Category 5 Atlantic Hurricanes List

Category 5 Atlantic Hurricanes List

Category 5 Atlantic Hurricanes Overview:

The list of Category 5 Atlantic hurricanes is composed of 35 tropical depressions that reached Category 5 strength on the Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale within the Atlantic Ocean (north of the equator), Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico from 1924 to 2012. Hurricanes of such intensity are quite rare in the Atlantic basin, occurring on average once every three years. In general, Category 5 hurricanes form in clusters in years that contain more storm energy. Landfalls by such storms are rare due to the typical northeastward path of tropical storms in the Northern Hemisphere’s mid-latitudes. This is caused by the westerlies, winds blowing from west to east, which redirect hurricanes toward colder waters in the higher latitudes of western Europe. However, large-scale easterly surface winds in the tropics may steer strong hurricanes into the Caribbean Sea toward land areas. Only six times (1932, 1933, 1960, 1961, 2005, 2007) have multiple Category 5 hurricanes formed in the same year. 2005 is the only time more than two Category 5 storms formed, and 2007 is the only time more than one made landfall as a Category 5.

Category 5 Atlantic Hurricanes Path MapThis map to the right marks the tracks of all known Category 5 Atlantic hurricanes between 1851 and 2012. A Category 5 hurricane has sustained winds greater than 136 knots (157 mph; 252 km/h). “Sustained winds” refers to the average wind speed observed over one minute at 10 meters (32 ft 9.7 in) above ground, which is the standard height wind speed is measured as to avoid interference by obstacles and obstructions. Brief gusts in hurricanes are typically up to 50% higher than sustained winds. Because a hurricane is a moving system, winds are asymmetric, with the strongest winds on the right side (in the Northern Hemisphere), relative to the direction of motion.

Atlantic Hurricane Wind Field Chart

Category 5 Atlantic Hurricanes Statistics:

Officially, the decade with the most Category 5 hurricanes is 2000–2009, with eight Category 5 hurricanes having occurred: Isabel (2003), Ivan (2004), Emily (2005), Katrina (2005), Rita (2005), Wilma (2005), Dean (2007), and Felix (2007). The previous decades with the most Category 5 hurricanes were the 1930s and 1960s, with six occurring between 1930 and 1939 (before naming began): “Bahamas” (1932), “Cuba” (1932), “Cuba-Brownsville” (1933), “Tampico” (1933), “Labor Day” (1935), and “New England” (1938); and again between 1960 and 1969: Donna (1960), Ethel (1960), Carla (1961), Hattie (1961), Beulah (1967), and Camille (1969). Six Atlantic hurricanes (Allen, Andrew, Isabel, Ivan, Dean and Felix) have reached Category 5 intensity on more than one occasion. However, no Atlantic hurricane has reached Category 5 intensity more than three times, as Allen, Isabel and Ivan each reached that intensity on three separate occasions. Andrew, Dean and Felix are the only other storms to have reached Category 5 on multiple occasions, each doing it twice. The November 1932 Cuba hurricane holds the record for most time spent as a Category 5 (although it took place before weather satellites or reconnaissance aircraft so the record may be inaccurate).

Category 5 Atlantic Hurricanes Timeline:

Year Name Time as Cat 5
1924 “Cuba” 12 hours
1928 San Felipe II-“Okeechobee” 12 hours
1932 “Bahamas” 24 hours
1932 “Cuba” 78 hours
1933 “Cuba–Brownsville” 12 hours
1933 “Tampico” 12 hours
1935 “Labor Day” 18 hours
1938 “New England” 18 hours
1947 “Fort Lauderdale” 30 hours
1950 Dog 60 hours
1951 Easy 18 hours
1955 Janet 18 hours
1958 Cleo 6 hours
1960 Donna 12 hours
1960 Ethel 6 hours
1961 Carla 18 hours
1961 Hattie 18 hours
1967 Beulah 18 hours
1969 Camille 18 hours
1971 Edith 6 hours
1977 Anita 12 hours
1979 David 42 hours
1980 Allen 72 hours
1988 Gilbert 24 hours
1989 Hugo 6 hours
1992 Andrew 16 hours
1998 Mitch 42 hours
2003 Isabel 42 hours
2004 Ivan 60 hours
2005 Emily 6 hours
2005 Katrina 18 hours
2005 Rita 24 hours
2005 Wilma 18 hours
2007 Dean 24 hours
2007 Felix 24 hours