1974 Atlantic hurricane season

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1974 Atlantic hurricane season
1974 Atlantic hurricane season summary map.png
Season summary map
Seasonal boundaries
First system formedJune 22, 1974
Last system dissipatedNovember 12, 1974
Strongest storm
Name Carmen
  Maximum winds150 mph (240 km/h)
(1-minute sustained)
  Lowest pressure928 mbar (hPa; 27.4 inHg)
Seasonal statistics
Total depressions20
Total storms11
Hurricanes4
Major hurricanes
(Cat. 3+)
2
Total fatalities8,277 total
(Third-deadliest Atlantic hurricane season)
Total damage$2 billion (1974 USD)
Related articles
Atlantic hurricane seasons
1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976

The 1974 Atlantic hurricane season featured Hurricane Fifi, the deadliest Atlantic tropical cyclone since the 1900 Galveston hurricane. [1] The season officially began on June 1 and lasted until November 30. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic basin. The first system, a tropical depression, developed over the Bay of Campeche on June 22 and dissipated by June 26. The season had near average activity, with eleven total storms forming, of which four became hurricanes. Two of those four became major hurricanes, which are Category 3 or higher on the Saffir–Simpson scale.

Contents

The most intense storm of the season was Hurricane Carmen, which struck the Yucatán Peninsula at Category 4 intensity and Louisiana at Category 3 intensity. Carmen caused about $162 million in damage, mostly in Louisiana, and 12 deaths. Also highly notable was Hurricane Fifi, which dropped torrential rain in Central America, especially Honduras. The hurricane left more than $1.8 billion in damage and at least 8,210 fatalities. Hurricane Fifi crossed over into the eastern Pacific and was renamed Orlene. In August, poor weather conditions produced by Tropical Storm Alma caused a plane crash in Venezuela, which killed 49 people. Alma caused two additional deaths in Trinidad. Collectively, the tropical cyclones of this year resulted in at least 8,277 deaths and just under $2 billion in damage.

Season summary

Subtropical Storm Four (1974)Hurricane Fifi–OrleneHurricane CarmenTropical Storm Alma (1974)Subtropical Storm One (1974)Saffir–Simpson scale1974 Atlantic hurricane season
Satellite imagery of Hurricane Carmen approaching the Gulf Coast of the United States Hurricane Carmen near United States Landfall 1974.jpg
Satellite imagery of Hurricane Carmen approaching the Gulf Coast of the United States

The hurricane season officially began on June 1, [2] with the first tropical cyclone developing on June 22. A total of 20 tropical and subtropical cyclones formed, but just 11 of them intensified into nameable storm systems. [3] This was about average compared to the 1950–2000 average of 9.6 named storms. [4] Four of these reached hurricane status, [3] below the 1950–2000 average of 5.9. [4] Furthermore, two storms reached major hurricane status; [3] near the 1950–2000 average of 2.3. [4] Collectively, the cyclones of this season caused at least 8,277 deaths and just under $2 billion in damage. [5] The Atlantic hurricane season officially ended on November 30, [2] with the final cyclone dissipating on November 12. [3]

Similar to the previous two seasons, much of the tropics were dominated by extensive upper-level westerlies and colder than normal sea surface temperatures, producing unfavorable conditions, though to a lesser extent than in 1972 and 1973. Wind shear generated by the westerlies covered a smaller area, while sea surface temperatures in the tropics were generally above the threshold for tropical cyclogenesis. All named storms developed in regions with ocean temperatures exceeding 80 °F (27 °C). [6]

Tropical cyclogenesis began in June, with a tropical depression developing over the Bay of Campeche on June 22, followed by Subtropical Storm One over the Gulf of Mexico two days later. Three cyclones formed in July – two tropical depressions and a subtropical storm. August featured five systems, including Alma, Becky, Carmen, a subtropical storm, and a tropical depression. September was the most active month, with Dolly, Elaine, Hurricane Fifi, Gertrude, and three tropical depressions forming. Subtropical Storm Four and a tropical depression developed in October. The season's final system, a tropical depression, formed on November 10 and dissipated by November 12. [3]

The season's activity was reflected with an accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) rating of 61. ACE is a metric used to express the energy used by a tropical cyclone during its lifetime. Therefore, a storm with a longer duration will have high values of ACE. It is only calculated at six-hour increments in which specific tropical and subtropical systems are either at or above sustained wind speeds of 39 mph (63 km/h), which is the threshold for tropical storm intensity. [7]

Systems

Tropical Depression One

Tropical depression (SSHWS)
Subtropical Storm One (1974).JPG   01-L 1974 track.png
DurationJune 22 – June 26
Peak intensity30 mph (45 km/h) (1-min)  995  mbar  (hPa)

A low-pressure formed over the Bay of Campeche near Veracruz by June 1. Although a reconnaissance aircraft flight failed to locate a closed circulation early on June 22, surface observations in Mexico showed evidence of a circulation later that day. [8] A tropical depression was estimated to have formed at 12:00  UTC on June 22 while situated just offshore Montepío, Veracruz. [3] Initially, the depression moved northeastward and appeared well-organized. However, by the following day, convection associated with the depression began weakening after an upper low pressure trough intensified over the eastern United States. Convection flared over the eastern Gulf of Mexico, but a second circulation had developed by June 24, with that system becoming Subtropical Storm One. [8]

The depression, now moving slowly northeastward, redeveloped well-organized convection by June 25. However, shortly thereafter, the depression began to lose tropical characteristics due to interaction with atmospheric trough of low pressure. By June 26, the depression completed its extratropical transition over the eastern Gulf of Mexico. [8] The remnants of the depression accelerated to the northeast and moved across Florida, before moving along the East Coast of the United States and then dissipating over New England by June 30. The remnants of the depression brought mostly light rainfall to East Coast states, with a peak total of 7.2 in (180 mm) in Avon Park, Florida. [9]

Subtropical Storm One

Subtropical storm (SSHWS)
Subtropical Storm One on June 24, 1974 at 0800z.png   1974 Atlantic subtropical storm 1 track.png
DurationJune 24 – June 25
Peak intensity65 mph (100 km/h) (1-min)  1000  mbar  (hPa)

Tropical Depression One formed over the Bay of Campeche on June 22. As shower and thunderstorm activity associated with the depression diminished, convection flared over the eastern Gulf of Mexico on June 24, while a reconnaissance aircraft flight revealed that a closed circulation had developed over the south-central Gulf of Mexico. [8] Therefore, it is estimated that a subtropical depression formed around 18:00 UTC on June 24. Early the following day, the subtropical depression intensified into a subtropical storm. Accelerating northeastward, the subtropical storm strengthened slightly further before making landfall near Clearwater, Florida, just after 06:00 UTC with winds of 50 mph (85 km/h). Although centered over Florida, the system intensified further, peaking with winds of 65 mph (100 km/h) around 12:00 UTC on June 25. After exiting Florida, the cyclone quickly began extratropical later that day, with the remnants dissipating offshore North Carolina on June 27. [3]

Portions of Florida experienced heavy precipitation, particularly the Tampa Bay Area. A peak rainfall total of 11.38 in (289 mm) was observed at the St. Pete–Clearwater International Airport. [10] The storm brought flooding and erosion to parts of west Central Florida. Overall, approximately $24.8 million in damage occurred in Florida, with roughly half of that total incurred to beaches, bridges, drainage systems, roads, sewers, and utilities. Three deaths were reported in the state, all due to drowning. [11]

Subtropical Storm Two

Subtropical storm (SSHWS)
Subtropical Storm 2 (1974).JPG   1974 Atlantic subtropical storm 2 track.png
DurationJuly 16 – July 19
Peak intensity50 mph (85 km/h) (1-min)  1006  mbar  (hPa)

A convective area of cloudiness existed northeast of the Bahamas in mid July in response to a stationary frontal boundary. On July 15, satellite imagery suggested the presence of a weak circulation within the system. [6] Around 00:00 UTC on the following day, a subtropical depression formed about 210 mi (340 km) northeast of the Bahamas. Moving northeastward, the cyclone slowly strengthened, becoming a subtropical storm at about 12:00 UTC on July 17. [3] Late on the next day, the ship Export Adventurer observed winds of 54 mph (87 km/h) and a barometric pressure of 1,006 mbar (29.7 inHg). Based on these observations, [6] the storm peaked with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph (85 km/h) on July 18. By the next day, the cyclone began weakening. [3] Around 00:00 UTC on July 20, the subtropical storm was absorbed a large extratropical low, [6] which dissipated well east of Newfoundland several hours later. [3]

Subtropical Storm Three

Subtropical storm (SSHWS)
Subtropical Storm 3 (1974).JPG   1974 Atlantic subtropical storm 3 track.png
DurationAugust 10 – August 15
Peak intensity60 mph (95 km/h) (1-min)  992  mbar  (hPa)

A frontal wave formed along a stationary front which ended from near Cape Hatteras northeastward. [6] At 12:00 UTC on August 10, a subtropical storm developed between Bermuda and New England. The storm moved southeastward and then northeastward, before turning northward early on August 12. Drifting northward, the cyclone continued to intensify. Around 12:00 UTC on August 14, the system peaked with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph (95 km/h) and a minimum barometric pressure of 992 mbar (29.3 inHg), [3] based on ship observations. [6] Later that day, the cyclone curved east-northeastward and accelerated, [3] while its circulation became increasingly ill-defined, resembling that of a front, near Sable Island at about 00:00 UTC on August 15. The remnants of the storm were last noted passing over Cape Race several hours later. [6]

Tropical Storm Alma

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Alma 1974-08-13 1230Z.jpg   Alma 1974 track.png
DurationAugust 12 – August 15
Peak intensity65 mph (100 km/h) (1-min)  1007  mbar  (hPa)

A vigorous tropical wave emerged off the western coast of Africa on August 9, [12] developing into a tropical depression by 12:00 UTC on August 12 while located about 545 mi (875 km) east-southeast of Barbados. Steered rapidly west by an abnormally strong subtropical ridge, the depression intensified into Tropical Storm Alma by noon UTC the next day. Six hours later, Alma attained peak winds of 65 mph (100 km/h) in accordance with data from a reconnaissance aircraft. Early on August 14, Alma made landfall in Trinidad as a minimal tropical storm, becoming the southernmost-landfalling system on the island in 41 years. The system's circulation entered Venezuela and interacted with mountainous terrain, where it dissipated by 12:00 UTC on August 15. [3] [6]

The storm produced a wind gust as high as 91 mph (146 km/h) on Trinidad at Savonetta. [13] Alma left heavy damage in Trinidad, amounting to approximately $5 million, [14] making it the most destructive cyclone of the 20th century on the island at that time. The storm damaged about 5,000 buildings, [15] leaving roughly 500 people homeless. Additionally, the cyclone ruined about 17,750 acres (7,180 ha) of crop fields. Two fatalities occurred in Trinidad, [14] including one person who was struck by flying debris. [16] Alma's heavy rainfall was responsible for a plane crash on Isla Margarita off the Venezuelan coast, killing the 49 people on board. [17]

Tropical Depression Five

Tropical depression (SSHWS)
TD5 1974.jpg   05-L 1974 track.png
DurationAugust 24 – August 26
Peak intensity35 mph (55 km/h) (1-min)  1006  mbar  (hPa)

Around 12:00 UTC on August 24, a tropical depression developed in the southeastern Gulf of Mexico. Moving northwestward, the depression organized further, peaking with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph (55 km/h). [3] It was on the verge of attaining tropical storm status, [18] but made landfall in Texas between Galveston and Freeport on August 26. The depression promptly dissipated. [3]

The depression produced heavy rainfall in Texas, especially in the central parts of the state, [18] with a peak total of 10.75 in (273 mm) in Burnet. [10] A weak cold front, combined with the depression, [19] brought flooding portions of Texas, especially Bell County. In Killeen and Harker Heights, more than 100 people fled their homes, as well as about 50 people from a mobile home park in Nolanville. Flooding damaged 47 homes, 37 mobile homes, and a number of cars. Damage in Bell County was estimated at $100,000. A pickup truck was swept off a low-water crossing at Fort Hood, drowning one occupant of the vehicle. [20] The depression and its remnants also produced rainfall in Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Oklahoma. [18]

Hurricane Becky

Category 3 hurricane (SSHWS)
Becky 1974-08-31 1900Z.jpg   Becky 1974 track.png
DurationAugust 26 – September 2
Peak intensity115 mph (185 km/h) (1-min)  977  mbar  (hPa)

The National Hurricane Center first began monitoring an area of shower and thunderstorm activity northeast of the Leeward Islands on August 20. After five days, a circulation became visible on satellite imagery. The disturbance tracked northwest, and both ships observations and satellite imagery indicated the formation of a tropical depression by 12:00 UTC on August 26; at the time, it was centered about 440 mi (710 km) south-southwest of Bermuda. Following designation, the depression curved north and then northeast as it rounded the western periphery of a ridge near the Azores. A light shear environment allowed it to intensify into Tropical Storm Becky by 06:00 UTC on August 28 and further into a hurricane by 18:00 UTC that day. [21]

Around 12:00 UTC on August 29, Becky intensified into a Category 2 hurricane. [21] Early on August 30, the system intensified into a Category 3, [3] and by 12:00 UTC, the storm attained its peak intensity with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph (185 km/h) and a minimum barometric pressure 977 mbar (28.9 inHg), based on observations by a reconnaissance aircraft. Thereafter, Becky accelerated eastward and weaken weakening, falling to tropical storm intensity early on September 2. Later that day, the cyclone merged with a frontal zone northwest of the Azores. Although Becky never posed a threat to land, the storm crossed several major shipping routes. [21]

Hurricane Carmen

Category 4 hurricane (SSHWS)
CarmenAug311974.png   Carmen 1974 track.png
DurationAugust 29 – September 10
Peak intensity150 mph (240 km/h) (1-min)  928  mbar  (hPa)

A tropical wave crossed the western coast of Africa on August 23, [6] organizing into a tropical depression by 06:00 UTC on August 29 about 365 mi (585 km) east of Guadeloupe. The newly-designated cyclone was slow to intensify initially, [3] with limited inflow and a majority of its circulation over the Greater Antilles. [6] It strengthened into Tropical Storm Carmen early on August 30 and further into a hurricane by 12:00 UTC on August 31. [3] Upon entering the western Caribbean Sea and amid a low wind shear environment, Carmen began a period of rapid intensification and attained peak winds of 150 mph (240 km/h) before moving ashore just north of Chetumal, Quintana Roo. Carmen weakened significantly over the Yucatán Peninsula, falling to tropical storm intensity by 00:00 UTC on September 3. [3]

Carmen emerged into the Bay of Campeche late on September 3 and almost immediately executed a turn toward the north in response to falling pressures over the Southern United States. [3] [6] The cyclone steadily re-intensified over the Gulf of Mexico, [3] and a reconnaissance aircraft into the storm around 00:00 UTC on September 8 found that maximum winds had again increased to 150 mph (240 km/h). As Carmen approaching the coastline of Louisiana, radar indicated the presence of drier air entering the eastern semicircle of the circulation, [6] and the cyclone moved ashore south of Morgan City with winds of 120 mph (195 km/h). It turned northwest and then west-northwest after landfall and was last monitored as a tropical depression southeast of Waco, Texas, at 06:00 UTC on September 10. [3]

Carmen brought heavy rainfall and a tornado to Puerto Rico, causing about $2 million in damage. [6] Flooding in Jamaica resulted in three people drowning. [22] In Mexico, the storm left hundreds of people homeless in Chetumal and damaged the homes and assets of more than 5,000 people. [23] [24] Four deaths and about $10 million in damage occurred in Mexico. [25] In Louisiana, the storm produced sustained winds up to 110 mph (180 km/h) near Amelia. Along the coast, tides ranged from 4–6 ft (1.2–1.8 m) mean sea level, flooding homes with up to 4 ft (1.2 m) of water or sweeping away some of them into the swamp. Throughout the state, the hurricane inflicted minor damage to 1,015 homes, major damage to 722 homes, and complete destruction to 14 homes. Additionally, 697 mobile homes suffered major damage, while 41 other suffered destruction. However, much of the damage in the state was incurred to crops. Cotton, soybean, sugarcane, and rice crops collectively experienced about $116.8 million in damage. Overall, Carmen caused about $150 million in Louisiana and five deaths in the state. Freshwater and tidal flooding to a lesser degree occurred in the other Gulf Coast states. [26]

Tropical Storm Dolly

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Dolly 1974-09-04 1530Z.jpg   Dolly 1974 track.png
DurationSeptember 2 – September 5
Peak intensity50 mph (85 km/h) (1-min)  1000  mbar  (hPa)

An area of shower and thunderstorm activity became concentrated underneath an upper-level low in the west Atlantic on August 30. The disturbance drifted west-northwest while steadily organizing, and a ship report around 18:00 UTC on September 2 indicated the formation of a tropical depression about 395 mi (635 km) south-southwest of Bermuda. Although the cyclone was embedded within a high wind shear environment, a reconnaissance mission into the storm the next afternoon found that it had intensified into Tropical Storm Dolly and attained its peak winds of 50 mph (85 km/h). The storm recurved northeast ahead of an approaching trough and transitioned into an extratropical cyclone by 12:00 UTC on September 5 offshore the coastline of Nova Scotia. [3] [6]

Tropical Storm Elaine

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Elaine 1974-09-10 1330Z.jpg   Elaine 1974 track.png
DurationSeptember 4 – September 13
Peak intensity70 mph (110 km/h) (1-min)  1001  mbar  (hPa)

A tropical wave moved off the western coast of Africa on August 30 and acquired sufficient organization to be declared a tropical depression by 18:00 UTC on September 4 roughly 715 mi (1,150 km) east of Guadeloupe. The newly-formed cyclone moved northwest for several days, maintaining its status as a tropical depression despite the absence of a closed low-level circulation in several reconnaissance missions. [27] It eventually intensified into Tropical Storm Elaine east of North Carolina by 18:00 UTC on September 9, and with the aid of light upper-level winds, reached peak winds of 70 mph (110 km/h) early the next morning. Steered northeast by an approaching trough, Elaine interacted with a cold front and transitioned into an extratropical cyclone by 00:00 UTC on September 14 over the northern Atlantic. [3] [6]

Hurricane Fifi

Category 2 hurricane (SSHWS)
Hurricane Fifi.JPG   Fifi 1974 track.png
DurationSeptember 14 – September 22
Peak intensity110 mph (175 km/h) (1-min)  970  mbar  (hPa)

A west-northwestward-moving tropical wave developed into a tropical depression over the eastern Caribbean on September 14. Two days later, the depression intensified into Tropical Storm Fifi just off the coast of Jamaica. The storm quickly intensified into a hurricane the following afternoon and attained its peak intensity on September 18 as a strong Category 2 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph (175 km/h). Maintaining hurricane intensity, Fifi brushed the northern coast of Honduras before making landfall in Belize with winds of 105 mph (165 km/h) the following day. The storm quickly weakened after landfall, becoming a depression late on September 20. Continuing westward, the former hurricane began to interact with another system in the eastern Pacific. [3] Early on September 22, Fifi re-attained tropical storm status before fully regenerating into a new tropical cyclone, Tropical Storm Orlene. [28] The storm traveled in an arcuate path offshore Mexico and intensified into a Category 2 hurricane before making landfall in Sinaloa on September 24 and then quickly dissipating. [29]

Fifi brought heavy rainfall to some of the Greater Antilles, especially Jamaica, which recorded precipitation totals exceeding 8 in (200 mm). Parts of the capital city of Kingston were inundated with about 2 ft (0.61 m). The storm caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage in Jamaica. [30] While moving westward along the north coast of Honduras, Fifi lashed the country with strong winds and torrential, unrelenting rainfall. Many coastal cities were more than 80% destroyed, while at least 150,000 people were left homeless. The storm also completely destroyed the country's banana crops. Fifi caused at least 8,000 deaths and nearly $1.8 billion in damage in Honduras. [1] [31] Other Central American countries were also affected, especially Guatemala. Torrential rainfall in Guatemala caused flooding which washed away or destroyed numerous bridges, roads, and homes. At least 200 people were killed, making Fifi the deadliest in the country in nearly 20 years. [30] In El Salvador, heavy rainfall from the outer bands of the storm led to flooding which killed 10 people. [32] Flooding in Nicaragua left hundreds of people homeless in some villages including in Jinotega, while communities such as La Conquista, Dulce Nombre, San Gregorio, and San Vicente were left isolated after roads washed away. [33] In Belize, winds and rainfall combined to damage or demolish hundreds of homes. [30] The country's banana crop was completely destroyed. [34]

Hurricane Gertrude

Category 1 hurricane (SSHWS)
Gertrude 1974-09-29 1530Z.jpg   Gertrude 1974 track.png
DurationSeptember 27 – October 4
Peak intensity75 mph (120 km/h) (1-min)  999  mbar  (hPa)

A disturbance developed within the Intertropical Convergence Zone just off the western coast of Africa on September 22. The system moved west-northwest and steadily coalesced, organizing into a tropical depression by 12:00 UTC on September 27 about 985 mi (1,585 km) east-southeast of Barbados. The storm was slow to develop at first, intensifying into Tropical Storm Gertude by 18:00 UTC on September 28. However, a reconnaissance aircraft flight six hours later indicated Gertude had intensified into a hurricane and attained peak winds of 75 mph (120 km/h), although its winds were transient and the storm featured an abnormally high surface pressure. After temporarily stalling, Gertude resumed its west-northwest motion while steadily weakening under the influence of strong upper-level winds. It passed through the southern Leeward Islands on October 2 and dissipated over the eastern Caribbean by 00:00 UTC on October 4. [3] [6]

Subtropical Storm Four

Subtropical storm (SSHWS)
SS4 74 sat.jpg   1974 Atlantic subtropical storm 4 track.png
DurationOctober 4 – October 8
Peak intensity50 mph (85 km/h) (1-min)  1005  mbar  (hPa)

A low-pressure area developed near just north of eastern Cuba along the axis of a quasi-stationary cold front. [6] The low became a subtropical depression on October 4. Shortly before striking Andros Island on October 6, the system strengthened into a subtropical storm. The storm made its closest approach to Florida early on October 7. Peaking with sustained winds of 50 mph (85 km/h), the system veered northward and then northeastward, [3] but nonetheless caused heavy rainfall and coastal flooding on land in Florida. [6] While paralleling offshore North Carolina and South Carolina, the storm began to slowly weaken. [3] By late on October 8, the subtropical cyclone merged with a cold front while well east of Cape Hatteras. [6] The extratropical remnants persisted for several more hours, before dissipating on October 9. [3]

Gale force winds were observed by ships and land stations in the Bahamas. The storm and a stationary high pressure system over the Eastern United States resulted in strong winds and rough seas along the coast of Florida for several days, especially on October 6. Many coastal areas observed sustained winds of 25 to 40 mph (40 to 64 km/h), with higher gusts. The storm also produced isolated pockets of heavy rainfall, including 14 in (360 mm) of precipitation in Boca Raton. [6] Dozens of homes were flooded in Boca Raton and Pompano Beach. [35] [36] The heavy rainfall destroyed about 50% of winter vegetable crops in Broward County and about 25% of the eggplant crop and about 5%-10% of other crops in Palm Beach County. [37] [38] The storm also brought rainfall and abnormally high tides to Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, [6] and Bermuda. [10] Damage totaled at least $600,000. [39] [40]

Other systems

Rainfall totals from Tropical Depression Nine Tropical Depression Nine 1974 rainfall.gif
Rainfall totals from Tropical Depression Nine

In addition to the other tropical depressions and the named storms, several more tropical cyclones developed, but failed to reach tropical storm status. The first such system developed just offshore the east coast of Africa on June 30. The depression moved westward for a few days, until dissipating on July 2. Another system formed over the northeastern Gulf of Mexico on July 13. Tracking west-southwestward, the depression curved northward on July 16. Late the following day, it made landfall near Caplen, Texas, and promptly dissipated. Another cyclone, classified as Tropical Depression Nine, formed offshore Guinea on September 2. The depression was long-lasting and moved west-northwestward across the Atlantic for several days. Passing north of Puerto Rico on September 9, [3] light to moderate rainfall totals were reported on the island and in the United States Virgin Islands, with a peak total of 5.38 in (137 mm) at a substation in Corozal, Puerto Rico. [10] The depression dissipated near Inagua island in the Bahamas on September 1. [3]

A tropical depression formed over the western Atlantic on September 18. The depression remained weak and moved in a semi-circular path near Bermuda, before dissipating on September 20. The next tropical depression originated over the northwestern Caribbean on September 23. Moving northwestward, the storm grazed the northeastern tip of the Yucatán Peninsula on the following day and then entered the Gulf of Mexico. By September 25, the depression turned to the northeast. It weakened and dissipated just offshore the west coast of Florida near Cedar Key on September 27. Another depression developed well northeast of the Lesser Antilles on October 30. Moving quickly north-northeastward, the depression remained weak and then dissipated well to the southwest of the Azores on November 2. The final minor depression, and last tropical cyclone, of the season formed north of Hispaniola on November 10. Moving slowly northward for a few days, the depression dissipated by November 12. [3]

Storm names

The following names were used for named storms (tropical storms and hurricanes) that formed in the North Atlantic in 1974. [2] Storms were named Carmen, Elaine and Gertrude for the first time in 1974. The names Carmen and Fifi were later retired. [41] Names that were not assigned are marked in gray.

  • Hester (unused)
  • Ivy (unused)
  • Justine (unused)
  • Kathy (unused)
  • Linda (unused)
  • Marsha (unused)
  • Nelly (unused)
  • Olga (unused)
  • Pearl (unused)
  • Roxanne (unused)
  • Sabrina (unused)
  • Thelma (unused)
  • Viola (unused)
  • Wilma (unused)

Season effects

This is a table of all of the storms that formed in the 1974 Atlantic hurricane season. It includes their duration, names, landfall(s) – denoted by bold location names – damages, and death totals. Deaths in parentheses will be additional and indirect (an example of an indirect death would be a traffic accident), but are still related to that storm. Damage and deaths will include totals while the storm was extratropical or a wave or low, and all of the damage figures are in 1974 USD.

Saffir–Simpson scale
TDTSC1C2C3C4C5
1974 North Atlantic tropical cyclone season statistics
Storm
name
Dates activeStorm category

at peak intensity

Max 1-min
wind
mph (km/h)
Min.
press.
(mbar)
Areas affectedDamage
(USD)
DeathsRef(s)
OneJune 22 – 26Tropical depression35 (55)Unknown Mexico UnknownNone
One June 24 – 25Subtropical storm65 (100)1000 Southeastern United States $24.8 million3
TwoJune 30 – July 2Tropical depression35 (55)UnknownNoneNoneNone
ThreeJuly 13 – 17Tropical depression35 (55)Unknown United States Gulf Coast NoneNone
TwoJuly 14 – 19Subtropical storm50 (85)1006NoneNoneNone
ThreeAugust 10 – 15Subtropical storm60 (95)992NoneNoneNone
Alma August 12 – 15Tropical storm65 (100)1007 Windward Islands, Venezuela, Netherlands Antilles, Colombia $5 million51
FiveAugust 24 – 26Tropical depression35 (55)UnknownUnited States Gulf Coast$100 thousand1
BeckyAugust 26 – September 2Category 3 hurricane115 (185)977NoneNoneNone
Carmen August 29 – September 10Category 4 hurricane150 (240)928 Lesser Antilles, Hispaniola, Jamaica, Mexico, Belize, Southern United States $162 million12
EightSeptember 2 – 11Tropical depression35 (55)Unknown Leeward Islands, Bahamas UnknownNone
DollySeptember 2 – 5Tropical storm50 (85)1005NoneNoneNone
ElaineSeptember 4 – 13Tropical storm70 (110)1001NoneNoneNone
Fifi September 14 – 22Category 2 hurricane110 (175)971Hispaniola, Jamaica, Central America, Mexico$1.8 billion≥8,210
TwelveSeptember 18 – 20Tropical depression30 (45)Unknown Bermuda UnknownNone
ThirteenSeptember 23 – 27Tropical depression35 (55)UnknownMexico, Southeastern United StatesUnknownNone
GertrudeSeptember 25 – October 4Category 1 hurricane75 (120)999Windward IslandsUnknownNone
Four October 4 – October 8Subtropical storm50 (85)1006 Cuba, Bahamas, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Bermuda$600 thousandNone
FifteenOctober 30 – November 2Tropical depression30 (45)UnknownNoneNoneNone
SixteenNovember 10 – November 12Tropical depression30 (45)UnknownNoneNoneNone
Season aggregates
20 systemsJune 22 – November 12 150 (240)928$1.99 billion≥8,277 

See also

Related Research Articles

2000 Atlantic hurricane season Hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

The 2000 Atlantic hurricane season was a fairly active hurricane season, but featured the latest first named storm in a hurricane season since 1992. The hurricane season officially began on June 1, and ended on November 30. It was slightly above average due to a La Niña weather pattern although most of the storms were weak It was also the only Season to Include 2 storms in Ireland. The first cyclone, Tropical Depression One, developed in the southern Gulf of Mexico on June 7 and dissipated after an uneventful duration. However, it would be almost two months before the first named storm, Alberto, formed near Cape Verde; Alberto also dissipated with no effects on land. Several other tropical cyclones—Tropical Depression Two, Tropical Depression Four, Chris, Ernesto, Nadine, and an unnamed subtropical storm—did not impact land. Five additional storms—Tropical Depression Nine, Florence, Isaac, Joyce, and Leslie—minimally affected land areas.

1963 Atlantic hurricane season Hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

The 1963 Atlantic hurricane season featured one of the deadliest tropical cyclones on record in the Atlantic basin: Hurricane Flora. The season officially began on June 15, and lasted until November 15. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic basin. It was an season in terms of tropical storms, with a total of ten nameable storms. The first system, an unnamed tropical storm, developed over the Bahamas on June 1. In late July, Hurricane Arlene, developed between Cape Verde and the Lesser Antilles. The storm later impacted Bermuda, where strong winds resulted in about $300,000 (1963 USD) in damage. Other storms such as hurricanes Beulah and Debra, as well as an unnamed tropical storm, did not impact land. During the month of September, Tropical Storm Cindy caused wind damage and flooding in Texas, leaving three deaths and approximately $12.5 million in damage. Hurricane Edith passed through the Lesser Antilles and the eastern Greater Antilles, causing 10 deaths and about $43 million in damage, most of which occurred on Martinique.

1964 Atlantic hurricane season Hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

The 1964 Atlantic hurricane season featured the highest number of U.S.-landfalling hurricanes since 1933. The season officially began on June 15, and lasted until November 30. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic basin. The season was above average, with thirteen named storms, seven hurricanes, and five major hurricanes. The first system, an unnamed tropical storm, developed on June 2, almost two weeks before the official start of the season. Striking Florida on June 6, the storm brought localized flooding to portions of Cuba and the Southeastern United States, leaving about $1 million in damage. The next storm, also unnamed, developed near the end of July; it did not impact land.

1966 Atlantic hurricane season Hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

The 1966 Atlantic hurricane season saw the Weather Bureau office in Miami, Florida, be designated as the National Hurricane Center (NHC) and assume responsibility of tropical cyclone forecasting in the basin. The season officially began on June 1, and lasted until November 30. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic basin. It was an above-average season in terms of tropical storms, with a total of 15. The first system, Hurricane Alma, developed over eastern Nicaragua on June 4 and became the most recent major hurricane in the month of June. Alma brought severe flooding to Honduras and later to Cuba, but caused relatively minor impact in the Southeastern United States. Alma resulted in 91 deaths and about $210.1 million (1966 USD) in damage.

1967 Atlantic hurricane season Hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

The 1967 Atlantic hurricane season was the first Atlantic hurricane season to be part of the modern-day satellite era. With 13 named storms, it was an above average season in terms of named storms, slightly above average in terms of hurricanes (6), and below average in terms of major hurricanes, with only one; Beulah. The season began on June 1, 1967 and ended on November 30, 1967, which delimits the time boundaries when tropical cyclones in the North Atlantic Ocean typically form. The first depression originated on June 10, and the final storm – Heidi – lost tropical characteristics on October 31.

1968 Atlantic hurricane season Hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

The 1968 Atlantic hurricane season was one of five Atlantic hurricane seasons during the satellite era not to feature a major hurricane, the others being 1972, 1986, 1994, and 2013. The season officially began on June 1 and lasted until November 30, dates which conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic basin. It was a below average season in terms of tropical storms, with a total of eight nameable storms. The first system, Hurricane Abby, developed in the northwestern Caribbean on June 1. Abby moved northward and struck Cuba, bringing heavy rainfall and flooding to western portions of the island. Making landfall in Florida on June 4, Abby caused flooding and spawned four tornadoes, but left behind little damage. Overall, the hurricane resulted in six deaths and about $450,000 (1968 USD) in damage. In late June, Tropical Storm Candy brought minor flooding and spawned several tornadoes across portions of the Southern United States. Overall damage from the cyclone reached approximately $2.7 million.

1969 Atlantic hurricane season Hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

The 1969 Atlantic hurricane season was the most active Atlantic hurricane season since the 1933 season, and was the final year of the most recent positive ("high-quality") Atlantic multidecadal oscillation (AMO) era. The hurricane season officially began on June 1, and lasted until November 30. The season had the highest number of systems reach hurricane status – twelve – in a single season, until that record was surpassed in 2005. The season was above-average despite an El Niño, which typically suppresses activity in the Atlantic Ocean, while increasing tropical cyclone activity in the Pacific Ocean. Activity began with a tropical depression that caused extensive flooding in Cuba and Jamaica in early June. On July 25, Tropical Storm Anna developed, the first named storm of the season. Later in the season, Tropical Depression Twenty-Nine caused severe local flooding in the Florida Panhandle and southwestern Georgia in September.

1970 Atlantic hurricane season Hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

The 1970 Atlantic hurricane season was the first season of the most recent low-quality era of tropical cyclone formation in the Atlantic. It was also the first year in which reconnaissance aircraft flew into all four quadrants of a tropical cyclone. The season officially began on June 1 and lasted until November 30. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic basin. The season was fairly average, with 14 total storms forming, of which seven were hurricanes. Two of those seven became major hurricanes, which are Category 3 or higher on the Saffir–Simpson scale. The first system, Hurricane Alma, developed on May 17. The storm killed eight people, seven from flooding in Cuba and one from a lightning strike in Florida. In July, Tropical Storm Becky brought minor flooding to Florida and other parts of the Southern United States, leaving one death and about $500,000 (1970 USD) in damage.

1975 Atlantic hurricane season Hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

The 1975 Atlantic hurricane season featured the first tropical storm to be upgraded to a hurricane based solely on satellite imagery – Hurricane Doris. The season officially began on June 1 and lasted until November 30. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic basin. The season was near average, with nine tropical storms forming, of which six became hurricanes. Three of those six became major hurricanes, which are Category 3 or higher on the Saffir–Simpson scale. The first system, Tropical Depression One, developed on June 24. Tropical Storm Amy in July caused minor beach erosion and coastal flooding from North Carolina to New Jersey, and killed one person when a ship capsized offshore North Carolina. Hurricane Blanche brought strong winds to portions of Atlantic Canada, leaving about $6.2 million (1975 USD) in damage. Hurricane Caroline brought high tides and flooding to northeastern Mexico and Texas, with two drownings in the latter.

1976 Atlantic hurricane season Hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

The 1976 Atlantic hurricane season featured only one fully tropical storm throughout both the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, a rare occurrence. The season officially began on June 1 and lasted until November 30. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic basin. However, the first system, a subtropical storm, developed in the Gulf of Mexico on May 21, several days before the official start of the season. The system spawned nine tornadoes in Florida, resulting in about $628,000 (1976 USD) in damage, though impact was minor otherwise. The season was near average, with ten tropical storm forming, of which six became hurricanes. Two of those six became major hurricanes, which are Category 3 or higher on the Saffir–Simpson scale.

1977 Atlantic hurricane season Hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

The 1977 Atlantic hurricane season was a very inactive Atlantic hurricane season, with only six tropical storms. The season officially began on Wednesday, June 1, 1977 and lasted until Wednesday, November 30, 1977. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic basin. The first tropical depression of the season developed over the western Caribbean Sea on June 13, 12 days after the start of the season, with three other tropical depressions following suit in July and early August. Then, on August 29, Hurricane Anita formed and rapidly intensified to a Category 5 hurricane on September 1, before weakening slightly and striking Mexico as a high-end Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale, bringing strong winds and heavy rainfall. At least 25,000 people were left homeless and 11 fatalities were reported, with total damages still yet to be known to date.

1978 Atlantic hurricane season Hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

The 1978 Atlantic hurricane season was the last Atlantic hurricane season to use an all-female naming list. The season officially began on June 1, and ended on November 30. It was an above average season due to a subsiding El Niño. The first storm, a subtropical storm, developed unusually early – on January 18 – and dissipated five days later without causing any damage. At the end of July and early August, short-lived Tropical Storm Amelia caused extensive flooding in Texas after dropping as much as 48 in (1,200 mm) of rain. There were 33 deaths and US$110 million in damage. Tropical Storm Bess and Hurricane Cora resulted in only minor land impacts, while the latter was attributed to one fatality.

1979 Atlantic hurricane season Hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

The 1979 Atlantic hurricane season was the first season to include both male and female names, as well as the common six-year rotating lists of tropical cyclone names. The season officially began on June 1, and lasted until November 30. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic basin. It was slightly below average, with nine systems reaching tropical storm intensity. The first system, an unnumbered tropical depression, developed north of Puerto Rico on June 9. Two days later, Tropical Depression One formed and produced severe flooding in Jamaica, with 40 deaths and about $27 million (1979 USD) in damage. Tropical Storm Ana caused minimal impact in the Lesser Antilles. Hurricane Bob spawned tornadoes and produced minor wind damage along the Gulf Coast of the United States, primarily in Louisiana, while the remnants caused flooding, especially in Indiana. Tropical Storm Claudette caused extensive flooding in Texas due to torrential rainfall, resulting in two deaths and about $750 million in damage.

1942 Atlantic hurricane season Hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

The 1942 Atlantic hurricane season was one of seven seasons to feature multiple hurricane landfalls in Texas. The season officially lasted from June 16, 1942, to October 31, 1942. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic basin. A total of 11 tropical storms from 1943 are listed in the Atlantic hurricane database, with two additional tropical depressions. The first system of the year, a tropical depression, developed over the central Gulf of Mexico on June 3, while the last system, the Belize hurricane, dissipated over the Yucatán Peninsula on November 11. After the depression dissipated on June 3, the season remained dormant until the next system developed two months later. In mid-August, a hurricane struck Texas, causing about $790,000 (1942 USD) in damage.

1937 Atlantic hurricane season Hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

The 1937 Atlantic hurricane season was a below-average period of tropical cyclone activity in the North Atlantic, featuring eleven tropical storms; of these, four became hurricanes. One hurricane reached major hurricane intensity, equivalent to a Category 3 or higher on the modern Saffir–Simpson scale. The United States Weather Bureau defined the season as officially lasting from June 16 to October 16. Tropical cyclones that did not approach populated areas or shipping lanes, especially if they were relatively weak and of short duration, may have remained undetected. Because technologies such as satellite monitoring were not available until the 1960s, historical data on tropical cyclones from this period are often not reliable. As a result of a reanalysis project which analyzed the season in 2012, a tropical storm and a hurricane were added to the Atlantic hurricane database (HURDAT). The official intensities and tracks of all storms were also revised by the reanalysis. The year's first storm formed on July 29 in the Gulf of Mexico, and the final system, a hurricane, dissipated over open ocean on October 21.

1922 Atlantic hurricane season Hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

The 1922 Atlantic hurricane season was the first season since 1914 in which no hurricanes made landfall in the United States. Although no "hurricane season" was defined at the time, the present-day delineation of such is June 1 to November 30. The first system, a tropical depression, developed on May 12, while the last, also a tropical depression, dissipated on October 31. Of note, seven of the fourteen cyclones co-existed with another tropical cyclone during the season, including three systems being simultaneously active on September 22.

1912 Atlantic hurricane season Hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

The 1912 Atlantic hurricane season featured the first recorded major hurricane – Category 3 or higher on the modern day Saffir–Simpson scale – in the month of November. There were eleven tropical cyclones, seven of which became tropical storms; four of those strengthened into hurricanes, and one reached major hurricane intensity. The season's first cyclone developed on April 4, while the final dissipated on November 21. The season's most intense and most devastating tropical cyclone was the final storm, known as the Jamaica hurricane. It produced heavy rainfall on Jamaica, leading to at least 100 fatalities and about $1.5 million (1912 USD) in damage. The storm was also blamed for five deaths in Cuba.

1908 Atlantic hurricane season Hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

The 1908 Atlantic hurricane season remains the only season on record to feature two hurricanes prior to the month of June. The season produced thirteen tropical cyclones, of which ten became tropical storms; six became hurricanes, and one of those strengthened into a major hurricane – tropical cyclones that reach at least Category 3 on the modern day Saffir–Simpson scale. The season's first system developed on March 6, which was the only known tropical cyclone to have developed in the month of March since official records began in 1851. The last storm transitioned into an extratropical cyclone on October 23.

1902 Atlantic hurricane season Hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

The 1902 Atlantic hurricane season featured five known tropical cyclones, three of which made landfall in the United States. The first system was initially observed in the northwestern Caribbean on June 12. The last system dissipated on November 6 while located well southeast of Newfoundland. These dates fall within the period with the most tropical cyclone activity in the Atlantic. None of the systems existed simultaneously.

2020 Atlantic hurricane season Hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season was the most active Atlantic hurricane season on record, surpassing a record previously set in 2005. The season featured a total of 31 tropical or subtropical cyclones, all but one of which became a named storm. Of the 30 named storms, 14 developed into hurricanes, and a record-tying seven further intensified into major hurricanes. It was the second and final season to use the Greek letter storm naming system, the first being 2005. Of the 30 named storms, 11 of them made landfall in the contiguous United States, breaking the record of nine set in 1916. During the season, 27 tropical storms established a new record for earliest formation date by storm number. This season also featured a record 10 tropical cyclones that underwent rapid intensification, tying it with 1995. This unprecedented activity was fueled by a La Niña that developed in the summer months of 2020. Despite the record-high activity, this was the first season since 2015 in which no Category 5 hurricane formed. It did, however, continue a stretch of above-average seasonal activity that began in 2016.

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