WASHINGTON, April 21, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The north Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1 and lasts through Nov. 30. The U.S. Census Bureau produces timely local data that are critical to emergency planning, preparedness and recovery efforts. This edition of Facts for Features highlights the number of people living in areas that could be most affected by these dramatic acts of nature.
2010 Census population, as of April 1, 2010, most threatened by Atlantic hurricanes: the coastal portion of states stretching from North Carolina to Texas. Approximately 12 percent of the nation's population live in these areas.
The number of hurricanes during the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season, five of which were major hurricanes at Category 3-strength or higher. None of these storms made landfall in the U.S., though Alex made landfall just south of Texas in Mexico and Earl brushed the East Coast.
The name of the first Atlantic storm of 2011. Hurricane names rotate in a six-year cycle with the 2011 list being a repeat of the 2005 names. The World Meteorological Organization retired the names of four major hurricanes that made landfall in the United States during 2005: Dennis, Katrina, Rita and Wilma. Stan, a Category 1 storm, was also retired after causing extensive loss of life in Central America. They have been replaced by Cindy, Franklin, Irene, Katia and Sean.
In one of the busiest Atlantic hurricane seasons on record, 28 named storms formed, forcing use of the alternate Greek alphabet scheme for the first time. When the National Hurricane Center's list of 21 approved names runs out for the year, hurricanes are named after Greek letters. Of the 28 named storms in 2005, 15 were hurricanes, with four storms reaching Category 5 status (Dennis, Katrina, Rita and Wilma) and three more being considered major.
The growth in population of coastal areas illustrates the importance of emergency planning and preparedness for areas that are more susceptible to inclement weather conditions. The U.S. Census Bureau's official decennial census and population estimates, along with annually updated socioeconomic data from the American Community Survey, provide a detailed look at the nation's growing coastal population. Emergency planners and community leaders can better assess the needs of coastal populations using census data.
Hurricane Andrew and Homestead, Fla.
Hurricane Andrew forms in the Atlantic Ocean and makes landfall in Florida on Aug. 24, destroying a large swath of South Florida, most notably the city of Homestead. Andrew later made landfall on the central Louisiana coast on Aug. 26 as a Category 3 hurricane. Hurricane Andrew was the second costliest tropical cyclone in U.S. history and killed 23 in the U.S.
The strength of Hurricane Andrew at landfall based on the Saffir-Simpson scale, with maximum sustained winds measured at 165 mph. Andrew was originally measured as a Category 4 storm but was later upgraded to Category 5 status in 2002 based on a reanalysis of wind speeds.
Hurricane Katrina makes landfall along the Louisiana coast on Aug. 29, leaving a devastating path of death and destruction in its wake as the city of New Orleans and surrounding region were inundated from the storm surge. Hurricane Katrina was the costliest tropical cyclone in U.S. history, with an estimated cost of $125 billion (2005 USD), and killing 1,833 in the U.S.
The strength of Hurricane Katrina at landfall based on the Saffir-Simpson scale, with maximum sustained winds measured at 125 mph. Katrina had strengthened significantly the day before, reaching Category 5 intensity.
Hurricane Ike makes landfall at Galveston, Texas, on Sept. 13, laying total destruction to Galveston Island and adjacent coastline as the storm moves ashore with an immense wind field and storm surge due to its massive size, becoming the largest Atlantic hurricane on record. Hurricane Ike was the third costliest tropical cyclone in U.S. history, killing 112 in the U.S.
The strength of Hurricane Ike at landfall based on the Saffir-Simpson scale, with maximum sustained winds measured at 110 mph. Ike had reached Category 4 strength over the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico.
Following is a list of observances typically covered by the Census Bureau's Facts for Features series:
Black History Month (February)
Valentine's Day (Feb. 14)
Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15)
Women's History Month (March)
Unmarried and Single Americans Week
Irish-American Heritage Month (March)/
Halloween (Oct. 31)
St. Patrick's Day (March 17)
American Indian/Alaska Native Heritage Month
Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month (May)
Older Americans Month (May)
Veterans Day (Nov. 11)
Cinco de Mayo (May 5)
The Holiday Season (December)
Hurricane Season Begins (June 1)
The Fourth of July (July 4)
Anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act (July 26)
Back to School (August)
Editor's note: The preceding data were collected from a variety of sources and may be subject to sampling variability and other sources of error. Facts for Features are customarily released about two months before an observance in order to accommodate magazine production timelines. Questions or comments should be directed to the Census Bureau's Public Information Office: telephone: 301-763-3030; fax: 301-763-3762; or e-mail: [email protected].