Modern Major Hurricane Climatology 2


I was interested to determine if there was a clear pattern of tracks for major hurricanes in the Atlantic…so I loaded up all of the best track NHC data going back to the start of the 1988 season.

The interactive chart below shows the position of all storms when they were major hurricanes (category three or higher). Note the full tracks for these storms are not included so as not to clutter up the data display.

It appears there are three distinct clusters. One originates in the Caribbean sea with WNW to NW movement into the Gulf of Mexico. The second is from systems acquiring major status in the western Atlantic, tracking just off the US East Coast. The third is a group of early developing storms that tend to recurve over the open Atlantic.

Take a look at this interactive chart and see if you can see what I am seeing.


About Michael Watkins

Mike Watkins is the founder of Hurricane Analytics, a private organization specializing in data visualization and predictive analytics, with a special focus on tropical meteorology. They analyze complex meteorological data and communicate that information in easy-to-understand terms, to help clients prepare and anticipate the disruptive impact of Atlantic hurricanes.


2 thoughts on “Modern Major Hurricane Climatology

  • Da

    One thing I noticed in the clusters in the maps is that the GOM really do cluster from LA/TX border E to Mobile Bay. I wonder if that is just a result of the geographics of where the storms originate and natural poleward movement of Major Hurricanes or is there something else at play here we don’t understand? Living in Houston, if I was uneducated about the tropics I might say that we look safe from majors in our area, but we all know better.

  • Michael Watkins Post author

    Interesting observation David. I’m going to look into this a little more to see if there are some explanations in the historical data, specifically as it relates to SE Texas. My guess is part of the issue is storms moving WNW out of the Caribbean track across the Yucatan Peninsula, which might disrupt the strengthening process relative to storms tracking further to the east. But, it could also just be random chance…let’s see what the data reveals!