TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Dec. 1 marks not only the official conclusion of the 2019 hurricane season, but the final month of another decade we failed to name before it ends. A decade in which cellphones became just phones, more Millennials visited Iceland than Sears, and politely declining to join your co-worker Janet’s essential oils MLM became increasingly difficult.
The 2010s were a decade of contrasts for Atlantic hurricanes. Despite darkest timeline storms like Sandy, Irma and Michael, it was an era of remarkable luck for the continental U.S. coast. Cumulative Atlantic tropical cyclone activity in the 2010s tallied 20% above long-term norms, but there were only three U.S. major hurricane landfalls – around half the average.
Tropical activity is chunky due to oceanic and atmospheric memory, and the 2010s divide cleanly into three hefty chunks:
First, the Sriracha Era of 2010-2012 saw spicy open ocean activity but few landfalls;
Second, the 2013-15 Cronut Era fused low activity and few impacts;
Finally, the Tide Pod Era of 2016-2019 brought nausea-inducing elevated activity and repeated U.S. threats.
Read on for a recap of each season and our reflections on the 2020s.
And now, the weather.
The distant past in which a shave and a haircut cost two bitcoins had one of the lowest ratios of U.S. landfalls to storm activity. Despite 19 named storms, tied for third-highest, and five major hurricanes, only two tropical storms and a spectacular double rainbow affected the continental U.S. in 2010. Category 4 Hurricane Earl menaced the Northeast, but ultimately remained well offshore.
The 2011 hurricane season was forgettable despite 19 tropical storms. The exception was Hurricane Irene, which made landfall as a Category 1 in the Outer Banks and rocketed north-northeast over New York City as a tropical storm, causing $16 billion in water damage. These impacts were exacerbated by Tropical Storm Lee, which caused flooding in Louisiana and the besodden East Coast. Also, beneath its façade of radical indifference, with the perspective of time, it’s safe to say honey badger secretly cares a lot.