2005 Hurricane Season

If you lived in the southern part of the U.S. in 2005, you got a whole new perspective on hurricane season. To say the least, 2005 was busy. REALLY busy! Katrina pretty much wiped New Orleans off the face of the map. Wilma literally snuck up on Ft. Lauderdale. And then there were the 26 other storms that kicked around the Atlantic Basin:

  • 2005 was the busiest hurricane season on record with 28 different storms (not just hurricanes) getting names (through Zeta). The second busiest season was 1933 with 21 different storms. 1995 produced 19 different storms with names and 1969 had 18 named storms…
  • Now a little explanation here: most research you will come across on the Internet will show 2005 had 27 named storms, not 28. That was true at one time, but not anymore: on April 12, 2006, the National Hurricane Center officially added a 28th storm to the 2005 list. The initially unnoticed subtropical storm formed on October 4, 2005 near the Azores, but dissipated within a day (the storm was absorbed by a low pressure system that eventually became Hurricane Vince). The subtropical system had sustained winds of 52 mph and would have been TS Tammy had it been named at the time…
  • On the opposite side, 1983 was the slowest season we’ve had for storms, with just four of them being named…
  • In addition to the 28 different named storms, 2005 yielded 31 tropical cyclones (a tropical cyclone includes hurricanes, tropical storms and tropical depressions). In 2005, three tropical cyclones only developed as high as tropical depressions (never getting names- Tropical Depressions 10, 19 and 22). Remember: those numbers of 28 and 31 include the unnoticed subtropical storm of October 4, 2005. That system is now officially known in the 2005 record keeping as Unnamed Subtropical Storm and is listed between Hurricane Stan and Tropical Storm Tammy…
  • By the way, if Unnamed Subtropical Storm had taken the name Tammy, all other subsequent named storms would have had different names. Interesting to say the least, because that would have meant Hurricane Wilma would have been Hurricane Alpha. “Alpha” would have been retired from the list of hurricane names because it was such a powerful storm, leading to the National Hurricane Center having to start with Beta if naming ever went as far again as dipping into the Greek alphabet…
  • In 2005, we had the most hurricanes on record for a single season: 15. That broke the record of 12 in 1969. In order: Cindy, Dennis, Emily, Irene, Katrina, Maria, Nate, Ophelia, Philippe, Rita, Stan, Vince, Wilma, Beta and Epsilon. By the way, for most hurricane aficionados, you might be thinking that we only had 14 storms in 2005, and you were right: Cindy made landfall on July 5, 2005 (southern Louisiana) and was originally thought to be a tropical storm. On January 27, 2006, the National Hurricane Center revised its assessment of Cindy, saying the storm had a small area of sustained winds of 75 mph, 1 mph over the threshold to be considered a Category 1 hurricane…
  • 2005 holds the record for most hurricanes making landfall: nine (through Wilma). The previous record was eight back in 1916…
  • 2005 holds the record for most Category 5 hurricanes in one season: four (Emily, Katrina, Rita and Wilma). The previous record was two Category 5 storms in a season (1960 and 1961). Three of the four 2005 Category 5 storms also are listed in the top six of most powerful storms to ever hit land:
Storm Name  Year  mb Reading Landfall 
Wilma 2005 882 mb Florida Gulf Coast
Gilbert 1988 888 mb Cancun
Labor Day Storm 1935 892 mb Florida Keys
Rita 2005 895 mb Texas/Louisiana
Allen 1980 899 mb Texas/Mexico
Katrina 2005 902 mb Louisiana/Miss
Camille
Mitch
1969
1998
905 mb
905 mb
Mississippi
Florida Gulf Coast*
Dean 2007 906 mb Mexico (Yucatán)
Cuba
Ivan
1924
2004
910 mb
910 mb
Northwest Cuba
Florida Panhandle
Janet 1955 914 mb Mexico (Yucatán)
Isabel 2003 915 mb North Carolina

*Hurricane Mitch made landfall in Florida as a tropical storm. Mitch was a slow moving storm that killed approximately 11,000 people in Honduras and Nicaragua due to massive flooding and resulting mudslides. The hurricane was at Category 5 status before coming ashore as a Category 1 storm…

  • Didn’t know there were four Category 5 storms in 2005? You’re not alone: numerous references on the Internet and in newspaper archives will be noted that there were only three Category 5 storms. On April 12, 2005, the National Hurricane Center revised the tally of the 2005 season, upgrading Emily to a Category 5 storm. A review of computer data showed Emily had briefly sustained winds over 155 mph making the storm a Category 5…
  • By now you’ve noticed two revisions announced on April 12, 2005. The findings were made public at the opening of the 28th National Hurricane Conference in Orlando; NHC Director Max Mayfield announced revisions to the 2005 records after an annual review of computer data at the end of the season…
  • In 2005, an additional storm (Dennis) was considered severe. Four storms (Dennis, Katrina, Rita and Wilma) broke the 2004 record of severe storms making U.S. landfall (the record in 2004 was three in one season)…
  • Five storm names were retired in 2005: Dennis, Katrina, Rita, Stan and Wilma. Yep- that’s another record, beating out three other years when four names were retired (1955: Connie, Diane, Ione and Janet, 1995: Luis, Marilyn, Opal and Roxanne and 2004: Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne)…
  • 2005 holds the record for most tropical storms before August 1st: seven: Arlene, Brett, Cindy, Dennis, Emily, Franklin and Gert. The old record was five tropical storms before 8/1 (1997)…
  • When you add 2004 and 2005 together, you get a two year record for most tropical storms: 43 (previous record was 32 in 1995 & 1996) and a new record for most hurricanes: 24 (the previous record was 21 in 1886 & 1887). Again, remember: the number 43 includes the unnamed tropical storm of October 2005…
  • Another set of records: costliest hurricane season: $107 billion (eclipses 2004 record of $45 billion). Hurricane Katrina also surpassed Hurricane Andrew as the costliest storm ($80 billion in 2005 dollars vs. $26.5 billion in 1992 dollars)…
  • As mentioned, in 2005, six different storms affected various parts of Florida (not taking a direct hit, but causing winds above 39 mph): TS Arlene (June 11th), Hurricane Dennis (July 10th), Hurricane Katrina (August 25th), Hurricane Rita (September 20th), TS Tammy (October 5th) and Hurricane Wilma (October 24th). Wilma was the worst of the bunch causing an estimated $9 billion in damage and 21 deaths. Both Katrina and Dennis killed 13 people in Florida…
  • 2005 was known as the season of the sudden storm: six named storms formed close to the Atlantic Coast: TS Nate, TS Harvey and TS Franklin (all went out to sea). However Hurricane Katrina pummeled New Orleans (August 29th), Hurricane Ophelia soaked the Carolinas (September 15th) and Rita first crossed the Florida Keys and then smashed into the Louisiana/Texas border (Beaumont, Lake Charles and Sabine Pass) on September 24th. Hurricane Wilma set a record by going from a tropical storm to a Category 5 Hurricane in about 24 hours. The storm’s wind speed increased by 105 mph; Wilma made landfall in Naples, Florida and then tore through a much unprepared Ft. Lauderdale, Miami and West Palm Beach…
  • As mentioned, Tropical Storm Zeta tied a record as being the latest storm to form in a season: Zeta formed on December 30th, the same day as a storm in 1954 called Alice #2. Zeta however outlasted Alice #2 by one day by dissipating on January 6, 2006 (Alice #2 dissipated on January 5, 1955)…