2011 Atlantic Hurricane Season Recap
The year started out with eight consecutive tropical storms that failed to reach hurricane strength. This is the first time on record the Atlantic has seen that many storms in row not reach hurricane strength.
NOAA has produced a time-lapse video of the Atlantic Basin for the entire 2011 hurricane season. The video is about five minutes long. Watch and try to identify each storm!
2011 Atlantic Basin Storms
2011 Hurricane Season Timeline
Tropical Storm Arlene, was a strong tropical storm that affected much of eastern Mexico. It was the first tropical cyclone to form during the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season. Originating from an Atlantic tropical wave, the precursor disturbance crossed the Yucatán Peninsula before emerging into the Bay of Campeche over warm waters. Despite moderate shear conditions, the system organized and developed a low-level circulation, and by June 29 the formation of Arlene was issued. The storm remained vigorous for most of its duration, and on June 30 Arlene attained its peak intensity just prior to landfall on the coast of Veracruz. Crossing the mountains of eastern Mexico, the system weakened into a tropical depression before dissipating early on July 1.
The tropical disturbance that preceded Arlene brought significant rainfall to parts of Central America, killing three people and triggering widespread flooding and landslides. Throughout Mexico, prolonged rains from Arlene and subsequent flooding affected hundreds of homes and several roads. Power was lost to 285,000 homes at the height of the storm, while many residents required evacuation. Media reports indicate that 18 people died directly due to Arlene. Most of the deaths seem to have been due to freshwater floods and mudslides in eastern Mexico. One additional reported death indirectly caused by the storm was an electrocution due to the touching of a downed power line.
Tropical Storm Bret developed along the southwestern periphery of a weather front to the north of the Bahamas on July 17. At first, Bret moved little and gradually strengthened in response to favorable upper-level conditions, reaching peak sustained winds of 65 mph. When steering currents became better established, the storm turned toward the northeast when it encountered a substantial increase in vertical wind shear. Despite the shear, Bret maintained a well-defined cyclonic wind circulation for several days, with intermittent bursts of thunderstorms occurring near the center. On July 22, the National Hurricane Center to discontinue advisories.
There were no reports of damage or casualties associated with Bret.
Tropical Storm Cindy was a short-lived tropical storm that developed east of Bermuda and moved quickly northeastward over the cooler waters of the North Atlantic.
There were no reports of damage or casualties associated with Cindy.
Tropical Storm Don formed from a persistent westward moving tropical wave. A Hurricane Hunter aircraft observed storm force winds and a broad circulation over the Yucatan Channel, which prompted the National Hurricane Center to initiate advisories on Tropical Storm Don on July 27. Don moved west northwestward across the Gulf of Mexico then quickly disintegrated upon making landfall in Texas, dropping no more than 2/3 of an inch along the coast.
There were no reports of damage or casualties associated with Don.
Tropical Storm Emily was a weak Atlantic tropical cyclone that brought torrential rains to much of the Caribbean. Emily developed from a strong but poorly organized tropical wave that tracked the open Atlantic for several days in late July. By July 31, it approached the Lesser Antilles and became better defined, producing inclement weather over much of the area. The following day, the disturbance finally developed a closed wind circulation center, marking the formation of Tropical Storm Emily.
Despite its poor organization, Emily wrought havoc across many Caribbean nations. Gusty winds felled trees and heavy rains triggered widespread flooding throughout the Lesser Antilles. Significant damage was confined to Martinique, however, where one fatality occurred. In Puerto Rico, similar floods affected residences and roads, with infrastructure losses in the territory were estimated at $5 million. Even after dissipation, the remnants of Emily continued to produce prolonged rainfall over much of Hispaniola. Extensive floods and mudslides in the Dominican Republic displaced over 7,000 residents, and three people drowned in the capital of Santo Domingo. In neighboring Haiti, hundreds of homes were flooded in the Artibonite Department, prompting evacuations. Only minor wind damage occurred throughout Haiti's southern peninsula, but one death was reported in the region.
Tropical Storm Franklin formed as a tropical depression north of Bermuda, then strengthened to T.S. Franklin 12 hours later, before gaining enough latitude to fall victim to increasing vertical wind shear and colder waters of the North Atlantic late on the 13th.
There were no reports of damage or casualties associated with Franklin.
Tropical Storm Gert was a small tropical storm that formed over the central Atlantic Ocean, passed just to the east of Bermuda, and dissipated over the northwestern Atlantic.
There were no reports of damage or casualties associated with Gert.
Tropical Storm Harvey was the last in a record-breaking string of eight consecutive storms that reached only tropical storm status. It was also the only Tropical Cyclone of the 2011 season to make landfall in Belize.
high winds and heavy rain were noted in Dangriga,Belize during the storm, but there were no reports of damage or casualties there. In Mexico,three people were killed in San Lucas Zoquiapam, Oaxaca, due to a landslide hitting their home. Although no specific rainfall total are available, Harvey caused significant floods, and 334 homes were damaged in the municipality of Veracruz.
Major Hurricane Irene was a large and powerful Atlantic hurricane that left extensive flood and wind damage along its path through the Caribbean, the United States East Coast and as far north as Atlantic Canada in 2011. The ninth named storm , Irene was the first hurricane and first major hurricane of the 2011 hurricane season.
Preliminary reports indicate that Irene was directly responsible for 49 direct deaths: 5 in the Dominican Republic, 3 in Haiti, and 41 in the United States. Surprisingly, there were no reported deaths in the Bahamas, where Irene was the strongest. For the United States, 6 deaths are attributed to storm surge/waves, or rip currents, 15 to wind, including falling trees, and 21 to rainfall-induced floods.
New damage estimates that were released in April, 2012 by NOAA now place the damage from 2011's Hurricane Irene at $15.8 billion, making the storm the 6th costliest hurricane and 10th costliest weather-related disaster in U.S. history. Irene hit North Carolina on August 27, 2011, as a Category 1 hurricane with 85 mph winds, and made landfalls the next day in New Jersey and New York City as a tropical storm. Most of the damage from Irene occurred because of the tremendous fresh water flooding the storm's rains brought to much of New England. Irene is now rated as the most expensive Category 1 hurricane to hit the U.S. The previous record was held by Hurricane Agnes of 1972, whose floods did $11.8 billion in damage in the Northeast.
Tropical Storm Jose develop into a named storm the morning of Irene's landfall in the Northeast. Only lasted as a tropical cyclone 27 hours, continuing a theme from earlier in the 2011 season.
There were no reports of damage or casualties associated with Jose.
Major Hurricane Katia was a Cape Verde hurricane which briefly reached Category 4 strength over the western Atlantic. It did not affect land.
Katia developed from a tropical wave which emerged off the west coast of Africa on August 27. The wave almost immediately began showing signs of curavture in the associated convection as it marched westward across the tropical Atlantic. The system became a tropical depression near 0000 UTC August 29 while located about 450 miles south of the southern Cape Verde Islands. The depression became a tropical storm near 0600 UTC August 30 while centered about about 550 miles west-southwest of the southernmost Cape Verde Islands. Katia is estimated to have become a hurricane near 0000 UTC September 1 while about 1200 miles east of the Leeward Islands. Katia was only briefly a hurricane, however, as westerly shear, associated with an unseasonably strong mid-tropospheric trough, impinged upon the cyclone. Based on satellite and scatterometer data, Katia is estimated to have weakened to a tropical storm near 1200 UTC September 1 while located about 1000 miles east of the Leeward Islands.
The weakening was short-lived, however, and Katia regained hurricane strength around 1200 UTC September 2. Residual southwesterly shear prevented significant intensification as Katia passed north of the Leeward Islands. Although it is possible that Katia briefly weakened to a tropical storm again on September 3, satellite images were still fairly impressive, the pulsating nature of the convection notwithstanding, and any weakening that took place appears to have been too brief to be meaningful. Katia eventually overcame the shear and became a major hurricane near 1200 UTC September 5. At this time, the hurricane was centered approximately 500 miles south-southeast of Bermuda. Katia continued to strengthen, reaching its peak intensity of 115 kt near 0000 UTC September 6 while centered roughly 465 miles south of Bermuda. The strengthening was short-lived, however, and Katia began to weaken almost immediately thereafter, with the previously well-defined eye disappearing around 0600 UTC. Katia dropped below major hurricane status near 1800 UTC. Katia continued to weaken as an amplifying trough over the western Atlantic inflicted southwesterly shear and dry air into the circulation. However, the large size of the circulation prevented this weakening from being rapid, and Katia would retain winds of hurricane force until dissipation on September 10.
Based on the satellite signature, Katia is estimated to have made the transition to an extratropical cyclone near 1200 UTC September 10 while centered about 350 miles east-southeast of Cape Race, Newfoundland. Post-tropical Katia remained quite vigorous, eventually bringing hurricane force winds to the British Isles and portions of Scotland.
Unnamed Tropical Storm was identified in post-season analysis.
As part of its routine post-season review, the National Hurricane Center occasionally identifies from new data or meteorological interpretation a previously undesignated tropical or subtropical cyclone. The NHC re-analysis of 2011 has concluded that a short-lived low that passed between Bermuda and Nova Scotia from 31 August to 3 September briefly had sufficient tropical characteristics to be considered a tropical storm.
Tropical Storm Lee developed over the central Gulf of Mexico as a lopsided area of low pressure with heavy rain on its eastern flank. Dumped over 10" of rain in New Orleans, Mobile, and Jackson, Miss. Floodwaters entered homes in the Jackson, Miss. metro area on Sep. 5. Surge flooding outside levee protection areas of southeast Louisiana.
Flooding associated with the Lee's rains caused significant property damage in the areas, with one drowning death reported in Mississippi. Elsewhere, the storm helped spread wildfires that destroyed homes and killed two people in Texas, and a traffic accident in Alabama resulted in one death. Rough surf offshore drowned one person in each of these states. Lee spawned 20 confirmed tornadoes in the United States.
Lee was the first tropical cyclone to make landfall in Louisiana since Hurricane Gustav in 2008. Heavy rainfall resulted in historic flooding in Pennsylvania, New York, and elsewhere. Damage total is estimated to be around $1 billion.
Hurricane Maria produced heavy rain, flash flooding and landslides on Puerto Rico. Tropical storm-force winds and rain squalls lashed parts of Bermuda. Maria clipped the Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland, producing wind gusts to 64 mph at St. John's, Newfoundland.
Hurricane Nate was reclassified to hurricane status in post-storm analysis. The storm meandered over the Bay of Campeche for a day or so and briefly was a category 1 hurricane. It then moved inland over eastern Mexico as a weak tropical storm.
Major Hurricane Ophelia struggled with wind shear, degenerating into a remnant low east of the Lesser Antilles Sep. 25. Two days later, Ophelia made a comeback, intensifying into a Category 4 hurricane on Oct. 1, before weakening after tracking east of Bermuda. Ophelia produced tropical storm-force gusts on Newfoundland's Avalon Peninsula.
There were no reports of damage or casualties associated with Ophelia.
Hurricane Philippe fought wind shear, including that produced from the outflow of Hurricane Ophelia, during the first 7-10 days of its life in the central Atlantic. Twelve days after being first designated a depression, Philippe finally became a hurricane on Oct. 6., then finally merged with a front in the north Atlantic.
Hurricane Rina ended up not have much effect on Cancun & Cozumel, as strong wind shear ripped convection away from the circulation. Strengthened from a tropical depression to a hurricane in just 21 hours, one of the fastest such rates on record.
Tropical Storm Sean fought wind shear, including that produced from the outflow of Hurricane Ophelia, during the first 7-10 days of its life in the central Atlantic. Twelve days after being first designated a depression, Philippe finally became a hurricane on Oct. 6., then finally merged with a front in the north Atlantic.
The 2011 Atlantic Hurricane Season Didn't Produce Much Of Note:
- The 2011 Atlantic hurricane season is tied for the third-most active season on record.
- This season was the first since reliable records began in 1851 that none of the first eight tropical storms attained hurricane strength.
Worldwide, 2011's Severe Weather Caused Death...