Even apart from the particularly catastrophic devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, this has been an extremely active Atlantic hurricane season. Forecasts for the season started out relatively average last December. But as the ocean waters warmed, updated forecasts were released: from 11 named storms to 13, and to 15. After a remarkably busy spring and the most active July on record, the forecasts had been increased to 20. Hurricane Dennis was the strongest storm to ever form before August, and eight days later, Emily broke that record. Katrina was the fourth-strongest hurricane ever measured. Ever. And thanks to its surgical strike on New Orleans, it already stands as the second most deadly Atlantic hurricane.
There have been fifteen named storms so far this season. The season officially lasts for 11 more weeks, and there are only six names left (Philippe, Rita, Stan, Tammy, Vince, and Wilma). After that, hurricanes will be named for letters of the Greek alphabet for the first time since they’ve had names.