1966 Atlantic hurricane season

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1966 Atlantic hurricane season
Season summary map
First system formed June 4, 1966
Last system dissipated November 11, 1966
Strongest storm Inez – 929 mbar (hPa) (27.44 inHg), 150 mph (240 km/h)
Total depressions 14
Total storms 12
Hurricanes 7
Major hurricanes (Cat. 3+) 3
Total fatalities 1094 total
Total damage $690 million (1966 USD)
Atlantic hurricane seasons
1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968

The 1966 Atlantic hurricane season was an above-average Atlantic hurricane season that featured a near normal number of tropical cyclones, and many affected land. There were twelve tropical storms, seven of which became hurricanes. Three of the hurricanes strengthened to the equivalent of a major hurricane, which is a Category 3 or greater on the Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. The strongest hurricane of the season was Inez, a powerful Category 4 hurricane that devastated a large majority of the Caribbean islands and Mexico. The system was among the deadliest hurricanes on record, with over 1,000 total fatalities estimated. In addition, Inez caused $432.5 million (1966 US$) in damage, making it the deadliest and most destructive hurricane since the 1928 Okeechobee hurricane. Hurricane Faith was an intense Cape Verde-type hurricane that holds the record as having the longest track of an Atlantic hurricane and the second longest worldwide.

The season officially started on June 15, although Hurricane Alma developed eleven days prior. The system later affected the island of Cuba, where 90 fatalities were reported. Tropical Depression Two later in the month followed a similar path before making landfall in Florida, where it produced several tornadoes that dealt minor damage. In late July, a tropical depression struck the U.S. state of Louisiana, causing heavy rainfall but little damage. In mid-September, Hattie made landfall on the Mexican coastline; this area was struck a few weeks later by Inez. Throughout the basin, at least $690 million in damage was dealt, as well as at least 1094 fatalities.


Hurricane Alma[edit]

Category 3 hurricane (SSHS)
Duration June 4 – June 13
Peak intensity 125 mph (205 km/h) (1-min)  970 mbar (hPa)

Hurricane Alma, which formed on June 4 over Central America, hit Cuba as a Category 2 hurricane. It moved northward and became a major hurricane before weakening and crossing Florida. Alma became extratropical over the northern Atlantic on June 13 after briefly restrengthening to a hurricane near North Carolina. Hurricane Alma killed 90 people, most in Honduras, and caused $210 million (1966 US$; $1.53 billion 2014 USD) in damage, almost all in Cuba.

Tropical Depression Two[edit]

Tropical depression (SSHS)
Counterclockwise vortex
Duration June 28 – July 2
Peak intensity 30 mph (45 km/h) (1-min) 

The second tropical depression of the season developed in the northwestern Caribbean Sea on June 28. The depression moved slowly northward and remained poorly defined throughout its duration, with a few radar reports indicating no evidence of an eye or wall cloud formation. Despite this, the wind field was described well organized, especially in the northeastern quadrant of the depression. During the next four days, the depression crossed Cuba and later made landfall near Cross City, Florida. After striking Florida, the depression curved northeastward and soon dissipated over southeastern Georgia on July 2.[1]

No impact was reported in Cuba. Winds in Florida were light and sustained winds generally did not exceed 25 mph (40 km/h). However, the depression spawned two tornadoes, one of which destroyed two aircraft at Palm Beach International Airport; the other tornado touched down in Vero Beach, Florida and caused minimal effects. The depression dropped heavy rainfall in some areas of Florida, and the greatest amount of precipitation recorded was 10 in (250 mm) in Everglades City, Florida and Jacksonville. The rainfall in Jacksonville resulted in $50,000 (1966 USD) in damage to roadways. In other areas of Florida, precipitation totals were generally between 2 and 4 inches (51 and 102 mm). Additionally, the depression brought "beneficial rains" to South Carolina.[1]

Hurricane Becky[edit]

Category 1 hurricane (SSHS)
Counterclockwise vortex
Duration July 1 – July 3
Peak intensity 75 mph (120 km/h) (1-min)  985 mbar (hPa)

A tropical depression formed 300 mi (482.8 km) southeast of Bermuda on July 1, as confirmed by ESSA 2 satellite. The tropical depression intensified as it headed northeastward under an upper-level trough, and became a tropical storm by the following day. Becky rapidly intensified after becoming a tropical storm, and reached hurricane status only six hours later. After becoming under the influence of a cold low, Becky turned to the northwest toward Atlantic Canada on July 3. Becky encountered cooler sea surface temperatures, and became extratropical on July 3 near Nova Scotia. No damage was reported.[1]

Hurricane Celia[edit]

Category 1 hurricane (SSHS)
Counterclockwise vortex
Duration July 13 – July 21
Peak intensity 80 mph (130 km/h) (1-min)  995 mbar (hPa)

The precursor to Hurricane Celia was an easterly wave moving across the tropical Atlantic. It became a tropical depression on July 13, and a tropical storm the next day. After moving northwestward, Celia turned more westward towards the Bahamas, where it met hostile conditions and dissipated on July 15. The remnant cloud mass turned northeastward, and on the July 20, it regained enough organization to be called a tropical storm again. Celia rapidly intensified to a hurricane that day, but the following day the storm became extratropical near Nova Scotia.

Hurricane Dorothy[edit]

Category 1 hurricane (SSHS)
Duration July 22 – July 30
Peak intensity 85 mph (140 km/h) (1-min)  989 mbar (hPa)

An upper tropospheric cold low over the north-central Atlantic led to the development of a surface low on July 22. That night it became a tropical depression, followed by becoming a tropical storm on the July 23. Dorothy was likely subtropical when it first developed, but on the July 24, it became more tropical, reaching hurricane strength and attaining a well organized satellite presentation, but without a true eyewall. Dorothy continued northward towards cooler waters, weakening to tropical storm strength on the July 29 and becoming extratropical on July 30.

Tropical Storm Ella[edit]

Tropical storm (SSHS)
Counterclockwise vortex
Duration July 22 – July 28
Peak intensity 50 mph (85 km/h) (1-min)  1008 mbar (hPa)

On July 22, a tropical depression formed in the tropical Atlantic, originating from an African tropical wave. It headed west-northwestward, reaching tropical storm strength on the July 24. Conditions never became very favorable, with the large circulation of Dorothy to the north impeding some development. Ella dissipated on the July 28 east of the Bahamas.

Tropical Depression Seven[edit]

Tropical depression (SSHS)
Counterclockwise vortex
Duration July 25 – July 27
Peak intensity 25 mph (35 km/h) (1-min)  1011 mbar (hPa)

A tropical low pressure area moved across Florida and entered the northeastern Gulf of Mexico on July 24. By the following day, coastal radars indicated a relatively well-defined circulation. As a result, it is estimated that the system became Tropical Depression Seven at 1200 UTC on July 25. After minimal intensification, the depression made landfall near Boothville, Louisiana early on July 26. The depression then curved westward and dissipated by the following day. Other than heavy thunderstorms and a brief suspension of fishing activities, no other affects were reported.[1]

Hurricane Faith[edit]

Category 3 hurricane (SSHS)
Duration August 21 – September 6
Peak intensity 125 mph (205 km/h) (1-min)  950 mbar (hPa)

An area of disturbed weather emerged into the Atlantic Ocean from the west coast of Africa in mid-August. It developed into a tropical depression while located between Cape Verde and the west coast of Africa on August 21. Tracking westward, the depression gradually intensified and became Tropical Storm Faith on the following day. Moving westward across the Atlantic Ocean, it continued to slowly strengthen, reaching hurricane status early on August 23. About 42 hours later, Faith reached an initial peak with winds of 105 mph (165 km/h), before weakening slightly on August 26. Located near the Lesser Antilles, the outer bands of Faith produced gale force winds in the region, especially Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Antigua. Minor coastal damage occurred as far south as Trinidad and Tobago.

By August 28, the storm began to re-intensify, after curving north-northwestward near The Bahamas. At 0000 UTC on the following day, Faith peaked with winds of 125 mph (205 km/h) and a minimum barometric pressure of 950 mbar (28 inHg). Eventually, the storm weakened back to a Category 2 hurricane and re-curved to the northeast. One person drowned in the western Atlantic after his ship sunk. Heavy rainfall and strong winds pelted Bermuda, though no damage occurred. The storm maintained nearly the same intensity for several days, while tracking northeastward into the far North Atlantic Ocean. Faith weakened while north of Scotland and became extratropical near the Faroe Islands on September 6. Three other drowning deaths occurred in the North Sea near Denmark. A fifth death occurred after a man succumbed to injuries sustained during a boating incident related to the storm.

Tropical Storm Greta[edit]

Tropical storm (SSHS)
Counterclockwise vortex
Duration September 1 – September 7
Peak intensity 60 mph (95 km/h) (1-min)  1004 mbar (hPa)

Tropical Storm Greta developed from a tropical wave on September 1 in the tropical Atlantic. It moved west-northwestward, encountering favorable conditions. The depression became Tropical Storm Greta on the September 4, the same day it reached its peak of 60 mph (95 km/h). It was not able to strengthen further, due to the lack of low level inflow, and Greta dissipated on September 7 in the southwestern Atlantic.

Tropical Storm Hallie[edit]

Tropical storm (SSHS)
Counterclockwise vortex
Duration September 20 – September 22
Peak intensity 50 mph (85 km/h) (1-min)  997 mbar (hPa)

Satellite imagery from ESSA 2 indicated that a large area of disturbed weather began merging with a frontal band in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico. After an increase in convective activity and satellite imagery revealing a closed circulation on September 20, the system was classified as a tropical depression. By early on the following day, the depression was upgraded to Tropical Storm Hallie. After initially remaining stationary, Hallie eventually began to a southwestward drift toward Mexico. Around 1200 UTC on September 21, the storm made landfall near Nautla, Veracruz. Due to cool, dry air, as well as land interaction with the mountainous terrain of Mexico, Hallie rapidly weakened inland and dissipated by 0000 UTC on September 22. While passing near Nautla, winds of 40 mph (65 km/h) and heavy rainfall was reported.[1]

Hurricane Inez[edit]

Category 4 hurricane (SSHS)
Duration September 21 – October 11
Peak intensity 150 mph (240 km/h) (1-min)  929 mbar (hPa)

The deadliest storm of the season was Hurricane Inez. Inez killed an estimated 1,000 and caused over $200 million (1966 USD; $1.45 billion 2014 USD) in damage. Inez had first started out as a weak, tropical depression on the coast of Africa on September 18. It tracked up the Greater Antilles, into the Bahamas, across the Florida Keys, approached the Yucatán Peninsula, and after three weeks finally made landfall near Tampico. Inez was the first single storm on record to strike the islands of the Caribbean, the Bahamas, Florida, and Mexico.

Tropical Storm Judith[edit]

Tropical storm (SSHS)
Duration September 27 – September 30
Peak intensity 50 mph (85 km/h) (1-min)  1007 mbar (hPa)

A tropical wave following Hurricane Inez organized to become a tropical depression on September 27. It moved west-northwestward, becoming a tropical storm the next day. Judith did not strengthen past its peak of 50 mph (85 km/h) as it moved through the islands due to vertical wind shear caused by outflow from Inez. Judith dissipated on September 30.

Tropical Storm Kendra[edit]

Tropical storm (SSHS)
Counterclockwise vortex
Duration October 9 – October 9
Peak intensity 40 mph (65 km/h) (1-min)  1009 mbar (hPa)

On October 9, a cyclone 200 mi (320 km) north of Cape Verde was named Kendra and operationally classified as a tropical storm, but post-analysis found the system actually remained an extratropical gale center. This makes Kendra the only system in the Atlantic basin to be named and not considered a tropical cyclone (pending reanalysis);[1] previously another such system was Mike of 1950, but that storm was later re-added into the database as a tropical storm after reanalysis.[2]

Hurricane Lois[edit]

Category 1 hurricane (SSHS)
Counterclockwise vortex
Duration November 4 – November 11
Peak intensity 80 mph (130 km/h) (1-min)  986 mbar (hPa)

A small cloud vortex over the central Atlantic obtained enough convective organization to become a tropical depression on November 4. It meandered, first to the west, then to the east-southeast. On November 6, the depression became a tropical storm, followed by a hurricane on November 8. Lois moved quickly northeastward, becoming extratropical on November 11 north of the Azores.

Storm names[edit]

The following names were used for named storms (tropical storms and hurricanes) that formed in the North Atlantic in 1966.[3] Storms were named Dorothy, Faith, Hallie, Inez, Kendra and Lois for the first time in 1966. After the season, the name Inez was retired. Names that were not assigned are marked in gray.

  • Hallie
  • Inez
  • Judith
  • Kendra
  • Lois
  • Marsha (unused)
  • Noreen (unused)
  • Orpha (unused)
  • Patty (unused)
  • Rena (unused)
  • Sherry (unused)
  • Thora (unused)
  • Vicky (unused)
  • Wilma (unused)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Sugg, Arnold (March 1967). "The Hurricane Season of 1966". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved September 18, 2010. 
  2. ^ Hagen, Andrew (January 1, 2010). "A Reanalysis of the 1944–1953 Atlantic Hurricane Seasons- The First Decade of Aircraft Reconnaissance". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. University of Miami. Retrieved December 2, 2011. 
  3. ^ Staff Writer (1966-05-31). "Names set for '66 hurricanes". Washington Afro-American. Retrieved 2012-09-09. 

External links[edit]