Atlantic hurricane season

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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]

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 had approved changes for the 1851-1930 hurricane seasons, as well as 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]

PeriodSeasons
Pre-19th centuryPre-17th century, 17th century, 18th century, 1780
1800–18491800-1809, 1810-1819, 1820-1829, 1830-1839, 1840-1849,

1800s[edit]

1850s[edit]

YearNumber of
tropical
storms
Number of
hurricanes
Number of
major hurricanes
DeathsStrongest
storm
1850030Not knownOne
185163124Four
1852551100+One
185384240Three
185453130+Three
1855541Not knownFive
1856642200+One
1857430424Two & Four
1858660NoneThree & Six
1859871NumerousSix

1860s[edit]

YearNumber of
tropical
storms
Number of
hurricanes
Number of
major hurricanes
DeathsStrongest
storm
186015160+One
186126022+One and Three
18623303Two and Three
186345090One, Two, Three & Four
1864230NoneOne, Three & Five
1865430326Four & Seven
1866151383Six
1867260811'San Narciso'
18681302One, Two & Four
186936138Six

1870s[edit]

YearNumber of
tropical
storms
Number of
hurricanes
Number of
major hurricanes
DeathsStrongest
storm
1870111022,052Four
187186230Three and Four
1872540UnknownTwo
1873532626Five
1874740UnknownSeven
1875651800Three
187654219"San Felipe"
187783134Four
187812101108Seven
187986247Four

1880s[edit]

YearNumber of
tropical
storms
Number of
hurricanes
Number of
major hurricanes
DeathsStrongest
storm
Notes
18801192133Eight
1881740700Five and Six
18826526Six
1883432236Two and Three
18844418Two
188586125Two
188612104200+"Indianola"Seven hurricanes struck the United States, the most during a single year[14]
1887191122SevenTied 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
1888962924Three and Four
188996040Six

1890s[edit]

YearNumber of
tropical
storms
Number of
hurricanes
Number of
major hurricanes
DeathsStrongest
storm
Notes
18904219Three
18911071700+"Martinique"
189295016Three, Five, and Seven
1893121054,028"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
1894754200+Six
189562056Two
1896762130Four
1897630NoneOne
18981151562"Georgia
18999523,439"San Ciriaco"The San Ciriaco hurricane was the longest lasting Atlantic hurricane on record

1900s[edit]

1900s[edit]

YearNumber of
tropical
storms
Number of
hurricanes
Number of
major hurricanes
DeathsDamage
USD
Strongest
storm
Notes
19007328,000+$60 million"Galveston"The Galveston hurricane was the deadliest disaster in the United States
1901125110$1 millionSeven
1902530NoneUnknownFour
19031071228$1.15 millionTwo
190453087$1 millionTwo
19055111UnknownFour
19061163367$2.48 millionFour
1907500NoneUnknownOneOne of two seasons with no recorded hurricanes
19081061NoneUnknownSixIncludes the only known March tropical cyclone in the basin
190911644,614$75 million"Grand Isle"

1910s[edit]

YearNumber of
tropical
storms
Number of
hurricanes
Number of
major hurricanes
DeathsDamage
USD
Strongest
storm
Notes
1910531100$1.25 million"Cuba"
191163027$3 millionThree
1912741116$67,000Seven
19136405$4 millionFour
19141000UnknownOneLeast active season on record
One of two seasons with no recorded hurricanes
1915654675$63 million"New Orleans"
19161510531$5.9 million"Texas"
19174225$170,000"Nueva Gerona"
191864134$5+ millionOne
1919521~900$22 million"Florida Keys"

1920s[edit]

YearNumber of
tropical
storms
Number of
hurricanes
Number of
major hurricanes
DeathsDamage
USD
Strongest
storm
Notes
19205402$15.75 millionOne
19217526$36.5 million"Tampa Bay"
1922531UnknownUnknownTwo
19239410UnknownFive
19241152150+Unknown"Cuba"The 1924 Cuba hurricane was the earliest officially classified Category 5 Atlantic hurricane on the Saffir–Simpson Scale
192542059+$19.9 millionOne
192611861,315+$1.4+ billion"Miami"
1927841184Unknown"Nova Scotia"
19286414,000+$952.5+ million"Okeechobee""Okeechobee hurricane" was the only recorded hurricane to strike Puerto Rico at Category 5 strength
192953151$9.0 million"Florida"

1930s[edit]

YearNumber of
tropical
storms
Number of
hurricanes
Number of
major hurricanes
DeathsDamage
USD
Strongest
storm
Notes
19303228,000$50 million"Dominican Republic""Dominican Republic" hurricane was the fifth deadliest hurricane on record
193113312,502$7.5 million"Belize"
193215643,315$37 million"Cuba"Two Category 5 hurricanes; one in November (the latest such on record); three major hurricanes made landfall
193320116651$86.6 million"Tampico"Second most active season on record; Two Category 5 hurricanes
193413712,017$4.26 millionThirteen
19358532,604$12.5 million"Labor Day"The 1935 Labor Day hurricane was the most intense landfalling tropical cyclone in the Atlantic
193617715$1.23 millionThirteen
193711410UnknownSix
1938942~700$290.3 million"New England"
19396315UnknownFive

1940s[edit]

YearNumber of
tropical storms
Number of
hurricanes
Number of
major hurricanes
DeathsDamage
USD
Strongest
storm
Notes
1940960101$4.7 millionFour
194164363$10 million"Florida"
1942114117$30.6 millionThree
1943105219$17.2 millionThreeFirst year of Hurricane Hunters
194414831,153$202 million"Great Atlantic"
1945115280$80 million"Southeast Florida"
19467305$5.2 millionFour
1947105294$145.3 million"Fort Lauderdale"First year of Atlantic tropical cyclone naming.[15]
1948106494$30.9 million"Miami"
194916733$58.2 million"Florida"

1950s[edit]

YearNumber of
tropical storms
Number of
hurricanes
Number of
major hurricanes
DeathsDamage
USD
Strongest
storm
Retired namesNotes
19501611620$37 millionDogNoneCurrent extent of the reanalysis project as of March 2014
19511085257$80 millionEasyNoneHurricane Able is the strongest and only major hurricane on record to form off-season.
195276347$3.75 millionFoxNoneIncludes the only known February tropical cyclone in the basin
195314641$6 millionCarolNoneFirst year of female names for storms
One of only 4 seasons to have both a preseason and postseason storm
195411821,069$752 millionHazelCarol, Edna, HazelIncludes Alice, one of only two storms in the basin to span two calendar years
195512961,518$1.2 billionJanetConnie, Diane, Ione, Janet
195694276$67.8 millionBetsyNone
1957832513$152.5 millionCarrieAudrey
1958107541$12 millionHeleneNone
1959117259$23.3 millionGracieGracie*Status of Gracie's retirement is unclear

1960s[edit]

YearNumber of
tropical storms
Number of
hurricanes
Number of
major hurricanes
DeathsDamage
USD
Strongest
storm
Retired namesNotes
1960742385$410 millionDonnaDonnaTwo Category 5 Hurricanes
19611187345$392 millionHattieCarla, HattieTwo Category 5 Hurricanes
Tied for most major hurricanes
19625314$10 millionEllaNone
19639727,225$589 millionFloraFloraHurricane Flora was the sixth deadliest hurricane on record
19641266261$605 millionHildaCleo, Dora, Hilda
196564176$1.45 billionBetsyBetsy
196611731,094$410 millionInezInezOne named storm de-classified in post-analysis
196786164$217 millionBeulahBeulah
196884010$10 millionGladysNoneThe name "Edna" was retired due to the storm in 1954, also includes one subtropical storm
No major hurricanes
196918125364$1.7 billionCamilleCamilleFourth most active season on record
Tied for second most hurricanes in a season on record
Includes one subtropical storm
Camille is one of only two Atlantic Hurricanes with 190 mph sustained winds and the only one to make landfall at such intensity

1970s[edit]

YearNumber of
tropical storms
Number of
hurricanes
Number of
major hurricanes
DeathsDamage
USD
Strongest
storm
Retired namesNotes
1970105271$454 millionCeliaCelia
1971136145$213 millionEdithNone
1972730122$2.1 billionBettyAgnesIncludes three subtropical storms
No major hurricanes
197384115$18 millionEllenNoneIncludes one subtropical storm
197411428,260+$1.97 billionCarmenCarmen, FifiIncludes four subtropical storms
Hurricane Fifi was the fourth deadliest hurricane on record
197596380$100 millionGladysEloiseIncludes one subtropical storm
1976106272$100 millionBelleNoneIncludes two subtropical storms
197765110$10 millionAnitaAnita
1978125237$45 millionGretaNoneIncludes the January subtropical storm in the Atlantic
19799522,118$4.3 billionDavidDavid, FredericFirst year for alternating male/female names
Includes one subtropical storm

1980s[edit]

YearNumber of
tropical cyclones
Number of
tropical storms
Number of
hurricanes
Number of
major hurricanes
DeathsDamage
USD
Strongest
storm
Retired namesNotes
1980151192256$1 billionAllenAllen
198118127310$45 millionHarveyNone
19829621141$100 millionDebbyNoneIncludes one subtropical storm
1983743122$2.6 billionAliciaAliciaLeast active hurricane season in the satellite era
198417135135$66 millionDianaNoneIncludes one subtropical storm
1985131173241$4.5 billionGloriaElena, GloriaHurricane Kate struck Florida on November 21, the latest United States hurricane landfall
19861064070$57 millionEarlNoneNo major hurricanes
19871473110$73 millionEmilyNone
1988191253550$7 billionGilbertGilbert, JoanIncluded strongest hurricane on record until 2005
1989151172112$10.7 billionHugoHugo

1990s[edit]

YearNumber of
tropical cyclones
Number of
tropical storms
Number of
hurricanes
Number of
major hurricanes
DeathsDamage
USD
Strongest
storm
Retired namesNotes
1990161481116$150 millionGustavDiana, KlausNo tropical storms or hurricanes made landfall in the United States
19911284230$2.5 billionClaudetteBob
1992974166$26 billionAndrewAndrewHurricane Andrew was the costliest U.S. hurricane until 2005
Includes one subtropical storm
199310841274$271 millionEmilyNone
1994127301,184$1.56 billionFlorenceNoneNo major hurricanes
19952119115115$9.3 billionOpalLuis, Marilyn, Opal, RoxanneTied for third most active season on record
1996131396179$3.8 billionEdouardCesar, Fran, HortenseCesar was renamed Douglas after it crossed Central America.
1997983111$110 millionErikaNoneIncludes one subtropical storm
1998141410312,000+$12.2 billionMitchGeorges, MitchFour simultaneous hurricanes on September 26, the first time since 1893
Hurricane Mitch was the deadliest hurricane in over 200 years
1999161285465$5.9 billionFloydFloyd, LennyMost Category 4 hurricanes on record

2000s[edit]

2000s[edit]

YearNumber of
tropical cyclones
Number of
tropical storms
Number of
hurricanes
Number of
major hurricanes
DeathsDamage
USD
Strongest
storm
Retired namesNotes
200019158379$1.2 billionKeithKeithIncludes one subtropical storm
2001171594105$7.1 billionMichelleAllison, Iris, MichelleFeatured only retired tropical storm in history
200214124223$2.6 billionIsidoreIsidore, LiliRecord-tying 8 named storms formed in September
200321167392$4.4 billionIsabelFabian, Isabel, Juan3 off-season storms
20041715963,100+$50 billionIvanCharley, Frances, Ivan, JeanneIncludes one subtropical storm
Record-tying 8 named storms forming in August
200531281572,280+$128 billionWilmaDennis, Katrina, Rita, Stan, WilmaMost active season and costliest on record
Most Category 5s (4)
Most retired names
First year to use the Greek alphabet
200610105214$500 millionGordon and HeleneNone
2007171562423$3 billionDeanDean, Felix, NoelIncludes one subtropical storm
Two Category 5 Hurricanes
20081716851,047$42 billionIkeGustav, Ike, PalomaTied for fifth most active season on record
Only year on record in which a major hurricane existed in every month from July through November
2009119326$77 millionBillNone

2010s[edit]

YearNumber of
tropical cyclones
Number of
tropical storms
Number of
hurricanes
Number of
major hurricanes
DeathsDamage
USD
Strongest
storm
Retired namesNotes
20102119125314$12.36 billionIgorIgor, TomasTied 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
2011201974114$18.59 billionOpheliaIreneTied for third most active season on record
20121919102354$77.97 billionSandySandyTied for third most active season
Most active season before July
Record tying 8 named storms forming in August
201315142047$1.51 billionHumbertoTBAIncludes one subtropical storm
No major hurricanes
Tied (with 1982) for fewest hurricanes since 1944

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 (March 24, 2014). "Atlantic hurricane best track (HURDAT version 2)". United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved March 31, 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 Divison, Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. p. Slides 49 - 51.