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Hurricanes in the United States of America

Tropical cyclones occur very often in the USA - about 12 times in an average year. The years 1933, 2005 and 2020 each saw the most hurricanes to date, with more than 20 hurricanes. While the West Coast is rarely affected, hurricanes on the East Coast are much stronger and more numerous.

The Atlantic hurricane season lasts from early June to late November. In the Pacific, it begins a few weeks earlier.

The most severe hurricane to make landfall in the United States in the past 12 months was »Ian«. It reached a wind speed of up to 250 km/h on September 28, 2022 at 2:00 pm local time near Rotonda and was 19 kilometers in diameter at the time. According to the internationally accepted Saffir-Simpson classification, this corresponded to a category 4 hurricane.

Other natural hazards in the United States of America:
Volcanos
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The most severe natural disasters worldwide


Back to overview: United States

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06.02.2023 © CIMSS University of Wisconsin-Madison

The U.S., like Mexico and other Central American nations, has a special role because the country is influenced by both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, and hurricanes come from both directions. Warm air masses with high humidity reach the mainland from the west. These air masses develop into hurricanes due to the Earth's rotation, but they rarely cause severe damage on the Pacific coast. They usually turn south beforehand, where they have a more pronounced impact on the Mexican coast.

Far more threatening, however, are the hurricanes in the east of the U.S. on the Caribbean coast. The formation factors of warm air, high humidity and earth rotation are the same here. Small thunderstorms turn into full-blown low-pressure areas, some of which reach diameters of several 100 kilometers on their way west across the Atlantic. The higher the surface temperature of the Atlantic, the more intense rotations and rising air masses can develop. The south of the USA, with the states of Florida, Louisiana and Texas, is therefore most frequently affected. The more northerly states of South and North Carolina and Virginia are also frequently affected, but the hurricanes usually have less destructive power this far north.

Most violent hurricanes in the United States of America since 2018

Nicole: November 5-11, 2022

Region:
Gulf of Mexico
Wind speed:
max. 120 km/h
Diameter:
max. 1482 km
Air pressure:
below 980 mbar
Saffir-Simpson scale:
category 1
Affected regions
Florida
Georgia
Tennessee

Roslyn: October 17-24, 2022

Wind speed:
max. 213 km/h
Diameter:
max. 370 km
Air pressure:
below 954 mbar
Saffir-Simpson scale:
category 4
The hurricane did not make direct landfall. On October 23rd, 2022 at 7:00 pm it had the shortest distance at about 328 km southeast of Roma-Los Saenz in Texas.

Ian: September 19 to October 2, 2022

Region:
Gulf of Mexico
Wind speed:
max. 250 km/h
Diameter:
max. 1482 km
Eye:
max. 93 km
Air pressure:
below 937 mbar
Saffir-Simpson scale:
category 4
Affected regions
Florida
South Carolina
North Carolina
Virginia

Kay: September 1-10, 2022

Wind speed:
max. 167 km/h
Diameter:
max. 222 km
Air pressure:
below 967 mbar
Saffir-Simpson scale:
category 2
The hurricane did not make direct landfall. On September 9th, 2022 at 5:00 pm it had the shortest distance at about 202 km southeast of Imperial Beach in California.

Alex: May 31 to June 6, 2022

Region:
Gulf of Mexico
Wind speed:
max. 111 km/h
on land:
max. 74 km/h
Diameter:
max. 889 km
Air pressure:
below 984 mbar
Saffir-Simpson scale:
tropical storm
Affected regions
Florida

Wanda: October 25 to November 8, 2021

Wind speed:
max. 111 km/h
Diameter:
max. 741 km
Air pressure:
below 973 mbar
Saffir-Simpson scale:
tropical storm
Affected regions
Massachusetts

Nicholas: September 12-17, 2021

Region:
Gulf of Mexico
Wind speed:
max. 120 km/h
Diameter:
max. 370 km
Air pressure:
below 988 mbar
Saffir-Simpson scale:
category 1
Affected regions
Texas
Louisiana

Henri: August 15-24, 2021

Wind speed:
max. 120 km/h
on land:
max. 102 km/h
Diameter:
max. 111 km
Air pressure:
below 986 mbar
Saffir-Simpson scale:
category 1
Affected regions
New York
Connecticut
Massachusetts

Claudette: June 17-23, 2021

Region:
Gulf of Mexico
Wind speed:
max. 74 km/h
Diameter:
max. 556 km
Air pressure:
below 1003 mbar
Saffir-Simpson scale:
tropical storm
Affected regions
Louisiana
Mississippi
Alabama
Georgia
South Carolina
North Carolina

Sally: September 11-18, 2020

Region:
Gulf of Mexico
Wind speed:
max. 176 km/h
Diameter:
max. 222 km
Air pressure:
below 965 mbar
Saffir-Simpson scale:
category 2
Affected regions
Florida
Alabama
Georgia
South Carolina

Teddy: September 12-24, 2020

Wind speed:
max. 222 km/h
Diameter:
max. 444 km
Air pressure:
below 945 mbar
Saffir-Simpson scale:
category 4
The hurricane did not make direct landfall. On September 22nd, 2020 at 11:00 pm it had the shortest distance at about 435 km southwest of Ellsworth in Maine.

Hanna: July 23-26, 2020

Region:
Gulf of Mexico
Wind speed:
max. 148 km/h
Diameter:
max. 259 km
Air pressure:
below 973 mbar
Saffir-Simpson scale:
category 1
Affected regions
Texas

Douglas: July 20-30, 2020

Region:
Central Pacific
Wind speed:
max. 213 km/h
Diameter:
max. 222 km
Air pressure:
below 954 mbar
Saffir-Simpson scale:
category 4
The hurricane did not make direct landfall. On July 26th, 2020 at 11:00 am it had the shortest distance at about 67 km northwest of Haiku-Pauwela in Hawaii.

Fay: July 5-11, 2020

Region:
Gulf of Mexico
Wind speed:
max. 93 km/h
Diameter:
max. 444 km
Air pressure:
below 998 mbar
Saffir-Simpson scale:
tropical storm
Affected regions
Florida
Georgia
South Carolina
North Carolina
Maryland
New Jersey
New York

Nestor: October 17-21, 2019

Region:
Gulf of Mexico
Wind speed:
max. 93 km/h
on land:
max. 74 km/h
Diameter:
max. 778 km
Air pressure:
below 996 mbar
Saffir-Simpson scale:
tropical storm
Affected regions
Florida
Georgia
South Carolina
North Carolina
Virginia
Maryland

Melissa: October 8-14, 2019

Wind speed:
max. 102 km/h
Diameter:
max. 667 km
Air pressure:
below 994 mbar
Saffir-Simpson scale:
tropical storm
The hurricane did not make direct landfall. On October 8th, 2019 at 2:00 pm it had the shortest distance at about 183 km southwest of Kill Devil Hills in North Carolina.

Imelda: September 17-19, 2019

Region:
Gulf of Mexico
Wind speed:
max. 74 km/h
Diameter:
max. 500 km
Air pressure:
below 1003 mbar
Saffir-Simpson scale:
tropical storm
Affected regions
Texas

Humberto: September 12-20, 2019

Wind speed:
max. 204 km/h
Diameter:
max. 556 km
Air pressure:
below 950 mbar
Saffir-Simpson scale:
category 3
The hurricane did not make direct landfall. On September 15th, 2019 at 11:00 am it had the shortest distance at about 256 km west of Cape Canaveral in Florida.

Dorian: August 24 to September 5, 2019

Wind speed:
max. 296 km/h
Diameter:
max. 111 km
Eye:
max. 93 km
Air pressure:
below 910 mbar
Saffir-Simpson scale:
category 5
The hurricane did not make direct landfall. On September 4th, 2019 at 8:00 am it had the shortest distance at about 139 km northwest of Edgewater in Florida.

Barry: July 10-16, 2019

Region:
Gulf of Mexico
Wind speed:
max. 120 km/h
Diameter:
max. 556 km
Air pressure:
below 993 mbar
Saffir-Simpson scale:
category 1
Affected regions
Louisiana
Arkansas
Missouri


These evaluations are based on data from the National Centers for Environmental Information of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Individual data have been summarized or translated.
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