2019 Atlantic hurricane season comes to a close

Published: Dec. 2, 2019 at 6:16 PM CST
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December 1 brought the active and odd 2019 Atlantic hurricane season to a close. The season saw an above-average 18 named storms, with 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes--right at the average for both.

The season once again saw a named storm form before the official start of the season with Subtropical Storm Andrea. The first hurricane of the season was Hurricane Barry.

Barry kicked off the oddities of the 2019 season by forming after a rare July cold front stalled in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Barry became a tropical storm on July 11, then strengthened to a hurricane shortly before landfall on July 13. Barry soaked parts of Louisiana with 10 to 15 inches of rain, with localized heavier amounts of more than 20 inches.

After Tropical Storm Chantal meandered around in the northern Atlantic for a couple of days in the middle of August, the storm of the 2019 season formed near the Lesser Antilles.

Dorian formed as a tropical depression on August 24, then strengthened into a hurricane on August 28. Dorian intensified rapidly to a category 5 hurricane by September 1. The northwestern Bahamas, especially including Grand Bahama, were ravaged as Dorian stalled on September 2. When Dorian started moving again, it weakened to a category 2 hurricane before moving up the Atlantic coast of the United States. Dorian briefly made landfall in North Carolina before racing back out into the Atlantic. Dorian was the strongest and deadliest hurricane of the 2019 season.

Fernand would be the next named storm to impact the Atlantic side of the North American continent. Fernand developed on September 3, then made landfall and dissipated over northern Mexico on September 4.

Hurricane Humberto became the second major hurricane of the 2019 season. Humberto formed on September 13, then strengthened to a hurricane by September 15. Humberto strengthened to a category 3 major hurricane as it took aim at Bermuda on September 17. Humberto fortunately missed Bermuda and dissipated over the next couple of days.

Imelda added another chapter to the odd book of the 2019 hurricane season. Within two hours of becoming a tropical depression, Imelda strengthened into a tropical storm and made landfall along the central Texas Gulf coast on September 17.

The third major hurricane of the season was Lorenzo in late September. Lorenzo became a named storm on September 22, then strengthened into a hurricane on September 25. Lorenzo reached peak intensity on September 28 as a category 5 hurricane. No other category 5 hurricane on record existed any farther east in the Atlantic basin than Lorenzo.

Nestor provided some local impacts to the Wiregrass in early to mid-October. Nestor formed in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico on October 18. Nestor lost its tropical status and became post-tropical before making landfall in the central Florida panhandle. Portions of Florida, Georgia, and Alabama--including the Wiregrass--saw beneficial rainfall.

Olga was easily the oddest of the storms in 2019. Its life span from formation to dissipation lasted a whole 12 hours. Olga became a tropical depression at on the morning of October 25. By that evening, Olga merged with a cold front and became post-tropical.

While Pablo remained well out in the Atlantic, it broke a record as well in the Atlantic basin. Pablo became the farthest east a hurricane has ever developed in the Atlantic on October 27.

The 2019 season ended with two final storms that never affected land--Rebekah and Sebastien.

The 2019 hurricane season will likely be remembered for its long list of odd storms. Of the 18 named storms that formed this season, 7 of them only had a peak wind speed of 45 mph or less. 7 named storms also had a life span of 3 days or less.

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