The 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season is less than a month and a half away, but there are still some things to wrap up from last year. One of those things was the list of storm names from the 2011 season. Last year, there were only a couple of storms that had some sort of impact on the United States. One of them was Hurricane Irene, a storm that impacted the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.
Irene was the only hurricane to impact the United States, and it was the third hurricane to make a direct landfall over New Jersey in recorded history, and first hurricane to make landfall over New York City since 1893. Hurricane Irene actually made two landfalls over New Jersey. One near Cape May, and the other near Little Egg Harbor in Southeastern Ocean County. No other storm in recorded history has ever done that. The storm brought a great deal of rain to the Garden State after it had already been deluged for much of August 2011.
In addition, the storm also wreaked havoc in North Carolina and Vermont. Thankfully, the storm weakened considerably after moving through the Bahamas as a Category Three system, and headed toward the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Although Irene showed signs of strengthening, the storm gradually weakened as it headed toward its first landfall in North Carolina. Dry air got entrained in the system, and deprived it of the fuel it needed to restrengthen.
The storm ended up being responsible for 48 deaths and approximately $16 billion in damage. Not bad considering the storm was mostly a Category One Hurricane and strong tropical storm when it went through the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Flood damage along the Passaic River and the Raritan River among others in New Jersey was extensive. Rains caused creeks and streams to be raging rivers in Vermont washing out bridges, and leaving many stranded and isolated.
As a result, the name Irene was retired from the list of Atlantic storm names. It marked the 76th time since 1954 that a storm name had been retired. It will be replaced on the storm list for 2017 by Irma.