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Hurricane year rewrites record books

The Atlantic-Caribbean hurricane season that ends on Wednesday set a slew of records. Here are some of them, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center...

india Updated: Nov 30, 2005 20:08 IST
Reuters
Reuters
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The Atlantic-Caribbean hurricane season that ends on Wednesday set a slew of records. Here are some of them, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center:

MOST TROPICAL STORMS: There were 26 tropical storms in 2005 (so far). The old record was 21 storms, set in 1933. This year marked the first time forecasters turned to the Greek alphabet for storm names (Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and Epsilon) after using up their annual list of 21 names.

MOST HURRICANES: Thirteen tropical storms strengthened into hurricanes, with top sustained winds of at least 74 mph (119 kph). The old record was 12, set in 1969.

MOST CATEGORY 5 HURRICANES: Three hurricanes -- Katrina, Rita and Wilma -- reached the top rank on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane intensity, with sustained winds over 155 mph (294 kph). National Hurricane Center records show only two years, 1960 and 1961, with more than one Category 5 storm and researchers now doubt that one of those 1960 storms actually reached that milestone.

MOST POWERFUL STORM: The lower the barometric pressure in the center, the stronger the storm and Hurricane Wilma's briefly dropped to 882 millibars, the lowest ever recorded in the Atlantic-Caribbean basin. The previous most intense storm was Hurricane Gilbert in 1988, which had a minimum pressure of 888 millibars at its peak.

COSTLIEST HURRICANE: Hurricane Katrina, which hit Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama in late August, caused at least $80 billion of damage, making it the costliest hurricane on record and probably the costliest natural disaster ever to strike the United States. Previously the most costly hurricane was Andrew, which caused $26.5 billion in losses when it hit southeast Florida and Louisiana in 1992.

First Published: Nov 30, 2005 20:08 IST