The 1908 Atlantic hurricane season ran from June 1 to November 30 in 1908. These dates conventionally delimit the year in which most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic basin. However, this season got off to a very early start, with a Category 2hurricane forming on March 6, making it the second earliest hurricane on record to form in the Atlantic Basin after Hurricane One in 1938, and the only known Atlantic tropical cyclone to exist in the month of March. Another hurricane formed and existed during the last week of May, and became the earliest hurricane to hit the U.S. in recorded history. Cape Hatteras was affected by two hurricanes and one tropical storm this year. Overall, this season was near average with 10 tropical storms forming.
In early March, the season's first tropical cyclone developed to the northeast of the Leeward Islands. According to the Atlantic hurricane database, the system was first identified as a tropical storm on March 6 as it tracked in an unusual south-southwest direction. Early the following day, it was estimated that the storm intensified into a minimal hurricane, becoming the earliest known cyclone of this strength during the course of a season. Further intensification took place as the hurricane neared the United States Virgin Islands. Shortly before bypassing the islands, it attained winds of 100 mph (155 km/h), equivalent to a modern-day Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale. Once in the Caribbean Sea on March 8, the system slowly began to weaken, losing hurricane status the following morning. The last known position of the storm was late on March 9 over the eastern Caribbean Sea, north of Venezuela.
The two island nations of Antigua and Basseterre and three ships reported affects from Hurricane One. On Saint Barthélemy, some buildings were damaged. The highest wind gust reported was at 70 mph (110 km/h), from a ship called Hattie C. Luce. Two other ships reported winds at 35 mph (56 km/h) and 40 mph (64 km/h), while Basseterre reported winds at 50 mph (80 km/h). Rainfall peaked at 8 inches (200 mm), which was reported in Basseterre. The minimum pressure of Hurricane One is unknown, however the city of Basseterre reported a minimum pressure of 991 mbars. Also, St. Kitts reported 4 inches of rain and Nevis reported 3 inches of rain.
This hurricane hit the U.S. in May, causing minor effects. It was one of only 3 May hurricanes during the 20th century in the Atlantic Basin; the others were Able in 1951 and Alma in 1970. It marked the earliest date for the season's second hurricane to form in any Atlantic season on record, and it was the earliest hurricane to hit the U.S. in recorded history.
This storm formed north of the Bahamas on July 24. The storm then made a loop north of the Bahamas and became a hurricane shortly after. The storm grazed North Carolina and moved into the Atlantic. The storm dissipated on August 3.
The fourth tropical storm of the season had an unusual track. It formed on July 29 offshore Texas, before moving southeast into the Gulf of Mexico. It turned around and made landfall in Louisiana, dropping 19.62 inches (498 mm) at Franklin, Louisiana between July 26 and August 2. It dissipated in Tennessee on August 3.
1908's eighth storm was a Category 2 hurricane in late September and early October that crossed the Lesser Antilles, moved over Hispaniola and eastern Cuba, and crossed over the Bahamas before turning northeast. It then made a loop and became extratropical on October 7. It caused extensive damage to the Greater Antilles.
In mid-October, the ninth storm of the season, a Category 2 hurricane, struck Nicaragua. Because it moved slowly, very heavy rainfall fell in its path, although there is no known damage or deaths from the hurricane itself.