What hurricane season was like the year you were born

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November 9, 2021
Mario Tama // Getty Images

What hurricane season was like the year you were born

The fast winds, rapid rainfall, and huge storm surges of hurricanes make this natural disaster responsible for many deaths and millions of dollars worth of damage each year. Capable of triggering 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, particularly satellite imaging, have greatly improved warnings and advisories that 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, though 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, and Category 5 hurricanes have the strongest winds at 157 miles per hour or higher. Storms that are Category 3 and above are considered major hurricanes.

It seems hurricanes and other weather disasters are becoming increasingly destructive. There were 30 named storms and14 hurricanes during the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, with seven of those 14 hurricanes considered major. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2020 marked "the fifth consecutive above-normal Atlantic hurricane season." The NOAA predicted another above-average season for 2021, a forecast already coming true.

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 2020, from the NOAA's Atlantic Oceanic and Meteorological Laboratory. A list of notable events or facts from each year was compiled from news, scientific, and government reports. Read on to learn about the noteworthy tropical storms and hurricanes from the year you were born.

You may also like: How to prepare for 15 types of emergencies

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Bettmann // Getty Images

1919: The Atlantic-Gulf Hurricane

- Named storms: 5 (6.00 less than average)
- Hurricanes: 2 (3.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 1 (1.52 less than average)

Because there was no satellite imagery in 1919, meteorologists temporarily lost track of a Category 4 Atlantic Gulf hurricane when ships stopped transmitting information about it. This storm was the deadliest hurricane ever to hit the Texas Coastal Bend, and it 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.]

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Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

1920: Louisiana hurricane kills one person

- Named storms: 5 (6.00 less than average)
- Hurricanes: 4 (1.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 0 (2.52 less than average)

The 1920 hurricane season was less active than usual. One of the year's 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.

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State Library and Archives of Florida // Wikimedia Commons

1921: The forgotten nightmare hurricane

- Named storms: 7 (4.00 less than average)
- Hurricanes: 5 (0.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 2 (0.52 less than average)

On Oct. 28, 1921, Tampa Bay, Florida, experienced its most damaging hurricane since 1848. 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.]

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Canva

1922: An international hurricane season

- Named storms: 5 (6.00 less than average)
- Hurricanes: 3 (2.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 1 (1.52 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, overflowing the Rio Grande and causing more than $5 million of damage.

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Everett Collection // Shutterstock

1923: Four hurricanes hit the US

- Named storms: 9 (2.00 less than average)
- Hurricanes: 4 (1.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 1 (1.52 less than average)

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

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Maksmilian // Shutterstock

1924: First Category 5 on record

- Named storms: 11 (0.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 5 (0.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 2 (0.52 less than average)

A Category 5 hurricane struck Cuba in 1925. This unnamed storm was the first Category 5 hurricane recorded in the database managed by the National Hurricane Center.

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Topical Press Agency // Getty Images

1925: Latest hurricane to hit the U.S.

- Named storms: 4 (7.00 less than average)
- Hurricanes: 1 (4.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 0 (2.52 less than average)

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

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Bettmann // Getty Images

1926: A deadly hurricane season

- Named storms: 11 (0.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 8 (2.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 6 (3.48 more than average)

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

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Canva

1927: Storms pass the US, hit Canada

- Named storms: 8 (3.00 less than average)
- Hurricanes: 4 (1.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 1 (1.52 less than average)

No hurricanes struck the U.S. in 1927. The most significant hurricane of the season was nicknamed The Great August Gales, and it was the deadliest tropical storm to hit Canada in the 1920s.

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Keystone-France // Getty Images

1928: Second deadliest to hit US

- Named storms: 6 (5.00 less than average)
- Hurricanes: 4 (1.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 1 (1.52 less than average)

The Okeechobee Hurricane of 1928 was one of the deadliest storms ever to hit the U.S., killing between 2,500 and 3,000 people. The hurricane also hit Puerto Rico, landing on Sept. 13, the feast day of Saint Philip. It is the second hurricane to hit Puerto Rico on this day of celebration.

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Topical Press Agency // Getty Images

1929: A three-day stationary hurricane

- Named storms: 5 (6.00 less than average)
- Hurricanes: 3 (2.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 1 (1.52 less than average)

The Great Bahamas Hurricane, also known as the Great Andros Island hurricane, barely moved over the course of three days, hovering above Nassau and Andros in the Bahamas. It was also the first hurricane to approach the Bahamas from a northeast direction.

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Keystone-France // Getty Images

1930: Fifth deadliest Atlantic hurricane

- Named storms: 3 (8.00 less than average)
- Hurricanes: 2 (3.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 2 (0.52 less than average)

Though 1930 had a quiet hurricane season overall, it also had one of the Atlantic Ocean's deadliest hurricanes. The Dominican Republic Hurricane is the fifth deadliest storm in the region's history. It created a path of destruction up to 20 miles wide and killed between 2,000 and 8,000 people in the Dominican Republic, though it also brought much-needed rain to Puerto Rico.

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ullstein bild Dtl. // Getty Images

1931: Deadliest hurricane to hit Belize

- Named storms: 13 (2.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 3 (2.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 1 (1.52 less than average)

In 1931, a Category 4 hurricane hit Belize, also known as British Honduras, and killed about 2,500 people. It is the deadliest hurricane to hit Belize in recorded history.

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Keystone-France // Getty Images

1932: Category 4 hurricane strikes Cuba

- Named storms: 15 (4.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 6 (0.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 4 (1.48 more than average)

The Huracán de Santa Cruz del Sur, a Category 4 storm, hit Cuba in 1932 and caused 3,500 fatalities. Most of the deaths were due to a storm surge, a flash flood that rose to over 20 feet.

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tuaindeed // Shutterstock

1933: Third most active hurricane season

- Named storms: 20 (9.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 11 (5.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 6 (3.48 more than average)

The 1933 season is the Atlantic Basin's third most active hurricane season in recorded history. It also held the record for the highest amount of wind energy created during the Atlantic hurricane season until 2011.

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Bettmann // Getty Images

1934: Tropical storm kills 3,000 people

- Named storms: 13 (2.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 7 (1.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 1 (1.52 less than average)

A tropical storm that later became a hurricane killed 3,000 people in Honduras and El Salvador in June 1934. Many of the deaths were due to flash floods and mudslides triggered by heavy rainfall.

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Keystone-France // Getty Images

1935: Category 5 Labor Day Hurricane

- Named storms: 8 (3.00 less than average)
- Hurricanes: 5 (0.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 3 (0.48 more than average)

At the time of its landfall, the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane was one of the strongest storms to touch down on the U.S. It was also the first Category 5 hurricane to hit the U.S. in the 1900s. Although not nearly as strong as the Labor Day Hurricane, a Category 1 hurricane also killed 2,150 people in Haiti and Honduras in October of that year.

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ullstein bild Dtl. // Getty Images

1936: Sixth most active hurricane season

- Named storms: 17 (6.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 7 (1.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 1 (1.52 less than average)

The 1936 hurricane season was the Atlantic Ocean's sixth most active season in modern history, according to records beginning in 1851. Interestingly, there were fewer tropical storms than usual in the Caribbean Sea that year.

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Oskari Porkka // Shutterstock

1937: A short hurricane season

- Named storms: 11 (0.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 4 (1.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 1 (1.52 less than average)

The first tropical disturbance of the 1937 hurricane season was on July 29, and the last ended on Oct. 4. This comparatively short season also saw less activity than expected in the Caribbean Sea.

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Bettmann // Getty Images

1938: Fastest hurricane eye movement

- Named storms: 9 (2.00 less than average)
- Hurricanes: 4 (1.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 2 (0.52 less than average)

The Great New England Hurricane of 1938 recorded the fastest movement speed of an eye of a hurricane. The storm traversed 600 miles in 12 hours, moving more than 60 miles per hour. It earned the nickname The Long Island Express due to its train-like high speeds.

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ullstein bild via Getty Images

1939: Four hurricanes strike Southern California

- Named storms: 6 (5.00 less than average)
- Hurricanes: 3 (2.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 1 (1.52 less than average)

In 1939, for the first time in recorded history, four hurricanes hit Southern California in a single September. A tropical storm in the area, referred to as the Lash of St. Francis, led to the greatest amount of rainfall recorded locally at the time.

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CORBIS/Bettmann Archive // Getty Images

1940: Wettest hurricane in Louisiana history

- Named storms: 9 (2.00 less than average)
- Hurricanes: 6 (0.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 0 (2.52 less than average)

An unnamed hurricane during 1940 is the wettest ever recorded in Louisiana's history. Rainfall peaked in the city of Crowley with 33.71 inches of rain.

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Bettmann // Getty Images

1941: Unnamed hurricane breaches Texas seawall

- Named storms: 6 (5.00 less than average)
- Hurricanes: 4 (1.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 3 (0.48 more than average)

A September 1941 hurricane breached the seawall in Texas near East Matagorda Bay. Water from the rising tide flooded residential and business areas, covering a local airport in up to 3 feet of water. The hurricane cost $7 million in all, with $5 million attributed to crop damage.

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Photo 12/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

1942: Multiple hurricanes batter Texas

- Named storms: 11 (0.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 4 (1.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 1 (1.52 less than average)

The 1942 season is only one of seven in which multiple hurricanes made landfall in Texas. One of these hurricanes hit Matagorda Bay, causing eight fatalities, $11.5 million in property damage, and $15 million in crop damage.

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Historical // Getty Images

1943: Surprise hurricane during World War II

- Named storms: 10 (1.00 less than average)
- Hurricanes: 5 (0.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 2 (0.52 less than average)

During World War II, ship broadcasts in the Gulf of Mexico went silent so the military could keep a lookout for German U-boats. This radio silence meant no transmissions on weather conditions, so the hurricane that hit the Houston-Galveston area of Texas came without warning, earning its nickname as the Surprise Hurricane.

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Bettmann // Getty Images

1944: Hurricane sinks World War II ships

- Named storms: 14 (3.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 8 (2.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 3 (0.48 more than average)

The Great Atlantic Hurricane made landfall on Long Island and Rhode Island, causing 46 direct fatalities and $100 million in damage. The storm also sank five World War II vessels, killing 334 additional people.

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Bettmann // Getty Images

1945: Homestead Hurricane destroys blimp hangars

- Named storms: 11 (0.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 5 (0.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 2 (0.52 less than average)

The Homestead Hurricane's winds started a fire that burnt down wooden hangars used during World War II to house blimps. The storm and its resulting fire also destroyed 25 blimps and 150 automobiles and injured 200 people.

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PA Images // Getty Images

1946: No hurricane deaths in U.S.

- Named storms: 6 (5.00 less than average)
- Hurricanes: 3 (2.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 1 (1.52 less than average)

No lives were lost to tropical storms in the U.S. in 1946, and property damage stayed under $10 million. Any storms that reached the U.S. coast that season were too mild to cause much damage.

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Photo 12 // Getty Images

1947: Attempts to weaken a hurricane

- Named storms: 9 (2.00 less than average)
- Hurricanes: 5 (0.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 2 (0.52 less than average)

For the first time in 1947, the government and private groups tried to weaken a hurricane, using methods such as spreading dry ice throughout the storm. The Air Force led a flight into a hurricane that same year, marking the first time experts could obtain a detailed examination of circulation within the upper level of a hurricane's core.

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Florida Keys--Public Libraries // Wikimedia Commons

1948: Two hurricanes hit south Florida

- Named storms: 9 (2.00 less than average)
- Hurricanes: 6 (0.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 4 (1.48 more than average)

Two hurricanes hit South Florida two weeks apart, causing extensive flood damage. The first hurricane of the 1948 season reportedly featured gusts reaching 160 miles per hour and produced 6 feet of storm surge, a rise in seawater levels due to a storm.

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Pixabay

1949: Hurricane damages fruit in Florida

- Named storms: 13 (2.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 7 (1.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 3 (0.48 more than average)

An August 1949 hurricane caused severe damage to citrus crops. The storm cost Florida $20 million in agricultural damage, including the loss of an estimated 14 million boxes of fruit.

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Evans // Getty Images

1950: Hurricanes given names

- Named storms: 13 (2.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 11 (5.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 8 (5.48 more than average)

1950 was the first year that hurricanes in the Atlantic were given names. The new convention was to use names from the British–U.S. World War II spelling alphabet, starting with Hurricane Able. The fifth storm of the season, Hurricane Easy, devastated the town of Cedar Key in Florida.

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University of Southern California // Getty Images

1951: Hurricane Charlie hits Jamaica

- Named storms: 10 (1.00 less than average)
- Hurricanes: 8 (2.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 5 (2.48 more than average)

No hurricanes made landfall in the U.S. in 1951. However, the third hurricane of the season, Hurricane Charlie, was one of the most destructive storms in recorded history, killing more than 100 people in Jamaica and causing up to $50 million in damage.

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Smith Collection/Gado // Getty Images

1952: A rare winter tropical storm

- Named storms: 7 (4.00 less than average)
- Hurricanes: 6 (0.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 3 (0.48 more than average)

An unnamed winter tropical storm hit Florida on Feb. 2, Groundhog Day—well before the June start of the 1952 hurricane season. The storm struck as a tropical depression and damaged crops across the state.

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Dean Conger // Getty Images

1953: Hurricane naming system changes again

- Named storms: 14 (3.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 6 (0.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 4 (1.48 more than average)

In 1953, the U.S. scrapped the military naming system of 1950 and opted for an all-female list of names. That year's strongest hurricane was Hurricane Carol, which caused $1 million in damage to fishing craft along the New England coast alone.

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Bettmann // Getty Images

1954: Storms wallop New England

- Named storms: 11 (0.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 8 (2.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 2 (0.52 less than average)

Until 1954, most people believed that hurricanes spared New England, but their minds changed when tropical cyclones hit the region twice that year. The storms came close to destroying a few towns in Rhode Island, and Hurricane Carol caused more property damage than any other hurricane by that point in recorded history, a record the storm would only hold for one year.

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Bettmann // Getty Images

1955: Hurricanes Diane and Connie

- Named storms: 12 (1.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 9 (3.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 6 (3.48 more than average)

Hurricane Diane followed so soon after Hurricane Connie that their floods caused more property damage than any hurricane in history up until that point. The two storms hit the coast of North Carolina just five days apart. Just like the previous year, the damage was concentrated in the Northeast.

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ullstein bild Dtl. // Getty Images

1956: A mild hurricane season

- Named storms: 8 (3.00 less than average)
- Hurricanes: 4 (1.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 2 (0.52 less than average)

The 1956 season featured only a few hurricanes, and those storms were of low intensity, especially compared to the years prior. Hurricane Flossy was the only storm to touch down on the contiguous U.S., causing heavy rainfall in Alabama and Florida.

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Shel Hershorn - HA/Inactive // Getty Images

1957: A destructive June hurricane

- Named storms: 8 (3.00 less than average)
- Hurricanes: 3 (2.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 2 (0.52 less than average)

Hurricane Audrey was one of the most destructive hurricanes to happen during June, leading to 390 deaths. Audrey was also the likely cause of several tornadoes reported around its strike zone. The storm made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane around the Louisiana-Texas border.

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Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

1958: No hurricanes until August

- Named storms: 10 (1.00 less than average)
- Hurricanes: 7 (1.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 5 (2.48 more than average)

The 1958 season didn't have significant storm activity over the Atlantic until mid-August. Hurricane Helene was one of the most intense and destructive of the season, causing $11 million in damage in North Carolina, though it led to no fatalities.

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United States Marine Corps

1959: Hurricane Gracie evacuation saves lives

- Named storms: 11 (0.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 7 (1.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 2 (0.52 less than average)

Several of 1959's hurricanes were weak, just barely achieving hurricane status. Hurricane Gracie, which occurred late in the season, was one of the most intense, causing 22 out of the 24 fatalities that year. It was the only major hurricane to reach the U.S. mainland, and accurate warnings enabled many people to evacuate, resulting in a low number of deaths.

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H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock // Getty Images

1960: Hurricane Donna reaches far

- Named storms: 7 (4.00 less than average)
- Hurricanes: 4 (1.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 2 (0.52 less than average)

Hurricane Donna hit in September 196 and is the only hurricane to have caused hurricane-scale winds across Florida, the Mid-Atlantic region, and New England. It is the ninth strongest hurricane to hit the U.S., killing 50 people in the states. There were more fatalities elsewhere, including 107 in Puerto Rico.

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Flip Schulke Archives // Getty Images

1961: Hurricane Carla forces evacuation

- Named storms: 11 (0.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 8 (2.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 7 (4.48 more than average)

Hurricane Carla was Category 5 until just before it touched down in Texas as a Category 4 storm. Still, Carla was one of the largest and most intense hurricanes ever to strike the Gulf Coast. Fortunately, only 46 people died because early warning allowed about half a million people to evacuate.

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Bettmann // Getty Images

1962: A quiet year for hurricanes

- Named storms: 5 (6.00 less than average)
- Hurricanes: 3 (2.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 1 (1.52 less than average)

With significantly fewer storms than usual, 1962 was the quietest hurricane season since 1939. Even the storms that occurred were less intense than expected. The first hurricane of the season, dubbed Alma, barely reached hurricane status and only stayed a hurricane for a few hours.

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Duke University Rubenstein Library/Gado // Getty Images

1963: Hurricane Flora strikes Haiti

- Named storms: 9 (2.00 less than average)
- Hurricanes: 7 (1.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 2 (0.52 less than average)

The 1963 hurricane season started slow, but only two days without tropical cyclones appeared on weather charts from Sept. 10 to the end of October. Hurricane Flora was the deadliest storm the Atlantic had ever experienced, killing an estimated 6,892 people. It hit Haiti the hardest, taking the lives of over 5,000 people in the country.

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Bettmann // Getty Images

1964: Four hurricanes hit US mainland

- Named storms: 12 (1.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 6 (0.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 6 (3.48 more than average)

Four hurricanes hit the U.S. mainland in 1964, an occurrence that had only happened four other times since 1900. Hurricane Cleo killed 214 people, and Dora, a Category 4 hurricane, cost $240 million in damages—$2.1 billion when adjusted for inflation.

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Bettmann // Getty Images

1965: Official hurricane season established

- Named storms: 6 (5.00 less than average)
- Hurricanes: 4 (1.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 1 (1.52 less than average)

1965 marked the establishment of official hurricane season in the Atlantic, running from June 1 to Nov. 30. Hurricane season accounts for 97% of all tropical cyclone activity in that area. Also in 1965, Hurricane Betsy caused major damage as one of the costliest storms ever, knocking out 90% of power in New Orleans.

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Photoshot // Getty Images

1966: Alma and Inez break records

- Named storms: 11 (0.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 7 (1.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 3 (0.48 more than average)

The first storm of the 1966 season, Hurricane Alma, arrived earlier than any other hurricane since 1825. Hurricane Inez, another 1966 storm, had the most advisories posted than any hurricane before, with a total of 65. Inez was also the first hurricane to hit all the West Indies, the Bahamas, Florida, and Mexico.

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Bettmann // Getty Images

1967: Satellites track late hurricanes

- Named storms: 8 (3.00 less than average)
- Hurricanes: 6 (0.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 1 (1.52 less than average)

The 1967 season started late but contained a record number of hurricanes. That was also the first year that satellite images could track hurricanes and provide daily views of storms stretching across the entire Atlantic. This season also saw three hurricanes existing at the same time, a rare phenomenon.

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Boston Globe // Getty Images

1968: Hurricane Gladys ends a drought

- Named storms: 8 (3.00 less than average)
- Hurricanes: 4 (1.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 0 (2.52 less than average)

With no significant storms, 1968 had an unusually calm hurricane season. Gladys, the only hurricane to hit the U.S., brought rainfall that broke a drought in North Carolina that was the worst since 1932. Unfortunately, Gladys also killed five people and caused $6.7 million in damage.

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Bettmann // Getty Images

1969: Hurricane Camille devastates the U.S.

- Named storms: 18 (7.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 12 (6.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 5 (2.48 more than average)

Hurricane Camille was a Category 5 storm with winds reaching an estimated 200 miles per hour. It is one of the most expensive hurricanes in U.S. history. Camille caused intense damage, even splitting an island off the coast of Mississippi in half with its heavy rain and winds.

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Denver Post // Getty Images

1970: Hurricane Celia's destructive winds

- Named storms: 10 (1.00 less than average)
- Hurricanes: 5 (0.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 2 (0.52 less than average)

The only hurricane that significantly impacted the U.S. during the 1970 season was Hurricane Celia. The storm caused $454 million in property damage, although almost all the damage was due to wind, not water.

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Spencer Grant // Getty Images

1971: Hurricane Ginger sets long-lasting record

- Named storms: 13 (2.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 6 (0.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 1 (1.52 less than average)

Hurricane Ginger broke records in 1971, becoming the second-longest-running hurricane in the Atlantic basin at 27 days. In contrast, 1971's Hurricane Kirsty only lasted one day.

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The Washington Post // Getty Images

1972: Category 1 hurricane wreaks havoc

- Named storms: 7 (4.00 less than average)
- Hurricanes: 3 (2.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 0 (2.52 less than average)

There were fewer tropical storms and hurricanes in 1972 than any year since 1930, and most of the storms formed in temperate waters instead of tropical waters. The only storm that originated in the tropics was Hurricane Agnes, which killed 130 people and caused $2 billion in damage in Pennsylvania alone, making it the first Category 1 storm in the Atlantic to have its name retired.

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Dave Mathias/The Denver Post via Getty Images

1973: One of the least damaging seasons

- Named storms: 8 (3.00 less than average
- Hurricanes: 4 (1.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 1 (1.52 less than average)

1973 was one of the least damaging hurricane seasons, with only 16 fatalities throughout the Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico and less than $20 million in damage. No hurricanes crossed the U.S. coastline.

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Bettmann // Getty Images

1974: Hurricane Fifi strikes Honduras

- Named storms: 11 (0.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 4 (1.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 2 (0.52 less than average)

Hurricane Fifi brushed the coast of Honduras and made landfall in Belize, though it caused much more damage to the former country. In some regions, Fifi caused 24 inches of rain in 36 hours, triggering mudslides and flash floods that destroyed 182 towns and killed 8,000 people.

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NOAA Photo Library // Wikimedia Commons

1975: Hurricane Eloise destroys Alabama crops

- Named storms: 9 (2.00 less than average)
- Hurricanes: 6 (0.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 3 (0.48 more than average)

After five years of low hurricane activity in the Atlantic, 1975 marked a return to normalcy. Hurricane Eloise was the only storm to make landfall in the U.S. and the most destructive storm that season, causing more than $100 million in agricultural losses in Alabama.

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David Cupp/The Denver Post via Getty Images

1976: Hurricane Belle destroys Northeast crops

- Named storms: 10 (1.00 less than average)
- Hurricanes: 6 (0.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 2 (0.52 less than average)

Hurricane Belle was one of two named storms to hit the U.S. in 1976, though the other was barely classified as a tropical storm. Belle significantly weakened the day before it hit Long Island, yet it still caused $100 million in damage in the U.S., primarily due to crop damage in the Northeast.

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ajicphotos // Shutterstock

1977: Anita brings a late start

- Named storms: 6 (5.00 less than average)
- Hurricanes: 5 (0.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 1 (1.52 less than average)

Anita, the first hurricane of 1977, didn't land until Aug. 29 and was one of the most intense storms ever in the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricane Anita primarily hit Mexico, where 35,000 people had evacuated, with another 65,000 evacuating from Texas and Louisiana.

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1978: All-female storm names end

- Named storms: 12 (1.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 5 (0.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 2 (0.52 less than average)

1978 was the last year that Atlantic tropical storms were solely given female names, and the following year included both male and female names. Hurricane Greta hit Central America in 1978, killing four people in Belize and one in Honduras.

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1979: Three tropical storms smash records

- Named storms: 9 (2.00 less than average)
- Hurricanes: 5 (0.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 2 (0.52 less than average)

Hurricane David hit in 1979, leaving 60,000 people homeless in Dominica as well as killing 2,000 people and leaving 200,000 homeless in the Dominican Republic. Hurricane Frederic was the costliest storm in U.S. history at the time, causing $2.3 billion in damage.

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1980: Allen prompts oil rig evacuations

- Named storms: 11 (0.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 9 (3.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 2 (0.52 less than average)

Hurricane Allen was the most noteworthy storm of the 1980 season, a Category 5 hurricane that affected Haiti, Texas, and several Caribbean countries. Allen destroyed two offshore oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, and 13 people died in a helicopter crash in a rig evacuation. Half a million people living along the Gulf of Mexico were evacuated.

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1981: Five hurricanes in September

- Named storms: 12 (1.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 7 (1.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 3 (0.48 more than average)

There were no named storms in the Gulf of Mexico in 1981, an occurrence that had only happened twice before in the 20th century. The season also included five hurricanes in one month, September, which has also only been recorded twice before.

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1982: Least active season since 1931

- Named storms: 6 (5.00 less than average)
- Hurricanes: 2 (3.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 1 (1.52 less than average)

1982 was the least active hurricane season in 50 years based on both the total number of hurricanes and the number of days of hurricanes, which was only six. Like the previous year, no hurricanes struck the contiguous U.S. in 1982—only the second time that century that the U.S. was spared for two years in a row.

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1983: Alicia ends hurricane drought

- Named storms: 4 (7.00 less than average)
- Hurricanes: 3 (2.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 1 (1.52 less than average)

On Aug. 18, 1983, Hurricane Alicia brought an end to the longest period in the 20th century without a hurricane hitting the contiguous U.S. Though Alicia was a minor Category 3 storm, it spawned 23 tornadoes, killed 21 people, and caused over $2 billion in damages.

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1984: Hurricane Diana hits eastern U.S.

- Named storms: 13 (2.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 5 (0.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 1 (1.52 less than average)

Hurricane Diana was the first and strongest hurricane of the 1984 season and the most intense storm to hit the Eastern U.S. seaboard since Hurricane Hazel in 1954. Diana caused $65 million in damages, of which $26 million can be attributed to agricultural damage.

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1985: Worst season in 69 years

- Named storms: 11 (0.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 7 (1.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 3 (0.48 more than average)

The 1985 hurricane season was the worst in 69 years, causing $4.45 billion in damages and prompting a million people to evacuate. Six hurricanes and one tropical storm hit the contiguous U.S. that year, the most since 1916. The storms killed 100 people in Puerto Rico, 36 in the U.S., and 10 in Cuba.

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1986: Strongest hurricane doesn't make landfall

- Named storms: 6 (5.00 less than average)
- Hurricanes: 4 (1.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 0 (2.52 less than average)

The strongest hurricane of the 1986 season was Earl, which was also the season's longest-lived, with seven days of hurricane-force winds. However, Earl never made landfall. Two hurricanes, Bonnie and Charley, did hit the U.S., causing $2 million and $15 million in damages, respectively.

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1987: Hurricane Emily breaks Caribbean silence

- Named storms: 7 (4.00 less than average)
- Hurricanes: 3 (2.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 1 (1.52 less than average)

Hurricane Emily was the first major hurricane to hit the Caribbean Islands since 1980, an unusually long stretch without hurricanes in the region. Emily killed three people in the Dominican Republic, though experts suspect the death toll would have been greater if the storm had hit 20 or 30 miles to the east.

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1988: Most destructive in Jamaican history

- Named storms: 12 (1.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 5 (0.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 3 (0.48 more than average)

Hurricane Gilbert hit Jamaica as a Category 3 storm, the country's first direct hit in 37 years. The hurricane damaged 95% of Jamaica's hospitals and destroyed half of the country's domestic water supply. Gilbert cost $4 million in damages in Jamaica alone and is the most destructive hurricane in the nation's history. The storm moved on to strike Mexico first as a Category 5 storm and again as a Category 2 storm. 

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1989: Hurricane Hugo wipes out bananas

- Named storms: 11 (0.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 7 (1.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 2 (0.52 less than average)

Hurricane Hugo, a Category 5 storm that downgraded to Category 4 right before landfall, touched down in the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and South and North Carolina. Hugo destroyed all of Guadeloupe's banana crops and left 35,000 people on the island homeless.

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1990: Gustav stays in the water

- Named storms: 14 (3.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 8 (2.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 1 (1.52 less than average)

Hurricane Gustav was the only Category 3 storm of the 1990 season, but it never made landfall. Hurricane Diana, however, touched down in Mexico and caused 95 deaths.

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1991: Storms form in Bermuda hotspot

- Named storms: 8 (3.00 less than average)
- Hurricanes: 4 (1.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 2 (0.52 less than average)

All the major tropical storms of the 1991 season originated in a hot spot near Bermuda. Hurricane Bob, which hit New England, caused $1.5 billion in damages in the region, primarily affecting homes, boats, and beaches.

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1992: Hurricane Andrew destroys weather instruments

- Named storms: 7 (4.00 less than average)
- Hurricanes: 4 (1.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 1 (1.52 less than average)

Hurricane Andrew, a Category 5 storm that hit southern Florida in 1992, is one of the strongest and costliest hurricanes on record. Andrew's high winds flattened neighborhoods with speeds so high that they destroyed weather station instruments designed to track high wind speeds, though a privately owned instrument clocked the speed at 177 mph.

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1993: Hurricane Emily evacuations save lives

- Named storms: 8 (3.00 less than average)
- Hurricanes: 4 (1.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 1 (1.52 less than average)

Hurricane Emily was the only major hurricane of the 1993 season. Because Emily landed during Labor Day weekend, it cost the tourism industry about $10 million. Over 160,000 people were evacuated from North Carolina, and there were two casualties: a pair of swimmers that drowned in the town of Nags Head.

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1994: A dry September and October

- Named storms: 7 (4.00 less than average)
- Hurricanes: 3 (2.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 0 (2.52 less than average)

Although September and October are usually active months for hurricanes, there were no storms during these months in 1994. Conversely, two hurricanes developed in November for the first time since the 1940s. Tropical storm Alberto produced record-breaking rainfall and floods in eastern Alabama and western Georgia, killing 30 people.

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1995: A busy, costly hurricane season

- Named storms: 19 (8.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 11 (5.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 5 (2.48 more than average)

An unusually active year, 1995 saw several hurricanes that caused significant damage. Hurricane Opal generated $3 billion in damages in the southeastern U.S. and Florida Panhandle. Hurricane Luis cost the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean $2.5 billion, and Hurricane Marilyn did $1.5 billion worth of damage, mainly to the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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1996: Record-breaking hurricane numbers

- Named storms: 13 (2.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 9 (3.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 6 (3.48 more than average)

1995 and 1996 were both active seasons with a combined total of 20 hurricanes, the most for consecutive seasons since accurate reporting began in the 1940s. That year six hurricanes passed over the Caribbean—the most since 1916, though they were all short-lived.

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1997: El Nino causes inactive season

- Named storms: 8 (3.00 less than average)
- Hurricanes: 3 (2.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 1 (1.52 less than average)

Hurricane Danny was the only hurricane to make landfall in 1997, killing five people. There were fewer hurricanes than average due to El Nino, which warmed ocean temperatures across the east-central and central Equatorial Pacific.

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1998: Hurricane Mitch triggers extreme floods

- Named storms: 14 (3.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 10 (4.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 3 (0.48 more than average)

Tropical storms caused over 9,000 deaths during the 1998 hurricane season, primarily because of Hurricane Mitch, which caused massive flooding in Honduras and Nicaragua. Another 9,000 people went missing because of Hurricane Mitch.

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1999: Many Category 4 hurricanes

- Named storms: 12 (1.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 8 (2.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 5 (2.48 more than average)

The 1999 season saw four Category 4 hurricanes, the most in one season since 1886. However, the deadliest storm that year was not a hurricane but a tropical depression with heavy rains and flooding that caused 400 fatalities in Mexico.

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2000: Hurricane Alberto lasts many days

- Named storms: 15 (4.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 8 (2.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 3 (0.48 more than average)

Hurricane Alberto was the longest-lived hurricane on record to form in August 2000 in the Atlantic basin. It remained at sea for most of its existence.

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2001: Costliest and deadliest tropical storm

- Named storms: 15 (4.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 9 (3.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 4 (1.48 more than average)

Tropical Storm Allison is the costliest tropical storm in U.S. recorded history. It killed 41 people and caused $5 billion in damages. Allison is only one of two tropical storms that have had their names retired.

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2002: El Nino causes few hurricanes

- Named storms: 12 (1.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 4 (1.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 2 (0.52 less than average)

Because of El Nino, there were fewer hurricanes than average during the 2002 season. Hurricane Lili was the only hurricane to hit the U.S. between 1999 and 2002, and it was 2002's only storm to make landfall while still classified as a hurricane.

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2003: Hurricane Isabel hits Chesapeake Bay

- Named storms: 16 (5.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 7 (1.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 3 (0.48 more than average)

Hurricane Isabel was the worst storm to hit the Chesapeake Bay in 10 years. Isabel was also the costliest and deadliest hurricane of the season, leading to 17 deaths and $3 billion in damages, primarily due to flooding.

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2004: Hurricane Jeanne causes Haiti mudslides

- Named storms: 15 (4.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 9 (3.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 6 (3.48 more than average)

Four hurricanes affected Florida within six weeks during the 2004 season. The last of these, Hurricane Jeanne, is the 12th deadliest Atlantic hurricane on record. Intense rainfalls caused mudslides in the mountains of Haiti, killing more than 3,000 people.

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2005: Hurricane Katrina devastates New Orleans

- Named storms: 28 (17.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 15 (9.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 7 (4.48 more than average)

Hurricane Katrina, one of the most infamous hurricanes, displaced more than a million people around the Gulf of Mexico. Katrina has the highest cost of any hurricane to hit the U.S., causing $178 billion (in adjusted 2021 dollars) in damage and killing 1,833 people.

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2006: The calm following the storm

- Named storms: 10 (1.00 less than average)
- Hurricanes: 5 (0.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 2 (0.52 less than average)

After two years of frequent tropical storms, 2006 was comparatively calm, with only three tropical storms landing in the U.S. The year's strongest hurricane was Helene, a Category 3 storm with maximum sustained winds of 125 miles per hour.

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2007: Two Category 5 hurricane landfalls

- Named storms: 15 (4.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 6 (0.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 2 (0.52 less than average)

2007 was the first hurricane season in which two Category 5 storms made landfall. Hurricane Dean was the first hurricane of the season, reaching Category 5 status over the Caribbean and making landfall on the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico.

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2008: Hurricane Ike disrupts Montreal's subways

- Named storms: 16 (5.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 8 (2.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 5 (2.48 more than average)

Hurricane Ike, the strongest storm of 2008, mainly impacted Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas, though its effects reached as far as Canada. Humidity caused by the storm sparked an electrical malfunction that required the temporary closure of part of Montreal's subway system.

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2009: A hurricane lull

- Named storms: 9 (2.00 less than average)
- Hurricanes: 3 (2.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 2 (0.52 less than average)

The 2009 season had the lowest number of hurricanes in the Atlantic since 1997. That year marked the thirteenth time that no hurricanes have made landfall in the U.S. during hurricane season.

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2010: Third most active hurricane season

- Named storms: 19 (8.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 12 (6.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 5 (2.48 more than average)

The 2010 hurricane season is the third most active in recorded history. It's also the only season to have over nine hurricanes without a single one making landfall in the U.S.

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2011: Major hurricane drought in the U.S.

- Named storms: 19 (8.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 7 (1.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 4 (1.48 more than average)

No major hurricanes hit the U.S. in 2011, reaching a historic length of time without one. Nonetheless, total damage for the season was $11 billion, and there were 120 fatalities.

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2012: Hurricane Sandy slams East Coast

- Named storms: 19 (8.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 10 (4.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 2 (0.52 less than average)

Hurricane Sandy impacted a total of 24 states, including all the states on the eastern seaboard. It is the fourth costliest storm in U.S. history. Sandy also led to three feet of snowfall in West Virginia and North Carolina.

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2013: A quiet hurricane season

- Named storms: 14 (3.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 2 (3.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 0 (2.52 less than average)

2013 had the quietest hurricane season of the previous 20 years. Hurricane Andrea was the only storm to make landfall in the U.S., touching down in Florida. Andrea caused 11 tornadoes, including in Florida and North Carolina.

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2014: Arthur hits North Carolina early

- Named storms: 8 (3.00 less than average)
- Hurricanes: 6 (0.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 2 (0.52 less than average)

Since the start of accurate record-keeping in 1851, Hurricane Arthur is the earliest hurricane in the season to touch down in North Carolina. Arthur caused no fatalities and less than $25 million in damages.

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2015: Ana reveals wrecked schooner

- Named storms: 11 (0.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 4 (1.91 less than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 2 (0.52 less than average)

Touching down in South Carolina on May 10, Tropical Storm Ana is the earliest tropical cyclone on record to make landfall. Along the beach, Ana's winds revealed parts of a sunken schooner that was wrecked nearly 100 years earlier.

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2016: A rare January hurricane

- Named storms: 15 (4.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 7 (1.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 4 (1.48 more than average)

The hurricane season started early in 2016, with January's Hurricane Alex. Alex was the first hurricane to form in January since 1938. The storm hit the Azores, nine islands that are a part of Portugal, as a tropical storm.

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2017: Three costly hurricanes

- Named storms: 17 (6.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 10 (4.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 6 (3.48 more than average)

Within a single month, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria hit the U.S. All three storms joined the list of the five costliest hurricanes in the U.S. Besides Katrina, Harvey is the only other hurricane to cause more than $100 billion in damages.

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2018: Hurricane Michael hits Florida Panhandle

- Named storms: 15 (4.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 8 (2.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 2 (0.52 less than average)

Featuring sustained winds reaching 155 miles per hour, Hurricane Michael made landfall in Florida on Oct. 10 and caused at least 45 fatalities. Michael is the most intense hurricane to touch down along the Florida Panhandle.

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2019: Fourth year of frequent hurricanes

- Named storms: 18 (7.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 6 (0.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 3 (0.48 more than average)

There were more hurricanes than average in the Atlantic during the 2019 season, the fourth year in a row with this trend. Only one other four-year period can claim this record.

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2020: A record year for named storms

- Named storms: 30 (19.00 more than average)
- Hurricanes: 14 (8.09 more than average)
- Category 3 or higher hurricanes: 7 (4.48 more than average)

2020 featured a record-breaking 30 named storms, marking the fifth consecutive year with more hurricanes than average in the Atlantic. It was also the second time in recorded history that the Greek alphabet was used to name storms after the initial list of 21 names was exhausted. 

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