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Dance of the hurricanes: NOAA video marks end of 2011 season

November 30, 2011 |  1:40 pm

The 2011 Atlantic hurricane season officially ends Wednesday, marking the sixth consecutive year that a "major" hurricane did not make landfall in the United States.

The season spared the usual victims -- the Southern states -- but it did manage to produce Hurricane Irene. Although it wasn't considered a major hurricane, the storm pummeled the Northeast to such an extent that it became one of the costliest storms in United States history.

Irene killed at least 47 people in the U.S., and eight more in the Caribbean and Canada.

PHOTOS: In Irene's path

That hurricane was the only one to make landfall in the United States in 2011 and the first since Hurricane Ike, which in 2008 caused $10 billion in damage across Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“Irene broke the ‘hurricane amnesia’ that can develop when so much time lapses between land-falling storms,” Jack Hayes, director of the National Weather Service, said in a statement. “This season is a reminder that storms can hit any part of our coast and that all regions need to be prepared each and every season.”

The season produced an above-average total of 19 tropical storms, which includes hurricanes. That's the third-highest total since 1851, the agency reported.

In August, forecasters from the agency predicted that exceptionally warm ocean water and favorable atmospheric conditions would bring an above-average number of tropical storms and hurricanes to the Atlantic and Caribbean.

The above video shows the entire season in four minutes. To check out Irene, skip ahead to about the 2:00 minute mark.

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-- Stephen Ceasar

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