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A look at weather extremes and the big-picture climate connections.

Time-Lapse View of 2010 Hurricane Season

The 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season ended on November 30th with the season tied for third place in terms of the number of named tropical storms and hurricanes — 19. Of these named storms, twelve were hurricanes, and five were major hurricanes of category three strength or greater. Yet despite this above average activity, the United States was spared a direct hit from a hurricane, because weather patterns repeatedly blocked storms from approaching the coast.

You can actually see how storm after storm was kicked out of bounds into the open Atlantic, or confined to the southern Caribbean Sea, thanks to a new visualization of the entire hurricane season from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

This movie shows GOES-13 infrared satellite imagery from June 1 through November 30, the official extents of the Atlantic Hurricane Season. Credit: NOAA

As the video plays, watch how fronts and low pressure centers (they show up as swirling cloud masses on the satellite images) repeatedly push off the East Coast, accompanied by strong upper level winds that deflected several tropical storms and hurricanes (their names pop up in the video) out to sea, or in the case of Hurricanes Earl and Igor, northeastward into the Canadian maritimes. Be careful though, the video can be mesmerizing, especially for fellow weather/climate nerds out there.

From this movie, as well as the raw statistics from this season, it's clear that the U.S. was extremely lucky to avoid a landfalling hurricane.

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