Atlantic hurricane season comes to an end

This year's Atlantic hurricane season was particularly deadly and destructive, with 15 named storms.

    As the storm Florence approached the Carolina coast, it slowed down significantly increasing the risk of heavy rain across the region [NOAA]
    As the storm Florence approached the Carolina coast, it slowed down significantly increasing the risk of heavy rain across the region [NOAA]

    The 2018 Atlantic hurricane season will go down in the record books because of the storms' intensity, regions that were hit, and the amount of destruction caused.

    At the beginning of the year, many forecast agencies predicted that this year would be an average to below-average hurricane season, which runs from June 1 until November 30. The average number of storms is 12.1 named storms, 6.4 hurricanes and 2.8 intense hurricanes.

    However, 2018 ended up being an above-average year with 15 named storms, eight hurricanes and two intense hurricanes.

    While most of the named storms stayed out in the Atlantic or Caribbean, four storms made landfall in the United States; Alberto, Florence, Gordon and Michael.

    But it was Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael that left a lasting and deadly mark across the southeastern US.

    Hurricane Florence made landfall at Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, on September 1. Florence was only a Category-1 storm with winds of 144 kilometres per hour. But what made Florence so devastating was that it lingered over the Carolinas for days, barely moving and bringing 72 hours rain totals to well over 880 millimetres.

    Fifty-three people died across the region and the estimated losses from the storm are expected to exceed $10bn.

    Scientists are blaming climate change for the intensity of the rains out of Florence, 50 percent heavier than would normally be expected.

    On October 10, it was the panhandle of Florida that saw the landfall of Hurricane Michael.

    Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach as a strong Category-4 hurricane, making it one of the four strongest land-falling US storms on record. Hurricane Michael had sustained winds speeds of 250 km/h when it hit the coast that afternoon with much higher gusts.

    The storm surge from Michael reached to over 1.5 metres, and this along with the strong winds helped to bring the death toll across the region to at least 49.

    The communities of the Carolinas and the Gulf states continue to recover and rebuild after these devastating storms but as climate change facts become clearer, scientists suggest that future seasons may not necessarily see more storms, but they do expect that we will see stronger storms.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies