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Subject: E11) How many tropical cyclones have there been each year in the Atlantic basin? What years were the greatest and fewest seen?

Contributed by Chris Landsea

Starting in 1944, systematic aircraft reconnaissance was commenced for monitoring both tropical cyclones and disturbances that had the potential to develop into tropica cyclones. This is why both Neumann et al. (1993) and Landsea (1993) recommend utilizing data since 1944 for computing climatological statistics. However, for tropical cyclones striking the USA East and Gulf coasts - because of highly populated coast lines, data with good reliability extends back to around 1899. Thus, the following records hold for the entire Atlantic basin (from 1944-present) and for the USA coastline (1899-present):

CategoryMaximumMinimum
Named storms19*
(1995)
4
(1983)
Hurricanes12
(1969)
2
(1982)
Major Hurricanes8
(1950)
0
(many times,1994 last)
USA landfalling named storms9
(2004)
1
(many,1991)
USA landfalling hurricanes6 +
(1916,1985,2004)
0
(many,2001)
USA landfalling major hurricanes3 &
(1909,33,54,2004)
0
(many,2003)
* As a footnote, 1933 is recorded as being the most active of any Atlantic basin season on record (reliable or otherwise) with 21 tropical storms and hurricanes.
+ 1886 is recorded as the most active hurricane season for the continental USA with 7 landfalling hurricanes.
& 1893 tied three years in the 20th Century with 3 landfalling major hurricanes in the continental USA.

Atlantic basin
Individual years with the numbers in each category

Year Named
Storms
Hurricanes Major
Hurricanes
ACE
^ Click header for diagram ^
185163136
185255173
185384276
185453131
185554118
185664249
185743043
185866045
185987161
186076162
186186050
186263046
186395050
186453027
186573049
186677188
186797160
186843035
1869107151
18701110288
187186288
187254065
187353269
187474047
187565172
187654257
187783173
187812102181
187986264
18801192131
188174059
188265263
188343267
188444172
188586158
188612104166
188719112182
188896285
1889960104
189042133
18911071116
1892950116
189312105231
1894754135
189562069
1896762136
189763055
18981151113
1899952150
190073284
1901125093
190253033
19031071102
190453025
190551128
19061163163
190750013
1908106195
1909116492
191053164
191143036
191264174
191343043
19141003
1915543118
191614116177
191732252
191853029
191931148
192044031
192164275
192242158
192373154
192485289
19252107
19261186222
192774256
192864175
192933143
193022139
193192139
19321164136
193321105213
1934116060
193565395
19361671108
193793061
193883173
193953134
194084052
194164261
1942104166
1943105294
1944117396
1945115367
194663122
1947952112
1948964106
1949137398
195013118243
19511085137
195276387
19531464104
19541182113
19551296199
195684254
195783284
19581075121
1959117277
196074288
19611187205
196253136
1963972118
19641266170
196564184
19661173145
1967861122
196884035
196918125158
1970105234
1971136197
197273028
197384143
1974114261
197596373
1976106281
197765125
1978125262
197995291
19801192147
1981127393
198262129
198343117
1984135171
1985117388
198664036
198773134
19881253103
19891172135
1990148191
199184234
199274175
199384139
199473032
199519115227
19961396166
199783140
199814103182
19991285177
20001583116
20011594106
2002124266
20031673175
20041596224
Average
1965-2004
10.65.92.291.0
Named Storms = Tropical Storms, Hurricanes and Subtropical Storms
Hurricanes = Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale 1 to 5
Major Hurricanes = Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale 3, 4, or 5
"ACE" - Accumilated Cyclone Energy = An index that combines the numbers of systems, how long they existed and how intense they became. It is calculated by squaring the maximum sustained surface wind in the system every six hours and summing it up for the season. It is expressed in 10 to the 4th kt**2.

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