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Today one of the busiest Atlantic hurricane seasons on record comes to an end. But the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is quick to point out that although a total of 19 named storms formed, the extremely active season was a ‘gentle giant’ for the U.S. That is because none of the 12 storms that developed into hurricanes–including five that reached “major hurricane” status of a Category 3 or higher–in the Atlantic actually struck the U.S. In fact, no major Category 3 or stronger hurricanes have hit the U.S. since Hurricane Wilma in 2005.

The storm activity unfolded somewhat predictably, as the ranges NOAA specified in its seasonal outlooks were on target: On May 27, 2010, NOAA forecasted 14 to 23 named storms; 8 to 14 hurricanes; and 3 to 7 major hurricanes. On August 5, 2010, the federal agency slightly revised its projections to 14 to 20 named storms; 8 to 12 hurricanes; and 4 to 6 major hurricanes. According to NOAA, an average Atlantic season produces 11 named storms, six hurricanes, and two major hurricanes.

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