Most active Atlantic hurricane season in six years comes to an end.
The Atlantic saw 15 named storms during 2016, including 7 hurricanes (Alex, Earl, Gaston, Hermine, Matthew, Nicole and Otto), three of which were major hurricanes (Gaston, Matthew and Nicole).
NOAA’s updated hurricane season outlook in August called for 12 to 17 named storms, including 5 to 8 hurricanes, with 2 to 4 of those predicted to become major hurricanes.
Five named storms made landfall in the United States during 2016, the most since 2008 when six storms struck. Tropical Storm Bonnie and Hurricane Matthew struck South Carolina. Tropical Storms Colin and Julia, as well as Hurricane Hermine, made landfall in Florida. Hermine was the first hurricane to make landfall in Florida since Wilma in 2005.
Several Atlantic storms made landfall outside of the United States during 2016: Tropical Storm Danielle in Mexico, Hurricane Earl in Belize, Hurricane Matthew in Haiti, Cuba and the Bahamas, and Hurricane Otto in Nicaragua.
The strongest and longest-lived storm of the season was Matthew, which reached maximum sustained winds of 160 miles per hour and lasted as a major hurricane for eight days from September 30th to October 7th. Matthew was the first category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic basin since Felix in 2007.
Matthew caused storm surge and beach erosion here at home in the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry. The storm produced more than 10 inches of rain in many parts of our local area.
The storm was responsible for the greatest US loss of life due to inland flooding from a tropical system since torrential rains from Hurricane Floyd caused widespread and historic flooding in eastern North Carolina in 1999.