stark contrast to the record-breaking, 28-storm, 2005 season --
remember Emily, Katrina, Rita, Wilma and the five Greek-named
storms that were used because the list of proper names was
exhausted? -- the 2006 Atlantic hurricane season, which officially
ended Nov. 30, fell far short of the experts' predictions for an
No one is
complaining, however. The U.S. and the Caribbean got off easy in
forecast, released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Association in May, called for 13 to 16 named storms ,of which 8 to
10 would be hurricanes and four to six would be Category 3 or
higher (winds of at least 111 mph).
Instead, nine named
storms formed, five became hurricanes and none made U.S.
That's the fewest
named storms to form in the Atlantic basin since 1997, when seven
named storms formed.
On the tropical storm
front, Alberto skirted the south Texas coast in June, Ernesto
drenched the Mid-Atlantic states in late August after gaining
hurricane status briefly over Haiti and Florence knocked out power
in Bermuda in early September.
"We got a
much-welcome break, but this is a one-season-type break," said
Gerry Bell, NOAA's lead forecaster.
Bell said the
seasonal activity was lower than expected due to the rapid
development of El Nino, which warmed the waters of the Pacific but
helped steer storms away from land in the tropical Atlantic and
He urged people not
to become too complacent about the 2007 season, which starts again
The Atlantic region,
in particular, is still in an active period that began in 1995 and
could last another 10 years or more, he said.
Same season, different ocean
It was a different
story in the Pacific region, which was predicted to be slower than
Not so. It was more
active than ever, with 18 named storms, 10 of which were hurricanes
and six of them major.
Fortunately, most of
these larger storms brushed Mexico's sparsely populated western
coast, although the resorts in the Cabo San Lucas area did evacuate
guests on several occasions as a precaution.
reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].
To see what
happened during the 2006 Hurricane Season and how it is affected
the travel industry,click here. Specific articles also can be
found by using 2006 hurricane or each storm's name (without
hurricane or tropical storm) as the keyword in the TW ARTICLE
SEARCH on the TravelWeekly.com homepage.