GREENSBORO, NC -- After what has been a very active year, The 2016 Hurricane Season officially came to a close on Wednesday.
Hurricane season officially begins on June 1st, but in 2016 it got off to a very early unofficial start in January with Hurricane Alex. 15 named storms developed in total in the Atlantic in 2016 with seven hurricanes, 3 of which were major hurricanes. This was the most active hurricane season since 2012, which was also the last time that also had more storms than normal. A normal season can expect to have 12 named storms, 6.5 hurricanes and 2 major hurricanes.
Five named storms made landfall in the United States which was the most since 2008 when there was six. The five storms to make landfall in 2016 were Tropical Storm Bonnie, Tropical Storm Colin, Tropical Storm Julia, Hurricane Hermine and Hurricane Matthew. Hermine was the first hurricane to make landfall in Florida since Wilma in 2005.
Hurricane Matthew not only brought devastating rain and floods to North Carolina, but it was also the strongest and longest-lived storm of the season. Matthew became the first category five hurricane with winds of 160 mph since Hurricane Felix in 2007. The storm maintained major hurricane strength for eight days from Sept. 30 to Oct. 7. Matthew made its one and only landfall on the U.S. in South Carolina near McClellanville on Oct. 8th as a category one hurricane.
The last storm to form in the 2016 Hurricane Season was late-season Hurricane Otto which developed on November 21st. Not only was Otto a somewhat rare late-season storm, but it was the first storm since Hurricane Cesar-Douglas in 1996 to survive the crossover from the Atlantic (Caribbean Sea) to the Pacific Ocean. Further, Otto was also the southernmost hurricane on record to hit Central America and the first tropical cyclone on record to move through Costa Rica.
The World Meteorological Organization will make a decision before the 2017 Hurricane Season begins about which hurricane names will be retired.