List of Atlantic hurricane records
Since the reliable record keeping of tropical cyclone data within the North Atlantic Ocean began in 1851, there have been 1,602 systems of at least tropical storm intensity and 920 of at least hurricane intensity. Though a majority of these tropical depressions have fallen within climatological averages, prevailing atmospheric conditions occasionally lead to anomalous tropical systems which at times reach extremes in statistical record-keeping including in duration and intensity. The scope of this list is limited to tropical cyclone records solely within the Atlantic Ocean and is subdivided by their reason for notability.
Earliest/latest formations for each category
Climatologically speaking, approximately 97 percent of tropical cyclones that form in the North Atlantic develop between the dates of June 1 and November 30 – dates which delimit the modern-day Atlantic hurricane season. Though the beginning of the annual hurricane season has historically remained the same, the official end of the hurricane season has shifted from its initial date of October 31. Regardless, on average once every few years a tropical cyclone develops outside the limits of the season; as of May 2020 there have been 89 tropical cyclones in the off-season, with the most recent being Tropical Storm Bertha in 2020. The first tropical cyclone of the 1938 Atlantic hurricane season, which formed on January 3, became the earliest forming tropical storm and hurricane after reanalysis concluded on the storm in December 2012. Hurricane Able in 1951 was initially thought to be the earliest forming major hurricane – a tropical cyclone with winds exceeding 115 mph (185 km/h)[nb 1] – however, following post-storm analysis it was determined that Able only reached Category 1 strength which made Hurricane Alma of 1966 the new record holder as it became a major hurricane on June 8. Though it developed within the bounds of the Atlantic hurricane season, Hurricane Audrey in 1957 was the earliest developing Category 4 hurricane on record after it reached the intensity on June 27. However, reanalysis from 1956 to 1960 by NOAA downgraded Audrey to a Category 3, making Hurricane Dennis of 2005 the earliest Category 4 on record on July 8, 2005. The earliest-forming Category 5 hurricane, Emily, reached the highest intensity on the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale on July 17, 2005.
Though the official end of the Atlantic hurricane season occurs on November 30, the dates of October 31 and November 15 have also historically marked the official end date for the hurricane season. December, the only month of the year after the hurricane season, has featured the cyclogenesis of fourteen tropical cyclones. Tropical Storm Zeta in 2005 was the latest tropical cyclone to attain tropical storm intensity as it did so on December 30. However, the second Hurricane Alice in 1954 was the latest forming tropical cyclone to attain hurricane intensity. Both Alice and Zeta were the only two storms to exist in two calendar years – the former from 1954 to 1955 and the latter from 2005 to 2006. No storms have been recorded to exceed Category 1 hurricane intensity in December. In 1999, Hurricane Lenny reached Category 4 intensity on November 17 as it took an unprecedented west to east track across the Caribbean; its intensity made it the latest developing Category 4 hurricane, though this was well within the bounds of the hurricane season. Hurricane Hattie (October 27-November 1, 1961) was initially thought to have been the latest forming Category 5 hurricane ever documented, though reanalysis indicated that a devastating hurricane in 1932 reached such an intensity at a later date. Consequently, this made the hurricane the latest developing tropical cyclone to reach all four Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale classifications past Category 1 intensity.
|Earliest and latest forming Atlantic tropical cyclones by Saffir–Simpson classification|
|Earliest Formation||Latest Formation|
|Category||Year||Storm||Date Reached||Notes||Year||Storm||Date Reached||Notes|
|Tropical storm||1938||Unnamed||January 3||[nb 2]||2005–06||Tropical Storm Zeta||December 30|||
|Category 1||1938||Unnamed||January 4||||1954–55||Hurricane Alice||December 31|||
|Category 2||1908||Unnamed||March 7||||2016||Hurricane Otto||November 24||[nb 3]|
|Category 3||1966||Hurricane Alma||June 8||||2016||Hurricane Otto||November 24|||
|Category 4||2005||Hurricane Dennis||July 8||1999||Hurricane Lenny||November 17|||
|Category 5||2005||Hurricane Emily||July 17||||1932||1932 Cuba hurricane||November 5|||
Earliest formation records by storm number
|Earliest formation of north Atlantic tropical cyclones by storm number|
|Storm #||Earliest||Next earliest|
|Name||Date of formation||Name||Date of formation|
|1||Unnamed||January 3, 1938||Unnamed||January 4, 1951|
|2||Unnamed||May 17, 1887||Unnamed||May 26, 1908|
|Beryl||May 26, 2012|
|3||Cristobal||June 2, 2020||Colin||June 5, 2016|
|4||Danielle||June 20, 2016||Debby||June 23, 2012 (12z)|
|5||Edouard||July 6, 2020||Emily||July 11, 2005|
|6||Fay||July 9, 2020||Franklin||July 21, 2005|
|7||Gonzalo||July 22, 2020||Gert||July 24, 2005|
|8||Hanna||July 24, 2020||Harvey||August 3, 2005|
|9||Isaias||July 30, 2020||Irene||August 7, 2005|
|10||Josephine||August 13, 2020||Jose||August 22, 2005|
|11||Kyle||August 14, 2020||Katrina||August 24, 2005|
|12||Luis||August 29, 1995||Leslie||August 30, 2012|
|13||Maria||September 2, 2005||Michael||September 4, 2012|
|Lee||September 2, 2011|
|14||Nate||September 5, 2005||Maria||September 7, 2011|
|15||Ophelia||September 7, 2005 (06z)||Unnamed||September 19, 1936|
|16||Philippe||September 17, 2005||Ophelia||September 21, 2011|
|17||Rita||September 18, 2005||Philippe||September 24, 2011|
|18||Stan||October 2, 2005||Sebastien||October 21, 1995|
|19||Unnamed||October 4, 2005||Tony||October 24, 2012|
|20||Tammy||October 5, 2005||Unnamed||November 15, 1933|
|21||Vince||October 9, 2005||N/A|
|22||Wilma||October 17, 2005||N/A|
|23||Alpha||October 22, 2005||N/A|
|24||Beta||October 27, 2005||N/A|
|25||Gamma||November 18, 2005||N/A|
|26||Delta||November 23, 2005||N/A|
|27||Epsilon||November 29, 2005||N/A|
|28||Zeta||December 30, 2005||N/A|
|Based on data from: U.S. NOAA Coastal Service Center - Historical Hurricane Tracks Tool|
Note: Storms that originally form as a tropical depression will not be posted unless they reach tropical storm status (for example, Hurricane Michael in 2012 formed on September 3 as a tropical depression, but was not named until it reached tropical storm status, on September 4, thus putting Hurricane Michael on the list with the date September 4).
Generally speaking, the intensity of a tropical cyclone is determined by either the storm's maximum sustained winds or lowest barometric pressure. The following table lists the most intense Atlantic hurricanes in terms of their lowest barometric pressure. In terms of wind speed, Allen from 1980 was the strongest Atlantic tropical cyclone on record, with maximum sustained winds of 190 mph (310 km/h). For many years, it was thought that Hurricane Camille also attained this intensity, but this conclusion was changed in 2014. The original measurements of Camille are suspect since wind speed instrumentation used at the time would likely be damaged by winds of such intensity. Nonetheless, their central pressures are low enough to rank them among the strongest recorded Atlantic hurricanes.
Owing to their intensity, the strongest Atlantic hurricanes have all attained Category 5 classification. Hurricane Opal, the strongest Category 4 hurricane recorded, intensified to reach a minimum pressure of 916 mbar (hPa; 27.05 inHg), a pressure typical of Category 5 hurricanes. Nonetheless, the pressure remains too high to list Opal as one of the ten strongest Atlantic tropical cyclones. Currently, Hurricane Wilma is the strongest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded, after reaching an intensity of 882 mbar (hPa; 26.05 inHg) in October 2005; at the time, this also made Wilma the strongest tropical cyclone worldwide outside of the West Pacific, where seven tropical cyclones have been recorded to intensify to lower pressures. However, this was later superseded by Hurricane Patricia in 2015 in the east Pacific, which had a pressure reading of 872 mbar. Preceding Wilma is Hurricane Gilbert, which had also held the record for most intense Atlantic hurricane for 17 years. The 1935 Labor Day hurricane, with a pressure of 892 mbar (hPa; 26.34 inHg), is the third strongest Atlantic hurricane and the strongest documented tropical cyclone prior to 1950. Since the measurements taken during Wilma and Gilbert were documented using dropsonde, this pressure remains the lowest measured over land.
Hurricane Rita is the fourth strongest Atlantic hurricane in terms of barometric pressure and one of three tropical cyclones from 2005 on the list, with the others being Wilma and Katrina at first and seventh, respectively. However, with a barometric pressure of 895 mbar (hPa; 26.43 inHg), Rita is the strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Gulf of Mexico. In between Rita and Katrina is Hurricane Allen. Allen's pressure was measured at 899 mbar. Hurricane Camille is the sixth strongest hurricane on record. Camille is the only storm to have been moved down the list due to post-storm analysis. Camille was originally recognized as the fifth strongest hurricane on record, but was dropped to the seventh strongest in 2014, with an estimated pressure at 905 mbars, tying it with Hurricanes Mitch, and Dean. Camille then was recategorized with a new pressure of 900 mbars. Currently, Mitch and Dean share intensities for the eighth strongest Atlantic hurricane at 905 mbar (hPa; 26.73 inHg). Hurricane Maria is in tenth place for most intense Atlantic tropical cyclone, with a pressure as low as 908 mbar (hPa; 26.81 inHg). In addition, the most intense Atlantic hurricane outside of the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico is Hurricane Dorian of 2019, with a pressure of 910 mbar (hPa; 26.9 inHg).
Many of the strongest recorded tropical cyclones weakened prior to their eventual landfall or demise. However, four of the storms remained intense enough at landfall to be considered some of the strongest landfalling hurricanes – four of the ten hurricanes on the list constitute four of the top ten most intense Atlantic landfalls in recorded history. The 1935 Labor Day hurricane made landfall at peak intensity, the most intense Atlantic hurricane landfall. Hurricane Camille made landfall in Waveland, Mississippi with a pressure of 900 mbar (hPa; 26.58 inHg), making it the second most intense Atlantic hurricane landfall. Though it weakened slightly before its eventual landfall on the Yucatán Peninsula, Hurricane Gilbert maintained a pressure of 900 mbar (hPa; 26.58 inHg) at landfall, making its landfall the second strongest, tied with Camille. Similarly, Hurricane Dean made landfall on the peninsula, though it did so at peak intensity and with a higher barometric pressure; its landfall marked the fourth strongest in Atlantic hurricane history.
- Note: Dropsondes have only been GPS-based for use in eyewalls since 1997, and the quantity of aircraft reconnaissance and surface observation stations has changed over time, such that values from storms in different periods may not be 100% consistent.
Most intense by minimum barometric pressure
|Most intense Atlantic hurricanes|
|Hurricane||Season||By peak pressure||By pressure at landfall|
|Note: Grey shading indicates that the pressure was not a record, only the top ten storms for each category are included here.|
Strongest by 1-minute sustained wind speed
|Strongest Atlantic hurricanes|
|Hurricane||Season||By peak sustained wind speed||By wind speed at landfall|
|Note: Grey shading indicates that the wind speed was not a record, only the highest ranking storms for each category are included here.|
Most intense by month
Intensity is measured solely by central pressure.
|Most intense Atlantic tropical cyclones by month|
|Month||Storm||Year||Minimum pressure||Maximum winds||Category||Notes|
|January||Alice||1955||~980 mbar (hPa; 28.94 inHg)||90 mph (150 km/h)||Category 1||[nb 4]|
|February||"Groundhog Day"||1952||990 mbar (hPa; 29.23 inHg)||70 mph (110 km/h)||Tropical storm||[nb 5]|
|March||Unnamed||1908||<991 mbar (hPa; 29.27 inHg)||100 mph (155 km/h)||Category 2||[nb 5]|
|April||Arlene||2017||990 mbar (hPa; 29.23 inHg)||50 mph (85 km/h)||Tropical storm|
|May||Able||1951||973 mbar (hPa; 28.74 inHg)||90 mph (150 km/h)||Category 1|
|June||Audrey||1957||946 mbar (hPa; 27.94 inHg)||125 mph (205 km/h)||Category 3||[nb 6]|
|Alex||2010||110 mph (175 km/h)||Category 2|
|July||Emily||2005||929 mbar (hPa; 27.44 inHg)||160 mph (260 km/h)||Category 5|
|August||Allen||1980||899 mbar (hPa; 26.55 inHg)||190 mph (305 km/h)||Category 5|
|September||Gilbert||1988||888 mbar (hPa; 26.23 inHg)||185 mph (295 km/h)||Category 5|
|October||Wilma||2005||882 mbar (hPa; 26.05 inHg)||185 mph (295 km/h)||Category 5|
|November||"Cuba"||1932||≤915 mbar (hPa; 27.11 inHg)||175 mph (290 km/h)||Category 5|
|December||Nicole||1998||979 mbar (hPa; 28.91 inHg)||85 mph (140 km/h)||Category 1|
Hurricane Severity Index
|Most severe landfalling Atlantic hurricanes in the United States|
Based on size and intensity for total points on the Hurricane Severity Index
- Fastest intensification from a tropical depression to a hurricane (1-minute sustained surface winds) – 12 hours
Blanche 1969 – 35 mph (55 km/h) to 85 mph (140 km/h) – from 0600 UTC to 1800 UTC August 11
Harvey 1981 – 35 mph (55 km/h) to 80 mph (130 km/h) – from 1200 UTC September 12 to 0000 UTC September 13
- Fastest intensification from a tropical depression to a Category 5 hurricane (1-minute sustained surface winds) – 54 hours
Wilma 2005 – 35 mph (55 km/h) to 170 mph (275 km/h) – from 0000 UTC October 17 to 0600 UTC October 19
Maria 2017 – 35 mph (55 km/h) to 160 mph (258 km/h) – from 1800 UTC September 16 to 0000 UTC September 19
- Fastest intensification from a tropical storm to a Category 5 hurricane (1-minute sustained surface winds) – 24 hours
Wilma 2005 – 70 mph (110 km/h) to 170 mph (275 km/h) – from 0600 UTC October 18 to 0600 UTC October 19
- Maximum pressure drop in 12 hours – 83 mbar
Wilma 2005 – 975 millibars (28.8 inHg) to 892 millibars (26.3 inHg) – from 1800 UTC October 18 to 0600 UTC October 19
- Maximum pressure drop in 24 hours – 97 mbar
Wilma 2005 – 979 millibars (28.9 inHg) to 882 millibars (26.0 inHg) – from 1200 UTC October 18 to 1200 UTC October 19
From 1981 to 2010, there were on average 12.1 storms in the Atlantic Basin. Each hurricane season may be impacted by an El Niño or La Niña which contributes to the number of storms in any given year, and a hurricane with a peak intensity of Category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale is classified as major. The most active Atlantic hurricane season in recorded history took place in 2005, when a total of 28 storms were counted. The storm count includes 15 hurricanes, of which 7 strengthened to major hurricane status. On the converse, the least active season in the modern satellite era took place in 1983 with just 4 named storms.
- Note: The charts for post-1964 seasons are spread by a total margin of 10 storms from the given average of 12.1
Most Atlantic hurricane seasons prior to the satellite era include 7 or fewer recorded tropical storms or hurricanes. As the usage of satellite data was not available until the mid-1960s, early storm counts are less reliable. Before the advent of the airplane or means of tracking storms, the ones recorded were storms that effected mainly populated areas. An undercount bias of zero to six tropical cyclones per year between 1851 and 1885 and zero to four per year between 1886 and 1910 has been estimated. The following storms all date prior to 1965, and may or may not be fully factual due to a lack of complete information.
|20||1933||20||11||6||"Major" includes 2 Category 5 hurricanes.|
|1950||16||11||6||First year of officially named storms, 3/16 were unnamed.|
|1954||16||7||3||There was 1 unnumbered Tropical Depression|
|1||1914||1||0||0||Fewest storms in recorded history, one of only two seasons to feature no hurricanes, the other being 1907.|
|3||1930||3||2||2||One of only 2 seasons with less than 4 total storms.|
|4||1857||4||3||0||Earliest season documented by HURDAT to feature no major hurricanes.|
|1868||4||3||0||Re-analysis confirmed activity from "none known".|
With the advent of the satellite came better and more accurate weather tracking. The first satellites sent into space to monitor the weather were known as Television Infrared Observation Satellites (TIROS). In 1961, Hurricane Esther was the first hurricane to be "discovered" through satellite readings. Although this modern invention was now available, the systems were initially not fully active enough to provide daily images of the storms. Data for the North Atlantic region remained sparse as late as 1964 due to a lack of complete satellite coverage.
|28||2005||28||15||7||1 subtropical storm|
|2011||19||7||4||1 un-named storm|
|2019||18||6||3||2 subtropical storms|
|4||1983||4||3||1||Fewest confirmed storms in the satellite era.|
|1982||6||2||1||1 subtropical storm|
|7||1972||7||3||0||3 subtropical storms|
|1992||7||4||1||1 subtropical storm|
Named storms by month
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1st to November 30th each year with the peak of the season being between August and October. Tropical systems that form outside of these months are referred to as "off season", and account for roughly 3% of all storms that form in a given year. All of the records included below are for the most storms that formed in a given month, as the threshold for "fewest" is zero for expected months. Cases where "fewest storms" are unusual include the months when the hurricane season is at its peak.
|Number of named storm occurrences by month|
|January||1||1938, 1951, 1978, 2016|
|May||2||1887, 2012, 2020|
|June||3||1886, 1936, 1968|
|Based on data from: U.S. NOAA Coastal Service Center - Historical Hurricane Tracks Tool|
|† – Highest number for month by virtue of being only known season to see a storm form|
* – Most recent occurrence
Costliest Atlantic hurricanes
|Costliest Atlantic hurricanes|
Deadliest Atlantic hurricanes
|Deadliest Atlantic hurricanes|
|See also: List of deadliest Atlantic hurricanes|
Most tornadoes spawned
|Number of tornadoes spawned|
|7||50||Tropical Storm Fay||2008|
|Distance traveled||6,850 miles (11,020 km)||Hurricane Faith||1966|
|Highest forward speed||69 mph (111 km/h)||Tropical Storm Six||1961|
|Largest in diameter||990 miles (1,590 km)||Hurricane Olga||2001|
|Longest duration (non consecutive)||28 days||"San Ciriaco"||1899|
|Longest duration (consecutive)||27.25 days||Ginger||1971|
|Longest duration (as a cat 5)||3.6 days||"Cuba"||1932|
Worldwide cyclone records set by Atlantic storms
- Costliest tropical cyclone: Hurricane Katrina – 2005 and Hurricane Harvey – 2017 – US$125 billion in damages
- Fastest seafloor current produced by a tropical cyclone: Hurricane Ivan – 2004 – 2.25 m/s (5 mph)
- Highest confirmed wave produced by a tropical cyclone: Hurricane Luis – 1995 – 98 feet (30 m)
- Highest forward speed of a tropical cyclone: Tropical Storm Six – 1961 – 69 mph (111 km/h)
- Most tornadoes spawned by a tropical cyclone: Hurricane Ivan – 2004 – 120 confirmed tornadoes
- Smallest tropical cyclone on record: Tropical Storm Marco – 2008 – gale-force winds extended 11.5 mi (18.5 km) from storm center (previous record: Cyclone Tracy 1974 – 30 mi (48 km))
- Smallest tropical cyclone eye on record: Hurricane Wilma – 2005 – diameter 2.3 miles (3.7 km)
- A major hurricane is a storm that ranks as Category 3 or higher on the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale.
- The first storm of 1938 was the earliest instance of a tropical cyclone reaching tropical storm intensity during the year. However, an unnamed tropical storm in 1951 was the earliest instance of a tropical cyclone to have peaked at tropical storm intensity; it did so on January 4.
- Hurricane Otto of 2016 was the latest instance of a tropical cyclone reaching Category 2 intensity during the year. However, a hurricane in 1879 was the latest instance of a tropical cyclone to have peaked at Category 2 intensity; it did so on November 20.
- Alice formed in December 1954 but persisted into January 1955.
- These are the strongest systems in their respective months by virtue of being the only known systems.
- Hurricanes Audrey (1957) and Alex (2010) had the same minimum pressure, though Audrey was a Category 3 hurricane at peak strength while Alex peaked as a high-end Category 2.
- All damage figures are in United States dollars, and are not adjusted for inflation.
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