Busy Atlantic hurricane season ends with 19 named storms

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The Atlantic hurricane season, which ended Nov. 30, lived up to forecasters' expectations as one of the busiest seasons on record, producing 19 named storms.

That number tied with the 1887 and 1995 seasons for the third-highest on the books. Only 1933 (21 storms) and 2005 (28 storms) were more active seasons, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Jack Hayes, director of the National Weather Service, described the 2010 season as "a gentle giant. It was one of the most active on record, as forecasters predicted, although the storms avoided the U.S. for the most part."

Before the season began, forecasters had predicted 14 to 23 named storms and eight to 14 hurricanes. Of the season's named storms, 12 were hurricanes.

The U.S. was spared a major storm for the second straight year; no storms have made landfall in the U.S. since Hurricane Ike slammed the Texas coast in 2008. But tropical weather did claim the lives of seven people in Texas this summer and caused $42 million in infrastructure damage.

Flooding also occurred in Cape Cod, Mass., and in North Carolina's Outer Banks.

Farther south, however, the season took its toll.

Hurricane Tomas in late October killed 41 in the Caribbean and Central America and caused more than $500 million in damage.

St. Lucia Prime Minister Stephenson King described Tomas as the island's "worst natural disaster."

Floods and landslides closed roads leading to the airports, bringing tourism to a standstill for a week. St. Vincent and Barbados also were hit hard by Tomas.

Jamaica, Haiti and the Dominican Republic got drenched with heavy rains several times during the six-month season, wiping out roads and bridges. Nicaragua and Honduras also got pummeled.

Hurricanes Karl and Paul caused damage in Mexico.

In the U.S. Virgin Islands, Gov. John de Jongh requested disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency three times due to flood damage from named tropical storms.

Even Canada did not escape. Newfoundland reported about $100 million in damage and one death from Hurricane Igor in September.

In total, hurricanes caused $1.6 billion in damage and killed hundreds, according to the NHC.

The 2010 season started with Alex, the first Atlantic hurricane to form in June since 1966, and ended with Tomas on Halloween weekend.

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