A Look Back at the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season

December 27, 2016 by Stephen Strum
Topics:   Frontier | Hurricane |

The 2016 Atlantic hurricane season was an above average season that concluded with 15 named storms, 7 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes. This fit neatly into our preseason predictions of 14-16 named storms and 6-8 hurricanes. All of these totals are above the long-term averages (11 named storms, 6 hurricanes, 2 major hurricanes), but quite comparable with the averages during the recent active period which spans from 1995-2015 (14 named storms, 7 hurricanes, 3 major hurricanes). Above normal water temperatures in large parts of the tropical Atlantic, along with the absence of El Nino in the equatorial Pacific, were the key factors that produced the busy season.

2016 Hurricane Season

  • The 2016 hurricane season in the Atlantic had above average activity. There were 15 named storms, 7 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes (Category 3 or stronger).

  • The U.S. was directly affected by 2 hurricanes in the 2016 season (Hermine and Matthew) as well as 2 additional tropical storms (Colin and Julia) and one former tropical storm (Bonnie).

  • The 2016 season had the largest death toll since 2005.

  • In terms of monetary damages, the 2016 season was the most damaging since 2012.

  • Most of the casualties and damages in the season were the result of Hurricane Matthew, which became the first Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic since 2007.

The strongest, deadliest, and costliest storm of the season was Hurricane Matthew, which was also the first hurricane in the Atlantic to reach Category 5 intensity since 2007. At least 700 people were killed by the storms of 2016 in the Atlantic basin, and this toll could increase depending on the final death toll from Hurricane Matthew in Haiti. The total damage caused by the tropical storms and hurricanes in the 2016 season currently stands at about $11.6 billion (US), most of which is from Hurricane Matthew. The U.S. suffered two hurricane landfalls (Hermine and Matthew) plus direct impacts from two other tropical storms (Colin and Julia) and one former tropical storm (Bonnie).
 
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Stephen Strum

I’m currently the VP of Extended Forecast Services at WDT, Inc. Prior to joining WDT, I was the President and founder of Frontier Weather, Inc. from 2003-2016 and provided historical and forecast data services to over 100 companies in the energy trading industry. From 1999-2003 I was the lead forecaster at Williams Energy Marketing and Trading in Tulsa, OK and also provided weather presentations on Energy News Live from 2000-2002. I taught an Economic Meteorology course on the Tulsa campus of the Oklahoma State University from 2003-2009, and also taught a similar class at University of Oklahoma in Norman, OK in 2008. I have an M.S. in Meteorology from the University of Oklahoma (1999) and a B.S. in Meteorology from The Pennsylvania State University (1997).