Natural Hazards: Tropical cyclones in the Caribbean
The 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was the most active season in recorded history, with 28 tropical storms of which 15 became hurricanes. Of these, seven strengthened into major hurricanes: 2 reached Category 3 strength, 1 Category 4 and a record four reached Category 5 strength – Emily, Katrina, Rita et Wilma –. Three years after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, Gustav and Ike caused widespread damage in the summer of 2008 across the Caribbean, notably Haiti, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Cuba and the US, in one of the mostly costly hurricane seasons in history, likely to reach $25 billion. In contrast, the years 2009, 2010 and 2011 were relatively spared from extreme cyclonic events in the force 4 to 5 range of magnitude. The continual and active presence of tropical storms across the region meant that different countries were obliged to maintain an unavoidable level of vigilance in a zone where, since 1998, more than 20 very violent cyclones had alone caused hundreds of millions of dollars of damage and tens of thousands of deaths. This map illustrate the behavior of category 4 & 5 hurricanes in the Caribbean from 1998 to 2011.