List of Category 4 Atlantic hurricanes

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Hurricane Harvey as a Category 4 hurricane, near its Texas landfall on August 25, 2017 Harvey 2017-08-25 2231Z.png
Hurricane Harvey as a Category 4 hurricane, near its Texas landfall on August 25, 2017

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 113136  knots (130156 mph, 209251 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 113136  knots (130156 mph, 209251 km/h). [1] "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. [2] 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. [3] 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. [4]

The number of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes appears to have nearly doubled in occurrence in from 1970 to 2004. [5] It is likely that the increase in Atlantic tropical storm and hurricane frequency is primarily due to improved monitoring. [6] [7] [8] [9] [10]

Due to growing population in major coastal cities, many areas have become more vulnerable to strong hurricanes, especially categories 4 and 5. [11]

Meteorological measurements

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. [12] Sustained winds are taken using an Anemometer at 10 meters (33 ft) above the ground. [13]


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. [14] 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.

List of Category 4 hurricanes

Listed in chronological order

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.

Hurricane frequency
PeriodNumberNumber per year


Homes in Galveston were reduced to timbers by the hurricane winds and floods caused by the Galveston Hurricane of 1900. Galveston - 1900 homes.jpg
Homes in Galveston were reduced to timbers by the hurricane winds and floods caused by the Galveston Hurricane of 1900.

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.

NameSeasonMonth Max. sustained winds Minimum pressure
Hurricane #3 1853 August, September130240150924
"1856 Last Island Hurricane" 1856 August130240150934
Hurricane #6 1866 September, October120220140938
Hurricane #7 1878 September, October120220145935
Hurricane #2 1880 August130240150931
Hurricane #8 1880 September, October120220140928
Hurricane #6 1882 October120220140975
Indianola Hurricane of 1886 1886 August135250155925
Hurricane #10 1893 September, October115215130948
Hurricane #6 1894 October115215130931
1898 Georgia hurricane 1898 September, October115215130930
1899 San Ciriaco hurricane 1899 August, September130240150930
Galveston Hurricane of 1900 1900 August, September125230145936
Sources: Atlantic Hurricane Best Track File 1851–2012. [15]


Destruction after the 1930 Dominican Republic Hurricane Wea02216.jpg
Destruction after the 1930 Dominican Republic Hurricane

Between 1901 and 1950, 29 Category 4 hurricanes formed in the Atlantic Basin.

NameSeasonMonths Max. sustained winds Minimum pressure
Hurricane #4 1906 August, September115215130950
1910 Cuba hurricane 1910 October130240150924
1915 Galveston hurricane 1915 August125230145940
1915 New Orleans hurricane 1915 September, October125230145931
1916 Texas hurricane 1916 August115215130932
1917 Nueva Gerona hurricane 1917 September130240150928
1919 Florida Keys hurricane 1919 September130240150927
1921 Tampa Bay hurricane 1921 October120220140941
1926 Nassau hurricane 1926 July, August120220140≤ 967
Hurricane #4 1926 September120220140≤ 957
1926 Miami hurricane 1926 September130240150930
1926 Havana–Bermuda hurricane 1926 October130240150934
1929 Bahamas hurricane 1929 September, October135250155924
1930 Dominican Republic hurricane 1930 August, September135250155933
1931 Belize hurricane 1931 September115215130≤ 952
1932 Freeport hurricane 1932 August130240150935
1932 San Ciprian hurricane 1932 September125230145943
1933 Chesapeake–Potomac hurricane 1933 August120220140≤ 940
1933 Treasure Coast hurricane 1933 August, September120220140945
1933 Outer Banks hurricane 1933 September120220140≤ 947
Hurricane #2 1935 August115215130≤ 955
1935 Cuba hurricane 1935 September, October120220140≤ 945
Hurricane #5 1939 October120220140≤ 941
Hurricane #4 1941 September115215130≤ 957
Hurricane #3 1943 August120220140
1944 Great Atlantic hurricane 1944 September125230145≤ 933
1944 Cuba–Florida hurricane 1944 October125230145937
1945 Homestead hurricane 1945 September115215130949
1947 Fort Lauderdale hurricane 1947 September125230145938
1948 Bermuda–Newfoundland hurricane 1948 September115215130940
September 1948 Florida hurricane 1948 September115215130940
1949 Florida hurricane 1949 August130240150954
Hurricane Dog 1950 September125230145943
Hurricane Fox 1950 September120220140946
Hurricane King 1950 October115215130955
Sources: Atlantic Hurricane Best Track File 1851–2012 [15]


Flooding in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans after Betsy. NOLA9thFloodedBetsy.jpg
Flooding in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans after Betsy.

In the years between 1951 and 1975, there were 23 Category 4 hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean.

NameSeasonMonth Max. sustained winds Minimum pressure
Hurricane Charlie 1951 August115215130958
Hurricane Easy 1951 September130240150937
Hurricane Fox 1952 October125230145934
Hurricane Hazel 1954 October115215130937
Hurricane Connie 1955 August120220140944
Hurricane Ione 1955 September120220140938
Hurricane Carrie 1957 September120220140945
Hurricane Cleo 1958 August120220140947
Hurricane Daisy 1958 August115215130948
Hurricane Helene 1958 September115215130934
Hurricane Gracie 1959 September120220140950
Hurricane Donna 1960 September125230145930
Hurricane Betsy 1961 September115220130945
Hurricane Carla 1961 September125230145927
Hurricane Frances 1961 October115215130948
Hurricane Flora 1963 September, October130240150933
Hurricane Cleo 1964 August, September130240150938
Hurricane Dora 1964 August, September115215130942
Hurricane Gladys 1964 September115230130945
Hurricane Hilda 1964 September, October120230140941
Hurricane Betsy 1965 August, September120230140942
Hurricane Inez 1966 September, October130240150929
Hurricane Carmen 1974 August, September130240150928
Hurricane Gladys 1975 September, October120220140939
Sources: Atlantic Hurricane Best Track File 1851–2012 [15]


Damage after Hurricane Frederic in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Fred1979aftmth.JPG
Damage after Hurricane Frederic in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

In the years between 1976 and 2000, 24 Category 4 hurricanes formed in the basin:

NameSeasonMonth Max. sustained winds Minimum pressure
Hurricane Ella 1978 August, September120220140956
Hurricane Greta 1978 September115215130947
Hurricane Frederic 1979 August, September115215130943
Hurricane Harvey 1981 September115215130946
Hurricane Debby 1982 September115215130950
Hurricane Diana 1984 September115215130949
Hurricane Gloria 1985 September, October125230145919
Hurricane Helene 1988 September125230145938
Hurricane Joan 1988 October, November125230145932
Hurricane Gabrielle 1989 August, September125230145935
Hurricane Claudette 1991 September115215130943
Hurricane Felix 1995 August120220140929
Hurricane Luis 1995 August, September120220140935
Hurricane Opal 1995 September, October130240150916
Hurricane Edouard 1996 August, September125230145933
Hurricane Hortense 1996 September120220140935
Hurricane Georges 1998 September, October135250155937
Hurricane Bret 1999 August125230145944
Hurricane Cindy 1999 August120220140942
Hurricane Floyd 1999 September135250155921
Hurricane Gert 1999 September130240150930
Hurricane Lenny 1999 November135250155933
Hurricane Isaac 2000 September, October120220140943
Hurricane Keith 2000 September, October120220140939
Sources: Atlantic Hurricane Best Track File 1851–2012 [15]


A beachfront home in Navarre Beach, Florida largely destroyed by Hurricane Dennis in 2005. Beach front home damaged by hurricane dennis 2005.jpg
A beachfront home in Navarre Beach, Florida largely destroyed by Hurricane Dennis in 2005.

In the years between 2001 and the present time, 24 Category 4 hurricanes formed within the confines of the Atlantic Ocean. A dagger (Dagger-14-plain.png) denotes that the storm temporarily weakened below Category 4 intensity during the specified period of time.

List of Category 4 Atlantic hurricanes from 2001–present
TrackSeasonDates as a
Category 4
sustained winds
Minimum pressureNotes
Hurricane Iris
Iris 2001 track.png
2001 October 8–9145 mph (230 km/h)948 mbar (hPa; 27.99 inHg)
Hurricane Michelle
Michelle 2001 track.png
2001 November 3–4Dagger-14-plain.png140 mph (220 km/h)933 mbar (hPa; 27.55 inHg)
Hurricane Lili
Lili 2002 track.png
2002 October 2–3145 mph (230 km/h)938 mbar (hPa; 27.70 inHg)
Hurricane Fabian
Fabian 2003 track.png
2003 August 31–September 5Dagger-14-plain.png145 mph (230 km/h)939 mbar (hPa; 27.73 inHg)
Hurricane Charley
Charley 2004 track.png
2004 August 13150 mph (240 km/h)941 mbar (hPa; 27.79 inHg)
Hurricane Frances
Frances 2004 track.png
2004 August 28–September 2Dagger-14-plain.png145 mph (230 km/h)935 mbar (hPa; 27.61 inHg)
Hurricane Karl
Karl 2004 track.png
2004 September 20–21Dagger-14-plain.png145 mph (230 km/h)938 mbar (hPa; 27.70 inHg)
Hurricane Dennis
Dennis 2005 track.png
2005 July 8–10Dagger-14-plain.png150 mph (240 km/h)930 mbar (hPa; 27.46 inHg)
Hurricane Gustav
Gustav 2008 track.png
2008 August 30–31155 mph (250 km/h)941 mbar (hPa; 27.79 inHg)
Hurricane Ike
Ike 2008 track.png
2008 September 4–8Dagger-14-plain.png145 mph (230 km/h)935 mbar (hPa; 27.61 inHg)
Hurricane Omar
Omar 2008 track.png
2008 October 16130 mph (215 km/h)958 mbar (hPa; 28.29 inHg)
Hurricane Paloma
Paloma 2008 track.png
2008 November 8145 mph (230 km/h)944 mbar (hPa; 27.88 inHg)
Hurricane Bill
Bill 2009 track.png
2009 August 19–20130 mph (215 km/h)943 mbar (hPa; 27.85 inHg)
Hurricane Danielle
Danielle 2010 track.png
2010 August 27130 mph (215 km/h)942 mbar (hPa; 27.82 inHg)
Hurricane Earl
Earl 2010 track.png
2010 August 30–September 2Dagger-14-plain.png145 mph (230 km/h)927 mbar (hPa; 27.37 inHg)
Hurricane Igor
Igor 2010 track.png
2010 September 12–17155 mph (250 km/h)924 mbar (hPa; 27.29 inHg)
Hurricane Julia
Julia 2010 track.png
2010 September 15140 mph (220 km/h)948 mbar (hPa; 27.99 inHg)
Hurricane Katia
Katia 2011 track.png
2011 September 6140 mph (220 km/h)942 mbar (hPa; 27.82 inHg)
Hurricane Ophelia
Ophelia 2011 track.png
2011 October 2140 mph (220 km/h)940 mbar (hPa; 27.76 inHg)
Hurricane Gonzalo
Gonzalo 2014 track.png
2014 October 15–17Dagger-14-plain.png145 mph (230 km/h)940 mbar (hPa; 27.76 inHg)
Hurricane Joaquin
Joaquin 2015 track.png
2015 October 1–3Dagger-14-plain.png155 mph (250 km/h)931 mbar (hPa; 27.64 inHg)
Hurricane Nicole
Nicole 2016 track.png
2016 October 12–13140 mph (220 km/h)950 mbar (hPa; 28.05 inHg)
Hurricane Harvey
Harvey 2017 track.png
2017 August 26130 mph (215 km/h)937 mbar (hPa; 27.67 inHg)
Hurricane Jose
Jose 2017 track.png
2017 September 8–10155 mph (250 km/h)938 mbar (hPa; 27.70 inHg)
Hurricane Florence
Florence 2018 track.png
2018 September 5–12Dagger-14-plain.png150 mph (240 km/h)937 mbar (hPa; 27.67 inHg)
Sources: Atlantic Hurricane Best Track File 1851–2012 [15]

Listed by month


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.

Category 4
Category 3
Category 2
Category 1
Tropical storm
"Last Island"1856 Louisiana
"Unnamed"1866 Bahamas
"Unnamed"1878 Haiti & Turks and Caicos Islands
"Unnamed"1880 Texas Quintana Roo Guadeloupe
"Unnamed"1882 Cuba Florida
Indianola 1886 Texas Dominican Republic & Cuba
Cheniere Caminada 1893 Louisiana Quintana Roo & Mississippi
Unnamed 1894 Saint Lucia
Unnamed 1898 Georgia
San Ciriaco 1899 Guadeloupe & Puerto Rico Bahamas & North Carolina
Galveston (1900) 1900 Texas Antigua, Nevis, Dominican Republic & Cuba
Unnamed 1910 Cuba Florida
Galveston (1915) 1915 Texas Jamaica Guadeloupe
New Orleans 1915 Louisiana
Florida Keys 1919 Bahamas & Texas Puerto Rico
Tampa Bay 1921 Florida
Nassau 1926 Bahamas Florida
Miami 1926 Bahamas & Florida Alabama
Unnamed 1926 Cuba Bermuda
Unnamed 1929 Bahamas Florida Florida
San Zenón 1930 Dominican Republic Guadeloupe Cuba & Florida
Unnamed 1932 Texas
San Ciprian 1932 Puerto Rico Dominican Republic Belize
Chesapeake–Potomac 1933 North Carolina
Treasure Coast 1933 Bahamas Florida
Outer Banks 1933 North Carolina Nova Scotia
Great Atlantic Hurricane 1944 New York & Rhode Island
Unnamed 1945 Florida Bahamas South Carolina
Unnamed 1948 Florida Cuba
Unnamed 1949 Florida Bahamas
Charlie 1951 Quintana Roo Tamaulipas Jamaica Dominica
Fox 1952 Cuba Bahamas Bahamas
Hazel 1954 North Carolina Haiti & Turks and Caicos Islands
Connie 1955 North Carolina
Carrie 1957 Azores
Helene 1958 North Carolina Newfoundland
Gracie 1959 South Carolina
Donna 1960 Florida Barbuda, Anguilla, & Bahamas North Carolina, New York & Connecticut
Carla 1961 Texas
Flora 1963 Haiti Tobago & Cuba Cuba
Cleo 1964 Guadeloupe & Haiti Florida Cuba Georgia
Dora 1964 Florida
Hilda 1964 Louisiana
Betsy 1965 Louisiana Bahamas & Florida
Inez 1966 Dominican Republic Guadeloupe, Cuba & Tamaulipas Cuba
Carmen 1974 Quintana Roo Louisiana
Greta 1978 Honduras Belize
Frederic 1979 Alabama Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic & Cuba
Diana 1984 North Carolina
Gloria 1985 North Carolina New York & Connecticut
Joan 1988 Nicaragua Grenada, Colombia & Venezuela
Luis 1995 Barbuda Newfoundland
Opal 1995 Florida Yucatán Peninsula
Hortense 1996 Puerto Rico & Nova Scotia Guadeloupe
Georges 1998 Antigua, Saint Kitts, Puerto Rico & Dominican Republic Florida & Mississippi Cuba
Bret 1999 Texas
Floyd 1999 Bahamas Bahamas North Carolina Maryland, New Jersey, New York & Connecticut
Lenny 1999 Saint Martin Anguilla Saint Barthélemy Antigua
Keith 2000 Belize & Tamaulipas
Iris 2001 Belize
Michelle 2001 Cuba Bahamas
Lili 2002 Cuba Cayman Islands & Louisiana
Charley 2004 Florida Cuba South Carolina
Frances 2004 Bahamas Bahamas & Florida Florida
Dennis 2005 Cuba Florida
Gustav 2008 Cuba (2x) Louisiana Haiti Jamaica
Ike 2008 Cuba Bahamas Texas Cuba
Paloma 2008 Cuba
Bill 2009 Newfoundland
Earl 2010 Nova Scotia Prince Edward Island
Igor 2010 Newfoundland
Gonzalo 2014 Bermuda Antigua, Saint Martin & Anguilla
Joaquin 2015 Bahamas Bahamas (2x)
Harvey 2017 Texas Texas Barbados, Saint Vincent & Louisiana
Florence 2018 North Carolina

See also

Related Research Articles

1950 Atlantic hurricane season hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

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.

1929 Atlantic hurricane season hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

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).

1920 Atlantic hurricane season hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

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.

1919 Atlantic hurricane season hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

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.

1913 Atlantic hurricane season hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

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.

1919 Florida Keys hurricane Category 4 Atlantic hurricane in 1919

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.

Atlantic hurricane tropical cyclone that forms in the North Atlantic Ocean

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.

Atlantic hurricane reanalysis project

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 Category 5 Pacific hurricane in 1973

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.

1853 Atlantic hurricane season Hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

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.

1875 Atlantic hurricane season hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

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.

1871 Atlantic hurricane season hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

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.

1869 Atlantic hurricane season hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

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.

1866 Atlantic hurricane season hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

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.


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