The U.S. hasn’t experienced the landfall of a Category 3 hurricane or larger since 2005, when Dennis, Katrina, Rita and Wilma all hit the U.S. coast. According to a new NASA study, a string of nine years without a major hurricane landfall in the U.S. is Iikely to come along only once every 177 years.
The current nine-year “drought” is the longest period of time that has passed without a major hurricane making landfall in the U.S. since reliable records began in 1850, said Timothy Hall, a research scientist who studies hurricanes at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York.
The National Hurricane Center calls any Category 3 or more intense hurricane a “major” storm. Hall and colleague Kelly Hereid, who works for ACE Tempest Re, a reinsurance firm based in Connecticut, ran a statistical hurricane model based on a record of Atlantic tropical cyclones from 1950 to 2012 and sea surface temperature data.
The researchers ran 1,000 computer simulations of the period from 1950-2012 – in effect simulating 63,000 separate Atlantic hurricane seasons. They found that a nine-year period without a major landfall is likely to occur once every 177 years on average.
While the study did not delve into the meteorological causes behind this lack of major hurricane landfalls, Hall said it appears it is a result of luck.
Research: The frequency and duration of U.S. hurricane droughts.
Journal: Geophysical Research Letters, May 5, 2015.
Link to paper: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/wol1/doi/10.1002/2015GL063652/full.
Here is the YouTube video.