New NOAA Record: 10 Years Since Major Hurricane Has Struck US

By Barbara Hollingsworth | October 23, 2015 | 9:21 AM EDT

Hurricane Wilma was the last major hurricane to strike the U.S. on Oct. 24, 2005. (AP photo)

(CNSNews.com) – Even with the historically powerful Category 5 Hurricane Patricia headed toward Mexico's Pacific coast, Saturday will mark a record 120 straight months since the last major hurricane (Category 3 or above) has made landfall in the continental United States.

The last major hurricane to make landfall on the continental United States was Hurricane Wilma, which hit Florida on October 24, 2005.

The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) stated on its website Friday that it expects no hurricanes in the Atlantic in the next five days.

Hurricane Patricia, the strongest hurricane on record, is too far south to threaten the U.S. mainland.

The decade-long major hurricane drought is the longest such hiatus dating back to 1851, according to records kept by NOAA’s Hurricane Research Division (HRC).

The 2005 hurricane season was particlarly harsh one. That year, “nearly 4,000 people lost their lives and there was nearly $160 billion in damage,” NOAA said in a statement marking the 10-year anniversary of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma, the last major hurricanes to strike the U.S.

Wilma “is the last major hurricane to strike the U.S.--an unprecedented stretch that could unfortunately lead to ‘hurricane amnesia’ for the destruction such a hurricane can cause,” NOAA noted.

According to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, major hurricanes classified as Category 3 or above have sustained wind speeds of more than 111 miles per hour and are capable of causing “devastating” or “catastrophic” damage.

Since 1851, three catastrophic Category 5 hurricanes – defined as having a maximum sustained wind speed of over 157 miles per hour – have made landfall in the U.S.: the 1935 Labor Day hurricane in the Florida Keys, Camille in 1969, and Andrew in 1992.

Related: Joaquin Veers Offshore, Leaving Major Hurricane Drought Record Intact at 3,633 Days

Related: NOAA: Hurricane Drought Hits Record 119 Months


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