Tropical Storm Karen Dissipates, Like All Storms This Hurricane Season

Image: Tropical Storm Karen Dissipates, Like All Storms This Hurricane Season People play in the surf in Gulf Shores, Ala., Oct. 6, 2013.

Monday, 07 Oct 2013 08:08 AM

By Michael Mullins

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Tropical Storm Karen's dissipation off the Gulf Coast on Sunday epitomizes this year's hurricane season, which by all accounts was a dud.

So far this year there have been 11 named storms, however only two, Humberto and Ingrid, were classified as hurricanes. None of the storms have made landfall, Time magazine noted.

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Tropical Storm Karen, which was the first such storm of the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season to take aim at the United States, prompted the governors of Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida and Alabama to declare states of emergency last week, Reuters reported.

The preemptive actions led to the forced evacuations of some oil industry workers from offshore platforms in a region that is responsible for producing nearly a fifth of daily U.S. oil output.

By Sunday morning, the storm's 50 mph winds on Friday died down to 30 mph, prompting the National Hurricane Center to issue a statement that read, "Karen is no longer a tropical cyclone," under the headline "Remnants of KAREN Public Advisory."

The storm, at least what's left of it, is expected to leave behind one to three inches of rain throughout the southeastern United States and central U.S. Gulf Coast.

"It was a blessing from God that we actually dodged a bullet this time," Mayor Timothy Kerner of Lafitte, La., told the Associated Press after his town had filed some 40,000 sandbags as a precautionary measure. "It's always easier to pick up sandbags than to clean up a flood."

A reason why there have been such weak storms this year as compared to past hurricane seasons is the unusually dry air, according to Texas A&M University researcher Robert Korty.

"We started off the season with several back in June and July, but then August and September, usually the most active months, were very slow," Korty explained in Texas A&M's school newspaper, the Tamu Times.

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"If you had to point to one reason, it would be dry air," Korty added. "The dry air coming across the Atlantic from Africa prevented a lot of storms from developing during August, and the ones that did develop were not very strong. So the result has been a hurricane season of about normal in number of storms, but these have been relatively weak ones so far."

In comparison to this year's unusually quiet hurricane season, in 2005 there were 28 total storms, of which seven were major hurricanes, including Katrina and Rita. More than 3,900 people died in the 2005 hurricane season, which caused an estimated $160 billion in damages, the Tamu Times reported.

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