Busy Atlantic hurricane season leaves its mark on Central Florida

By Jamie Martin, Meteorologist
Last Updated: Wednesday, January 25, 2017, 10:34 AM EST

With quiet conditions in the tropics now, it looks like we will officially end the Atlantic hurricane season with Otto being our last storm.

  • Atlantic hurricane season ends on Nov. 30
  • 2016 hurricane season busier than average
  • 15 storms were named, 7 became hurricanes

November is the last month of the hurricane season, which was a fairly active one. We had three major hurricanes, four hurricanes, eight tropical storms and one tropical depression. That puts this season a bit busier than normal for the Atlantic basin — in fact, the first above-normal season since 2012, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The average is 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes and three become major hurricanes.

This year, we had 15 named storms, of which seven became hurricanes (Alex, Earl, Gaston, Hermine, Matthew, Nicole and Otto) and three were major (Gaston, Matthew, Nicole).

Five named storms made landfall in the United States during 2016, the most since 2008. Hermine was the first hurricane to make landfall in Florida since Wilma in 2005. Tropical Storm Julia, which formed near Jacksonville in September, was unusual in that it formed over land, not water.   

Here are the names, dates and maximum wind speeds we had in this year's Atlantic hurricane season:

Name

Date

Wind speed

Hurricane Alex

January 12-15

85 mph

Tropical Storm Bonnie

May 27-June 4

45 mph

Tropical Storm Colin

June 5-7

50 mph

Tropical Storm Danielle

June 19-21

45 mph

Hurricane Earl

August 2-6

80 mph

Tropical Storm Fiona

August 17-23

50 mph

Major Hurricane Gaston

August 22-September 3

120 mph

Tropical Depression 8

August 28-September 1

35 mph

Hurricane Hermine

August 28-September 3

80 mph

Tropical Storm Ian

September 12-16

60 mph

Tropical Storm Julia

September 13-19

40 mph

Tropical Storm Karl

September 14-25

70 mph

Tropical Storm Lisa

September 19-25

50 mph

Major Hurricane Matthew

September 28-October 9

160 mph

Major Hurricane Nicole

October 4-18

130 mph

Hurricane Otto

November 21-25

110 mph

Central Florida will be dealing with the effects of Hurricane Matthew for years. The storm — the first category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic basin since Felix in 2007 — skimmed the Space Coast in the early morning hours of Friday, Oct. 7 as a category 3 storm. The eye stayed just slightly offshore, getting as close as 60 miles east of Melbourne, but then continued to hug the coast as it traveled north past Flagler County, then Georgia and North Carolina.

Matthew caused an estimated $24 million in beach erosion damage in Brevard County. In Flagler Beach, Matthew destroyed about 1.3 miles of historic State Road A1A, which could take up to a year to fix. About 750 sea turtle nests were lost to Matthew along the Brevard coastline. And at Kennedy Space Center, officials estimated the storm caused millions of dollars in damage.

Otto was the latest hurricane that formed in the Caribbean Sea on record, eclipsing the record of Martha in 1969, according to the National Hurricane Center. Since 1851, more than 100 tropical cyclones have been tracked in the month of November.