1996 Atlantic hurricane season

hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

The 1996 Atlantic hurricane season officially began on June 1, 1996, and lasted until November 30, 1996. Tropical Cyclones can and have formed outside these dates but not in 1996, because Hurricane Marco ended on November 24. The 1996 Atlantic hurricane season was very active, but not as active as 1995, but it was more active then 1997.

1996 Atlantic hurricane season
Season summary map
First storm formed June 17, 1996
Last storm dissipated November 26, 1996
Strongest storm Edouard – 933 mbar (hPa) (27.56 inHg), 145 mph (230 km/h)
Total depressions 13
Total storms 13
Hurricanes 9
Major hurricanes (Cat. 3+) 6
Total fatalities 256
Total damage ~ $8.41 billion (1996 USD)
Atlantic hurricane seasons
1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998



Tropical Storm Arthur

Tropical storm
DurationJune 17 – June 21
Peak intensity50 mph (85 km/h) (1-min)  990 mbar (hPa)

Tropical Storm Arthur was the first tropical storm of the 1996 season. It started on June 17 in the Bahamas as Tropical Depression One. One became Tropical Storm Arthur late on June 19. Tropical Storm Arthur made landfall in Cape Lookout, North Carolina was a weak tropical storm. It moved to the east and went back into the Atlantic Ocean and died on June 21. Arthur killed no one and caused only $1 million in damage.

Hurricane Bertha

Category 3 hurricane
DurationJuly 5 – July 14
Peak intensity115 mph (185 km/h) (1-min)  960 mbar (hPa)

Hurricane Bertha was the first hurricane of the 1996 Atlantic hurricane season. It started on July 5 near the Cape Verde Islands. On that same day it became Tropical Storm Bertha. By July 7 it became a hurricane, during that day it struck Antigua, and Sint Maarten. Bertha moved along the edges of the islands in the Bahamas. Hurricane Bertha made landfall in North Carolina on July 12 as a category 2 hurricane. It quickly got weaker and died on July 14 as it entered Canada. Bertha killed 9 people and caused $335 million in damage.

Hurricane Cesar

Category 1 hurricane
DurationJuly 24 – July 29
Peak intensity85 mph (140 km/h) (1-min)  985 mbar (hPa)

Hurricane Cesar started off the coast of Venezuela on July 24, it was a tropical depression at this time. It slowly got stronger, becoming a tropical storm the next day and a hurricane by July 27. On July 28 it made landfall as a hurricane in Nicaragua. Cesar weakened to a tropical storm over land, but it reached the Pacific Ocean and later on it became Hurricane Douglas. Hurricane Cesar killed 77 people and caused $206 million in damage.

Hurricane Dolly

Category 1 hurricane
DurationAugust 19 – August 26
Peak intensity80 mph (130 km/h) (1-min)  989 mbar (hPa)

Hurricane Dolly started as Tropical Depression Four near Jamaica. It got stronger and it became Tropical Storm Dolly soon after. Tropical Storm Dolly became Hurricane Dolly just before it made landfall in the Yucatan Peninsula on August 20. It weakened over land and entered the southern Gulf of Mexico as a tropical depression. Dolly quickly got stronger again and became a tropical storm. Just before it made another landfall in Mexico, it became Hurricane Dolly again on August 23. The storm weakened a lot over Mexico and it died on August 26. It killed about 14 in Mexico.

Hurricane Edouard

Category 4 hurricane
DurationAugust 19 – September 3
Peak intensity145 mph (230 km/h) (1-min)  933 mbar (hPa)

Hurricane Edouard was the strongest hurricane of the 1996 Atlantic hurricane season. It started as Tropical Depression Five near Cape Verde on August 19. Tropical Depression Five did not become Tropical Storm Edouard until August 22. By the next day it had gotten stronger and it was Hurricane Edouard at this point.

Hurricane Edouard strengthened fast, peaking as a category 4 hurricane on from August 24 - 28. After this, it weakened slightly, back to a category 3 hurricane. It turned to the north and repeated this but did not again re-strengthen into a category 4 hurricane. On September 2, Hurricane Edouard passed only 90 miles to the south of Massachusetts. By the next day Hurricane Edouard had died.

Edouard killed 2 people and caused around $3.5 million in damage.

Hurricane Fran

Category 3 hurricane
DurationAugust 23 – September 8
Peak intensity120 mph (195 km/h) (1-min)  946 mbar (hPa)

Fran started on August 23 as Tropical Depression Six. It slowly got stronger because Hurricane Edouard was near it. The depression became Tropical Storm Fran on August 27. Fran became a hurricane on August 29, weakened back to a tropical storm on August 30, and became a hurricane again on August 31. Hurricane Fran did not get much stronger until it began on a track more to the north. By September 5, it made landfall in Cape Fear, North Carolina as a category 3 hurricane. It died on September 8. Fran caused the deaths of 26 people and caused $3.2 billion in damage.

Tropical Storm Gustav

Tropical storm
DurationAugust 26 – September 2
Peak intensity45 mph (75 km/h) (1-min)  1005 mbar (hPa)

On August 26, Tropical Depression Seven started. It slowly grew and became Tropical Storm Gustav. It headed northwest and did not get any stronger because of the large size of Hurricane Fran and wind shear. Wind shear also caused in to die on September 2.

Hurricane Hortense

Category 4 hurricane
DurationSeptember 3 – September 15
Peak intensity140 mph (220 km/h) (1-min)  935 mbar (hPa)

Hortense started on September 3 as the eighth tropical depression in 1996 in the Atlantic. It slowly strengthened, becoming Tropical Storm Hortense on September 7, four days later. As a tropical storm, it passed into the Leeward Islands and entered the Caribbean Sea. Continuing to slowly strengthen, it became Hurricane Hortense on September 9. Hurricane Hortense made landfall on the southwestern part of Puerto Rico. This resulted in $155 million in damage and the deaths of 18 people. It also moved along the coast of Dominican Republic, which killed 3 people.

It soon re-entered the Atlantic Ocean, and it quickly strengthened. By September 13, it had become a 140 miles per hour, category 4 hurricane. Hortense started moving faster, but weakened at the same time. Finally, by September 15 it had made another landfall in Nova Scotia. In Nova Scotia, there was $3 million in damage. Hurricane Hortense died on later on September 15.

Hurricane Isidore

Category 3 hurricane
DurationSeptember 24 – October 1
Peak intensity115 mph (185 km/h) (1-min)  960 mbar (hPa)

Isidore started on September 24 a few hundred miles south of Cape Verde. It headed westward and later peaked as a category 3 hurricane. Hurricane Isidore began heading north after it became a category 3 hurricane. Isidore weakened and died on October 1.

Other Storms

  • Tropical Storm Josephine
  • Tropical Storm Kyle
  • Hurricane Lili
  • Possible storm
  • Hurricane Marco

The 1996 Atlantic hurricane season had 4 tropical storms, 3 hurricane, 6 major hurricanes and 1 possible storm.

Unused storm names


There were 8 unused names in 1996 they include:

  • Nana (unused)
  • Omar (unused)
  • Paloma (unused)
  • Rene (unused)
  • Sally (unused)
  • Teddy (unused)
  • Vicky (unused)
  • Wilfred (unused)



In the spring of 1997 the following names got retired: Cesar, Fran and Hortense and there are replaced by Cristobal, Fay and Hanna for the 2002 season.

Tropical cyclones of the 1996 Atlantic hurricane season

Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale
TD TS C1 C2 C3 C4 C5