With Hurricane Wilma becoming the record-tying 20th named storm of the 2005 season, as well as the record-tying 12th hurricane, we thought it worth mentioning a couple other storms that have made the history books recently.
Before Wilma came Vince, which was nowhere near the usual storm track. In fact, Vince, which briefly reached hurricane status but weakened before making landfall, was the first tropical cyclone ever to hit Spain. The storm also formed farther north and east than any other storm on record.
Another recent aberration was Hurricane Catarina, which hit Brazil in March 2004. Catarina was the first hurricane ever recorded in the South Atlantic Basin, where tropical storm systems tend to be broken apart by wind shear.
The nagging question, of course, is whether these storms have anything to do with global warming and the attendant predictions of increasingly severe weather? Search us. It is worth noting that storms have not been accurately monitored in the South Atlantic for a period longer than 30 years, so it's possible that hurricanes formed before then. Also, at least one hurricane had struck Europe before Vince: In September 1961, Hurricane Debbie struck Ireland at Category 1 strength.
The fact is, no one weather event can stand as proof in arguments for or against warming. Each one is an exhibit, however, in what appears to be a preponderance of evidence.