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Back to Tropical Cyclones Records Page | Back to Main FAQ Page

Subject: E10) What are the average, most, and least tropical cyclones occurring in each basin?

Contributed by Chris Landsea

Record number of storms by basin

Based on data from 1968-1989
(1968/69 to 1989/90 for the Southern Hemisphere):
Tropical Storm or stronger (greater than 17 m/s sustained winds) Hurricane/Typhoon/Severe Tropical Cyclone (greater than 33 m/s sustained winds)
BasinMostLeastAverageMostLeastAverage
Atlantic*1849.71225.4
NE Pacific23816.51448.9
NW Pacific351925.7241116.0
N Indian1015.4602.5
SW Indian15610.41004.4
Aus SE Indian1116.9703.4
Aus SW Pacific1629.01124.3
Globally1037583.7653444.9
* Note that the data includes subtropical storms in the Atlantic basin numbers. (Neumann 1993)

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 bothNeumann 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
Tropical storms/hurricanes19*
(1995)
4
(1983)
Hurricanes12
(1969)
2
(1982)
Major Hurricanes7
(1950)
0
(many times,1994 last)
USA landfalling storms/hurricanes8
(1916)
1
(many,1997)
USA landfalling hurricanes6 +
(1916,1985)
0
(many,2001)
USA landfalling major hurricanes3 &
(1909,33,54)
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.

For the Northeast Pacific, the records stand at maximums of 27 tropical storms/hurricanes in 1992 and 16 hurricanes in 1990. Reliable records go back in this basin to around 1966 when geostationary satellite coverage began.

For the Northwest Pacific, the peak year stands at 1964 with 39 tropical storms, 26 of which became typhoons. Reliable records for this basin begin around 1960.

Last updated August 13, 2004

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