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50 Amazing Hurricane Facts

Tiny tempest

hurricanes, tropical storms

Tropical Storm Marco (2008) on October 6, 2008. (Image credit: NASA/GSFC, MODIS Rapid Response.)

The smallest tropical cyclone on record is 1998's Tropical Storm Marco with gale force winds extending out only 12 miles (19 km).

Fearsome foursomes

hurricanes, tropical storms

This image shows four Atlantic hurricanes simultaneously occurring during the 1998 Atlantic hurricane season. The hurricanes were designated as Georges, Ivan, Karl, and Jeanne. (Image credit: National Climatic Data Center.)

The most hurricanes ever seen in the Atlantic basin at one time is four. This happened twice: Once on Aug. 22, 1893, and then later from Sept. 25-27, 1998, with Georges, Ivan, Jeanne and Karl.

Higher probability

Typhoon Haikui seen offshore of China in a satellite image

NASA's Aqua satellite spotted Typhoon Haikui offshore of China on Aug. 7, 2012, just before it was to be the third typhoon in five days to hit China. (Image credit: NASA)

Since 1970, when worldwide satellite coverage began (and therefore tropical cyclones have been more reliably counted), China has been hit by more tropical cyclones than any other country, according to figures from the U.S. National Hurricane Center. (The United States ranks fifth.)

Unlucky odds

hurricanes, tropical storms

(Image credit: NWS/NHC.)

Forty percent of all hurricanes that hit the United States hit Florida (based on 1851-2009 statistics).

Unfortunate chance of big storms

hurricanes, tropical storms

(Image credit: NWS/NHC.)

Eighty-three percent of hurricanes of Category 4 or higher that have hit the United States have hit either Florida or Texas.

Long lasting

hurricanes, tropical storms

Hurricane John (1994) track. (Image credit: Wikipedia.)

The longest-traveling storm in the records was John in the East Pacific basin in 1994. It traveled about 7,165 miles (13,280 km).

Stubborn storm

hurricanes, tropical storms

Hurricane Faith (1966) track. (Image credit: Wikipedia.)

The longest-traveling storm in the Atlantic basin was Faith in 1966, which traveled about 6,850 miles (12,700 km).

Double duty

hurricanes, tropical storms

Hurricane John (1994) track. (Image credit: Wikipedia.)

John was also the longest-lasting storm on record, swirling for 31 days in August and September 1994. (It formed first as a hurricane in the Northeast Pacific, then moved to the Northwest Pacific and was renamed as a typhoon.)

Astonishing longevity

hurricanes, tropical storms

Satellite image of Hurricane Andrew with a very tightly formed eye. (Image credit: NOAA.)

Category 5 status (with winds greater than 157 mph, or 252 kph) is hard for tropical cyclones to maintain. The longest lasting Cat 5 was Nancy in the West Pacific in 1961. It stayed that strong for five days.

Surprising Season

hurricanes, tropical storms

The 2005 Atlantic Hurricane season broke record after record (Image credit: NASA/GSFC.)

The most named storms (those that achieve tropical storm status or higher) ever to form in one season in the Atlantic basin was 28 during the 2005 season. Because the National Hurricane Center uses names from the alphabet for storms (and not every letter is represented) it ran out of names that year. The last six storms (following Hurricane Wilma) were named Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon and finally, Tropical Storm Zeta, which formed Dec. 30 and lasted until Jan. 6, 2006. One of the 28 storms was a subtropical storm.