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Updates to authoritative Atlantic Hurricane database

  • 1 August 2016
  • Number of views: 1221

The official 1956 to 1960 hurricane season revisions—primarily from the master’s thesis research of Mr. Sandy Delgado—are now available in the HURDAT2 file on the Hurricane Research Division website

Revision highlights made for 1956 to 1960 include:

• Ten new tropical storms during these five years were discovered and added to the database.

• The hurricane with the worst impact during these seasons was Audrey (1957), which killed about 550 people in Louisiana and Texas.

Audrey was downgraded from a Category 4 to a Category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale at landfall. It is reassessed that it had maximum sustained surface winds of 110 kt (125 mph) and a central pressure of 946 mb.

• Hurricane Donna (1960) was reanalyzed as a Category 4 in Florida (same as that originally), a Category 2 in North Carolina (downgraded from Category 3 originally), and a Category 2 in New York (downgraded from Category 3 originally).

Donna caused deaths of at least 364 people in the Lesser Antilles, the Bahamas, and the United States. At landfall in the Florida Keys, Donna is reassessed to have maximum surface winds of 125 kt (145 mph) and a central pressure of 930 mb.

• Hurricane Gracie (1959) was upgraded from a Category 3 to a Category 4 at landfall in South Carolina, with 115 kt (130 mph) maximum sustained winds and a central pressure of 951 mb.

Gracie was the only other major hurricane to make landfall in the United States in these five seasons.

The Atlantic Hurricane Database Re-analysis Project, funded by the CPO’s Climate Monitoring program, is an effort to extend and revise the National Hurricane Center's North Atlantic hurricane database, or HURDAT. The metadata, track maps, and raw observation files are available on the reanalysis website.

The format for HURDAT2 is available here: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/data/hurdat/hurdat2-format-atlantic.pdf.  

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