Talking the Tropics With Mike: A review of the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season

Dorian - the hurricane that will be remembered

Talking the Tropics With Mike: A review of the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season

Nov. 30, 2019 — In a word, the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season will be remembered for: Dorian.

Counting an early season storm in mid May, the 18 named storms for the season were the most in one year since 19 named storms in 2012.  8 of those 18 lasted less than two days, the 2nd most on record (& likely at least partially a product of modern technology [satellite era]).

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The 18 named storms are 6 more than average... the 6 hurricanes were right on average & the 3 "major" hurricanes were one more than average.  These numbers were relatively close to preseason forecasts.  NOAA: 9-15 / 4-8 / 2-4..... CSU: 13 / 5 /2. The '19 hurricane season was the 4th straight with above average numbers which has only happened one other time in the period of record - 1998-2001.

Month by Month Breakdown


a single early season storm - Andrea - developed over the West Atlantic on the 20th but dissipated just one day later.

JUNE - No storms


11th: Tropical storm Barry developed over the Northern Gulf of Mexico and made landfall as a very marginal low end Cat. 1 hurricane on the 13th over the Central Louisiana coast.  Damage was relatively minor but did include fairly widespread flooding along with isolated tornadoes. Pictures from New Orleans * here *.  Barry had an interesting genesis originating from an upper level disturbance that moved southeast into the Tennessee Valley then south/southwest until the disturbance entered the Northern Gulf.  The full tropical cyclone report from the NHC is * here *.


20th: Tropical storm Chantal developed over the North Atlantic & dissipated on the 22nd.

24th: Dorian develops east of the Bahamas & goes Cat. 5 on Sept. 1st.  The mighty hurricane - the name certain to be retired - stalled over the Northwest Bahamas as a ferocious Cat. 5 before finally slowly moving away to the northwest then curving northward just east of the Florida coast.  The closest approach to Jacksonville was on Sept. 4th 100 miles to the east of Jax Beach.  A U.S. landfall - as a Cat. 2 - was on Sept. 6th at Cape Hatteras, NC.  Dorian's most intense bands stayed just offshore of Fl. in what was a precariously close call/forecast.  See my storm summary: "Dorian: A True Tropical Beast".

For the Bahamas, Dorian was one of the worst hurricane hits ever.  More than 60 is the official death toll but with still more than 600 missing.  More 1.600 remain in gov't shelters with 14,000 displaced.  Damage is estimated at some 15 million dollars.  Dorian was the first Cat. 5 to ever hit Grand Bahama Island & the strongest hurricane on record to hit Abaco Island.  The slow movement was historical too.  Traveling just 25 miles in 24 hours was the slowest track by a major (Cat. 3+) hurricane since "Betsy" in 1965.

August 27: Tropical storm Erin forms over the W. Atlantic & dissipated on the 29th.


3rd - Tropical storm Fernand forms over the Western Gulf of Mexico & makes landfall on the Mexican coast well south of Brownsville on the 4th.

4th: Gabrielle developed & dissipated the same day over the E. Atlantic

13th: Humberto forms east of Florida & dissipates on the 19th over the NW Atlantic

17th: Tropical storm Imelda forms off the Texas coast, quickly strengthens & makes  landfall the same day with flooding rain over SE Texas including Houston.

18th: Jerry develops over the Central Atlantic & dissipates on the 25th near Bermuda

22nd: Karen develops over the Central Atlantic & dissipates on the 27th after moving over Puerto Rico with heavy rain on the 24th.

23rd: Lorenzo develops over the E. Atlantic & briefly becomes a Cat. 5 hurricane on the 28th - the farthest east on record for a Cat. 5 & only the 7th season with two Cat. 5's (1932, 1933, 1961, 2005, 2007 & 2017).


11th: Melissa forms over the W/NW Atlantic & dissipates on the 14th

18th: Nestor forms over the Northern Gulf & becomes post-tropical upon approach to the Panhandle on the 19th - heavy rain for parts of the Panhandle & NE Fl.

25th: Olga forms over the Northern Gulf & makes landfall on the Louisiana coast the same day while becoming post-tropical producing heavy rain & a few tornadoes & waterspouts

25th: Pablo forms over the NE Atlantic & dissipates on the 28th.

30th: Rebekah forms over the N. Atlantic &  dissipates Nov. 1.


19th: Sebastien forms over the Central Atlantic & dissipates on the 24th.

Daily updates on the tropics - "Talking the Tropics With Mike" - will resume June 1st (unless an early season Atlantic storm develops).

Video review of the season: