The seemingly never-ending official 2005 Atlantic hurricane season ends today, even though Tropical Storm Epsilon is currently spinning away in the central Atlantic and is expected to survive into next week.
The active season featured a record 26 named storms, 13 hurricanes and seven major hurricanes.
Several of those major hurricanes, Dennis, Emily and Wilma, threatened the Cayman Islands, but caused only minimal damage.
This hurricane season included several unusual occurrences, including running out of names for storms for the first time ever and having to resort to the Greek alphabet for additional names; a hurricane that threatened to cross Central America from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea (Adrian); a hurricane that went from a tropical storm to an intense Category 5 hurricane in 24 hours (Wilma); a hurricane that became the first tropical system ever to hit Spain and Portugal (Vince) and; a extra-tropical storm that moved south and became tropical, and then moved toward Africa and affected Morocco.
In addition, the 2005 hurricane season spawned the deadly Katrina, which killed more than 1,200 people and left the major city of New Orleans in a shambles from which it will take years to recover.
Katrina also caused damages that will cost an estimated $200 billion to repair, making it the costliest hurricane ever, surpassing the $26.5 billion dollars of damage for the previous record-holder – 1992’s Hurricane Andrew – several times over.
After getting hit by four hurricanes in 2004, the state of Florida was affected by four more hurricanes plus two tropical storms in 2005, causing more than $10 billion in insured damages.
As bad as the 2005 hurricane season was, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said again this week the Atlantic Basin was in a multi-decadal cycle of optimal conditions for hurricanes that is likely to continue for years to come, possibly as long as two decades.