The 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season officially ends today. For a third year in a row, it was slightly below average in terms of numbers.
According to NOAA, there were eleven named storms this season. Of these, four developed into hurricanes and only two – Danny and Joaquin – were rated category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. On average, the Atlantic produces twelve named storms, six hurricanes, and three major hurricanes (category-3 or higher) every year.
Throughout the season, which runs from June 1st to November 30th, only two named storm made landfall in the U.S. Tropical Storm Ana, a somewhat rare pre-season storm, brought powerful winds and heavy rain to the coastal regions of both North and South Carolina in early May. It was the second earliest tropical cyclone on record to make landfall in the US. In June, Tropical Storm Bill slammed southeastern Texas with winds measured up to 60 mph and relentless rain that caused widespread flash flooding.
The strongest storm to form in the Atlantic this year was Hurricane Joaquin. With winds measured up to 155 mph, it was rated category 4 – the strongest since Hurricane Igor in 2010. It was also a slow mover, battering the Bahamas for several days between late September and early October.
This relatively quiet hurricane season was largely the result of El Niño conditions in the Pacific that generated wind-shear across the Gulf of Mexico and helped hinder most tropical development in the Atlantic basin.