Atlantic hurricane season

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For the current season, see 2014 Atlantic hurricane season.
Tracks of all known Atlantic tropical cyclones from 1851 to 2012

The Atlantic hurricane season is the period in a year when hurricanes usually form in the Atlantic Ocean. Tropical cyclones in the North Atlantic are called hurricanes, tropical storms, or tropical depressions. In addition, there have been several storms over the years that have not been fully tropical which are categorised as subtropical depressions and subtropical storms.

Worldwide, tropical cyclone activity peaks in late summer, when the difference between temperatures aloft and sea surface temperatures is the greatest. However, each particular basin has its own seasonal patterns. On a worldwide scale, May is the least active month, while September is the most active.[1] In the Northern Atlantic Ocean, a distinct hurricane season occurs from June 1 to November 30, sharply peaking from late August through September;[1] the season's climatological peak of activity occurs around September 10 each season.[2]

Tropical disturbances that reach tropical storm intensity are named from a pre-determined list. On average, 10.1 named storms occur each season, with an average of 5.9 becoming hurricanes and 2.5 becoming major hurricanes (Category 3 or greater). The most active season was 2005, during which 28 tropical cyclones formed, of which a record 15 became hurricanes. The least active season was the 1914, with only one known tropical cyclone developing during that year.[3] The Atlantic hurricane season is a time when most tropical cyclones are expected to develop across the northern Atlantic Ocean. It is currently defined as the time frame from June 1 through November 30, though in the past the season was defined as a shorter time frame. During the season, regular tropical weather outlooks are issued by the National Hurricane Center, and coordination between the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center and National Hurricane Center occurs for systems which have not formed yet, but could develop during the next three to seven days.

A whiteboard at a FEMA tactical relief operation center in Louisiana notes the number of named storms and hurricanes and counts down the days remaining in the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season.

Concept[edit]

The basic concept of a hurricane season began during 1935,[4] when dedicated wire circuits known as hurricane circuits began to be set up along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts,[5] a process completed by 1955.[6] It was originally the time frame when the tropics were monitored routinely for tropical cyclone activity, and was originally defined as from June 15 through October 31.[7] Over the years, the beginning date was shifted back to June 1, while the end date was shifted to November 15,[5] before settling at November 30 by 1965.[8][9] This was when hurricane reconnaissance planes were sent out to fly across the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico on a routine basis to look for potential tropical cyclones, in the years prior to the continuous weather satellite era.[7] Since regular satellite surveillance began, hurricane hunter aircraft fly only into storm areas which are first spotted by satellite imagery.[10]

Operations[edit]

During the hurricane season, the National Hurricane Center routinely issues their Tropical Weather Outlook product, which identifies areas of concern within the tropics which could develop into tropical cyclones. If systems occur outside the defined hurricane season, special Tropical Weather Outlooks will be issued.[11] Routine coordination occurs at 1700 UTC each day between the Weather Prediction Center and National Hurricane Center to identify systems for the pressure maps three to seven days into the future within the tropics, and points for existing tropical cyclones six to seven days into the future.[12] Possible tropical cyclones are depicted with a closed isobar, while systems with less certainty to develop are depicted as "spot lows" with no isobar surrounding them.

HURDAT[edit]

Main article: HURDAT

The North Atlantic hurricane database, or HURDAT, is the database for all tropical storms and hurricanes for the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea, including those that have made landfall in the United States. The original database of six-hourly positions and intensities were put together in the 1960s in support of the Apollo space program to help provide statistical track forecast guidance. In the intervening years, this database — which is now freely and easily accessible on the Internet from the National Hurricane Center's (NHC's) Webpage — has been utilized for a wide variety of uses: climatic change studies, seasonal forecasting, risk assessment for county emergency managers, analysis of potential losses for insurance and business interests, intensity forecasting techniques and verification of official and various model predictions of track and intensity.

HURDAT was not designed with all of these uses in mind when it was first put together and not all of them may be appropriate given its original motivation. HURDAT contains numerous systematic as well as some random errors in the database. Additionally, analysis techniques have changed over the years at NHC as their understanding of tropical cyclones has developed, leading to biases in the historical database. Another difficulty in applying the hurricane database to studies concerned with landfalling events is the lack of exact location, time and intensity at hurricane landfall.

Re-analysis Project[edit]

HURDAT is regularly updated annually to reflect the previous season's activity. The older portion of the database has been regularly revised since 2001. The first time in 2001 led to the addition of tropical cyclone tracks for the years 1851 to 1885. The second time was August 2002 when Hurricane Andrew was upgraded to a Category 5. Recent efforts into uncovering undocumented historical hurricanes in the late 19th and 20th centuries by various researchers have greatly increased our knowledge of these past events. Possible changes for the years 1951 onward are not yet incorporated into the HURDAT database. Because of all of these issues, a re-analysis of the Atlantic hurricane database is being attempted that will be completed in three years.

In addition to the groundbreaking work by Partagas, additional analyses, digitization and quality control of the data was carried out by researchers at the NOAA Hurricane Research Division funded by the NOAA Office of Global Programs. This re-analysis will continue to progress through the remainder of the 20th century.[13]

The National Hurricane Center's Best Track Change Committee has approved changes for a few recent cyclones, such as Hurricane Andrew. Official changes to the Atlantic hurricane database are approved by the National Hurricane Center Best Track Change Committee. Thus research conducted by Chris Landsea and colleagues as part of the Atlantic hurricane database reanalysis project are submitted through this review process. Not all Landsea's recommendations are accepted by the Committee.

Pre-1850[edit]

Period Seasons
Pre-19th century Pre-17th century, 17th century, 18th century, 1780
1800–1850 1800-1809, 1810-1819, 1820-1829, 1830-1839, 1840-1850

1800s[edit]

1850s[edit]

Year Number of
tropical
storms
Number of
hurricanes
Number of
major hurricanes
Deaths Strongest
storm
1850 0 3 0 Not known One
1851 6 3 1 24 Four
1852 5 5 1 100+ One
1853 8 4 2 40 Three
1854 5 3 1 30+ Three
1855 5 4 1 Not known Five
1856 6 4 2 200+ One
1857 4 3 0 424 Two & Four
1858 6 6 0 None Three & Six
1859 8 7 1 Numerous Six

1860s[edit]

Year Number of
tropical
storms
Number of
hurricanes
Number of
major hurricanes
Deaths Strongest
storm
1860 1 5 1 60+ One
1861 2 6 0 22+ One and Three
1862 3 3 0 3 Two and Three
1863 4 5 0 90 One, Two, Three & Four
1864 2 3 0 None One, Three & Five
1865 4 3 0 326 Four & Seven
1866 1 5 1 383 Six
1867 2 6 0 811 'San Narciso'
1868 1 3 0 2 One, Two & Four
1869 3 6 1 38 Six

1870s[edit]

Year Number of
tropical
storms
Number of
hurricanes
Number of
major hurricanes
Deaths Strongest
storm
1870 11 10 2 2,052 Four
1871 8 6 2 30 Three and Four
1872 5 4 0 Unknown Two
1873 5 3 2 626 Five
1874 7 4 0 Unknown Seven
1875 6 5 1 800 Three
1876 5 4 2 19 "San Felipe"
1877 8 3 1 34 Four
1878 12 10 1 108 Seven
1879 8 6 2 47 Four

1880s[edit]

Year Number of
tropical
storms
Number of
hurricanes
Number of
major hurricanes
Deaths Strongest
storm
Notes
1880 11 9 2 133 Eight
1881 7 4 0 700 Five and Six
1882 6 5 2 6 Six
1883 4 3 2 236 Two and Three
1884 4 4 1 8 Two
1885 8 6 1 25 Two
1886 12 10 4 200+ "Indianola" Seven hurricanes struck the United States, the most during a single year[14]
1887 19 11 2 2 Seven Tied for third most active season on record
Has the most storms forming outside the normal hurricane season
One of only 4 seasons to have both a preseason and postseason storm
1888 9 6 2 924 Three and Four
1889 9 6 0 40 Six

1890s[edit]

Year Number of
tropical
storms
Number of
hurricanes
Number of
major hurricanes
Deaths Strongest
storm
Notes
1890 4 2 1 9 Three
1891 10 7 1 700+ "Martinique"
1892 9 5 0 16 Three, Five, and Seven
1893 12 10 5 4,028 "Cheniere Caminada" Two hurricanes caused more than 2,000 deaths in the United States
Four simultaneous hurricanes on August 22, one of two times on record
1894 7 5 4 200+ Six
1895 6 2 0 56 Two
1896 7 6 2 130 Four
1897 6 3 0 None One
1898 11 5 1 562 "Georgia
1899 9 5 2 3,439 "San Ciriaco" The San Ciriaco hurricane was the longest lasting Atlantic hurricane on record

1900s[edit]

1900s[edit]

Year Number of
tropical
storms
Number of
hurricanes
Number of
major hurricanes
Deaths Damage
USD
Strongest
storm
Notes
1900 7 3 2 8,000+ $60 million "Galveston" The Galveston hurricane was the deadliest disaster in the United States
1901 12 5 1 10 $1 million Seven
1902 5 3 0 None Unknown Four
1903 10 7 1 228 $1.15 million Two
1904 5 3 0 87 $1 million Two
1905 5 1 1 1 Unknown Four
1906 11 6 3 367 $2.48 million Four
1907 5 0 0 None Unknown One One of two seasons with no recorded hurricanes
1908 10 6 1 None Unknown Six Includes the only known March tropical cyclone in the basin
1909 11 6 4 4,614 $75 million "Grand Isle"

1910s[edit]

Year Number of
tropical
storms
Number of
hurricanes
Number of
major hurricanes
Deaths Damage
USD
Strongest
storm
Notes
1910 5 3 1 100 $1.25 million "Cuba"
1911 6 3 0 27 $3 million Three
1912 7 4 1 116 $67,000 Seven
1913 6 4 0 5 $4 million Four
1914 1 0 0 0 Unknown One Least active season on record
One of two seasons with no recorded hurricanes
1915 6 5 4 675 $63 million "New Orleans"
1916 15 10 5 31 $5.9 million "Texas"
1917 4 2 2 5 $170,000 "Nueva Gerona"
1918 6 4 1 34 $5+ million One
1919 5 2 1 ~900 $22 million "Florida Keys"

1920s[edit]

Year Number of
tropical
storms
Number of
hurricanes
Number of
major hurricanes
Deaths Damage
USD
Strongest
storm
Notes
1920 5 4 0 2 $15.75 million One
1921 7 5 2 6 $36.5 million "Tampa Bay"
1922 5 3 1 Unknown Unknown Two
1923 9 4 1 0 Unknown Five
1924 11 5 2 150+ Unknown "Cuba" The earliest officially classified Category 5 Atlantic hurricane on the Saffir–Simpson Scale
1925 4 2 0 59+ $19.9 million One
1926 11 8 6 1,315+ $1.4+ billion "Miami"
1927 8 4 1 184 Unknown "Nova Scotia"
1928 6 4 1 4,000+ $952.5+ million "Okeechobee" The only recorded hurricane to strike Puerto Rico at Category 5 strength
1929 5 3 1 51 $9.0 million "Florida"

1930s[edit]

Year Number of
tropical
storms
Number of
hurricanes
Number of
major hurricanes
Deaths Damage
USD
Strongest
storm
Notes
1930 3 2 2 8,000 $50 million "Dominican Republic" The fifth deadliest hurricane on record
1931 13 3 1 2,502 $7.5 million "Belize"
1932 15 6 4 3,315 $37 million "Cuba" Two Category 5 hurricanes; one in November (the latest such on record); three major hurricanes made landfall
1933 20 11 6 651 $86.6 million "Tampico" Second most active season on record; Two Category 5 hurricanes
1934 13 7 1 2,017 $4.26 million Thirteen
1935 8 5 3 2,604 $12.5 million "Labor Day" The most intense landfalling tropical cyclone in the Atlantic
1936 17 7 1 5 $1.23 million Thirteen
1937 11 4 1 0 Unknown Six
1938 9 4 2 ~700 $290.3 million "New England" Earliest starting season on record (January 3)
1939 6 3 1 5 Unknown Five

1940s[edit]

Year Number of
tropical storms
Number of
hurricanes
Number of
major hurricanes
Deaths Damage
USD
Strongest
storm
Notes
1940 9 6 0 101 $4.7 million Four
1941 6 4 3 63 $10 million "Florida"
1942 11 4 1 17 $30.6 million Three
1943 10 5 2 19 $17.2 million Three First year of Hurricane Hunters
1944 14 8 3 1,153 $202 million "Great Atlantic"
1945 11 5 2 80 $80 million "Southeast Florida"
1946 7 3 0 5 $5.2 million Four
1947 10 5 2 94 $145.3 million "Fort Lauderdale" First year of Atlantic tropical cyclone naming.[15]
1948 10 6 4 94 $30.9 million "Miami"
1949 16 7 3 3 $58.2 million "Florida"

1950s[edit]

Year Number of
tropical storms
Number of
hurricanes
Number of
major hurricanes
Deaths Damage
USD
Strongest
storm
Retired names Notes
1950 16 11 6 20 $37 million Dog None Current extent of the reanalysis project as of March 2014
Record 8 tropical storms in October
1951 10 8 5 257 $80 million Easy None Hurricane Able is the strongest and only major hurricane on record to form off-season.
1952 7 6 3 47 $3.75 million Fox None Includes the only known February tropical cyclone in the basin
1953 14 6 4 1 $6 million Carol None First year of female names for storms
One of only 4 seasons to have both a preseason and postseason storm
1954 11 8 2 1,069 $752 million Hazel Carol, Edna, Hazel Includes Alice, one of only two storms in the basin to span two calendar years
1955 12 9 6 1,518 $1.2 billion Janet Connie, Diane, Ione, Janet
1956 9 4 2 76 $67.8 million Betsy None
1957 8 3 2 513 $152.5 million Carrie Audrey
1958 10 7 5 41 $12 million Helene None
1959 11 7 2 59 $23.3 million Gracie Gracie* Status of Gracie's retirement is unclear

1960s[edit]

Year Number of
tropical storms
Number of
hurricanes
Number of
major hurricanes
Deaths Damage
USD
Strongest
storm
Retired names Notes
1960 7 4 2 385 $410 million Donna Donna Two Category 5 Hurricanes
1961 11 8 7 345 $392 million Hattie Carla, Hattie Two Category 5 Hurricanes
Tied for most major hurricanes
1962 5 3 1 4 $10 million Ella None
1963 9 7 2 7,225 $589 million Flora Flora The sixth deadliest hurricane on record
1964 12 6 6 261 $605 million Hilda Cleo, Dora, Hilda
1965 6 4 1 76 $1.45 billion Betsy Betsy
1966 11 7 3 1,094 $410 million Inez Inez One named storm de-classified in post-analysis
1967 8 6 1 64 $217 million Beulah Beulah
1968 8 4 0 10 $10 million Gladys None The name "Edna" was retired due to the storm in 1954, also includes one subtropical storm
No major hurricanes
1969 18 12 5 364 $1.7 billion Camille Camille Fourth most active season on record
Tied for second most hurricanes in a season on record
Includes one subtropical storm

1970s[edit]

Year Number of
tropical storms
Number of
hurricanes
Number of
major hurricanes
Deaths Damage
USD
Strongest
storm
Retired names Notes
1970 10 5 2 71 $454 million Celia Celia
1971 13 6 1 45 $213 million Edith None
1972 7 3 0 122 $2.1 billion Betty Agnes Includes three subtropical storms
No major hurricanes
1973 8 4 1 15 $18 million Ellen None Includes one subtropical storm
1974 11 4 2 8,260+ $1.97 billion Carmen Carmen, Fifi Includes four subtropical storms
Fifi was the fourth deadliest hurricane on record
1975 9 6 3 80 $100 million Gladys Eloise Includes one subtropical storm
1976 10 6 2 72 $100 million Belle None Includes two subtropical storms
1977 6 5 1 10 $10 million Anita Anita
1978 12 5 2 37 $45 million Greta None Includes the January subtropical storm in the Atlantic
1979 9 5 2 2,118 $4.3 billion David David, Frederic First year for alternating male/female names
Includes one subtropical storm

1980s[edit]

Year Number of
tropical cyclones
Number of
tropical storms
Number of
hurricanes
Number of
major hurricanes
Deaths Damage
USD
Strongest
storm
Retired names Notes
1980 15 11 9 2 256 $1 billion Allen Allen
1981 18 12 7 3 10 $45 million Harvey None
1982 9 6 2 1 141 $100 million Debby None Includes one subtropical storm
1983 7 4 3 1 22 $2.6 billion Alicia Alicia Least active hurricane season in the satellite era
1984 17 13 5 1 35 $66 million Diana None Includes one subtropical storm
1985 13 11 7 3 241 $4.5 billion Gloria Elena, Gloria Hurricane Kate struck Florida on November 21, the latest United States hurricane landfall
1986 10 6 4 0 70 $57 million Earl None No major hurricanes
1987 14 7 3 1 10 $73 million Emily None
1988 19 12 5 3 550 $7 billion Gilbert Gilbert, Joan Included strongest hurricane on record until 2005
1989 15 11 7 2 112 $10.7 billion Hugo Hugo

1990s[edit]

Year Number of
tropical cyclones
Number of
tropical storms
Number of
hurricanes
Number of
major hurricanes
Deaths Damage
USD
Strongest
storm
Retired names Notes
1990 16 14 8 1 116 $150 million Gustav Diana, Klaus No tropical storms or hurricanes made landfall in the United States
1991 12 8 4 2 30 $2.5 billion Claudette Bob
1992 9 7 4 1 66 $26 billion Andrew Andrew Hurricane Andrew was the costliest U.S. hurricane until 2005
Includes one subtropical storm
1993 10 8 4 1 274 $271 million Emily None
1994 12 7 3 0 1,184 $1.56 billion Florence None No major hurricanes
1995 21 19 11 5 115 $9.3 billion Opal Luis, Marilyn, Opal, Roxanne Tied for third most active season on record
1996 13 13 9 6 179 $3.8 billion Edouard Cesar, Fran, Hortense Cesar was renamed Douglas after it crossed Central America.
1997 9 8 3 1 11 $110 million Erika None Includes one subtropical storm
1998 14 14 10 3 12,000+ $12.2 billion Mitch Georges, Mitch Four simultaneous hurricanes on September 26, the first time since 1893
Hurricane Mitch was the deadliest hurricane in over 200 years
1999 16 12 8 5 465 $5.9 billion Floyd Floyd, Lenny Most Category 4 hurricanes on record

2000s[edit]

2000s[edit]

Year Number of
tropical cyclones
Number of
tropical storms
Number of
hurricanes
Number of
major hurricanes
Deaths Damage
USD
Strongest
storm
Retired names Notes
2000 19 15 8 3 79 $1.2 billion Keith Keith Includes one subtropical storm
2001 17 15 9 4 105 $7.1 billion Michelle Allison, Iris, Michelle Featured only retired tropical storm in history
2002 14 12 4 2 23 $2.6 billion Isidore Isidore, Lili Record-tying 8 named storms formed in September
2003 21 16 7 3 92 $4.4 billion Isabel Fabian, Isabel, Juan 3 off-season storms
2004 17 15 9 6 3,100+ $50 billion Ivan Charley, Frances, Ivan, Jeanne Includes one subtropical storm
Record-tying 8 named storms forming in August
2005 31 28 15 7 2,280+ $29.1 billion Wilma Dennis, Katrina, Rita, Stan, Wilma Most active season and costliest on record
Most Category 5s (4)
Most retired names
First year to use the Greek alphabet
2006 10 10 5 2 14 $0.5 billion Gordon and Helene None
2007 17 15 6 2 423 $3 billion Dean Dean, Felix, Noel Includes one subtropical storm
Two Category 5 Hurricanes
2008 17 16 8 5 1,047 $42 billion Ike Gustav, Ike, Paloma Tied for fifth most active season on record
Only year on record in which a major hurricane existed in every month from July through November
2009 11 9 3 2 6 $0.077 billion Bill None

2010s[edit]

Year Number of
tropical
cyclones
Number of
tropical
storms
Number of
hurricanes
Number of
major
hurricanes
Deaths Damage
USD
Strongest
storm
Retired names Notes
2010 21 19 12 5 314 $12.36 billion Igor Igor, Tomas Tied for third most active season on record
Tied for second most hurricanes in a season on record
Record tying 8 named storms forming in September
2011 20 19 7 4 114 $18.59 billion Ophelia Irene Tied for third most active season on record
2012 19 19 10 2 354 $77.97 billion Sandy Sandy Tied for third most active season
Most active season before July
Record tying 8 named storms forming in August
2013 15 14 2 0 47 $1.51 billion Humberto Ingrid Includes one subtropical storm
No major hurricanes
Tied (with 1982) for fewest hurricanes since 1930
2014 9 8 6 2 17 $232 million Gonzalo None

Number of tropical storms and hurricanes per season[edit]

This bar chart shows the number of named storms and hurricanes per year from 1851-2013:

See also[edit]

Parent topics[edit]

Atlantic hurricane topics[edit]

Other tropical cyclone basins[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, Hurricane Research Division. "Frequently Asked Questions: When is hurricane season?". NOAA. Archived from the original on July 18, 2006. Retrieved July 25, 2006. 
  2. ^ McAdie, Colin (May 10, 2007). "Tropical Cyclone Climatology". National Hurricane Center. Archived from the original on May 28, 2007. Retrieved June 9, 2007. 
  3. ^ National Hurricane Center; Hurricane Research Division (April 1, 2014). "Atlantic hurricane best track (HURDAT version 2)". United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved December 11, 2014. 
  4. ^ Associated Press (June 15, 1941). "Hurricane Bureau Begins Season's Vigil Tonight". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved July 9, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b Associated Press (June 15, 1959). "1959 Hurricane Season Opens Officially Today". Meridian Record. Retrieved July 9, 2011. 
  6. ^ Associated Press (June 15, 1955). "Hurricane Season Opens; New England Joins Circuit". The Robesonian. Retrieved July 9, 2011. 
  7. ^ a b Associated Press (June 15, 1960). "1960 Hurricane Season Open As Planes Prowl". The Evening Independent. Retrieved July 9, 2011. 
  8. ^ Neal Dorst (January 21, 2010). "Subject: G1) When is hurricane season ?". National Hurricane Center. Archived from the original on June 28, 2011. Retrieved July 9, 2011. 
  9. ^ Brownsville Herald (June 1, 1965). Hurricane Season Officially Opened.
  10. ^ United Press International (May 30, 1966). "Hurricane Season Opens This Week". The News and Courier. Retrieved July 9, 2011. 
  11. ^ National Hurricane Center (2011). "Atlantic Graphical Tropical Weather Outlook". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Archived from the original on July 10, 2011. Retrieved July 9, 2011. 
  12. ^ United States Department of Commerce (2006). Assessment: Hurricane Katrina, August 23–31, 2005. Retrieved on 2008-09-03.
  13. ^ [1] [2]
  14. ^ Hurricane Research Division (2008). "Chronological List of All Hurricanes which Affected the Continental United States: 1851-2007". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved March 21, 2008. 
  15. ^ Dorst, Neal (October 23, 2012). "They Called the Wind Mahina: The History of Naming Cyclones" (PPTX). Hurricane Research Division, Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. p. Slides 49 - 51.