Even though the United States has certainly seen its share of destructive storms over the past nine years, we haven’t gotten slammed by a category three or higher hurricane in nine years — the longest stretch in which we’ve been free from such monster storms since 1850. Our last major hurricane — defined as a major storm with winds in excess of 111 miles per hour

— was Hurricane Wilma, which hit on October 16, 2005. Just weeks earlier, Hurricane Katrina — also a category five hurricane — struck the US Gulf Coast and became one of the deadliest hurricanes in US history. Hurricanes Ike (2008), Irene (2011) and Sandy (2012) followed but none of them hit as a Category 3 or greater. A new NASA study shows that such a “hurricane drought” only comes along once every 177 years. MORE