were not so lucky
as the storms collectively stole thousands of lives and did billions
of dollars of damage.
Including the last tropical storm of 2005 that came the day
before the official end of the hurricane season at the end of
November named Epsilon for the fifth letter of the Greek alphabet
used by forecasters since they ran out of their standard list
of names, there were 26 storms. That number surpassed the record
of 21 storms in 1933. Of the 26 storms named in 2005 by the
National Hurricane Center, 13 reached hurricane status, with
seven of those considered major hurricanes. Three of those major
hurricanes were catagorized as Catagory 5 on the Saffir-Simpson
hurricane scale with winds in excess of 155mph.
The most devastating hurricane during the 2005 season was no
doubt Katrina. That hurricane cut a wide swath of destruction
across the Gulf Coast states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
To ndate 1, 298 lives were lost, small towns as well as large
cities were completely flattened displaciing hundreds of thousands
of people. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said
insurance claims totaled some $23 billion. and that reconstruction
costs are estimated to be at least $200 billion, making Katrina
the costliest storm in history. Though most people in the know
believe that we're at the beginning of the up trend, not the
down trend, due inpart to global warming, the liklihood 24 storms
in 2006 is still a strong possible. Currently for the Atlantic
Basin, the season hurricane forecast for 2006 predicts 17 named
storms, 5.9 hurricanes of which 2.3 will be intense.