2019 Hurricane Season Recap

The 2019 Atlantic hurricane season was the fourth consecutive year of above-average and damaging seasons dating back to 2016. It is tied with 1969 as the fourth-most active Atlantic hurricane season on record in terms of named storms, with 18 named storms and 20 tropical cyclones in total, although many were weak and short-lived, especially towards the end of the season. Six of those named storms achieved hurricane status, while three intensified into major hurricanes. The season officially began on June 1 and ended on November 30. These dates historically describe the period each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic basin and are adopted by convention. However, tropical cyclogenesis is possible at any time of the year, as demonstrated by the formation of Subtropical Storm Andrea on May 20, marking the record fifth consecutive year where a tropical or subtropical cyclone developed before the official start of the season.

The season's first hurricane, Barry, formed in mid-July in the northern Gulf of Mexico and struck Louisiana. Barry caused one death and produced flooding in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, with damage totaling about $600 million (2019 USD). Hurricane Dorian, the most intense tropical cyclone of the season, proved to be the costliest natural disaster in the history of the Bahamas, becoming the only Category 5 hurricane to strike the country. Overall, Dorian caused about $4.72 billion in damage and 84 fatalities, mostly in the Bahamas. The 2019 season was the record fourth consecutive season to feature at least one Category 5 hurricane. Fernand left flooding in Mexico, with approximately $383 million in damage and 1 death. Humberto produced extensive damage in Bermuda, totaling at least $25 million.

Drifting over Texas, Imelda resulted in a devastating flood in the eastern portions of the state, with about $5 billion in damage and 5 fatalities. Lorenzo, which became the easternmost Category 5 Atlantic hurricane on record, caused 14 deaths after sinking the French tugboat Bourbon Rhode and 8 other fatalities from rough surf along the East Coast of the United States. With Dorian and Lorenzo both intensifying into Category 5 hurricanes, the season became one of seven to feature multiple Category 5 hurricanes. Additionally, Tropical Storm Nestor caused a tornado outbreak across west Florida in mid-October, leaving $125 million in damage, while a car crash in South Carolina killed three people. Olga caused moderate damage and heavy flooding over the central Gulf Coast and generated hurricane-force wind gusts as far north as Tennessee. The storm left 2 deaths and around $400 million in damage. Hurricane Pablo became the easternmost hurricane formation on record, besting Hurricane Vince in 2005. The season concluded with Tropical Storm Sebastien, which became extratropical on November 24.

Most forecasting agencies projects a near-average or slightly above season, with many expecting near-normal sea surface temperatures but expressing uncertainty about the intensity of El Niño. Ultimately, activity in regards to number of named storms exceeded all forecasts, but the number of hurricanes and major hurricanes remained within the predicted range.


National Weather

Click on map for forecast