The hurricane season ended yesterday without any major hits on Bermuda.
The season was the third busiest on record with 21 storms, including seven hurricanes – four of which reached or exceeded Category 3 strength.
The figures were more or less in line with preseason estimates, which predicted a busier than average season because of warm ocean waters.
The average hurricane season has recorded 14.4 named storms over the past 30 years, including 7.2 hurricanes and 3.2 major hurricanes.
Mark Guishard, the director of the Bermuda Weather Service, said: “A few storms came near enough to Bermuda to cause concern, but we were fortunate to avoid the worst impacts from any of them this year.
“There were two tropical systems during the 2021 hurricane season that resulted in tropical storm force winds locally – Hurricane Larry in September and Hurricane Sam in October.
“Hurricane Sam was of particular note – it was the strongest hurricane on record to get so close to Bermuda, coming within 200 nautical miles of the island while it was a high-end Category 4 storm.”
The US-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said this season was the sixth consecutive above-normal season – and the first time that two consecutive seasons had exhausted the list of 21 storm names.
Matthew Rosencrans, the lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Centre said: “Climate factors, which include La Niña, above-normal sea surface temperatures earlier in the season, and above-average west African monsoon rainfall were the primary contributors for this above-average hurricane season.”
NOAA also highlighted the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which found that it was likely climate change would result in more intense storms with stronger winds and higher rainfall.
Hurricane Larry made its closest point of approach to Bermuda as a Category 1 hurricane on September 9 and passed 162 miles away.
The storm had maximum sustained winds of 92mph, but the highest sustained winds recorded on the island were 46mph with gusts of up to 53mph.
Hurricane Sam approached the island almost a month later, when it passed 210 miles from the island on October 2 as a strong Category 4 hurricane.
The storm boasted maximum sustained winds of 138mph, but sustained winds on the island only reached 44mph with maximum gusts of 53mph.