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Hurricanes & Tropical Storms - Annual 2013


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Atlantic Basin

2013 Season Summary:

The 2013 North Atlantic hurricane season had 13 named storms, two hurricanes, and no major hurricanes. The number of tropical storms was slightly above the 1981-2010 average of 12.1, the number of hurricanes was below the average of 6.4, and the lack of major hurricanes was also below the average of 2.7. In terms of total named storms, this was the slowest season since 2009. The last time only two hurricanes were observed was in 1982 and the last season with no major hurricanes was 1994. The two hurricanes that formed during the season, Humberto and Ingrid, were both short lived. Humberto reached hurricane strength on September 11th, tying the latest date for the first hurricane of the season. The average date for the first hurricane is August 4th. No hurricanes made landfall in the U.S. during 2013. Tropical Storm Andrea made landfall along the Gulf Coast of Florida in June, and was the only tropical storm to directly impact the contiguous U.S. during the season. Hurricane Ingrid made landfall in Mexico in September, causing major flooding; more information is available below.

The Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) index of tropical cyclone activity also indicated a below-average season in the North Atlantic. The ACE index is used to calculate the intensity of the hurricane season and is a function of the wind speed and duration of each tropical cyclone. The 2013 Atlantic hurricane season had an approximate ACE of 33 (x104 knots2) which was well below the 1981-2010 average value of 104 (x104 knots2). This is the lowest ACE for a hurricane season since 1983 and the 14th lowest in the 1851-present period of record. Despite the above-average number of named storms, the low number and short-lived nature of the hurricanes and the lack of major hurricanes depressed the ACE value for 2013 in the North Atlantic.

Individual tropical cyclone summaries are available through NOAA's National Hurricane Center.


East Pacific Basin

2013 Season Summary:

The 2013 East Pacific hurricane season had 18 named storms, seven hurricanes, one of which was a major hurricane. The 1981-2010 average number of named storms in the East Pacific is 16.5, with 8.9 hurricanes, and 4.3 major hurricanes. The ACE index for the season was 66 (x104 knots2), which is below the 1981-2010 average of 132 (x104 knots2). The below-average number of major hurricanes in the basin kept the ACE low for 2013. Several of the storms, including two hurricanes, made landfall in Mexico. Hurricane Manuel caused the most damage across the country, with widespread flooding and mudslides.

Hurricane Manuel formed off the west coast of Mexico on September 13th. The storm made landfall in the state of Guerrero on the 15th as a strong tropical storm with winds of 70 mph. Manuel brought up to a foot of rainfall to the coastal mountains, with 7.41 inches observed in Acapulco. The heavy rainfall flooded the Acapulco Airport, stranding thousands of tourists. Manuel moved back over the ocean, skirting the Mexican coast and made a second landfall farther north as a category one hurricane, with sustained winds of 75 mph. The slow moving nature of the storm dropped several inches of rain along the mainland coast and southern portions of the Baja California Peninsula. While Manuel was impacting Mexico's West Coast, Hurricane Ingrid made landfall along Mexico's Atlantic Coast. The one-two punch of Manuel and Ingrid marked the first time since 1958 that two tropical cyclones impacted both the Atlantic and Pacific Coast of Mexico within 24 hours. The precursor low of Hurricane Ingrid formed in the Bay of Campeche on September 12th and reached hurricane strength on the 14th, reaching peak intensity on the 15th with sustained winds of 85 mph. Due to the wind shear associated with nearby Manuel, Ingrid weakened to a strong tropical storm with winds of 65 mph before making landfall near La Pesca, Mexico on the 16th. The largest impact from Ingrid was the heavy rainfall that fell across northern Mexico, causing significant flooding and numerous landslides. The flooding and landslides from both Manuel and Ingrid displaced tens of thousands of residents, damaged over 20,000 homes, left approximately 191 people dead (169 from Manuel, 23 from Ingrid), and caused over $5.0 billion (U.S. dollars) in damage.

Individual tropical cyclone summaries are available through NOAA's National Hurricane Center.

Other Tropical Cyclone Basin Significant Events

Tropical Storm Flossie

TS Flossie
Tropical Storm Flossie Track
Source: National Weather Service

Tropical Storm Flossie developed from a broad area of low pressure southwest of Acapulco, Mexico on July 25th. The storm traversed a large portion of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean over the course of five days. The storm's intensity peaked with winds of 70 mph on the 27th over open water. The storm weakened as it approached the Hawaiian Islands, and dropped to tropical depression status off the northern coast of Maui on the 30th. Tropical Storm warnings were issued for most of the state, with the expectation of Flossie being the first tropical storm to hit the state since Hurricane Iniki in 1992. This was also the first time tropical storm warnings had been issued for Hawaii since 2007. The storm weakened drastically as it approached Hawaii due to strong wind shear. Rainfall totals generally ranged from 1 to 3 inches in many locations in the state, and contributed to an already wet month. Gusty winds, approaching 50 mph, and lightning strikes caused most of the impacts, with downed trees and more than 10,000 homes losing power.

Typhoon Haiyan

Typhoon Haiyan (known as Yolanda in the Philippines) was a large and powerful tropical cyclone that caused significant damage across Southeast Asia in November. The Philippines bore the brunt of the devastation, with the estimated number of fatalities at the end of 2013 at over 6,000 people. This is potentially the deadliest or second deadliest tropical cyclone in Philippines history. Tropical Storm Thelma was responsible for killing between 5,000 and 8,000 people in the country in 1991. After moving through the Philippines, Haiyan impacted southern China and Vietnam, causing additional damage and taking at least 20 additional lives. According to the United Nations, a total of 11 million people were directly impacted by the storm with the total impacts still being evaluated.

The precursor low pressure system formed on November 3rd to the east-southeast of the Federated States of Micronesia. The storm reached typhoon strength on November 5th and by the 6th had intensified into a super typhoon. On November 7th, at about 5 hours before landfall in the Philippines, Haiyan's intensity peaked with 1-minute sustained winds of 195 mph and a central minimum pressure of 895mb. The wind speed at landfall of 195 mph is the strongest tropical cyclone winds to impact land, surpassing Hurricane Camille, which hit the U.S. state of Mississippi in 1969 and had winds of 190 mph. It should be noted that Haiyan's peak intensity was estimated using satellites by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC). The highest wind speeds directly measured within a tropical cyclone on record was 190 mph in Typhoon Tip, Hurricane Camille, and Hurricane Allen. The central minimum pressure ranked as the 20th lowest in the JTWC's dataset for the West Pacific Basin, well above the record set in Typhoon Tip at 870 mb. The lowest pressure measured in an Atlantic Hurricane was in Wilma in 2005 with a pressure of 882 mb.

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Citing This Report

NOAA National Climatic Data Center, State of the Climate: Hurricanes & Tropical Storms for Annual 2013, published online December 2013, retrieved on April 17, 2014 from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/tropical-cyclones/2013/13.