Meteorological criteria for “most impressive/impactful,” realistic Atlantic hurricane season(s)

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Meteorological criteria for “most impressive/impactful,” realistic Atlantic hurricane season(s)

#1 Postby Shell Mound » Fri Dec 11, 2020 1:33 pm

To me, determining the “most impressive” AHS would involve a combination of the following factors: ACE; the ratio of major hurricane days (MHD) to total named storms (NS); the number of individual storms that yielded at least one major-hurricane (MH) and/or Category-4+ landfall; and the geographic spread of hurricane impacts. A blend of these criteria would isolate the hyperactive season(s) with the greatest proportion of long-lived intense hurricanes and hurricane landfalls, including major (and Category-4+) hits, over a wide geographic front.

YYYY...NS...MHD.......Ratio*......#TC w/ ≥ 1 MH(C4+) LF...(M)H(C4+) LF...
1926...11...22.75....~207%.....4(3)...................................(AL),(BM),(BS),(CU),(FL),(LA),PR,PT
1893...12...22.........~183%.....4(1)...................................(BS),CA,(GA),GP,HN,(LA),MX,(NC),NI,NY,(PR)
2004...15...22.25....~148%.....4(1)...................................(BS),(CU),DO,(FL),SC
1961...12...16.........~133%.....2(2)...................................(BZ),HN,(TX)
1999...12...14.25....~119%.....3(1)...................................AG,BL,(BS),FL,MF,NC,(TX)
2017...17...19.25....~113%.....3(3)...................................(AG),(BS),(CU),(DM),(FL),LA,(MF),MS,MX,(PR),(TX),(VG)
1933...20...21.75....~109%.....4(3)...................................BQ,(BS),(CU),(FL),JM,(MX),NC,TT,(TX),VE
2003...16...16.75....~105%.....0.......................................CA,MX,NC,TX
1996...13...13..........100%......1.......................................AI,BH,BL,CA,CU,MF,MX,NC,NI,PR
1950...16...15.5......~97%.......3(1)...................................(AI),AL,CA,CU,(FL),MX
1932...15...13.........~87%.......4(4)...................................AL,(BS),(CU),DO,(KY),(PR),(TX)
1878...12...10.........~83%.......0.......................................BS,CA,CU,DO,FL,HT,NC,SC,TT
1964...13...9...........~69%.......1(1)...................................CU,FL,(GP),(HT),LA
1998...14...9.5........~68%.......1.......................................(AG),CU,(DO),FL,HN,(KN),MS,(PR),VI
1955...13...8.5........~65%.......2(1)...................................DO,(HN),SX,(MX),NC,VC
2005...28...17.5......~63%.......5(3)...................................(CU),(FL),(LA),(MX),VC
1995...19...11.5......~61%.......3(1)...................................(AG),BS,CA,DM,(FL),(MX),VG,VI
2010...19...11.........~58%.......1.......................................CA,BZ,(MX),VC
1886...12...4.5........~38%.......3(1)...................................BS,CA,(CU),DO,FL,JM,(LA),MX,(TX),VC
1887...19...6.75......~36%.......1.......................................(BS),CU,FL,HT,LA,MX,TX
1969...18...6.5........~36%.......2(1)...................................BZ,CU,ME,(MS)
2020...30...8.75......~29%.......3(3)...................................AL,BM,BS,BZ,(LA),MX,NC,(NI),TX

*Ratio of major hurricane days (MHD) to total named storms (NS)
AG = Antigua and Barbuda, AI = Anguilla, BL = Saint-Barthélemy, BM = Bermuda, BQ = Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, BS = Bahamas, BZ = Belize, CA = Canada, CU = Cuba, DM = Dominica, DO = Dominican Republic, GP = Guadeloupe, HN = Honduras, HT = Haiti, JM = Jamaica, KN = Saint Kitts and Nevis, KY = Cayman Islands, LI = Leeward Islands, MF = Saint-Martin, MX = Mexico, NI = Nicaragua, PR = Puerto Rico, PT = Portugal (including Azores), SX = Sint Maarten, TT = Trinidad and Tobago, VC = Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, VE = Venezuela, VG = British Virgin Islands, VI = American Virgin Islands

Sources: A, B, C, D


Based on the data, the most impactful seasons seem to have been 1926, 1932, 1933, and 2017: the totality of which produced (M)H impacts → AL, (The Bahamas), (Bermuda), (the Cayman Islands), (Cuba), (FL), (LA), (the Leeward Islands), (Mexico), MS, NC, (Puerto Rico), (TX), and (the Windward Islands). These seasons generated an unusually high proportion of intense, long-lived, westward-tracking major hurricanes, many of which made one or more landfalls as Category-4+ systems. Here are the Category-4+ impacts from those seasons:

    Storm......................SSHS......Peak MSW.....Cat-4+ LF
  1. 1926 Storm #1........Cat 4 — 120 knots — The Bahamas
  2. 1926 Storm #7........Cat 4 — 130 knots — The Bahamas, FL
  3. 1926 Storm #10......Cat 4 — 130 knots — Cuba
  4. 1932 Storm #2........Cat 4 — 130 knots — TX
  5. 1932 Storm #4........Cat 5 — 140 knots — The Bahamas
  6. 1932 Storm #9........Cat 4 — 125 knots — Puerto Rico
  7. 1932 Storm #14......Cat 5 — 150 knots — Cayman Islands, Cuba
  8. 1933 Storm #8........Cat 5 — 140 knots — The Bahamas
  9. 1933 Storm #11......Cat 4 — 120 knots — The Bahamas
  10. 1933 Storm #14......Cat 5 — 140 knots — Mexico
  11. 2017 Harvey............Cat 4 — 115 knots — TX
  12. 2017 Irma...............Cat 5 — 155 knots — Antigua and Barbuda, British Virgin Islands, Cuba, FL, Saint-Martin, The Bahamas
  13. 2017 Maria..............Cat 5 — 150 knots — Dominica, Puerto Rico
Last edited by Shell Mound on Mon Jan 04, 2021 11:39 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Criteria for “most impressive” Atlantic hurricane season(s)

#2 Postby Weather Dude » Fri Dec 11, 2020 1:50 pm

Shell Mound wrote:To me, determining the “most impressive” AHS would involve a combination of the following factors: ACE; the ratio of major hurricane days (MHD) to total named storms (NS); the number of individual storms that yielded at least one major-hurricane (MH) and/or Category-4+ landfall; and the geographic spread of hurricane impacts. A blend of these criteria would isolate the hyperactive season(s) with the greatest proportion of long-lived intense hurricanes and hurricane landfalls, including major (and Category-4+) hits, over a wide geographic front.

YYYY...NS...MHD.......Ratio*......#TC w/ ≥ 1 MH(C4+) LF...(M)H(C4+) LF...
1926...11...22.75....~207%.....4(3)...................................(AL),(BM),(BS),(CU),(FL),(LA),PR,PT
1893...12...22.........~183%.....4(1)...................................(BS),CA,(GA),GP,HN,(LA),MX,(NC),NI,NY,(PR)
2004...15...22.25....~148%.....4(1)...................................(BS),(CU),DO,(FL),SC
1961...12...16.........~133%.....2(2)...................................(BZ),HN,(TX)
1999...12...14.25....~119%.....3(1)...................................AG,BL,(BS),FL,MF,NC,(TX)
2017...17...19.25....~113%.....3(3)...................................(AG),(BS),(CU),(DM),(FL),LA,(MF),MS,MX,(PR),(TX),(VG)
1933...20...21.75....~109%.....4(3)...................................BQ,(BS),(CU),(FL),JM,(MX),NC,TT,(TX),VE
2003...16...16.75....~105%.....0.......................................CA,MX,NC,TX
1996...13...13..........100%......1.......................................AI,BH,BL,CA,CU,MF,MX,NC,NI,PR
1950...16...15.5......~97%.......3(1)...................................(AI),AL,CA,CU,(FL),MX
1932...15...13.........~87%.......4(4)...................................AL,(BS),(CU),DO,(KY),(PR),(TX)
1878...12...10.........~83%.......0.......................................BS,CA,CU,DO,FL,HT,NC,SC,TT
1964...13...9...........~69%.......1(1)...................................CU,FL,(GP),(HT),LA
1998...14...9.5........~68%.......1.......................................(AG),CU,(DO),FL,HN,(KN),MS,(PR),VI
1955...13...8.5........~65%.......2(1)...................................DO,(HN),SX,(MX),NC,VC
2005...28...17.5......~63%.......5(3)...................................(CU),(FL),(LA),(MX),VC
1995...19...11.5......~61%.......3(1)...................................(AG),BS,CA,DM,(FL),(MX),VG,VI
2010...19...11.........~58%.......1.......................................CA,BZ,(MX),VC
1886...12...4.5........~38%.......3(1)...................................BS,CA,(CU),DO,FL,JM,(LA),MX,(TX),VC
1887...19...6.75......~36%.......1.......................................(BS),CU,FL,HT,LA,MX,TX
1969...18...6.5........~36%.......2(1)...................................BZ,CU,ME,(MS)
2020...30...8.75......~29%.......3(3)...................................AL,BM,BS,BZ,(LA),MX,NC,(NI),TX

*Ratio of major hurricane days (MHD) to total named storms (NS)
AG = Antigua and Barbuda, AI = Anguilla, BL = Saint-Barthélemy, BM = Bermuda, BQ = Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, BS = Bahamas, BZ = Belize, CA = Canada, CU = Cuba, DM = Dominica, DO = Dominican Republic, GP = Guadeloupe, HN = Honduras, HT = Haiti, JM = Jamaica, KN = Saint Kitts and Nevis, KY = Cayman Islands, LI = Leeward Islands, MF = Saint-Martin, MX = Mexico, NI = Nicaragua, PR = Puerto Rico, PT = Portugal (including Azores), SX = Sint Maarten, TT = Trinidad and Tobago, VC = Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, VE = Venezuela, VG = British Virgin Islands, VI = American Virgin Islands

Sources: A, B, C, D


Based on the data, the most impactful seasons seem to have been 1926, 1932, 1933, and 2017: the totality of which produced (M)H impacts → AL, (The Bahamas), (Bermuda), (the Cayman Islands), (Cuba), (FL), (LA), (the Leeward Islands), (Mexico), MS, NC, (Puerto Rico), (TX), and (the Windward Islands). These seasons generated an unusually high proportion of intense, long-lived, westward-tracking major hurricanes, many of which made one or more landfalls as Category-4+ systems. Here are the Category-4+ impacts from those seasons:

    Storm......................SSHS......Peak MSW.....Cat-4+ LF
  1. 1926 Storm #1........Cat 4 — 120 knots — The Bahamas
  2. 1926 Storm #7........Cat 4 — 130 knots — The Bahamas, FL
  3. 1926 Storm #10......Cat 4 — 130 knots — Cuba
  4. 1932 Storm #2........Cat 4 — 130 knots — TX
  5. 1932 Storm #4........Cat 5 — 140 knots — The Bahamas
  6. 1932 Storm #9........Cat 4 — 125 knots — Puerto Rico
  7. 1932 Storm #14......Cat 5 — 150 knots — Cayman Islands, Cuba
  8. 1933 Storm #8........Cat 5 — 140 knots — The Bahamas
  9. 1933 Storm #11......Cat 4 — 120 knots — The Bahamas
  10. 1933 Storm #14......Cat 5 — 140 knots — Mexico
  11. 2017 Harvey............Cat 4 — 115 knots — TX
  12. 2017 Irma...............Cat 5 — 155 knots — Antigua and Barbuda, British Virgin Islands, Cuba, FL, Saint-Martin, The Bahamas
  13. 2017 Maria..............Cat 5 — 150 knots — Dominica, Puerto Rico

I think it's kind of difficult to determine what seasons are considered the overall most impressive. Take the two most recent hyperactive seasons for example, 2017 and 2020. Both had 6 majors (as of right now). The majority of the majors in 2017 were long-trackers that generated a ton of ACE, while the majors in 2020 were quick hitting RI's, therefore generating less ACE, even though 2020 had nearly twice the amount of named storms as 2017. In terms of impact and ACE, 2017 definitely beats 2020, but I would meteorologically, they are both very impressive in their own different ways, along with the other seasons you listed here.
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Re: Criteria for “most impressive” Atlantic hurricane season(s)

#3 Postby Shell Mound » Fri Dec 11, 2020 2:35 pm

Weather Dude wrote:
Shell Mound wrote:To me, determining the “most impressive” AHS would involve a combination of the following factors: ACE; the ratio of major hurricane days (MHD) to total named storms (NS); the number of individual storms that yielded at least one major-hurricane (MH) and/or Category-4+ landfall; and the geographic spread of hurricane impacts. A blend of these criteria would isolate the hyperactive season(s) with the greatest proportion of long-lived intense hurricanes and hurricane landfalls, including major (and Category-4+) hits, over a wide geographic front.

YYYY...NS...MHD.......Ratio*......#TC w/ ≥ 1 MH(C4+) LF...(M)H(C4+) LF...
1926...11...22.75....~207%.....4(3)...................................(AL),(BM),(BS),(CU),(FL),(LA),PR,PT
1893...12...22.........~183%.....4(1)...................................(BS),CA,(GA),GP,HN,(LA),MX,(NC),NI,NY,(PR)
2004...15...22.25....~148%.....4(1)...................................(BS),(CU),DO,(FL),SC
1961...12...16.........~133%.....2(2)...................................(BZ),HN,(TX)
1999...12...14.25....~119%.....3(1)...................................AG,BL,(BS),FL,MF,NC,(TX)
2017...17...19.25....~113%.....3(3)...................................(AG),(BS),(CU),(DM),(FL),LA,(MF),MS,MX,(PR),(TX),(VG)
1933...20...21.75....~109%.....4(3)...................................BQ,(BS),(CU),(FL),JM,(MX),NC,TT,(TX),VE
2003...16...16.75....~105%.....0.......................................CA,MX,NC,TX
1996...13...13..........100%......1.......................................AI,BH,BL,CA,CU,MF,MX,NC,NI,PR
1950...16...15.5......~97%.......3(1)...................................(AI),AL,CA,CU,(FL),MX
1932...15...13.........~87%.......4(4)...................................AL,(BS),(CU),DO,(KY),(PR),(TX)
1878...12...10.........~83%.......0.......................................BS,CA,CU,DO,FL,HT,NC,SC,TT
1964...13...9...........~69%.......1(1)...................................CU,FL,(GP),(HT),LA
1998...14...9.5........~68%.......1.......................................(AG),CU,(DO),FL,HN,(KN),MS,(PR),VI
1955...13...8.5........~65%.......2(1)...................................DO,(HN),SX,(MX),NC,VC
2005...28...17.5......~63%.......5(3)...................................(CU),(FL),(LA),(MX),VC
1995...19...11.5......~61%.......3(1)...................................(AG),BS,CA,DM,(FL),(MX),VG,VI
2010...19...11.........~58%.......1.......................................CA,BZ,(MX),VC
1886...12...4.5........~38%.......3(1)...................................BS,CA,(CU),DO,FL,JM,(LA),MX,(TX),VC
1887...19...6.75......~36%.......1.......................................(BS),CU,FL,HT,LA,MX,TX
1969...18...6.5........~36%.......2(1)...................................BZ,CU,ME,(MS)
2020...30...8.75......~29%.......3(3)...................................AL,BM,BS,BZ,(LA),MX,NC,(NI),TX

*Ratio of major hurricane days (MHD) to total named storms (NS)
AG = Antigua and Barbuda, AI = Anguilla, BL = Saint-Barthélemy, BM = Bermuda, BQ = Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, BS = Bahamas, BZ = Belize, CA = Canada, CU = Cuba, DM = Dominica, DO = Dominican Republic, GP = Guadeloupe, HN = Honduras, HT = Haiti, JM = Jamaica, KN = Saint Kitts and Nevis, KY = Cayman Islands, LI = Leeward Islands, MF = Saint-Martin, MX = Mexico, NI = Nicaragua, PR = Puerto Rico, PT = Portugal (including Azores), SX = Sint Maarten, TT = Trinidad and Tobago, VC = Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, VE = Venezuela, VG = British Virgin Islands, VI = American Virgin Islands

Sources: A, B, C, D


Based on the data, the most impactful seasons seem to have been 1926, 1932, 1933, and 2017: the totality of which produced (M)H impacts → AL, (The Bahamas), (Bermuda), (the Cayman Islands), (Cuba), (FL), (LA), (the Leeward Islands), (Mexico), MS, NC, (Puerto Rico), (TX), and (the Windward Islands). These seasons generated an unusually high proportion of intense, long-lived, westward-tracking major hurricanes, many of which made one or more landfalls as Category-4+ systems. Here are the Category-4+ impacts from those seasons:

    Storm......................SSHS......Peak MSW.....Cat-4+ LF
  1. 1926 Storm #1........Cat 4 — 120 knots — The Bahamas
  2. 1926 Storm #7........Cat 4 — 130 knots — The Bahamas, FL
  3. 1926 Storm #10......Cat 4 — 130 knots — Cuba
  4. 1932 Storm #2........Cat 4 — 130 knots — TX
  5. 1932 Storm #4........Cat 5 — 140 knots — The Bahamas
  6. 1932 Storm #9........Cat 4 — 125 knots — Puerto Rico
  7. 1932 Storm #14......Cat 5 — 150 knots — Cayman Islands, Cuba
  8. 1933 Storm #8........Cat 5 — 140 knots — The Bahamas
  9. 1933 Storm #11......Cat 4 — 120 knots — The Bahamas
  10. 1933 Storm #14......Cat 5 — 140 knots — Mexico
  11. 2017 Harvey............Cat 4 — 115 knots — TX
  12. 2017 Irma...............Cat 5 — 155 knots — Antigua and Barbuda, British Virgin Islands, Cuba, FL, Saint-Martin, The Bahamas
  13. 2017 Maria..............Cat 5 — 150 knots — Dominica, Puerto Rico

I think it's kind of difficult to determine what seasons are considered the overall most impressive. Take the two most recent hyperactive seasons for example, 2017 and 2020. Both had 6 majors (as of right now). The majority of the majors in 2017 were long-trackers that generated a ton of ACE, while the majors in 2020 were quick hitting RI's, therefore generating less ACE, even though 2020 had nearly twice the amount of named storms as 2017. In terms of impact and ACE, 2017 definitely beats 2020, but I would meteorologically, they are both very impressive in their own different ways, along with the other seasons you listed here.

Personally, I would place 2017 ahead of 2020. 2017 featured at least three hurricanes—Irma, Jose, and Maria—that each generated more than 40 units of ACE. (Given the paucity of remote sensing back in the late 1920s and early 1930s, 1926, 1932, and/or 1933 may well have achieved similar feats, given that each of these seasons featured several long-lived, Cat-4+ systems.) All three storms likely peaked as Category-5 cyclones, given the strong case that can be made for Jose. As is well known, Irma alone made six landfalls at Category-4 or greater status, four of which occurred while Irma was a Cat-5 (≥ 145 knots). The fifth landfall, in the Bahamas, coincided with MSW of 135 knots. Only the landfall on the Florida Keys could be considered questionably Cat-4. September 2017 alone generated the greatest monthly ACE on record in the Atlantic basin. Finally, based on aggregates, as a season 2017 proved to have been far deadlier and costlier than 2020 was. So 2017 not only featured a very high percentage of major hurricane days vs. total named storms, but of the major hurricanes that did form, a significant percentage both 1) became Category-4+ hurricanes—of which two were ≥ 150 knots and ≤ 915 mb—and 2) tracked westward into densely populated land masses. Irma was one of the most impressive Atlantic hurricanes on record in terms of consecutive duration as a Cat-5 and storm-total ACE: it spent nearly three straight days at Cat-5 status, having trailed only the 1932 Cuba hurricane in this regard, and yielded the third-highest storm-total ACE on record, behind only the 1899 San Ciriaco hurricane and Ivan ‘04. 2020 could have easily matched or exceeded 2017 in terms of overall impact had the last half of August and the first two-thirds of September been conducive in the MDR. As far as the other seasons are concerned, 1926 and 1933 were amazingly active in the Bahamas, each having yielded two Cat-4+ storms over the archipelago, of which 1926 included a Cat-4 in late July (!). Along with 1932, 1926, 1933, and 2017 featured much higher ACE than 2020, a much greater ratio of MHD vs. NS, and similar steering currents favouring landfalls. So I’d place all four of those seasons ahead of 2020 in terms of overall impacts, given that those years featured similar steering currents yet clearly exhibited more conducive conditions for long-lived majors.

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Re: Criteria for “most impressive” Atlantic hurricane season(s)

#4 Postby CyclonicFury » Fri Dec 11, 2020 2:50 pm

Shell Mound wrote:
Weather Dude wrote:
Shell Mound wrote:To me, determining the “most impressive” AHS would involve a combination of the following factors: ACE; the ratio of major hurricane days (MHD) to total named storms (NS); the number of individual storms that yielded at least one major-hurricane (MH) and/or Category-4+ landfall; and the geographic spread of hurricane impacts. A blend of these criteria would isolate the hyperactive season(s) with the greatest proportion of long-lived intense hurricanes and hurricane landfalls, including major (and Category-4+) hits, over a wide geographic front.



Based on the data, the most impactful seasons seem to have been 1926, 1932, 1933, and 2017: the totality of which produced (M)H impacts → AL, (The Bahamas), (Bermuda), (the Cayman Islands), (Cuba), (FL), (LA), (the Leeward Islands), (Mexico), MS, NC, (Puerto Rico), (TX), and (the Windward Islands). These seasons generated an unusually high proportion of intense, long-lived, westward-tracking major hurricanes, many of which made one or more landfalls as Category-4+ systems. Here are the Category-4+ impacts from those seasons:

    Storm......................SSHS......Peak MSW.....Cat-4+ LF
  1. 1926 Storm #1........Cat 4 — 120 knots — The Bahamas
  2. 1926 Storm #7........Cat 4 — 130 knots — The Bahamas, FL
  3. 1926 Storm #10......Cat 4 — 130 knots — Cuba
  4. 1932 Storm #2........Cat 4 — 130 knots — TX
  5. 1932 Storm #4........Cat 5 — 140 knots — The Bahamas
  6. 1932 Storm #9........Cat 4 — 125 knots — Puerto Rico
  7. 1932 Storm #14......Cat 5 — 150 knots — Cayman Islands, Cuba
  8. 1933 Storm #8........Cat 5 — 140 knots — The Bahamas
  9. 1933 Storm #11......Cat 4 — 120 knots — The Bahamas
  10. 1933 Storm #14......Cat 5 — 140 knots — Mexico
  11. 2017 Harvey............Cat 4 — 115 knots — TX
  12. 2017 Irma...............Cat 5 — 155 knots — Antigua and Barbuda, British Virgin Islands, Cuba, FL, Saint-Martin, The Bahamas
  13. 2017 Maria..............Cat 5 — 150 knots — Dominica, Puerto Rico

I think it's kind of difficult to determine what seasons are considered the overall most impressive. Take the two most recent hyperactive seasons for example, 2017 and 2020. Both had 6 majors (as of right now). The majority of the majors in 2017 were long-trackers that generated a ton of ACE, while the majors in 2020 were quick hitting RI's, therefore generating less ACE, even though 2020 had nearly twice the amount of named storms as 2017. In terms of impact and ACE, 2017 definitely beats 2020, but I would meteorologically, they are both very impressive in their own different ways, along with the other seasons you listed here.

Personally, I would place 2017 ahead of 2020. 2017 featured at least three hurricanes—Irma, Jose, and Maria—that each generated more than 40 units of ACE. (Given the paucity of remote sensing back in the late 1920s and early 1930s, 1926, 1932, and/or 1933 may well have achieved similar feats, given that each of these seasons featured several long-lived, Cat-4+ systems.) All three storms likely peaked as Category-5 cyclones, given the strong case that can be made for Jose. As is well known, Irma alone made six landfalls at Category-4 or greater status, four of which occurred while Irma was a Cat-5 (≥ 145 knots). The fifth landfall, in the Bahamas, coincided with MSW of 135 knots. Only the landfall on the Florida Keys could be considered questionably Cat-4. September 2017 alone generated the greatest monthly ACE on record in the Atlantic basin. Finally, based on aggregates, as a season 2017 proved to have been far deadlier and costlier than 2020 was. So 2017 not only featured a very high percentage of major hurricane days vs. total named storms, but of the major hurricanes that did form, a significant percentage both 1) became Category-4+ hurricanes—of which two were ≥ 150 knots and ≤ 915 mb—and 2) tracked westward into densely populated land masses. Irma was one of the most impressive Atlantic hurricanes on record in terms of consecutive duration as a Cat-5 and storm-total ACE: it spent nearly three straight days at Cat-5 status, having trailed only the 1932 Cuba hurricane in this regard, and yielded the third-highest storm-total ACE on record, behind only the 1899 San Ciriaco hurricane and Ivan ‘04. 2020 could have easily matched or exceeded 2017 in terms of overall impact had the last half of August and the first two-thirds of September been conducive in the MDR. As far as the other seasons are concerned, 1926 and 1933 were amazingly active in the Bahamas, each having yielded two Cat-4+ storms over the archipelago, of which 1926 included a Cat-4 in late July (!). Along with 1932, 1926, 1933, and 2017 featured much higher ACE than 2020, a much greater ratio of MHD vs. NS, and similar steering currents favouring landfalls. So I’d place all four of those seasons ahead of 2020 in terms of overall impacts, given that those years featured similar steering currents yet clearly exhibited more conducive conditions for long-lived majors.

https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/data/tracks/tracks-at-1926.png
https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/data/tracks/tracks-at-1932.png
https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/data/tracks/tracks-at-1933.png
https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/data/tracks/tracks-at-2017.png
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EoKX6UxUcAElaxj?format=jpg&name=4096x4096

One area where 2020 significantly outperformed 2017 was hurricane activity outside of ASO. While 2017's intense activity was mostly confined from late August to early October, 2020 had 4 hurricanes and 2 majors outside of ASO. 2017 produced less than 5 ACE outside of ASO, while 2020 produced over 50 ACE outside of ASO.
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Re: Criteria for “most impressive” Atlantic hurricane season(s)

#5 Postby Weather Dude » Fri Dec 11, 2020 3:06 pm

Shell Mound wrote:
Weather Dude wrote:
Shell Mound wrote:To me, determining the “most impressive” AHS would involve a combination of the following factors: ACE; the ratio of major hurricane days (MHD) to total named storms (NS); the number of individual storms that yielded at least one major-hurricane (MH) and/or Category-4+ landfall; and the geographic spread of hurricane impacts. A blend of these criteria would isolate the hyperactive season(s) with the greatest proportion of long-lived intense hurricanes and hurricane landfalls, including major (and Category-4+) hits, over a wide geographic front.



Based on the data, the most impactful seasons seem to have been 1926, 1932, 1933, and 2017: the totality of which produced (M)H impacts → AL, (The Bahamas), (Bermuda), (the Cayman Islands), (Cuba), (FL), (LA), (the Leeward Islands), (Mexico), MS, NC, (Puerto Rico), (TX), and (the Windward Islands). These seasons generated an unusually high proportion of intense, long-lived, westward-tracking major hurricanes, many of which made one or more landfalls as Category-4+ systems. Here are the Category-4+ impacts from those seasons:

    Storm......................SSHS......Peak MSW.....Cat-4+ LF
  1. 1926 Storm #1........Cat 4 — 120 knots — The Bahamas
  2. 1926 Storm #7........Cat 4 — 130 knots — The Bahamas, FL
  3. 1926 Storm #10......Cat 4 — 130 knots — Cuba
  4. 1932 Storm #2........Cat 4 — 130 knots — TX
  5. 1932 Storm #4........Cat 5 — 140 knots — The Bahamas
  6. 1932 Storm #9........Cat 4 — 125 knots — Puerto Rico
  7. 1932 Storm #14......Cat 5 — 150 knots — Cayman Islands, Cuba
  8. 1933 Storm #8........Cat 5 — 140 knots — The Bahamas
  9. 1933 Storm #11......Cat 4 — 120 knots — The Bahamas
  10. 1933 Storm #14......Cat 5 — 140 knots — Mexico
  11. 2017 Harvey............Cat 4 — 115 knots — TX
  12. 2017 Irma...............Cat 5 — 155 knots — Antigua and Barbuda, British Virgin Islands, Cuba, FL, Saint-Martin, The Bahamas
  13. 2017 Maria..............Cat 5 — 150 knots — Dominica, Puerto Rico

I think it's kind of difficult to determine what seasons are considered the overall most impressive. Take the two most recent hyperactive seasons for example, 2017 and 2020. Both had 6 majors (as of right now). The majority of the majors in 2017 were long-trackers that generated a ton of ACE, while the majors in 2020 were quick hitting RI's, therefore generating less ACE, even though 2020 had nearly twice the amount of named storms as 2017. In terms of impact and ACE, 2017 definitely beats 2020, but I would meteorologically, they are both very impressive in their own different ways, along with the other seasons you listed here.

Personally, I would place 2017 ahead of 2020. 2017 featured at least three hurricanes—Irma, Jose, and Maria—that each generated more than 40 units of ACE. (Given the paucity of remote sensing back in the late 1920s and early 1930s, 1926, 1932, and/or 1933 may well have achieved similar feats, given that each of these seasons featured several long-lived, Cat-4+ systems.) All three storms likely peaked as Category-5 cyclones, given the strong case that can be made for Jose. As is well known, Irma alone made six landfalls at Category-4 or greater status, four of which occurred while Irma was a Cat-5 (≥ 145 knots). The fifth landfall, in the Bahamas, coincided with MSW of 135 knots. Only the landfall on the Florida Keys could be considered questionably Cat-4. September 2017 alone generated the greatest monthly ACE on record in the Atlantic basin. Finally, based on aggregates, as a season 2017 proved to have been far deadlier and costlier than 2020 was. So 2017 not only featured a very high percentage of major hurricane days vs. total named storms, but of the major hurricanes that did form, a significant percentage both 1) became Category-4+ hurricanes—of which two were ≥ 150 knots and ≤ 915 mb—and 2) tracked westward into densely populated land masses. Irma was one of the most impressive Atlantic hurricanes on record in terms of consecutive duration as a Cat-5 and storm-total ACE: it spent nearly three straight days at Cat-5 status, having trailed only the 1932 Cuba hurricane in this regard, and yielded the third-highest storm-total ACE on record, behind only the 1899 San Ciriaco hurricane and Ivan ‘04. 2020 could have easily matched or exceeded 2017 in terms of overall impact had the last half of August and the first two-thirds of September been conducive in the MDR. As far as the other seasons are concerned, 1926 and 1933 were amazingly active in the Bahamas, each having yielded two Cat-4+ storms over the archipelago, of which 1926 included a Cat-4 in late July (!). Along with 1932, 1926, 1933, and 2017 featured much higher ACE than 2020, a much greater ratio of MHD vs. NS, and similar steering currents favouring landfalls. So I’d place all four of those seasons ahead of 2020 in terms of overall impacts, given that those years featured similar steering currents yet clearly exhibited more conducive conditions for long-lived majors.

https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/data/tracks/tracks-at-1926.png
https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/data/tracks/tracks-at-1932.png
https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/data/tracks/tracks-at-1933.png
https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/data/tracks/tracks-at-2017.png
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EoKX6UxUcAElaxj?format=jpg&name=4096x4096

I would also put 2017 ahead of 2020 in terms of impacts. And September 2017 was pretty insane. But to me, while ACE does have a factor in determining how active/impressive a season is, I don't consider ACE by itself the sole factor in how active a season is. 2017 had an absolutely nuts September (and last week of August) but every other month was meh. What impressed me about 2020 was the fact that as soon as Arthur formed, it was just nonstop all the way through with a huge finish in Oct/Nov. So to me, impact wise, 2017 takes the cake but meteorologically, I can't really put either one ahead of the other. But for me they both fall behind 2005, that was pretty much as insane as it gets. The main thing with 2020 is that it showed that 2005 was not the only time a season like that could happen and while it still is extremely rare, 25+ named storm seasons can and will likely happen again, perhaps even in the not-so-distant future.
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Re: Criteria for “most impressive” Atlantic hurricane season(s)

#6 Postby Shell Mound » Sat Dec 26, 2020 12:46 pm

Shell Mound wrote:To me, determining the “most impressive” AHS would involve a combination of the following factors: ACE; the ratio of major hurricane days (MHD) to total named storms (NS); the number of individual storms that yielded at least one major-hurricane (MH) and/or Category-4+ landfall; and the geographic spread of hurricane impacts. A blend of these criteria would isolate the hyperactive season(s) with the greatest proportion of long-lived intense hurricanes and hurricane landfalls, including major (and Category-4+) hits, over a wide geographic front.

Based on the data, the most impactful seasons seem to have been 1926, 1932, 1933, and 2017: the totality of which produced (M)H impacts → AL, (The Bahamas), (Bermuda), (the Cayman Islands), (Cuba), (FL), (LA), (the Leeward Islands), (Mexico), MS, NC, (Puerto Rico), (TX), and (the Windward Islands). These seasons generated an unusually high proportion of intense, long-lived, westward-tracking major hurricanes, many of which made one or more landfalls as Category-4+ systems. Here are the Category-4+ impacts from those seasons:

To broaden the scope of inclusion, I have accounted for all the hyperactive years that featured at least one Category-4+ impact(s) in the highlighted regions, besides those of the four years mentioned:

The Bahamas
1932 #4: 140 knots
1933 #8: 140 knots
2017 Irma: 135 knots
1926 #7: 130 knots
1926 #1: 120 knots
1933 #12: 120 knots

The Cayman Islands
1932 #14: 135 knots

Cuba
2017 Irma: 145 knots
1926 #10: 130 knots
1932 #14: 130 knots
2005 Dennis: 120 knots

FL
2004 Charley: 130 knots
1926 #7: 125 knots
1950 King: 115 knots
2017 Irma: 115 knots

Leeward Islands
2017 Irma: 155 knots
1995 Luis: 115 knots

Mexico
1955 Janet: 150 knots
2005 Wilma: 130 knots
1933 #14: 120 knots
2005 Emily: 115 knots

Puerto Rico
2017 Maria: 135 knots
1932 #9: 125 knots

TX
1886 #5: 130 knots
1932 #2: 130 knots
1961 Carla: 125 knots

Windward Islands
2017 Maria: 145 knots

To me, the most “impressive” possible season would fit the criteria quoted above and feature the greatest possible number, spread, and MSW* of Category-4+ landfalls within the regions highlighted.

(Impressively, 2017 featured at least one Category-4+ LF in six of the nine regions mentioned above! Only 1932 comes even remotely close, with Cat-4+ impacts in five of the nine, followed by 1926, which featured Cat-4+ hits in three of the nine. [Remarkably, the Bahamas sustained two Category-4+ hits each in 1926 and 1933!] However, whether Irma was a Cat-4+ in the Florida Keys is a bit disputable and/or borderline at best, whereas each of 1932’s Cat-4+ landfalls was ≥ 125 knots. So 1932 and 2017 are essentially tied and easily classifiable as two of the most severe Atlantic hurricane seasons on record, by this metric.)

*Maximum sustained wind (at each landfall)

A weighted blend of 1886, 1926, 1932, 1933, 1950, 1961, 1995, 2004, 2005, and 2017 would come close to maximising the potential impact(s).
Last edited by Shell Mound on Mon Dec 28, 2020 12:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Criteria for “most impressive” Atlantic hurricane season(s)

#7 Postby Sciencerocks » Sat Dec 26, 2020 2:40 pm

I'd have to say 2017 followed by 2005 are impressive seasons. 2017 may not have had as many storms as 2005 or 2020 but the quality of the storms was jaw dropping.
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Re: Criteria for “most impressive” Atlantic hurricane season(s)

#8 Postby Shell Mound » Sun Dec 27, 2020 5:38 am

Sciencerocks wrote:I'd have to say 2017 followed by 2005 are impressive seasons. 2017 may not have had as many storms as 2005 or 2020 but the quality of the storms was jaw dropping.

Actually, based on holistic criteria, besides 2017, I think several other years were more impressive than both 2005 and 2020. Out of all “hyperactive” seasons, 1926, for instance, featured the highest ratio of major hurricane days (MHD) to total named storms (NS), along with a relatively high number and spread of Category-4+ impacts—each of them ≥ 120 knots—ranging from the Bahamas (twice, once in July!) and South Florida to Cuba. Conversely, 2005’s ratio was considerably lower than most “hyperactive” seasons’, and that season also featured a lower number and spread of Category-4+ landfalls. 1926’s six major hurricanes also tied 1933, 2004, and 2017. Along with 1893, 1932, 1950, 1961, and 1999, all these years were more impressive than 2005 and 2020, in my view. They were simply more “intense” years in terms of long-lived (major) hurricanes and tended to feature more and stronger impacts over wider areas. Additionally, 1933, 1961, and 1999 featured no fewer than five Category-4+ hurricanes.

Given that seasonal activity has likely been sorely underestimated well into the satellite era, 2005 really only stands out in terms of its four Category-5 cyclones, record-breaking Wilma included; its concentrated MH activity in the Gulf of Mexico; and its two Category-4+ cyclones in July. By this metric, then, 2020 is memorable for its two November Cat-4+ cyclones, along with its consistent production from start to finish, but that’s about it. All the other hyperactive years I mentioned, excluding 2005, tended to be weighted toward “quality” relative to “quantity” and also featured deadlier and/or costlier impact(s). 2004 and 2017 are but two notable examples: 2004 standing out in particular for being so intense and impactful despite El Niño. (Both Frances and Ivan were extremely prolific ACE-producers, Ivan being noted for attaining Cat-5 status thrice, each time at separate points along its path: one of the most impressive Atlantic hurricanes ever, along with Isabel and Irma.)

Had they occurred today, 1893, 1926, 1932, 1933, 1950, and 1961 would have likely equalled or surpassed 2005 and/or 2020 in terms of monetary and human losses. Each of these seasons featured high ACE combined with significant landfalls over a wide swath of the basin. (1893’s actual ACE, for instance, was likely even higher than officially estimated, given that two or more of its Cat-3s were likely Cat-4+ over the open Atlantic, given sparsity of in-situ observation[s].) A glance at the seasonal tracking maps tells the story, so to speak. 1893 featured (M)H impacts from LA, Central America, and Puerto Rico to New York City (!). 1926 had the Great Miami and Havana–Bermuda hurricanes. 1932 produced Cuba’s deadliest hurricane on record, one of only two Cat-5s in November. 1933 needs no explanation. 1950: explosively deepening Cat-4 King hitting Downtown Miami. 1961: Carla and Hattie, self-explanatory, Carla being extremely large as well as intense before and during landfall.
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Re: Criteria for “most impressive” Atlantic hurricane season(s)

#9 Postby Shell Mound » Mon Dec 28, 2020 1:02 pm

Probably a truly “extreme” season would look like this:

    “Hyperactive”—as extreme as possible within constraints
    Top analogs: 1926, 1932, 1933, 2017
    Other analogs: 1886, 1950, 1961, 1995, 2004, 2005
    Ratio of MHD to NS: 50th percentile (≥ 89%)
    At least one ≥ 130-knot landfall* in each of the regions:
     The Bahamas: ≥ 140 knots
     The Cayman Islands: ≥ 135 knots
     Cuba: ≥ 145 knots
     FL: ≥ 130 knots
     Leeward Islands: ≥ 155 knots
     Mexico: ≥ 150 knots
     Puerto Rico: ≥ 135 knots
     TX: ≥ 130 knots
     Windward Islands: ≥ 145 knots
    *Can include landfalls by one storm, e.g., Irma (2017)
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Re: Criteria for “most impressive” Atlantic hurricane season(s)

#10 Postby Shell Mound » Tue Dec 29, 2020 1:08 pm

Shell Mound wrote:Probably a truly “extreme” season would look like this:

    “Hyperactive”—as extreme as possible within constraints
    Top analogs: 1926, 1932, 1933, 2017
    Other analogs: 1886, 1950, 1961, 1995, 2004, 2005
    Ratio of MHD to NS: 50th percentile (≥ 89%)
    At least one ≥ 130-knot landfall* in each of the regions:
     The Bahamas: ≥ 140 knots
     The Cayman Islands: ≥ 135 knots
     Cuba: ≥ 145 knots
     FL: ≥ 130 knots
     Leeward Islands: ≥ 155 knots
     Mexico: ≥ 150 knots
     Puerto Rico: ≥ 135 knots
     TX: ≥ 130 knots
     Windward Islands: ≥ 145 knots
    *Can include landfalls by one storm, e.g., Irma (2017)

History does imply that, even if a season manages to produce one or more Cat-4+ impacts in two or more regions, all the landfalls are unlikely to originate from a single storm. (Irma is more the exception than the norm, having made Cat-4 landfalls in four of the nine regions: the Leeward Islands, the Bahamas, Cuba, and Florida.) Of all the regions listed, only the Bahamas experienced two or more Cat-4+ storms each producing one or more Cat-4+ landfalls in the same season; such an occurrence transpired in 1926 and 1933, both of which featured pairs of landfalling Cat-4+ cyclones in the archipelago. A truly “impressive” season would likely feature two or more Irma-type scenarios, in which individual storms strike two or more regions at Cat-4+ status, possibly making multiple Cat-4+ landfalls within one or more of the regions as well.

Examples:
  1. one long-tracking Cat-4+—emulating a blend of Allen (1980) and Gilbert (1988), in conjunction with 1903 and Ivan (2004)—makes one or more Cat-4+ landfalls on the Windward Islands, the Cayman Islands, Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, and Texas, probably doing so in August;
  2. a second Cat-4+ long-tracker—possibly in the second half of September, à la 1866, perhaps 1893, and/or Georges (1998)—makes one or more Cat-4+ landfalls on the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, and Florida, pointedly avoiding significant interaction with Cuba (and Hispaniola), unlike Irma, so as to maximise potential intensity en route to Florida;
  3. and a third—likely late-season, that is, “homegrown”—Cat-4+, having developed in the western Caribbean, strikes Cuba, à la 1846, 1924, 1932, Fox (1952), and/or Michelle (2001), quite possibly toward the end of October or the first week of November.
Furthermore:
  1. Storm #1 manages to make Cat-4+ landfalls on Barbados, St. Lucia, Jamaica (the northern eyewall being sited over Kingston!), the Cayman Islands, Mexico’s Yucatán region (first on Cozumel, then directly on Cancún), and finally Greater Houston/Galveston, Texas, with the eye making landfall close to those of the great 1900/1915 hurricanes;
  2. Storm #2 manages to make Cat-4+ landfalls on Antigua, St. Kitts, St. Croix, Vieques, the Ceiba–Fajardo border in Puerto Rico (the eye passing directly over or just south of Downtown San Juan), Salt Cay (the northern eyewall striking Grand Turk), East Caicos, San Salvador, Cat Island, Eleuthera, New Providence (the eye passing directly over Nassau), North Andros, Cape Florida, Coral Gables in Florida (the northern eyewall striking metropolitan Miami/Fort Lauderdale), and Clearwater Beach/Dunedin, the storm having stalled over the eastern Gulf of Mexico and accelerated east-northeastward, following the I-4 corridor from Tampa/St. Petersburg to Orlando and Edgewater/New Smyrna Beach;
  3. Storm #3 expends all its energy on attaining record-breaking intensity over the western Caribbean Sea prior to striking Cuba and subsequently the Bahamas.
The most “impressive” season would feature the above scenarios and also fulfil all the criteria heretofore mentioned and enumerated.
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Re: Criteria for “most impressive” realistic Atlantic hurricane season(s)

#11 Postby tolakram » Mon Jan 04, 2021 9:25 am

I worry about threads like this so let me post a quick warning.

If impressive is talking about destruction and death then don't post. Threads like this should stick to meteorological impressiveness.

Thanks.
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Re: Criteria for “most impressive” realistic Atlantic hurricane season(s)

#12 Postby Shell Mound » Mon Jan 04, 2021 11:38 am

tolakram wrote:I worry about threads like this so let me post a quick warning.

If impressive is talking about destruction and death then don't post. Threads like this should stick to meteorological impressiveness.

Thanks.

I changed the title to reflect this. Is it better now? Please let me know, either publicly or privately, if I seemed to be doing the former vs. the latter.
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Re: Meteorological criteria for “most impressive/impactful,” realistic Atlantic hurricane season(s)

#13 Postby aspen » Mon Jan 04, 2021 4:19 pm

The most impressive possible season would have above-average activity in both the MDR and the Caribbean-Gulf region: more than 2-3 long-tracking Cape Verde hurricanes (including Caribbean Cruisers that originated near the Lesser Antilles), and a few close-to-home majors. However, in actuality, it seems like many seasons end up with one region being more impressive than the other. For example, years like 1996 and 1999 were driven by their exceptional Cape Verde seasons, while those of 2005 and 2020 were lackluster. Instead, most of their high-ACE and powerful systems where in the Caribbean and Gulf.

I think the season that got the closest to this criteria was 2010. It had the fourth highest number of named storms in a single season, three long-tracking open Atlantic Cat 4s (Earl, Igor, and Julia), and four Cat 2-3s in the Gulf and Caribbean from mid September onwards (Karl, Paula, Richard, and Tomas).

What I find interesting is that 2005 and 2020 were both heavily west-focused seasons, and there’s a gap of 8 named storms between 2005 and 1933 for the second and third most active Atlantic hurricane seasons. Many of the years with 15-20 named storms had impressive Cape Verde seasons with at least a few long-tracking Cat 2+ hurricanes (2017, 2004, 2003, 2018, 2019, 1995, etc). A few of those had significant storms closer to home, like Michael ‘18 and Opal and Roxanne ‘95, but overall, the bulk of activity was in the MDR. Could this mean that it is impossible for a hyperactive open Atlantic and a hyperactive Caribbean-Gulf to coincide in a single season, and some factors make sure that only one or the other happens?
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Re: Meteorological criteria for “most impressive/impactful,” realistic Atlantic hurricane season(s)

#14 Postby Shell Mound » Wed Jan 06, 2021 7:30 am

aspen wrote:The most impressive possible season would have above-average activity in both the MDR and the Caribbean-Gulf region: more than 2-3 long-tracking Cape Verde hurricanes (including Caribbean Cruisers that originated near the Lesser Antilles), and a few close-to-home majors. However, in actuality, it seems like many seasons end up with one region being more impressive than the other. ...

Could this mean that it is impossible for a hyperactive open Atlantic and a hyperactive Caribbean-Gulf to coincide in a single season, and some factors make sure that only one or the other happens?

Some of the pre-satellite years may be contenders for this occurrence. 1887, for instance, featured at least three hurricanes in the Caribbean and Gulf, two of which actually originated in the MDR and became hurricanes in the Caribbean prior to entering the GoM. Additionally, 1887 evidently featured a very active MDR; given the sparsity of observations back then, there were probably multiple hurricanes and a couple of majors or more in the MDR, at least two of which were still majors during their closest passage to the Bahamas and Southeastern U.S. The fact that this season still officially featured nineteen storms says something about how intense this season may have been. In fact, a preliminary reanalysis has been completed for the years 1851–98, and it reassessed 1887 as having featured twenty-four NS, including four major hurricanes. (Click on “supplementary materials” to access the revised best track and sources.) 1933 may constitute another appropriate example as well, with an active Caribbean/GoM and MDR alike.
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