2005's Hurricane Season Was "Unprecedented"

Meteorologists are describing the 2005 hurricane season with one word: unprecedented.

"Absolutely, as far as we know, this was unprecedented," said Keith Blackwell, a researcher at the University of South Alabama's Coastal Weather Research Center in Mobile.

There's a long list of reasons why this hurricane season, which ends Wednesday, will be regarded as one for the ages:

• The 26 named storms that formed made it the most active season on record. The previous record of 21 storms was set in 1933.

• The 2005 season also produced new records for the most hurricanes (13) and the most "major" hurricanes (7), ranking as Category Three or higher on the Saffir-Simpson scale. The scale rates hurricanes from one to five according to wind speeds and potential for causing damage.

• Four major hurricanes made landfall in the U.S., a new record.

• Five storms formed in July, a new record for that month. One of those storms—Hurricane Dennis—was the most powerful July storm on record.

• Three hurricanes—Katrina, Rita, and Wilma—reached Category Five status on the Saffir-Simpson scale. That's also a new record.

• Hurricane Katrina, which made landfall in Louisiana on August 29, essentially destroyed New Orleans with a storm surge that flooded the city and made much of it uninhabitable. More than 1,300 people were killed by the hurricane, most of them in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. ...

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