NOAA: Record 117-Month Major Hurricane Drought Continues
It has been 117 months since a major hurricane, defined as a Category 3 or above, has made landfall in the continental United States, according to 2015 data from the Hurricane Research Division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This is the longest span of time in which no major hurricane has struck the mainland U.S. in NOAA hurricane records going back to 1851. The second longest time between major hurricane strikes was the eight years between 1860 and 1869—146 years ago. A recent study published May 5 and co-authored by Tim Hall of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Goddard Institute for Space Studies entitled The Frequency and Duration of U.S. Hurricane Droughts also confirmed that the current "admittedly unusual" drought is “unprecedented in the historical record." That study found that major hurricane droughts only occur every 177 years, and calculated that there is less than a 5 percent chance (0.39%) that the current drought will end this hurricane season, which lasts from June 1 to November 30. Hurricane Wilma, the most recent major hurricane to strike the U.S., was a Category 3 when it made landfall in North Carolina on October 24, 2005—almost 118 months ago.