1968 Atlantic hurricane season

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1968 Atlantic hurricane season
Season summary map
First system formed June 1, 1968
Last system dissipated October 21, 1968
Strongest storm Gladys – 965 mbar (hPa) (28.51 inHg), 85 mph (140 km/h) (1-minute sustained)
Total depressions 10
Total storms 8
Hurricanes 5
Major hurricanes (Cat. 3+) 0
Total fatalities 10
Total damage $9.85 million (1968 USD)
Atlantic hurricane seasons
1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970

The 1968 Atlantic hurricane season officially began on June 1, 1968, and lasted until November 30, 1968. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic basin.

Three storms formed this June, making it one of the most active Junes on record. Despite the early season activity, the season ended relatively quietly, with eight named storms, and no major hurricanes, which goes to show that early season activity has no correlation to the entire season. Hurricane Gladys was the costliest storm of the season, causing more than $6 million (1968 USD) in damage as it moved northward through Florida, Cuba, and North Carolina.


Hurricane Gladys (1968) Hurricane Abby (1968) Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale

Hurricane Abby[edit]

Category 1 hurricane (SSHS)
Duration June 1 – June 13
Peak intensity 75 mph (120 km/h) (1-min)  965 mbar (hPa)
Main article: Hurricane Abby (1968)

The interaction of a mid-tropospheric trough and a cold front spawned a tropical depression on June 1. The initial circulation was not embedded within the convection, but as it moved slowly north-northeastward, it was able to strengthen and become better organized, reaching tropical storm strength on June 2. It crossed the western tip of Cuba, and upon reaching the southeast Gulf of Mexico, Abby achieved hurricane strength. It weakened to a tropical storm before landfall in Punta Gorda, Florida on June 4. Abby moved across the state and then reached the western Atlantic. On June 6, it made another landfall near Jacksonville. Abby weakened to a tropical depression as it moved over Georgia, and over the next six days, it drifted over The Carolinas, finally dissipating on June 13 east of Virginia.[1]

As Abby crossed Cuba, moderate rainfall and relatively high winds were reported.[1] In addition, Abby dropped heavy rainfall across the state of Florida, peaking at 14.65 in (372 mm) in Hart Lake.[2] However, the rain was almost entirely beneficial, as Florida was suffering from a severe drought. Despite winds gusts up to 100 mph (160 km/h), no significant wind damage was reported. Several tornadoes spawned by Abby in Florida, though losses were rarely above $5,000.[1] Elsewhere, the storm dropped relatively light rainfall and produced a few tornadoes throughout the Southeastern United States. One twister in Monroe, North Carolina damaged 20 cars, and destroyed 3 homes and impacted 20 others.[3] Total damage in the United States is estimated around $450,000 (1968 USD) and the storm indirectly caused six deaths.[1]

Hurricane Brenda[edit]

Category 1 hurricane (SSHS)
Duration June 17 – June 26
Peak intensity 75 mph (120 km/h) (1-min)  990 mbar (hPa)

Similar to Abby's origins, Brenda began from a mid-level trough persisting over Florida, forming a tropical depression on June 17 south of Florida. The cyclone moved northward across the peninsula for 60 hours, and upon reaching the Atlantic, reached favorable conditions. Shear was low and water temperatures were warm enough, allowing the depression to become a tropical storm on June 21 and a hurricane on June 23. Brenda wouldn't maintain its intensity for very long, and on June 24, dry air and shear disrupted the system. Brenda weakened to a tropical storm on June 25, and became extratropical on June 26 over the open Atlantic.

Tropical Storm Candy[edit]

Tropical storm (SSHS)
Duration June 22 – June 25
Peak intensity 70 mph (110 km/h) (1-min)  996 mbar (hPa)
Main article: Tropical Storm Candy

A tropical disturbance located in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico developed into a tropical depression on June 22. Gradually strengthening occurred, with the depression being upgraded to Tropical Storm Candy on the following day. The storm peaked with maximum sustained winds of 70 miles per hour (110 km/h) on June 23. Hours later, Candy made landfall Port Aransas, Texas at the same intensity. The storm quickly weakened and fell to tropical depression status by early on June 24. However, it persisted for a few more days, until the storm became extratropical over Michigan on June 26.

Due to rainfall from a previous weather system, the ground was already saturated throughout Texas. As a result, Candy caused flood damage, due to precipitation exceeding 11 inches (280 mm) in some areas. Minor damage to crops, roads, and bridges was reported in the eastern portions of the state. Agricultural losses alone were slightly less than $2 million (1968 USD). Storm surge along the coast of Texas caused "cuts" on Padre Island. The storm spawned 24 tornadoes, though only one caused significant impact. Candy and its remnants dropped rainfall in 24 other states, reaching as far north as New Hampshire. Overall, Candy caused $2.7 million (1968 USD) in damage and no fatalities.

Hurricane Dolly[edit]

Category 1 hurricane (SSHS)
Duration August 10 – August 17
Peak intensity 80 mph (130 km/h) (1-min)  985 mbar (hPa)

In late July, a tropical wave emerged into the Atlantic Ocean from the west coast of Africa. After tracking west-northwestward and westward, the wave reached the Florida Straits on August 9, where it began interacting with an upper-level low. Early on August 10, the system developed into a tropical depression, while located near Andros Island in the Bahamas. Shortly thereafter, the depression made landfall near Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The depression quickly reemerged into the Atlantic. Initially, the depression was unable to strengthen and was nearby absorbed by a cold front. After paralleling part of the East Coast of the United States, the depression moved further out to sea. By August 12, the depression finally strengthened into Tropical Storm Dolly. Continuing to intensify, Dolly intensified into a hurricane later that day.[1]

Dolly briefly weakened back to a tropical storm on August 13, though it quickly re-strengthened into a hurricane, despite unfavorable conditions. After remaining a minimal hurricane until August 16, the unfavorable conditions prevailed, causing Dolly to rapidly weaken to a tropical depression. By early on August 17, Dolly became extratropical while about 300 miles (480 km) north of the Azores.[1] Impact from Hurricane Dolly was minimal, with only rainfall being reported on land, especially in Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Precipitation peaked at 3.89 inches (99 mm) at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Florida. Although it was mostly limited to the east coast of Florida, isolated areas of rain were reported in the Panhandle and on the west coast. Elsewhere, rainfall from Dolly was also recorded in North and South Carolina, though it did not exceed or reach 3 inches (76 mm).[4]

Tropical Storm Edna[edit]

Tropical storm (SSHS)
Duration September 11 – September 19
Peak intensity 65 mph (100 km/h) (1-min)  1005 mbar (hPa)

The precursor to Tropical Storm Edna was a tropical wave that moved off the coast of Africa. Immediately upon reaching the tropical Atlantic, it became a tropical depression. It likely achieved tropical storm strength on September 14, but it was not until September 15 when it was upgraded to Tropical Storm Edna. An upper level cold core trough weakened it to a tropical depression on September 18. Edna dissipated the next day without affecting land.

Subtropical Storm One[edit]

Subtropical storm (SSHS)
Duration September 14 – September 23
Peak intensity 80 mph (130 km/h) (1-min)  979 mbar (hPa)

A subtropical depression formed in the western Atlantic on September 14. It moved eastward without strengthening, but as it turned northwest, it reached storm strength. The subtropical cyclone headed east-southeastward, reaching hurricane intensity (though it was not a hurricane because it was not tropical) before becoming extratropical on September 23.

Tropical Storm Frances[edit]

Tropical storm (SSHS)
Duration September 23 – September 29
Peak intensity 60 mph (95 km/h) (1-min)  1001 mbar (hPa)

A tropical depression developed east of The Bahamas at 1200 UTC on September 23.[5] Convection was enhanced by a mid-tropospheric trough, though further strengthening was initially slow.[1] Initially, the depression headed northward, but curved northeastward on September 25.[5] A reconnaissance aircraft late on September 26 reported a warm core, sustained winds of 52 mph (84 km/h) and a minimum barometric pressure of 1,001 mbar (29.6 inHg).[1] Therefore, it is estimated that the depression strengthened into Tropical Storm Frances around that time.[5] The storm intensified slightly further to winds of 60 mph (95 km/h), before beginning to weaken on September 28. Later that day, steering flow from an upper low pressure area caused Frances to curve almost due eastward.[1] The storm weakened further to a tropical depression early on September 29, shortly before transitioning into an extratropical cyclone.[5]

Hurricane Gladys[edit]

Category 1 hurricane (SSHS)
Duration October 13 – October 21
Peak intensity 85 mph (140 km/h) (1-min)  965 mbar (hPa)

Hurricane Gladys developed from a tropical wave on October 13 in the western Caribbean Sea. It drifted northwestward, reaching tropical storm strength on October 15. On October 16, it became a hurricane just before crossing Cuba. It maintained that intensity as it crossed the island and the eastern Gulf of Mexico. Because Gladys's circulation was mostly over land, it was only an 80 mph (Category 1) hurricane at its Homosassa, Florida landfall on October 19. After moving across Florida, Gladys paralleled the Carolinas, reaching its peak of 85 mph (137 km/h) before becoming extratropical on October 21 near Nova Scotia. It caused $6.7 million (1968 USD) in damage, almost all of it in Florida.

Storm names[edit]

The following names were used for named storms (tropical storms and hurricanes) that formed in the North Atlantic in 1968.

The list is mostly the same as the 1964 season, save for Candy, Dolly, Edna, Frances, Hannah, and Ingrid, which replaced Cleo, Dora, Ethel, Florence, Hilda, and Isbell (although Ethel, Florence, and Isbell were not retired). A storm was named Candy for the first time in 1968. Names that were not assigned are marked in gray.

  • Hannah (unused)
  • Ingrid (unused)
  • Janet (unused)
  • Katy (unused)
  • Lila (unused)
  • Molly (unused)
  • Nita (unused)
  • Odette (unused)
  • Paula (unused)
  • Roxie (unused)
  • Stella (unused)
  • Trudy (unused)
  • Vesta (unused)
  • Wesley (unused)


No names were retired this season. However, the name Edna was later retroactively retired because of the Hurricane Edna of the 1954 season, and has not been used since.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Arnold Sugg and Paul Hebert (March 1969). "The Atlantic Hurricane Season of 1968". National Hurricane Center. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. Retrieved July 24, 2011. 
  2. ^ David Roth (February 15, 2009). "Hurricane Abby - June 2-13, 1968". Hydrometeorological Prediction Center. Retrieved July 24, 2011. 
  3. ^ A. V. Hardy (June 10, 1968). "Preliminary report on tropical storm Abby, in North Carolina" (JPG). Environmental Science Services Administration (National Hurricane Center). http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/storm_wallets/cdmp/dvd0029-jpg/1968/atlantic/abby/preloc/nc0610.jpg. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
  4. ^ Roth, David (3 February 2009). "Tropical Storm Dolly - August 9-11, 1968". Hydrometeorological Prediction Center. Retrieved 13 September 2010. 
  5. ^ a b c d National Hurricane Center; Hurricane Research Division (April 1, 2014). "Atlantic hurricane best track (HURDAT version 2)". United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved July 11, 2014. 

External links[edit]