A major hurricane not making landfall for this long only happens once every 270 years, according to NASA.

Hurricane Katrina blows sand off a beach in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in August 2005. (J. Pat Carter/AP)

Now here’s a “drought” we all can get behind: A major hurricane hasn’t made landfall in the U.S. since the record-setting storm activity of 2005. Statistically, such a pattern only comes along once every 270 years, according to NASA.

This decade-long “hurricane drought” is also the longest period without major (Category 3 and above) landfalling ‘canes in records stretching back to 1850. But that doesn’t mean 2016 will be calm. The researchers who conducted this analysis, Timothy Hall and Kelly Hereid, say there’s a 40 percent chance of a major hurricane moving inland every year.

The latest forecast for the Atlantic season gives a “near-normal” year of four to eight hurricanes, with one to four becoming major, though there’s no predicting what might make landfall. And as NASA points out, it doesn’t take a screaming, Katrina-level monster to cause havoc. “It should be noted that hurricanes making landfall as less than Category 3 can still cause extreme damage, with heavy rains and coastal storm surges,” the agency writes. “Such was the case with Hurricane Sandy in 2012.”

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A photo of police officers sealing off trash bins prior to the Tokyo Marathon in Tokyo in 2015.
    Life

    Carefully, Japan Reconsiders the Trash Can

    The near-absence of public garbage bins in cities like Tokyo is both a security measure and a reflection of a cultural aversion to littering.

  2. An illustration of the Memorial Day flood in Ellicott City, Maryland.
    Environment

    In a Town Shaped by Water, the River Is Winning

    Storms supercharged by climate change pose a dire threat to river towns. After two catastrophic floods, tiny Ellicott City faces a critical decision: Rebuild, or retreat?

  3. Cars sit in a crosswalk.
    Transportation

    What if More People Could Issue Parking Tickets?

    Washington, D.C., considers training a group of residents to give tickets for some parking violations. Would it make streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists?

  4. Environment

    A 13,235-Mile Road Trip for 70-Degree Weather Every Day

    This year-long journey across the U.S. keeps you at consistent high temperatures.

  5. A line of stores in Westport, Connecticut
    Equity

    Separated by Design: How Some of America’s Richest Towns Fight Affordable Housing

    In southwest Connecticut, the gap between rich and poor is wider than anywhere else in the country. Invisible walls created by local zoning boards and the state government block affordable housing and, by extension, the people who need it.