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2016 Atlantic hurricane season
2016 Atlantic hurricane season summary map
Season summary map
Seasonal boundaries
First system formed January 12, 2016
Last system dissipated November 25, 2016 (Otto exited basin)
Strongest storm
Name Matthew
 • Maximum winds 165 mph (270 km/h)
 • Lowest pressure 934 mbar (hPa; 27.58 inHg)
Seasonal statistics
Total depressions 16
Total storms 15
Hurricanes 7
Major hurricanes
(Cat. 3+)
Total fatalities 717 Direct, 32 Indirect
Total damage ≥ $16.1 billion (2011 USD)
Atlantic hurricane seasons
2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018

The 2016 Atlantic hurricane season was an above average season of tropical cyclone formation in the Atlantic basin. The season featured 16 tropical cyclones, 15 named storms, 7 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes. This season was the most active Atlantic hurricane season by ACE index since 2010, and the deadliest season since 2008. The season officially ran June 1 to November 30. However, storms can form outside this time period, as shown by Hurricane Alex and Tropical Storm Bonnie.

This season had the third and fourth earliest recorded named storms in recorded history, Tropical Storm Colin and Tropical Storm Danielle, respectively. Hurricane Earl formed in the beginning of August and slammed Belize and Mexico. Tropical Storm Fiona formed and stayed out to sea. The season's first major hurricane was Hurricane Gaston, which affected the Azores Islands at the end of its life. Tropical Depression Eight formed and brushed the outer banks of North Carolina, and Hurricane Hermine became the first hurricane to hit Florida in almost 11 years.

In September Tropical Storm Ian remained out to sea, while Tropical Storm Julia formed inland over Florida, and fluctuated in strength while it meandered for a week. Tropical Storm Karl brushed Bermuda close to hurricane strength, while Lisa remained out to sea.

The season's strongest storm, Hurricane Matthew, developed in the Lesser Antilles, and then went on to rapidly intensity into the first Category 5 hurricane since Hurricane Felix of 2007. Matthew devastated Haiti and Cuba as a Category 4 Hurricane, eventually moving into the Bahamas and brushing Florida at that intensity before weakening and making landfall in South Carolina as a Category 1, leaving behind mass flooding and devastation. In October, Hurricane Nicole nearly made landfall in Bermuda as a major hurricane, and in late November, Hurricane Otto made landfall in Central America as a category 3 hurricane, causing moderate damage.

Pre-Season Forecasts

CSU (Colorado State University) issued their first forecast of the year on December 10, stating that one of four different scenarios could happen, which could lead to an ACE of ~170, ~120, ~80, or ~50. With the ~170 ACE probability leading to activity of 14-17 named storms, 9-11 hurricanes, and 4-5 major hurricanes; the ~120 ACE probability leading to activity of 12-15 named storms, 6-8 hurricanes, and 2-3 major hurricanes; the ~80 ACE probability leading to activity of 8-11 named storms, 3-5 hurricanes, and 1-2 major hurricanes; and the ~50 ACE probability leading to activity of 5-7 named storms, 2-3 hurricane and 0-1 major hurricane.

Six days later, TSR (The Tropical Storm Risk Consortium of the University College in London) gave their first prediction for 2016, saying that the activity would be ~20% below the 1950-2015 average, or ~15% below the 2005-2015 average. To be exact, they said there would be 13 named or nameable storms, 5 of those becoming hurricanes, and 2 of those hurricanes becoming major hurricanes, with an ACE index of 79 units.

On April 6, 2016; TSR revised their predictions, lowering the number of named storms to 12, but stating that 6 of them would become hurricanes, and keeping the prediction that 2 of the hurricanes would become major hurricanes.

On April 14, CSU predicted a near-normal season with 13 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 2 major hurricanes with an ACE index around 93.

The next day, NCSU (North Carolina State University) predicted a highly active season, with 15-18 named storms, 8-11 hurricanes, and 3-5 major hurricanes.

On May 12, the UKMO (United Kingdom Met Office) predicted a season only slightly above-average, with 14 named storms, and 8 hurricanes, and an ACE index of ~125. However, they didn't say how many major hurricanes could form.

On May 27, NOAA released their first prediction for the season, predicting an average season with a 70% chance for 10-16 named storms, with 4-8 hurricanes, and 1-4 hurricanes reaching major hurricane strength. They also added that there was a 45% chance for a normal season, a 30% chance for an above average season, and a 25% chance for a below average season.

That same day, TSR revised their predictions again; calling for 17 named storms, 9 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes, with an ACE index roughly at 130. They said their reasoning was because of the higher chance for a La Nina to form during the season, and a trend towards a negative North Atlantic Oscillation, with would usually mean a warmer tropical Atlantic. They also called for a 57% chance that the 2016 Atlantic season to be above-average, a 33% chance for it to be just average, and only a mere 10% chance for it to be below-average.


Hurricane Otto (2016)Hurricane Nicole (2016)Hurricane MatthewTropical Storm Lisa (2016)Tropical Storm Karl (2016)Tropical Storm Julia (2016)Tropical Storm Ian (2016)Hurricane HermineTropical Depression Eight (2016)Hurricane Gaston (2016)Tropical Storm Fiona (2016)Hurricane Earl (2016)Tropical Storm Danielle (2016)Tropical Storm Colin (2016)Tropical Storm Bonnie (2016)Hurricane Alex (2016)Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale


Hurricane Alex

Category 1 hurricane (SSHWS)
Alex 2016-01-14 1300Z.jpg Alex 2016 track.png
Duration January 12 – January 15
Peak intensity 85 mph (140 km/h) (1-min)  981 mbar (hPa)
Main article: Hurricane Alex (2016)
Alex was a very unusual January hurricane in the northeastern Atlantic Ocean, making landfall on the island of Terceira in the Azores as a 55-kt tropical storm.[1]

Tropical Storm Bonnie

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Bonnie 2016-05-28 2037Z.png Bonnie 2016 track.png
Duration May 27 – June 4
Peak intensity 45 mph (75 km/h) (1-min)  1006 mbar (hPa)
Main article: Tropical Storm Bonnie (2016)

Bonnie was a tropical storm that formed from non-tropical origins northeast of the Bahamas. It made landfall near Charleston, South Carolina, as a tropical depression and brought heavy rainfall to coastal sections of the Carolinas.[2]

Tropical Storm Colin

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Colin 2016-06-06 1620Z.jpg Colin 2016 track.png
Duration June 5 – June 7
Peak intensity 50 mph (85 km/h) (1-min)  1001 mbar (hPa)
Main article: Tropical Storm Colin (2016)

Colin was a short-lived, poorly organized tropical storm that produced heavy rains over portions of northern and central Florida. It was the earliest third tropical storm of the Atlantic season on record.[3]

Tropical Storm Danielle

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Danielle 2016-06-20 1940Z.jpg Danielle 2016 track.png
Duration June 19 – June 21
Peak intensity 45 mph (75 km/h) (1-min)  1007 mbar (hPa)
Main article: Tropical Storm Danielle (2016)

Danielle was a short-lived tropical storm over the Bay of Campeche that made landfall in eastern mainland Mexico. [4]

Hurricane Earl

Category 1 hurricane (SSHWS)
Earl 2016-08-03 2245Z.png Earl 2016 track.png
Duration August 2 – August 6
Peak intensity 85 mph (140 km/h) (1-min)  979 mbar (hPa)
Main article: Hurricane Earl (2016)
Earl was a category 1 hurricane (on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale) that made landfall in Belize and crossed Guatemala and southern Mexico. Earl caused considerable wind damage and storm surge flooding in Belize, and produced very heavy rainfall across much of Central America, as well as eastern and southern Mexico, resulting in widespread flooding and mudslides. Earl was responsible for 81 direct deaths in Mexico. After moving westward across Mexico, Earl’s remnants helped trigger the development of Tropical Storm Javier in the eastern North Pacific basin. [5]

Tropical Storm Fiona

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Fiona 2016-08-20 1610Z.jpg Fiona 2016 track.png
Duration August 16 – August 23
Peak intensity 50 mph (85 km/h) (1-min)  1004 mbar (hPa)
Main article: Tropical Storm Fiona (2016)

Fiona was a tropical storm that formed in the far eastern Atlantic and moved west-northwestward without strengthening much. The storm reached the subtropical Atlantic and weakened primarily due to strong shear, dissipating nearly midway between Puerto Rico and Bermuda.[6]

Hurricane Gaston

Category 3 hurricane (SSHWS)
Gaston 2016-08-30 1625Z.jpg Gaston 2016 track.png
Duration August 22 – September 2
Peak intensity 120 mph (195 km/h) (1-min)  955 mbar (hPa)
Main article: Hurricane Gaston (2016)

Gaston was a classic Cape Verde hurricane that attained category 3 intensity (on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale) over the central Atlantic. Gaston brought tropical-storm-force winds to portions of the Azores when it passed near those islands as a post-tropical cyclone. [7]

Tropical Depression Eight

Tropical depression (SSHWS)
Eight 2016-08-29 1825Z.jpg 08-L 2016 track.png
Duration August 28 – September 1
Peak intensity 35 mph (55 km/h) (1-min)  1010 mbar (hPa)
Main article: Tropical Depression Eight (2016)

Tropical Depression Eight was a short-lived tropical depression that passed just offshore of the southeast coast of the United States.[8]

Hurricane Hermine

Category 1 hurricane (SSHWS)
Hermine 2016-09-01 2300Z.png Hermine 2016 track.png
Duration August 28 – September 3
Peak intensity 80 mph (130 km/h) (1-min)  981 mbar (hPa)
Main article: Hurricane Hermine

Hermine was a category 1 hurricane (on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale) that made landfall along the sparsely populated Big Bend coast of Florida just east of St. Marks. Hermine was the first hurricane to make landfall in Florida since Wilma in 2005. Hermine moved across Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina as a tropical storm and then meandered off the mid-Atlantic coast as an extratropical low for a few days.[9]

Tropical Storm Ian

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Ian 2016-09-13 1645Z.jpg Ian 2016 track.png
Duration September 12 – September 16
Peak intensity 60 mph (95 km/h) (1-min)  994 mbar (hPa)
Main article: Tropical Storm Ian (2016)

Ian was a sheared cyclone that spent its lifetime over the Atlantic Ocean.[10]

Tropical Storm Julia

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Julia 2016-09-14 1905Z.jpg Julia 2016 track.png
Duration September 13 – September 18
Peak intensity 50 mph (85 km/h) (1-min)  1007 mbar (hPa)
Main article: Tropical Storm Julia (2016)

Julia was a tropical cyclone that formed unexpectedly near the coast of southeastern Florida. It produced relatively minor impacts over land.[11]

Tropical Storm Karl

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Karl 2016-09-24 1450Z.jpg Karl 2016 track.png
Duration September 14 – September 25
Peak intensity 70 mph (110 km/h) (1-min)  988 mbar (hPa)
Main article: Tropical Storm Karl (2016)

Karl was a long-lived tropical storm that passed near Bermuda.[12]

Tropical Storm Lisa

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Lisa 2016-09-21 1245Z.jpg Lisa 2016 track.png
Duration September 19 – September 25
Peak intensity 50 mph (85 km/h) (1-min)  999 mbar (hPa)
Main article: Tropical Storm Lisa (2016)

Lisa was an uneventful tropical storm over the eastern tropical Atlantic.[13]

Hurricane Matthew

Category 5 hurricane (SSHWS)
Matthew 2016-10-03 1815z.png Matthew 2016 track.png
Duration September 28 – October 9
Peak intensity 165 mph (270 km/h) (1-min)  934 mbar (hPa)
Main article: Hurricane Matthew

Matthew was a category 5 hurricane (on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale) that later made landfalls as a major hurricane along the coasts of southwestern Haiti, extreme eastern Cuba, and western Grand Bahama Island, and as a category 1 hurricane along the central coast of South Carolina. Matthew was responsible for 585 direct deaths, with more than 500 deaths occurring in Haiti, making it the deadliest Atlantic hurricane since Hurricane Stan in 2005. Matthew reached category 5 intensity at the lowest latitude ever recorded in the Atlantic Basin.[14]

Hurricane Nicole

Category 4 hurricane (SSHWS)
Nicole 2016-10-12 1750Z.jpg Nicole 2016 track.png
Duration October 4 – October 18
Peak intensity 140 mph (220 km/h) (1-min)  950 mbar (hPa)
Main article: Hurricane Nicole (2016)

Nicole formed nearly midway between Bermuda and Puerto Rico, and rapidly intensified to hurricane strength before abruptly weakening. Nicole then made a cyclonic loop over several days but gradually turned northward and accelerated northeastward, intensifying into a category 4 hurricane (on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale). Nicole struck Bermuda, producing category 2 hurricane conditions there, after which baroclinic forcing caused Nicole to become a large cyclone with hybrid characteristics over the North Atlantic.[15]

Hurricane Otto

Category 3 hurricane (SSHWS)
Otto 2016-11-24 1605Z.jpg Otto 2016 track.png
Duration November 20 – November 25 (exited basin)
Peak intensity 115 mph (185 km/h) (1-min)  975 mbar (hPa)
Main article: Hurricane Otto

Otto was a late-season tropical cyclone over the southwestern Caribbean Sea that rapidly intensified to a category 3 hurricane (on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale) before making landfall in southern Nicaragua. Otto became a rare Atlantic-to-Pacific basin crossing tropical cyclone when it moved across southern Nicaragua and northern Costa Rica and emerged over the far eastern North Pacific as a tropical storm. Heavy rainfall and flooding from the hurricane caused 18 fatalities in Central America.[16]

Storm names

The following list of names was used for named storms that formed in the North Atlantic in 2016. The names not retired from this list will be used again in the 2022 season. This was the same list used in the 2010 season, with the exception of Ian and Tobias, which replaced Igor and Tomas, respectively.[17] The name Ian was used for the first time this year.

  • Otto
  • Paula (unused)
  • Richard (unused)
  • Shary (unused)
  • Tobias (unused)
  • Virginie (unused)
  • Walter (unused)


See also: List of retired Atlantic hurricane names

On March 26, 2017, at the 39th session of the RA IV hurricane committee, the World Meteorological Organization retired the names Matthew and Otto from its rotating name lists due to the amount of damage and deaths they caused, and they will not be used again for another Atlantic hurricane. They will be replaced with Martin and Owen for the 2022 season, respectively.

Season effects

This is a table of all the storms that formed in the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season. It includes their duration, names, landfall(s), denoted in parentheses, damages, and death totals. Deaths in parentheses are additional and indirect (an example of an indirect death would be a traffic accident), but were still related to that storm. Damage and deaths include totals while the storm was extratropical, a wave, or a low, and all the damage figures are in 2016 USD.

Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale
TD TS C1 C2 C3 C4 C5
2016 North Atlantic tropical cyclone statistics
Dates active Storm category

at peak intensity

Max 1-min
mph (km/h)
Areas affected Damage
(millions USD)

Alex January 12 – 15 Category 1 hurricane 85 (140) 981 Bermuda, Azores Minimal (1)
Bonnie May 27 – June 4 Tropical storm 45 (75) 1006 The Bahamas, Southeastern United States $640,000 2
Colin June 5 – 7 Tropical storm 50 (85) 1001 Yucatán Peninsula, Cuba, Florida, East Coast of the United States $1.04 million 6
Danielle June 19 – 21 Tropical storm 45 (75) 1007 Yucatán Peninsula, Eastern Mexico Minimal 1
Earl August 2 – 6 Category 1 hurricane 85 (140) 979 Lesser Antilles, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Central America, Mexico $250 million 106
Fiona August 16 – 23 Tropical storm 50 (85) 1004 None None None
Gaston August 22 – September 2 Category 3 hurricane 120 (195) 955 Azores None None
Eight August 28 – September 1 Tropical depression 35 (55) 1010 North Carolina None None
Hermine August 28 – September 3 Category 1 hurricane 80 (130) 981 Dominican Republic, Cuba, Florida, The Bahamas, East Coast of the United States, Atlantic Canada $550 million 4 (1)
Ian September 12 – 16 Tropical storm 60 (95) 994 None None None
Julia September 14 – 19 Tropical storm 50 (85) 1007 Southeastern United States $6.13 million None
Karl September 14 – 25 Tropical storm 70 (110) 988 Cape Verde, Bermuda Minimal None
Lisa September 19 – 25 Tropical storm 50 (85) 999 None None None
Matthew September 28 – October 9 Category 5 hurricane 165 (270) 934 Antilles, Venezuela, Colombia, East Coast of the United States, Atlantic Canada $15.09 billion 586 (17)
Nicole October 4 – 18 Category 4 hurricane 140 (220) 950 Bermuda $15 million 1
Otto November 20 – 25 Category 3 hurricane 115 (185) 975 Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Colombia ≥ $190 million 23
Season Aggregates
16 cyclones January 12 – November 25   165 (270) 934 ≥ $16.1 billion 729 (19)


  17. Tropical Cyclone Naming History and Retired Names. National Hurricane Center (Report). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. April 11, 2013. Retrieved April 22, 2013.