Published: Fri, December 02, 2016
Medical | By Garry George

First above average Atlantic hurricane season since 2012

First above average Atlantic hurricane season since 2012

In all, a total of 15 named tropical storms formed during 2016, seven of which turned into hurricanes (Alex, Earl, Gaston, Hermine, Matthew, Nicole and Otto), according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It was the first Atlantic hurricane that formed in January since 1938, the Weather Channel said.

"Our ocean water temperature is dropping down to the 60s real fast and that's way too cold for anything tropical so I think our season here is shut down ... until next spring or summer", Armstrong said. "It was the second-latest to have a death toll in the Atlantic and had the largest death toll so late in the year".

Other storms to make landfall in the U.S. included: Tropical Storm Bonnie (South Carolina), Tropical Storm Colin (Florida), Hurricane Hermine (Florida) and Tropical Storm Julia (Florida). Now we're only six months until the beginning of the 2017 hurricane season, but that doesn't necessarily mean we won't see Tropical Storm Arlene before then.

With data reflected through October, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation said Hermine resulted in $95 million in property-damage claims, with Leon County accounting for about 3,500 of the 18,222 claims.

Of all the storms to make landfall or come close to it, Hurricane Matthew is the storm that'll be remembered this year. But Barry Gilway, the Citizens president and CEO, said the 2016 storm season tested the insurer's ability to handle hurricane claims.

By nearly every measure, the 2016 season was busy.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs annually from June 1 through November 30.

Louisiana was lucky, however, that the storms largely stayed away from the Gulf of Mexico, said Dr. Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster for NOAA.

The strongest storm of the Atlantic season was Matthew.

Matthew intensified into a major hurricane on September 30 over the Caribbean Sea, making it the first major hurricane in that region since Poloma in 2008. Official landfall happened Saturday, Oct. 8 as a Category 1 hurricane McClellanville, South Carolina.

-Matthew caused the greatest USA loss of life due to inland flooding from a tropical system since Floyd hit North Carolina in 1999.

In a new analysis of the national property-insurance industry, Fitch Ratings said damage from Matthew, which also impacted other states, including Georgia and SC, is likely to fall at the "low end" of estimates in the range of $2 billion to $8 billion.

Masters said the storm had the highest levels of atmospheric moisture ever recorded in Florida and SC, "contributing to a 1 in 1,000 year flood in North Carolina and SC".

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