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2005: A Record-Breaking Hurricane Season

July 30, 2010

By WeatherBug Meteorologist, Chad Merrill

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The destruction and ferocity of the 2005 Atlantic Hurricane Season was record-setting; the exhausting season that just wouldn`t give up started in early June and didn`t come to an end until seven months later. During that time, every imaginable record in the book was shattered, from the most intense hurricane ever to the costliest disaster in U.S. history.

The records are numerous; here is a snapshot of the most significant:

Number of Named Storms & Storm Names:


  • A record total of 28 named storms formed from June all of the way to the end of the calendar year, exhausting the 21 names on the standard hurricane name list, forcing the National Hurricane Center to name six additional storms using the Greek alphabet.

  • Major Storms:

    • Seven storms strengthened into major hurricanes with winds of at least 111 mph, a record-tying five became Category 4 hurricanes (131-plus winds) and a record four (Emily, Katrina, Rita and Wilma) reached Category 5 strength (winds in excess of 155 mph), the highest categorization for hurricanes on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale.

    • Wilma`s Ferocity:

      • Hurricane Wilma set the record for strongest Atlantic hurricane record, when the central pressure dropped to 882 millibars and winds peaked at 185 mph on October 18.

      • Record End to the Season:

        • Six hours short of tying the record with 1954`s Hurricane Alice as the latest-forming named storm in a season, Tropical Storm Zeta became the final storm of the season when it formed on December 30. Zeta reached its peak strength in the new year of 2006 before dissipating on January 6, 2006, becoming the longest-lived January tropical cyclone in the Atlantic basin history.

        • Costliest Storms:

          • Four historical hurricanes, Dennis, Katrina, Rita and Wilma each topped the billion dollar mark for damage. Katrina was the costliest U.S. natural disaster with an estimated $81.8 Billion in storm damage. Rita and Wilma storm damage exceeded $10 Billion each, with Wilma approaching $30 Billion in damage.

          • Retired Storm Names:

            • A record number of storm names were retired in the 2005 season. Five, including Dennis, Katrina, Rita, Stan and Wilma were retired because of their destruction and intensity.

            • The 2005 Hurricane season produced a record $130 billion in damages with nearly 4,000 deaths; with almost half of those deaths alone from Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Although no season since then has produced nearly the number of records, the 2005 season was a harsh reminder of Mother Nature`s fury and the importance of preparation well before each tropical season begins.

              Over the next several months, WeatherBug will be rolling out special features on the 2005 Hurricane Season. Check WeatherBug`s hurricane page for the latest features and get the latest updates anywhere on Twitter at WeatherBug WeatherBuzz.

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              Story Image: Weatherug users show the fury and aftermath from the 2005 Hurricane Season.

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