Hurricane Season Officially Ended, But Two Storms Did Billions In Damage, Left Dozens Dead

From The Daily Caller

11:02 AM 11/30/2018 | Energy

Michael Bastasch | Energy Editor

This year’s Atlantic hurricane season, which officially ended Friday, generated only a slightly above normal number of storms, but just two cyclones did billions of dollars worth of damage to the U.S. mainland.

“The season overall was slightly above normal, with 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes and 2 major hurricanes,” tweeted Colorado State University meteorologist Philip Klotzbach.

On average, the Atlantic Ocean basin sees 12 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes, according to Klotzbach.

Atlantic hurricane season, which starts in April, got off to a quiet start with no major hurricanes forming until Hurricane Florence in mid-September. Florence reached Category 5 strength at sea, but quickly weakened before making landfall in North Carolina.

However, Florence slowed as it hit the Carolinas and dropped record amounts of rainfall over the region, causing catastrophic flooding for weeks. A total of 51 deaths were attributed to Florence.

Hurricane Florence caused upwards of $30 billion worth of economic damage, according to an Accuweather estimate. Should that be the case, Florence would be the second-most damaging hurricane to hit the Carolinas.

U.S. President Trump visits participates in a tour of Hurricane Florence damage in New Bern, North Carolina

U.S. President Donald Trump participates in a tour of areas damaged by Hurricane Florence in New Bern, North Carolina, U.S., September 19, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque.

Hurricane Michael rapidly developed in the Gulf of Mexico several weeks later, hitting the Florida Panhandle at near Category 5 strength. Michael hit the coast with 155 mile-per-hour winds and massive storm surge.

Michael, the most powerful storm to strike the Panhandle on record, devastated Mexico Beach and left more than 40 people dead. Michael could have also done upwards of $30 billion worth of damage, according to estimates, including around $8 billion in insured property damage.

The Wider Image: Volunteers rush to aid survivors after Hurricane Michael

Hurricane Michael survivor Yvette Beasley stands in her front yard during a wellbeing check by a 50 Star Search and Rescue team in Fountain, Florida, U.S., October 17, 2018. REUTERS/Brian Snyder.

Only two named storms, Nadine and Oscar, formed in the Atlantic Ocean after Michael tore through southern states. (RELATED: Why Is The US Climate Report So Alarmist? That’s What Obama Wanted)

Despite the two damaging hurricanes, the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season was only about half as intense as the 2017 season. Last year’s hurricane season saw three powerful hurricanes — Harvey, Irma and Maria — hit U.S. territory and cause billions of dollars worth of damage.

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Tasfay Martinov
December 5, 2018 2:15 am

WUWT is obediently recycling every single warmist-alarmist claim, clearly working hard trawling the media to make sure they don’t miss any.
Did I miss the memo?
Is WUWT now a CAGW-compliant warmist blog?

Reply to  Tasfay Martinov
December 5, 2018 2:45 am

Well it is settled science you know 😉

Reply to  Tasfay Martinov
December 5, 2018 2:52 am

From my experience most of the visitors here are open minded and like to understand both sides of the debate, and take an interest in they way issues are presented.

I think they call that a balanced perspective. You don’t know where the middle is if you don’t visit the boundaries.

Reply to  Ozonebust
December 5, 2018 5:14 am

Agreed. I think many really want to know what is going on with the CAGW crowd. Otherwise, how can one counter their pronouncements if you don’t know what those pronouncements are? It’s part of being fully educated on AGW. Skeptics read both sides, regardless of what they conclude to be the correct one, if either one is correct. It’s also part of being scientific.

Reply to  Tasfay Martinov
December 5, 2018 3:14 am

Michael Bastasch is a good journalist.

Louis Hooffstetter
Reply to  icisil
December 5, 2018 5:39 pm

Hurricanes Florence and Michael were kittens compared to tigers like Camille, Andrew, Hugo, etc., etc., etc…

Sheeple have short memories.

Reply to  Tasfay Martinov
December 5, 2018 3:52 am

Countering climate alarmism is like playing whack-a-mole. They raise an issue and we whack it down.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  commieBob
December 6, 2018 3:32 pm

commieBob, stay trained – whack them down.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Tasfay Martinov
December 5, 2018 4:31 am

You posted the same on another article. So yo are just a troll, go away.

jim hogg
Reply to  Tasfay Martinov
December 5, 2018 5:13 am

I like to hear all sides of the discussion Tasfay. If you could point out the inaccuracies and distortions in the above piece I’d be grateful. Thanks.

Reply to  Tasfay Martinov
December 5, 2018 6:25 am

Another trollop, or an old trollop using a new fake alias, is dropping insults based on warmist/alarmist fake news site false descriptions of WUWT.

“Tasfay Martinov December 5, 2018 at 2:15 am
WUWT is obediently recycling every single warmist-alarmist claim, clearly working hard trawling the media to make sure they don’t miss any.
Did I miss the memo?
Is WUWT now a CAGW-compliant warmist blog?

Obediently“? Give examples that demonstrate “obediently”. Don’t forget to explain every WUWT article over the last few weeks.
Odds are you can’t.

Recycling“? Again, give examples and explain clearly why you think it is recycled.
Of course, you are just trying to be insulting; so you’ll twist recycling into some perverse alarmist definition.

every single warmist-alarmist claim?
Utter BS.
In a world where warmist/alarmist claims are innumerable, vague, unproven, baseless predictions of certain dooms; WUWT discussing the latest alarmist/warmist fudged science claims is amusing.
Discussing the latest flimsy alarmist claims also ensures WUWT readers understand the whole story, not just the political activist desires and demands.

trawling the media
A) You make this claim as if it is an insult. Demonstrates very well where you, tasfay, stand on following science. i.e. you only read approved snippets produced by approved outlets…
“trawl verb
\ˈtrȯl \
trawled; trawling; trawls
Definition of trawl (Entry 1 of 2)
intransitive verb

1a : to fish with a trawl
1b : to make a search as if by trawling
2 : TROLL sense 1a”

If you really looked over WUWT’s presentations, blog and information, you might have noticed that there are “Tips and Notes” and “Submit Story” headers where one can submit articles or post information and links.
That is, WUWT’s tens of thousands of readers participate in WUWT’s sharing and spreading science, alleged science and news articles.

N.B. WUWT’s audience dwarfs the audience of those warmist and CAGW-compliant web sites. If you check, you’ll find those warmist and CAGW-compliant web sites spend a lot of time and words spreading misinformation.

Which answers your final pathetic attempt at an insult, “Is WUWT now a CAGW-compliant warmist blog?“.

Reply to  Tasfay Martinov
December 5, 2018 8:19 am

How can this be viewed as a “warmist-alarmist claim”? It clearly stated some facts (slightly above average), without blowing them out of proportion.

Now, could the author have questioned the official ground level wind speed? Sure, but that isn’t what this article is about. It is a summery of the 2018 Hurricane season.

Reply to  Jeff in Calgary
December 5, 2018 11:06 am

Summery? Surely it’s wintery. 😉
(from 30 Nov, so late fall anyway).
Perhaps summary was the word you intended, though this is a weather themed post.

son of mulder
December 5, 2018 3:08 am

The perturbation that might be caused if we had slightly more CO2 in the atmosphere may have reduced the amount of damage as we’re dealing with a chaotic system. So is this years hurricane season indicative of anything fundamental about the nature of whatever sort of climate change we may be experiencing??

Reply to  son of mulder
December 5, 2018 5:21 am

It’s the result of too many people living too close to the cost, many in very expensive houses (In spite of that sea level rising claim, millionaires love huge expensive beachfront houses.). Damage and death from hurricanes in the US seems 100% related to our building habits and where we live. Granted, no place is safe, but if we build expensive houses on the coast, hurricanes will smite them mightily and regularly. It’s just reality. Same as tornados hit the Midwest, blizzards hit the country, earthquakes, floods, etc. Nature is not kind. Has nothing to do with climate change. It has to do with people habits.

We do this most probably out of habit—people have always tended to live near the water. It’s hard to break the ions long behavior and I’m not sure it matters. Again, nature is not kind.

December 5, 2018 3:12 am

“Hurricane Michael rapidly developed in the Gulf of Mexico several weeks later, hitting the Florida Panhandle at near Category 5 strength. Michael hit the coast with 155 mile-per-hour winds and massive storm surge.”


Reply to  icisil
December 5, 2018 5:06 am

While there is certainly room for discussion as to how strong maximum wind might have been, there is no doubt it was a devastating storm. I was offered a job to work Tyndall AFB, but start date was left open because of the approaching storm. I still haven’t heard back from them about a possible start date.

Reply to  Red94ViperRT10
December 5, 2018 5:21 am

Most of the devastation was from storm surge. Check out the buildings across the street from the beach-side neighborhood in Mexico Beach that got destroyed by the surge – most roof shingles are still intact. That doesn’t happen in 155 mph winds. The strongest gust recorded onshore was 129 mph. The next highest, I think, was about 120 mph. Max. sustained was probably around 100 mph. That’s an estimate based on observations, not computer simulations as the 155 mph speed was (which was even flagged as a possible error).

Reply to  icisil
December 5, 2018 8:25 am

I would love to see a well documented article posted here digging into hurricane wind speed exaggeration.

Reply to  icisil
December 5, 2018 8:48 am

Most of the damage caused by ANY landfalling hurricane is due to storm surge, along with rainfall (and resultant flooding) and localized windspeeds from the thunderstorm-associated tornadoes that frequently accompany hurricanes.

Winds usually only cause damage to roofs and windows (either direct wind pressure, or by flying missiles). Homes that are built to modern Florida building codes are able to withstand most hurricane-generated windspeeds. Where I live in southwest Florida, the design windspeeds for the building codes here (enacted after Hurricane Andrew back in 1992) are upwards of 177 mph. In the Florida panhandle near Tyndall AFB, the design windspeeds are a little lower at about 145-155 mph. And that does not mean that building envelopes immediately disintegrate at 155 mph – it means that they reliably withstand wind pressures and flying missile impacts at that speed.

Storm surge and flooding always account for the vast majority of property damage and loss of life of landfalling hurricanes.

Reply to  Duane
December 5, 2018 9:02 am

My own home was hit twice by the eyes of Cat 3 and Cat 4 hurricanes as they made landfall in SW Florida – Wilma in 2005, and Irma in 2017. And came out mostly unscathed by the winds, and being located both inland and upland, and therefore was not affected by storm surge or flooding. My next door neighbor had a home anemometer mounted on his roof and recorded 131 mph winds during Irma last year. The only damage to my home in Irma was a small satellite dish that was blown off, and two panels of my steel storm shutters that were blown off due to loosened hold-down bolts (but the windows they protected were undamaged). My home was built to the current Florida building code windspeed design code.

Most of the heaviest storm damage in SW Florida from Irma last year was experienced in the Middle Florida Keys, and in Marco Island where the storm made its second landfall. Again, as usual, most of the damage from Irma in those areas was due to storm surge.

Reply to  icisil
December 5, 2018 8:42 am

Not BS. Not only was the max. sustained windspeeds measured at 155 mph, the central pressure of Michael was the third lowest (as in strongest) ever recorded for a landfalling hurricane in the USA – 919 mbar. Minimum atmospheric pressure is actually the best measure of the strength of sustained winds, because it is a single point measurement, while maximum sustained winds cannot feasibly be measured across the entire windfield of a passing hurricane eye.

Reply to  Duane
December 5, 2018 9:29 am

” Not only was the max. sustained windspeeds measured at 155 mph…”

That’s total BS. Show me the data.

Reply to  icisil
December 6, 2018 12:43 pm

I showed you the data – minimum air pressure 919 mbar … third lowest ever recorded for a US landfalling hurricane in history.

The 155 mph max sustained winds was recorded onshore was reported by all the relevant agencies and news organizations.

You just don’t like the data. Doesn’t make it not the data. The burden is on you to prove that the data aren’t the data. Not the other way around.

December 5, 2018 3:17 am

Build multi-millions dollar mansions up and down the seacoast every few yards, in hurricane zones, and wonder that property damage by storms is skyrocketing upwards. Fill the airwaves with idiots telling how macho they are for riding out storms rather than evacuating. It must be global warming?

December 5, 2018 3:46 am

Despite the comments from some (not science trained) politicians and journalists to the contrary, the storm indices that I have seen here suggest that whilst the global temperatures may be rising , the frequency of storms and, of hurricanes particularly, is decreasing.
To learn more about the conditions about the reasons for hurricane formation , Wiki led me to this
“frequently asked questions” on the subject from NOAA:
The first 2 paragraphs probably answer my questions in a general , lay- person , form:

-“To undergo tropical cyclogenesis, there are several favorable pre cursor environmental conditions that must be in place (Gray 1968,1979) :
Warm ocean waters (of at least 26.5°C [80°F]) throughout a sufficient depth (unknown how deep, but at least on the order of 50 m [150 ft]). Warm waters are necessary to fuel the heat engine of the tropical cyclone.
An atmosphere which cools fast enough with height such that it is potentially unstable to moist convection. It is the thunderstorm activity which allows the heat stored in the ocean waters to be liberated for the tropical cyclone development.”-

Now, I do not dispute this , but it is a bit puzzling that some can say that global warming due to the influence of increased CO2 will increase hurricane frequency . Yes there may be more patches of warm water but the presence of increased CO2 in the atmosphere, trapping and releasing energy , surely reduces the rate at which temperature falls off with height. Thus there is less cold air immediately above where the hurricane might initiate, reducing hurricane frequencies – as surely borne out by the record .
So global warming is a benefit. Am I correct in concluding that?

Reply to  mikewaite
December 5, 2018 4:21 am

Mike if you look at hurricane records going back to the 1800s can we honestly say they are increasing in numbers or strength?

Today we have satellites and aircraft constantly monitoring storms and if they can find one part of the storm that signals moving to another category than that storm is recategorized. How many storms are “underreported” going back 50+ years ago?

Reply to  Derg
December 5, 2018 4:37 am

Good point , Derg – as shown in the recent(2015) paper by Klotzbach and Landsea

Ten years ago, Webster et al. documented a large and significant increase in both the number as well as the percentage of category 4 and 5 hurricanes for all global basins from 1970 to 2004, and this manuscript examines whether those trends have continued when including 10 additional years of data. In contrast to that study, as shown here, the global frequency of category 4 and 5 hurricanes has shown a small, insignificant downward trend while the percentage of category 4 and 5 hurricanes has shown a small, insignificant upward trend between 1990
and 2014. Accumulated cyclone energy globally has experienced a large and significant downward trend during the same period. The primary reason for the increase in category 4 and 5 hurricanes noted in observational datasets from1970 to 2004 byWebster et al. is concluded to be due to observational improvements at the various global tropical cyclone warning centers, primarily in the first two decades of that study.-”

Perhaps we need more data . Not sure how we get it though for the less immediate past.
For North Atlantic storminess, Na levels (indicating salt deposition) has been used on areas where there has been subsequent little human development and subsoil destruction.

Reply to  mikewaite
December 5, 2018 5:38 am

Thee is more from Klotzbach (U of Colorado) here:
doi: 10.1002/wcc.371
-Tropical cyclones and climate change-

It is open access so I do not need to quote the abstract except to say that it contains details of methods to extract relevant paleoclimate data , and it mentions several papers suggesting that in a warmer world, severe storms and hurricanes will be less, no more, frequent (sorry Gore, Attenborough et alia). However it is still a controversial point.
I recall that when I was researching papers for an informal talk to our local history group on Norse settlements in Greenland a paper from McGovern of City U (New York) pointed out that a factor that helped to further isolate the Greenland settlements was the sharp increase in storminess at sea at the end of the 14th Cent as the LIA increased its grip

Reply to  Derg
December 5, 2018 5:40 am

“Today we have satellites and aircraft constantly monitoring storms and if they can find one part of the storm that signals moving to another category than that storm is recategorized. How many storms are “underreported” going back 50+ years ago?”

And that’s the whole point. 50 years prior and earlier direct observations were used. Today they use sea surface brightness (passive microwave photo pixel values) to extrapolate wind speed at any point in the offshore storm. It’s an experimental method, and I have read that it is unreliable above 70 mph. But they keep pushing the envelope. And now they are experimenting with using GPS to calculate windspeed.

Chris Morrison
December 5, 2018 3:57 am

Its seems to me that this was a slightly above average hurricane season that tells us nothing about global climate change. Munich Re, of course, takes a different view since they insure substantial risk in the hurricane zones. So the giant reinsurer equates climate change with the need for higher premiums.

Virtue signalling points and larger profits all round.

Reply to  Chris Morrison
December 5, 2018 4:12 am

People buy insurance not because of that what they know will happen, but because they fear what may happen. Other than when people are legally required to buy it, the selling of insurance is ironically easiest to do people feel insecure. AGW is a dam good way to achieve this, hence why insurance firms are mad keen on it. And yet the irony is if ‘doom’ was as inevitable as claimed to cut their loses, which ‘must occur ‘, the last thing they would do is actual sell any insurance to cover it .

Steve O
December 5, 2018 4:08 am

Puerto Rico is still trying to turn the power back on following Maria. Not only have they spent too much their available tax money on over-staffing, but much of their infrastructure spending has been misguided.

Even Google can’t avoid showing you destruction if you search for “puerto rico maria windmills.” What kind of brain trust does it take to put windmills and solar panels in a hurricane zone in order to solve global warming?

December 5, 2018 4:14 am

The climatariat works hard to make a typical hurricane season into a way to scare people into paying more for insurance.

December 5, 2018 5:26 am

Why is the hurricane death count so high? Does anyone know? Tornadoes kill far less—only 10 to date this year—but come with little or no warning. I realize the flooding from hurricanes is greater than tornadoes, where hail is a big thing, rather than the floods, and maybe hurricanes are so much larger in size? It’s just curious that having at least a day or more’s warning, more die in hurricanes than F5 tornadoes that get maybe 10 minutes warning. I have lived around tornadoes all my life, but never hurricanes, so I have no idea what the difference is. I’m hoping someone who has experienced living in each of the threat areas might know.

Reply to  Sheri
December 5, 2018 6:39 am

Tornadoes tend to strike in sparsely populated areas and their area of destruction is narrow and limited. Hurricanes cover large areas, and long stretches of the east and gulf coasts are heavily populated. Plus there is the added factor of flooding, which I think probably kills most people.

Reply to  Sheri
December 5, 2018 7:00 am

Tornadoes are very violent, but have a very small footprint compared to hurricanes and tropical storms and affect far fewer people. Also, it is rare that winds themselves cause deaths, but storm surges, flooding and power outages play havoc with emergency services and sometimes the evacuation operations themselves make it difficult to get help to injured and sick people who could probably have been saved.

HD Hoese
Reply to  Sheri
December 5, 2018 7:45 am

It’s usually said to be due to storm surge lacking in tornadoes, which, with lesser vortices, are still in some hurricanes. Every hurricane is different and variable through its period, every coastline fixed but also different, so predictions beyond generalities seem difficult. Greatest storm surge (no fatalities and mostly true from the storm) was unusually on a back bay (Copano) in Harvey, over ten miles from the Gulf. Had to do with wind set up and fetch. I watched it on radar from a very safe distance where winds we had from it were blowing. Very large storm. Pieces of shingles keep appearing and with various other artifacts will be found for years. Nobody knows (Weather Bureau pronouncement) how high the winds were. Based on tree damage in woods, a once in lots of decades storm. Developers and some landowners doing more tree damage, however. Native live oaks been through it before.

Mexico Beach, Holly Beach, Louisiana, and Bolivar Peninsula that I just drove through, are right on the Gulf, so the right wind will always produce large storm surge, also true of peculiar topography.

Recovery in Harvey was amazing, but somewhat preventable damage policies are still ignored, often government the problem. Considerable improvement in education and structures over the decades, but government and other help are often a two-edged sword. Just like trees, cuts the wind, but might get you.

Louis Hooffstetter
Reply to  Sheri
December 5, 2018 5:57 pm

“Why is the hurricane death count so high?”
Sadly, much of it is due to natural selection. Despite the warnings, many people simply refuse to leave:

During a massive hurricane the water reached the top of a devout believer’s home. As the man climbed out on the roof, a man in a rescue boat came by and said “Hop in, I’ll take you to safety.” But the true believer replied “No, I have faith in the Lord and the Lord will save me.” Soon after, when the water reached his chest a rescue helicopter came by and dropped a ladder to bring the man to safety. But the man called up “No, no, I have faith that the Lord will save me.” Finally the water gets up to his neck and yet another rescue boat comes by and offers to take him to safety. But once again the true believer replied “No, no, the Lord will save me.” Well shortly thereafter, the man drowned. When he reached the gates of heaven and met God, he was dumbfounded. “Lord, I had faith in you. And not once did my faith waver! Why didn’t you save me?” To which God replied “Are you F’ing kidding me?! I sent you two rescue boats and a helicopter!”


December 5, 2018 8:13 am

It looks to me like the numbers would put the 2018 season within the normal range, though above the mean. It seems wrong to say it’s above normal if it isn’t.

The numbers of storms each year since 1851 are located here:, including means and standard deviations, which help us see that this was a normal year.

Reply to  Willard
December 5, 2018 8:32 am

“The numbers of storms each year since 1851 are located here…”
I think you mean “The number of storms observed each year since 1851 are located here…”

December 5, 2018 10:24 am

The amount of damage done by a hurricane says more about the infrastructure than about the hurricane. All other things equal, a strong hurricane is capable of doing more damage than a weak hurricane, but a weak hurricane over New York City does much more damage than a CAT 5 hurricane 200 miles off the coast of Florida.

Building within 200 miles of the coast is a short term proposition; the more building the more damage. The Air Force is going to rebuild its base at Tyndall despite almost losing 20 of America’s best fighters to a hurricane. So we can build ever stronger and ever more expensive buildings or move 200 miles inland and save bucket loads of money.

Reply to  MSO
December 5, 2018 11:22 am

One would think that a modern jet fighter wing would be able to fly away from a hurricane. It’s not like hurricanes can sneak up on you, and there are a lot of airfields in the US to disperse to. It seems logical to put airfields along the coast to maximize the aircrafts’ range over water, but only fools would park the planes in the path of a major storm.

Reply to  John_C
December 5, 2018 11:44 am

Approximately twenty F-22 fighter jets were under maintenance without the necessary parts and/or manpower to make them airworthy before the hurricane made landfall.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  MSO
December 5, 2018 12:09 pm

And they weren’t total losses either.

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