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GRAPHIC: Matthew Could Break A Historic Lull In Major Hurricanes Hitting U.S.

Hurricane Matthew, a powerful Category 4 hurricane, is churning just off the coast of Florida.

As Weather.com points out, the tropical cyclone has already shattered all kinds of records: It's the longest-lived Category 4 or 5 storm in the Caribbean; it became the southernmost Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic basin; and it became the longest lived Category 4-5 hurricane in October.

If Matthew does make landfall in Florida (and there is a probability that the eye of the storm will remain offshore) it could break a significant record here in the States.

Matthew would become the first major hurricane, defined as a Category 3 and stronger, to make landfall in the mainland U.S. since Wilma hit Florida in 2005.

We talked about the why in a post back in 2015. But here's an updated version of the graphic we used to explore the streak back then:

The lull we're in now is the longest in recorded history. The previous longest recorded streak for the U.S. was between 1861 and 1868. As we said a couple of years ago, "it's worth noting that despite this respite, the U.S. has still seen very costly hurricanes — such as Ike and Sandy — that didn't meet the "major" threshold."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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