Here are some pretty staggering factoids I recently compiled. For the Atlantic:
* 8 Cat 5 hurricanes in last 10 years (Mitch, Isabel, Ivan, Emily, Katrina, Rita, Wilma, Dean) * 7 Cat 5 hurricanes in last 5 years (Isabel, Ivan, Emily, Katrina, Rita, Wilma, Dean) * By pressure, 6 of 10 most intense recorded Atlantic hurricanes in last 10 years (Mitch, Ivan, Katrina, Rita, Wilma, Dean) * By pressure, 5 of the 10 most intense recorded Atlantic hurricanes in last 4 years (Ivan, Katrina, Rita, Wilma, Dean)
* Total insured damage going to be in the billions--latest estimate I've seen is over $ 5 billion. * Killed 12 in the Caribbean, then struck near Chetumal, capital of state of Quintana Roo. Somehow seems not to have been any reported loss of life in the Yucatan, though we don't know yet the full extent of damage. * Merciless intensification before landfall--the most dangerous thing a hurricane can do. Now we see why the ancient Mayans built their cities inland from the coasts. * With a minimum central pressure of 906 millibars, Dean was the ninth most intense hurricane ever observed in the Atlantic basin (for comparison Hurricane Katrina's minimum pressure was 902 millibars). * That 906 millibar pressure reading was at landfall, making Dean the third most intense landfalling hurricane known in the Atlantic region and the first Category 5 storm at landfall since 1992's Hurricane Andrew.
Wow. And you wonder why people are worried about hurricanes lately....