Posted: 12:41 pm Thursday, January 26th, 2012
By Eliot Kleinberg
Posted 11:45 a.m., Jan. 26, 2012
It turns out that last year’s raucous hurricane season – which nevertheless eemed quiet to South Floridians because nothing hit them — was just a little more powerful than had been thought.
Today, the National Hurricane Center said a newly-completed post-mortem (PDF) on Hurricane Rina concludes that, on Oct. 26, top sustained winds reached 100 knots, or about 115 mph. The storm had been a Category 2, with top sustained winds of 110 mph; this bumped it up to a Category 3, making it a “major.” The storm skirted the Yuicatan before fizzling in southeastern Mexico.
The change doesn’t alter the box score of 19 systems reaching at least tropical storm status and gaining names, with seven of those becoming hurricanes, but it now reflects that four hurricanes became “majors.”
The 19 named storms tied 2011 for third all time (with 1887, 1995, and 2010) since records began in 1851 and is well above the average of 11. The number of major hurricanes is also well above the average of two. The number of hurricanes is close to the average of six, but the number of “majors” was double the average of two.
The change of just 5 mph for Rina, and the resulting alteration of the box score, is of interest mostly to folks who treat hurricane statistics like fantasy football.
But it’s a mild reminder about the way South Floridians should reason with hurricane season: neither ignore it nor run for your life. Make sure in the off-season that your home is braced and your supply of food, water, batteries and other emergency supplies are in place. When a storm is in the neighborhood, go about your regular business but keep an eye on it, and be prepared to react if it becomes an actual threat.