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What hurricane season was like the year you were born

  • What hurricane season was like the year you were born

    The fast winds, rapid rainfall, and large storm surges of hurricanes make this natural disaster responsible for many deaths and dollars worth of damage each year. Able to trigger flash floods, mudslides, and tornadoes, even weak hurricanes can cause extensive destruction to property, infrastructure, and crops. Other hurricanes remain at sea and never make landfall, limiting the destruction they cause. Advancements in technology over the years, particularly satellite imaging, have greatly improved warnings and advisories that have prompted live-saving evacuations. But not all lives can be spared.

    Also known as tropical cyclones, hurricanes are large, wet storms with high winds that form over warm water. Hurricane season in the Atlantic basin—the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea—runs from June 1 to Nov. 30 each year, though some hurricanes do form outside of this season. Many tropical storms are produced on an average year, and not all reach the strength of hurricanes.

    Hurricanes are rated using the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Category 1 hurricanes have the lowest wind speeds at 74-95 miles per hour. Category 5 hurricanes have the strongest winds at 157 miles per hour or higher. Hurricanes that are Category 3 and above are considered major hurricanes.

    And it seems hurricanes and other weather disasters are becoming increasingly destructive. There were 18 named storms and six hurricanes during the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season, and three of the six hurricanes were considered major. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2019 marked "the fourth consecutive above-normal Atlantic hurricane season."

    Some hurricane seasons are worse than others. In 1920, the strongest hurricane was a Category 2 storm that killed one person in Louisiana. Others are devastating and destroy entire cities. Hurricane Katrina, an infamous storm that struck the U.S. in 2005, delivered lasting damage to New Orleans and cost the country over $100 billion.

    Stacker obtained hurricane data, updated in 2019, from the NOAA's Atlantic Oceanic and Meteorological Laboratory. A list of notable events or facts that occurred every year was compiled from news, scientific, and government reports. Read on to learn about the notable tropical storms and hurricanes from the year you were born.

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  • 1919: The Atlantic-Gulf Hurricane

    - Named storms: 5 (5.81 less than average)
    - Hurricanes: 2 (3.83 less than average)
    - Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 1 (1.48 less than average)

    Because there was no satellite imagery at the time, meteorologists temporarily lost track of the Category 4 Atlantic-Gulf Hurricane of 1919 when ships stopped transmitting information about it. This hurricane, ranked the third most intense in the U.S., is the deadliest hurricane to ever hit the Coastal Bend of Texas alongside the east coast of the state. The hurricane caused more than 500 people to die or be lost due to sinking or missing ships.

    [Pictured: Map plotting the track and the intensity of the 1919 hurricane, according to the Saffir–Simpson scale.]

  • 1920: Louisiana hurricane kills one person

    - Named storms: 5 (5.81 less than average)
    - Hurricanes: 4 (1.83 less than average)
    - Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 0 (2.48 less than average)

    The 1920 hurricane season was less active than usual. One of the most notable storms was a Category 2 hurricane that hit Louisiana, killing one person. The storm ruined the sugar crop and caused $1.45 million in total damages.

  • 1921: The forgotten nightmare hurricane

    - Named storms: 7 (3.81 less than average)
    - Hurricanes: 5 (0.83 less than average)
    - Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 2 (0.48 less than average)

    On Oct. 28, 1921, the most damaging hurricane to hit Tampa Bay, Florida, since 1848 made landfall. The unnamed hurricane killed eight people and cost over $5 million, not adjusted for inflation. It smashed boats against docks and destroyed parts of the local sea wall.

    [Pictured: Wreckage of Safety Harbor Springs pavillion after the 1921 hurricane.]

  • 1922: An international hurricane season

    - Named storms: 5 (5.81 less than average)
    - Hurricanes: 3 (2.83 less than average)
    - Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 1 (1.48 less than average)

    No hurricanes made landfall in the U.S. during the 1922 hurricane season. However, a hurricane that downgraded to a tropical storm did strike El Salvador, causing the Rio Grande to overflow and costing more than $5 million.

  • 1923: Four hurricanes hit the U.S.

    - Named storms: 9 (1.81 less than average)
    - Hurricanes: 4 (1.83 less than average)
    - Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 1 (1.48 less than average)

    The 1923 hurricane season contained the most tropical storms since 1916. This count included four hurricanes that touched down in the U.S., three of which made landfall along the Gulf Coast and one that hit Massachusetts.

    [Pictured: 1923 Atlantic hurricane season summary map.]

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  • 1924: First Category 5 on record

    - Named storms: 11 (0.19 more than average)
    - Hurricanes: 5 (0.83 less than average)
    - Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 2 (0.48 less than average)

    A Category 5 hurricane struck Cuba during the 1925 season. This unnamed storm is the first Category 5 hurricane on record in the hurricane database managed by the National Hurricane Center.

  • 1925: Latest hurricane to hit the U.S.

    - Named storms: 4 (6.81 less than average)
    - Hurricanes: 1 (4.83 less than average)
    - Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 0 (2.48 less than average)

    The 1925 season started late, with the first hurricane beginning on Aug. 18. The season also included a late hurricane that made landfall in Florida on Nov. 30, the latest hurricane to hit the U.S. as of 2007.

  • 1926: A deadly hurricane season

    - Named storms: 11 (0.19 more than average)
    - Hurricanes: 8 (2.17 more than average)
    - Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 6 (3.52 more than average)

    Of the eight hurricanes in the 1926 season, four proved particularly deadly. Of these four, the July storm killed 247 people, the August storm killed 25, the September storm killed 372, and the October storm killed 709.

  • 1927: Storms pass the U.S., hit Canada

    - Named storms: 8 (2.81 less than average)
    - Hurricanes: 4 (1.83 less than average)
    - Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 1 (1.48 less than average)

    No hurricanes struck the U.S. this year. The most significant one of the 1927 season was nicknamed The Great August Gales. It was the deadliest tropical storm to hit Canada in the 1920s.

  • 1928: Second deadliest to hit U.S.

    - Named storms: 6 (4.81 less than average)
    - Hurricanes: 4 (1.83 less than average)
    - Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 1 (1.48 less than average)

    Killing between 2,500 and 3,000 people, the Okeechobee Hurricane is one of the deadliest to ever hit the U.S. The hurricane also hit Puerto Rico, landing on Sept. 13, on the feast day of Saint Philip. It is the second hurricane to hit Puerto Rico on this day of celebration.

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