Category 4 hurricanes are tropical cyclones that reach Category 4 intensity on the Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale. Category 4 hurricanes that later attained Category 5 strength are not included in this list. The Atlantic basin includes the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. Category 4 is the second-highest hurricane classification category on the Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale, and storms that are of this intensity maintain maximum sustained winds of 113–136 knots (130–156 mph, 209–251 km/h). Based on the Atlantic hurricane database, 143 hurricanes have attained Category 4 hurricane status since 1851, the start of modern meteorological record keeping. Category 4 storms are considered extreme hurricanes. Hurricane Ike, which was a Category 4 storm, brought on a 24 ft storm surge, the third greatest storm surge ever recorded (after Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Camille, respectively).
Category 4 hurricanes have maximum sustained winds of 113–136 knots (130–156 mph, 209–251 km/h). "Sustained winds" refers to the average wind speed observed over one minute at a height of 10 meters (33 ft) above ground. Gust can be 30% higher than the sustained winds. Mobile homes and other buildings without fixed structures can be completely destroyed, and the lower floors of sturdier structures usually sustain major damage. In addition to the winds, the cyclones generally produce a storm surge of 13–18 feet (4–5.5 m) above normal, potentially causing major beach erosion. Heavy, irreparable damage and/or near complete destruction of gas station canopies and other wide span overhang type structures are also very common, and mobile and manufactured homes are often completely destroyed. Low-level terrain may be flooded well inland, as well. In addition, Category 4 hurricanes are very often Cape Verde type hurricanes. Cape Verde hurricanes are usually the strongest, and their track sometimes points them towards the United States, or other land.
The number of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes appears to have nearly doubled in occurrence in from 1970 to 2004.It is likely that the increase in Atlantic tropical storm and hurricane frequency is primarily due to improved monitoring.
Due to growing population in major coastal cities, many areas have become more vulnerable to strong hurricanes, especially categories 4 and 5.
All of the storms listed in this analysis are listed in chronological order, but they also list the minimum central pressure and maximum sustained winds. Each of these meteorological readings are taken using a specific meteorological instrument. For modern storms, the minimum pressure measurements are taken by Reconnaissance Aircraft using dropsondes, or by determining it from satellite imagery using the Dvorak technique. For older storms, pressures are often incomplete, typically being provided by ship-reports or land-observations. None of these methods can provide constant pressure measurements; thus it is possible the only measurement occurred when the cyclone was at a lesser strength. meters (33 ft) above the ground.Sustained winds are taken using an Anemometer at 10
A total of 94 hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean Basin, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, have reached Category 4 status as their peak intensity. (Note that Category 4 storms that intensified later to Category 5 status are not included in this analysis.)
Most Category 4 hurricanes occur during September, with 51 storms occurring in that month. This coincides with the average peak of the Atlantic hurricane season, which occurs on September 10. Most Category 4 hurricanes develop in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. Several Category 4 hurricanes are Cape Verde-type hurricanes. There have been no Category 4 hurricanes to form in either May or December, or in any other month outside the traditional bounds of the Atlantic hurricane season.
All data listed is provided by the NHC best track, unless otherwise noted. Also, some pressure readings for the older storms may have been taken at a time other than the storm's peak intensity. Thus, some pressure readings might not be the minimum pressure.
Some pressure readings are unavailable due to scarce information.
|Period||Number||Number per year|
In the years between 1851 and 1900, thirteen Category 4 storms are known to have occurred in the Atlantic Ocean. These numbers are limited by the observation techniques used prior to the use of satellite imagery in the 1960s.
|Name||Season||Month||Max. sustained winds||Minimum pressure|
|Hurricane #3||1853||August, September||130||240||150||924|
|"1856 Last Island Hurricane"||1856||August||130||240||150||934|
|Hurricane #6||1866||September, October||120||220||140||938|
|Hurricane #7||1878||September, October||120||220||145||935|
|Hurricane #8||1880||September, October||120||220||140||928|
|Indianola Hurricane of 1886||1886||August||135||250||155||925|
|Hurricane #10||1893||September, October||115||215||130||948|
|1898 Georgia hurricane||1898||September, October||115||215||130||930|
|1899 San Ciriaco hurricane||1899||August, September||130||240||150||930|
|Galveston Hurricane of 1900||1900||August, September||125||230||145||936|
|Sources: Atlantic Hurricane Best Track File 1851–2012.|
Between 1901 and 1950, 29 Category 4 hurricanes formed in the Atlantic Basin.
|Name||Season||Months||Max. sustained winds||Minimum pressure|
|Hurricane #4||1906||August, September||115||215||130||950|
|1910 Cuba hurricane||1910||October||130||240||150||924|
|1915 Galveston hurricane||1915||August||125||230||145||940|
|1915 New Orleans hurricane||1915||September, October||125||230||145||931|
|1916 Texas hurricane||1916||August||115||215||130||932|
|1917 Nueva Gerona hurricane||1917||September||130||240||150||928|
|1919 Florida Keys hurricane||1919||September||130||240||150||927|
|1921 Tampa Bay hurricane||1921||October||120||220||140||941|
|1926 Nassau hurricane||1926||July, August||120||220||140||≤ 967|
|Hurricane #4||1926||September||120||220||140||≤ 957|
|1926 Miami hurricane||1926||September||130||240||150||930|
|1926 Havana–Bermuda hurricane||1926||October||130||240||150||934|
|1929 Bahamas hurricane||1929||September, October||135||250||155||924|
|1930 Dominican Republic hurricane||1930||August, September||135||250||155||933|
|1931 Belize hurricane||1931||September||115||215||130||≤ 952|
|1932 Freeport hurricane||1932||August||130||240||150||935|
|1932 San Ciprian hurricane||1932||September||125||230||145||943|
|1933 Chesapeake–Potomac hurricane||1933||August||120||220||140||≤ 940|
|1933 Treasure Coast hurricane||1933||August, September||120||220||140||945|
|1933 Outer Banks hurricane||1933||September||120||220||140||≤ 947|
|Hurricane #2||1935||August||115||215||130||≤ 955|
|1935 Cuba hurricane||1935||September, October||120||220||140||≤ 945|
|Hurricane #5||1939||October||120||220||140||≤ 941|
|Hurricane #4||1941||September||115||215||130||≤ 957|
|1944 Great Atlantic hurricane||1944||September||125||230||145||≤ 933|
|1944 Cuba–Florida hurricane||1944||October||125||230||145||937|
|1945 Homestead hurricane||1945||September||115||215||130||949|
|1947 Fort Lauderdale hurricane||1947||September||125||230||145||938|
|1948 Bermuda–Newfoundland hurricane||1948||September||115||215||130||940|
|September 1948 Florida hurricane||1948||September||115||215||130||940|
|1949 Florida hurricane||1949||August||130||240||150||954|
|Sources: Atlantic Hurricane Best Track File 1851–2012|
In the years between 1951 and 1975, there were 23 Category 4 hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean.
|Name||Season||Month||Max. sustained winds||Minimum pressure|
|Hurricane Flora||1963||September, October||130||240||150||933|
|Hurricane Cleo||1964||August, September||130||240||150||938|
|Hurricane Dora||1964||August, September||115||215||130||942|
|Hurricane Hilda||1964||September, October||120||230||140||941|
|Hurricane Betsy||1965||August, September||120||230||140||942|
|Hurricane Inez||1966||September, October||130||240||150||929|
|Hurricane Carmen||1974||August, September||130||240||150||928|
|Hurricane Gladys||1975||September, October||120||220||140||939|
|Sources: Atlantic Hurricane Best Track File 1851–2012|
In the years between 1976 and 2000, 24 Category 4 hurricanes formed in the basin:
|Name||Season||Month||Max. sustained winds||Minimum pressure|
|Hurricane Ella||1978||August, September||120||220||140||956|
|Hurricane Frederic||1979||August, September||115||215||130||943|
|Hurricane Gloria||1985||September, October||125||230||145||919|
|Hurricane Joan||1988||October, November||125||230||145||932|
|Hurricane Gabrielle||1989||August, September||125||230||145||935|
|Hurricane Luis||1995||August, September||120||220||140||935|
|Hurricane Opal||1995||September, October||130||240||150||916|
|Hurricane Edouard||1996||August, September||125||230||145||933|
|Hurricane Georges||1998||September, October||135||250||155||937|
|Hurricane Isaac||2000||September, October||120||220||140||943|
|Hurricane Keith||2000||September, October||120||220||140||939|
|Sources: Atlantic Hurricane Best Track File 1851–2012|
In the years between 2001 and the present time, 24 Category 4 hurricanes formed within the confines of the Atlantic Ocean. A dagger (
|Track||Season||Dates as a|
|Hurricane Iris||2001||October 8–9||145 mph (230 km/h)||948 mbar (hPa; 27.99 inHg)|
|Hurricane Michelle||2001||November 3–4||140 mph (220 km/h)||933 mbar (hPa; 27.55 inHg)|
|Hurricane Lili||2002||October 2–3||145 mph (230 km/h)||938 mbar (hPa; 27.70 inHg)|
|Hurricane Fabian||2003||August 31–September 5||145 mph (230 km/h)||939 mbar (hPa; 27.73 inHg)|
|Hurricane Charley||2004||August 13||150 mph (240 km/h)||941 mbar (hPa; 27.79 inHg)|
|Hurricane Frances||2004||August 28–September 2||145 mph (230 km/h)||935 mbar (hPa; 27.61 inHg)|
|Hurricane Karl||2004||September 20–21||145 mph (230 km/h)||938 mbar (hPa; 27.70 inHg)|
|Hurricane Dennis||2005||July 8–10||150 mph (240 km/h)||930 mbar (hPa; 27.46 inHg)|
|Hurricane Gustav||2008||August 30–31||155 mph (250 km/h)||941 mbar (hPa; 27.79 inHg)|
|Hurricane Ike||2008||September 4–8||145 mph (230 km/h)||935 mbar (hPa; 27.61 inHg)|
|Hurricane Omar||2008||October 16||130 mph (215 km/h)||958 mbar (hPa; 28.29 inHg)|
|Hurricane Paloma||2008||November 8||145 mph (230 km/h)||944 mbar (hPa; 27.88 inHg)|
|Hurricane Bill||2009||August 19–20||130 mph (215 km/h)||943 mbar (hPa; 27.85 inHg)|
|Hurricane Danielle||2010||August 27||130 mph (215 km/h)||942 mbar (hPa; 27.82 inHg)|
|Hurricane Earl||2010||August 30–September 2||145 mph (230 km/h)||927 mbar (hPa; 27.37 inHg)|
|Hurricane Igor||2010||September 12–17||155 mph (250 km/h)||924 mbar (hPa; 27.29 inHg)|
|Hurricane Julia||2010||September 15||140 mph (220 km/h)||948 mbar (hPa; 27.99 inHg)|
|Hurricane Katia||2011||September 6||140 mph (220 km/h)||942 mbar (hPa; 27.82 inHg)|
|Hurricane Ophelia||2011||October 2||140 mph (220 km/h)||940 mbar (hPa; 27.76 inHg)|
|Hurricane Gonzalo||2014||October 15–17||145 mph (230 km/h)||940 mbar (hPa; 27.76 inHg)|
|Hurricane Joaquin||2015||October 1–3||155 mph (250 km/h)||931 mbar (hPa; 27.64 inHg)|
|Hurricane Nicole||2016||October 12–13||140 mph (220 km/h)||950 mbar (hPa; 28.05 inHg)|
|Hurricane Harvey||2017||August 26||130 mph (215 km/h)||937 mbar (hPa; 27.67 inHg)|
|Hurricane Jose||2017||September 8–10||155 mph (250 km/h)||938 mbar (hPa; 27.70 inHg)|
|Hurricane Florence||2018||September 5–12||150 mph (240 km/h)||937 mbar (hPa; 27.67 inHg)|
The following hurricanes made landfall at some location at any strength. Due to inaccuracies in data, tropical depression landfalls are not included. Category 5 hurricanes are also not included in the table below. Several of these storms weakened slightly after attaining Category 4 status as they approached land; this is usually a result of dry air, shallower water due to shelving, cooler waters, or interaction with land.
|"Unnamed"||1878||Haiti & Turks and Caicos Islands|
|Indianola||1886||Texas||Dominican Republic & Cuba|
|Cheniere Caminada||1893||Louisiana||Quintana Roo & Mississippi|
|San Ciriaco||1899||Guadeloupe & Puerto Rico||Bahamas & North Carolina|
|Galveston (1900)||1900||Texas||Antigua, Nevis, Dominican Republic & Cuba|
|Florida Keys||1919||Bahamas & Texas||Puerto Rico|
|Miami||1926||Bahamas & Florida||Alabama|
|San Zenón||1930||Dominican Republic||Guadeloupe||Cuba & Florida|
|San Ciprian||1932||Puerto Rico||Dominican Republic||Belize|
|Outer Banks||1933||North Carolina||Nova Scotia|
|Great Atlantic Hurricane||1944||New York & Rhode Island|
|Hazel||1954||North Carolina||Haiti & Turks and Caicos Islands|
|Donna||1960||Florida||Barbuda, Anguilla, & Bahamas||North Carolina, New York & Connecticut|
|Flora||1963||Haiti||Tobago & Cuba||Cuba|
|Cleo||1964||Guadeloupe & Haiti||Florida||Cuba||Georgia|
|Betsy||1965||Louisiana||Bahamas & Florida|
|Inez||1966||Dominican Republic||Guadeloupe, Cuba & Tamaulipas||Cuba|
|Frederic||1979||Alabama||Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic & Cuba|
|Gloria||1985||North Carolina||New York & Connecticut|
|Joan||1988||Nicaragua||Grenada, Colombia & Venezuela|
|Hortense||1996||Puerto Rico & Nova Scotia||Guadeloupe|
|Georges||1998||Antigua, Saint Kitts, Puerto Rico & Dominican Republic||Florida & Mississippi||Cuba|
|Floyd||1999||Bahamas||Bahamas||North Carolina||Maryland, New Jersey, New York & Connecticut|
|Lenny||1999||Saint Martin||Anguilla||Saint Barthélemy||Antigua|
|Keith||2000||Belize & Tamaulipas|
|Lili||2002||Cuba||Cayman Islands & Louisiana|
|Frances||2004||Bahamas||Bahamas & Florida||Florida|
|Earl||2010||Nova Scotia||Prince Edward Island|
|Gonzalo||2014||Bermuda||Antigua, Saint Martin & Anguilla|
|Harvey||2017||Texas||Texas||Barbados, Saint Vincent & Louisiana|
The 1950 Atlantic hurricane season was the first year in the Atlantic hurricane database (HURDAT) that storms were given names in the Atlantic basin. Names were taken from the Joint Army/Navy Phonetic Alphabet, with the first named storm being designated "Able", the second "Baker", and so on. It was an active season with sixteen tropical storms, with eleven of them developing into hurricanes. Six of these hurricanes were intense enough to be classified as major hurricanes—a denomination reserved for storms that attained sustained winds equivalent to a Category 3 or greater on the present-day Saffir–Simpson scale. One storm, the twelfth of the season, was unnamed and was originally excluded from the yearly summary, and three additional storms were discovered in re-analysis. The large quantity of strong storms during the year yielded, prior to modern reanalysis, what was the highest seasonal accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) of the 20th century in the Atlantic basin; 1950 held the seasonal ACE record until broken by the 1995 Atlantic hurricane season. However, later examination by researchers determined that several storms in the 1950 season were weaker than thought, leading to a lower ACE than assessed originally.
The 1929 Atlantic hurricane season was among the least active hurricane seasons in the Atlantic on record – featuring only five tropical cyclones. Of these five tropical systems, three of them intensified into a hurricane, with one strengthening further into a major hurricane. The first tropical cyclone of the season developed in the Gulf of Mexico on June 27. Becoming a hurricane on June 28, the storm struck Texas, bringing strong winds to a large area. Three fatalities were reported, while damage was conservatively estimated at $675,000 (1929 USD).
The 1920 Atlantic hurricane season featured tropical storms and hurricanes only in the month of September. 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 hurricane, developed on September 7 while the last, a tropical depression, transitioned into an extratropical cyclone on October 27. Of note, four of the six cyclones co-existed with another tropical cyclone during the season.
The 1919 Atlantic hurricane season was among the least active hurricane seasons in the Atlantic on record, featuring only five tropical storms. Of those five tropical cyclones, two of them intensified into a hurricane, with one strengthening into a major hurricane Two tropical depressions developed in the month of June, both of which caused negligible damage. A tropical storm in July brought minor damage to Pensacola, Florida, but devastated a fleet of ships. Another two tropical depressions formed in August, the first of which brought rainfall to the Lesser Antilles.
The 1913 Atlantic hurricane season was the third consecutive year with a tropical cyclone developing before June. 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 5 while the last transitioned into an extratropical cyclone on October 30. Of note, the seventh and eighth cyclones existed simultaneously from August 30 to September 4.
The 1919 Florida Keys hurricane was a massive and damaging tropical cyclone that swept across areas of the northern Caribbean Sea and the United States Gulf Coast in September 1919. Remaining an intense Atlantic hurricane throughout much of its existence, the storm's slow-movement and sheer size prolonged and enlarged the scope of the hurricane's effects, making it one of the deadliest hurricanes in United States history. Impacts were largely concentrated around the Florida Keys and South Texas areas, though lesser but nonetheless significant effects were felt in Cuba and other areas of the United States Gulf Coast. The hurricanes peak strength in Dry Tortugas in the lower Florida keys, also made it one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes to make landfall in the United States.
An Atlantic hurricane or tropical storm is a tropical cyclone that forms in the Atlantic Ocean, usually between the months of June and November. A hurricane differs from a cyclone or typhoon only on the basis of location. A hurricane is a storm that occurs in the Atlantic Ocean and northeastern Pacific Ocean, a typhoon occurs in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, and a cyclone occurs in the south Pacific or Indian Ocean.
The Atlantic hurricane reanalysis project of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration seeks to correct and add new information about past North Atlantic hurricanes. It was started around 2000 to update HURDAT, the official hurricane database for the Atlantic Basin, which has become outdated since its creation due to various systematic errors introduced into the database over time. This effort has involved reanalyses of ship observations from the International Comprehensive Ocean-Atmosphere Data Set (ICOADS) as well as reanalyses done by other researchers over the years. It has been ongoing as of 2016, and should last another four years.
The maximum sustained wind associated with a tropical cyclone is a common indicator of the intensity of the storm. Within a mature tropical cyclone, it is found within the eyewall at a distance defined as the radius of maximum wind, or RMW. Unlike gusts, the value of these winds are determined via their sampling and averaging the sampled results over a period of time. Wind measuring has been standardized globally to reflect the winds at 10 metres (33 ft) above the Earth's surface, and the maximum sustained wind represents the highest average wind over either a one-minute (US) or ten-minute time span, anywhere within the tropical cyclone. Surface winds are highly variable due to friction between the atmosphere and the Earth's surface, as well as near hills and mountains over land.
Hurricane Ava was the earliest forming Category 5 hurricane on record in the East Pacific basin. The storm is also tied with 2006’s Hurricane Ioke as the fifth-strongest Pacific hurricane on record. It was the first named storm of the 1973 Pacific hurricane season. Forming in early June, Hurricane Ava eventually reached Category 5 intensity on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale, the first Pacific hurricane to do so in June and the earliest ever in a season. Its central pressure made it the most intense known Pacific hurricane at the time. Despite its intensity, Ava stayed at sea without significant impact.
The 1853 Atlantic hurricane season featured eight known tropical cyclones, none of which made landfall. Operationally, a ninth tropical storm was believed to have existed over the Dominican Republic on November 26, but HURDAT – the official Atlantic hurricane database – now excludes this system. The first system, Tropical Storm One, was initially observed on August 5. The final storm, Hurricane Eight, was last observed on October 22. These dates fall within the period with the most tropical cyclone activity in the Atlantic. At two points during the season, pairs of tropical cyclones existed simultaneously. Four of the cyclones only have a single known point in their tracks due to a sparsity of data, so storm summaries for those systems are unavailable.
The 1875 Atlantic hurricane season featured three landfalling tropical cyclones. However, in the absence of modern satellite and other remote-sensing technologies, only storms that affected populated land areas or encountered ships at sea were recorded, so the actual total could be higher. An undercount bias of zero to six tropical cyclones per year between 1851 and 1885 has been estimated. There were five recorded hurricanes and one major hurricane – Category 3 or higher on the modern-day Saffir–Simpson scale.
The 1871 Atlantic hurricane season lasted from mid-summer to late-fall. Records show that 1871 featured two tropical storms, four hurricanes and two major hurricanes. However, in the absence of modern satellite and other remote-sensing technologies, only storms that affected populated land areas or encountered ships at sea were recorded, so the actual total could be higher. In the absence of modern satellite and other remote-sensing technologies, only storms that affected populated land areas or encountered ships at sea were recorded, so the actual total could be higher. According to a study in 2004, 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 is possible. A later study in 2008 estimated that eight or more storms may have been missed prior to 1878.
The 1869 Atlantic hurricane season was the earliest season in the Atlantic hurricane database in which there were at least ten tropical cyclones. Initially there were only three known storms in the year, but additional research uncovered the additional storms. Meteorologist Christopher Landsea estimates up to six storms may remain missing from the official database for each season in this era, due to small tropical cyclone size, sparse ship reports, and relatively unpopulated coastlines. All activity occurred in a three-month period between the middle of August and early October.
The 1866 Atlantic hurricane season was originally one of only four Atlantic hurricane seasons in which every known tropical cyclone attained hurricane status, along with 1852, 1858, and 1884. Initially, there were three known storms during the season, but a re-analysis confirmed the increased activity. There were also two other systems that were included as tropical cyclones at one time, although both were considered to have been other storms already in the database. All tropical activity occurred between the middle of July and the end of October. There may have been additional unconfirmed tropical cyclones during the season. Meteorologist Christopher Landsea estimates that up to six storms were missed from the official database, due to small tropical cyclone size, sparse ship reports, and relatively unpopulated coastlines.