Hurricane Season Ends

The 2008 Hurricane season officially ended on November 30. The final numbers lived up to outlooks that called for above average activity in the Atlantic and Caribbean basins. There were 16 named storms and one storm that reached sustained tropical depression strength.

Of the named storms, 8 reached hurricane strength and 8 were held to tropical storm strength.

Dolly, Edouard, Gustav, Hanna and Ike were the storms that made landfall on the mainland U.S. Ike was the most noteworthy, taking aim on the Houston/Galveston area. It was the third most destructive hurricane to strike the U.S., right behind Katrina and Andrew.

Hanna was the only storm to have any substantial affect on the Mid Atlantic region. The storm cut across eastern North Carolina and then moved northeastward along the Mid Atlantic and New England coast. Two to eight inch rainfalls were common in the Mid Atlantic area but winds were not strong enough to cause significant damage. 

Below are a few images of this year’s storms.


The cooling of the northern hemisphere in the autumn brings an end to the hurricane season in the Atlantic and Caribbean basins. Sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico have cooled considerably, putting a damper on any potential storm development.

20NOAA Satellite Image of Sea Surface Temperatures on Nov 30, 2008

The equatorial waters in the Atlantic are still relatively warm as the image above indicates. Tropical weather systems sometimes develop in December but it is very unusual. The change in wind patterns in late autumn and early winter generally put a cap on any tropical development, despite the water temperature.

For a more detailed look at this most recent hurricane season or others, check out the archives of the National Hurricane Center at

John Collins



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