Hurricane season spares Gulf Coast

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Gulf Coast was spared once again as the hurricane season came to an end yesterday.

Though Hurricane Irene pummeled the Eastern seaboard, it was not considered a major hurricane because it did not have winds exceeding 111 mph or Category 3 strength when it made landfall on Aug. 27.

“You would think that the impacts would be somewhat light, but the damages caused by Irene will be up there in one of the top 30 or so storms,” said National Hurricane Center Director Bill Read.

This marks the sixth straight year without U.S. landfall of a major hurricane. The last major hurricane to hit the U.S. was Wilma, which cut an unusually large swath of damage across Florida in 2005.

The season produced the third-highest number of tropical storms on record, with 19, but only a slightly higher-than-average number of hurricanes, with six.