2004 Atlantic hurricane season

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2004 Atlantic hurricane season
Season summary map
Season summary map
First storm formed: Aug. 1, 2004
Last storm dissipated: Dec. 2, 2004
Strongest storm: Ivan - 910 mbar (26.87 inHg), 145 knots (165 mph; 270 km/h)
Total storms: 15
Major storms (Cat. 3+) 6
Total damages: $42 billion
(2004 USD)
Total fatalites: 3,132+
Atlantic hurricane seasons
2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006

The 2004 Atlantic hurricane season officially began on June 1, 2004, and lasted until November 30, 2004. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic Ocean. However, the 2004 season exceeded these conventional limits slightly, as Tropical Storm Otto formed on the last day of the season and lasted two days into December.

The season was notable as one of the deadliest and costliest Atlantic hurricane seasons on record, with at least 3,132 deaths (mostly in Haiti) and roughly $42 billion (USD) in damage. The most notable storms for the season were Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne, all of which struck the U.S. state of Florida. Jeanne also wreaked havoc in Haiti, killing approximately 3,000 people, while Ivan raged through Grenada, Jamaica, and the Cayman Islands before striking the U.S. Gulf Coast. Frances and Jeanne both hit the Bahamas at full force. Furthermore, four of the five hurricanes, all three of the major hurricanes, and one of the three tropical storms that made landfall in the United States hit Florida, with Frances and Jeanne hitting nearly the exact same location within three weeks of each other. Flood waters in the southeastern United States were brought to near-record levels.


Season summary

See also: Timeline of the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season

The 2004 season had numerous unusual occurrences. The first named storm of the season formed on August 1, giving the season the fifth-latest start since 1952. Tropical Storm Bonnie and Hurricane Charley became the first storms to hit the same U.S. state (Florida) in a 24-hour period since 1906. For the remainder of the season, Florida was hit by three more hurricanes, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne. This is the first time four hurricanes have hit one state in one season since four hurricanes hit the Texas coast in 1886, including the hurricane that destroyed the city of Indianola.

Other storms were individually unusual. Hurricane Alex was the strongest hurricane on record to intensify north of 38 degrees latitude. One storm, Tropical Storm Earl, died out, and its remains crossed over into the Pacific Ocean, regenerated, and became Hurricane Frank in the eastern Pacific.

Hurricane Ivan sank and stacked numerous boats at Bayou Grande Marina at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida.
Hurricane Ivan sank and stacked numerous boats at Bayou Grande Marina at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida.

August 2004 was unusually active, with eight named storms forming during the month. In an average year, only three or four storms would be named in August. The formation of eight named storms in August breaks the old record of seven for the month, set in the 1933 and 1995 seasons. It also ties with September in the 2002 season for the most Atlantic tropical storms to form in any month.

The most unusual storm of the season was Hurricane Ivan. Ivan first impressed meteorologists by becoming the first major hurricane (category three or above) on record to form as low as 10 degrees latitude. Ivan was also recorded as the sixth most intense hurricane on record, with a minimum central pressure of 910 millibars. One very unusual occurrence in relation to Ivan happened on September 22, when a remnant low from Ivan—which had traveled in a circular motion over the southeastern United States—was reclassified as a tropical depression as it moved over the Gulf of Mexico. The system was given the name Ivan and eventually strengthened into a respectable tropical storm with winds of 65 mph before making landfall along the coast of Texas, causing minimal flooding and damage.

The 2004 season was very deadly, with over 3,000 deaths related to the flooding rains or winds caused by the storms. Nearly all of the deaths were reported in Haiti following the floods and mudslides caused by then-Tropical Storm Jeanne. This season had 16 tropical depressions, 15 named storms, 9 hurricanes, and 6 major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale). The Accumulated Cyclone Energy figure of 231 ranks this as the second most active season since 1950 (behind the 1995 season).

Although not part of the traditional Atlantic hurricane season, one event in the South Atlantic was so unusual as to merit mention. On March 25, a tropical cyclone (unofficially named Cyclone Catarina) formed in the South Atlantic. Although its status is questioned, Catarina is considered to be the first hurricane to have formed in the South Atlantic since satellite observations began. It made landfall late on March 27 in the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina. The storm killed at least three and caused over $350 million in damage.

The end of the season brought questions about the way the National Hurricane Center projects storm paths. In 2004, they started projecting storms five days out instead of three; this caused people in the five-day path to board up or evacuate from the storm, when in some cases it veered away from those areas. Three days is considered enough time to prepare for a storm, so some suggested five days created unneeded panic. However, the NHC decided to use the same maps for 2005.

Preseason forecasts

On May 17, prior to the start of the season, NOAA forecasters predicted a 50% probability of activity above the normal range, with 12–15 tropical storms, 6–8 of those becoming hurricanes, and 2–4 of those hurricanes reaching at least Category 3 strength on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale.[1]

Noted hurricane expert Dr. William Gray's May 28 prediction was similar, with 14 named storms, 8 reaching hurricane strength, and 3 reaching Category 3 strength.[2]

On August 6, Dr. Gray announced he had revised his predictions slightly downwards, citing warmer oceans, to 13 named storms, 7 hurricanes, and 3 reaching category 3. Several days later, NOAA released an updated prediction as well, with a 45% probability of above-normal activity, but the same number of storms forecast.[3]

A normal season, as defined by NOAA, has 6 to 14 tropical storms, 4 to 8 of which reach hurricane strength, and 1 to 3 of those reaching Category 3 strength.[4]

The season ended up with 16 tropical depressions, 15 named storms, 9 hurricanes, and six major hurricanes, placing it well above all forecasts.


Hurricane Alex

Hurricane Alex just off the Outer Banks of North Carolina on August 3.
Hurricane Alex just off the Outer Banks of North Carolina on August 3.

Main Article: Hurricane Alex

The first storm of the season formed at the end of July off the coast of South Carolina, an unusually late start. Alex strengthened into a Category Two hurricane, and on August 3 came within ten miles (16 km) of the Outer Banks of North Carolina without making landfall. Damage was limited to flooding and wind damage, and in Dare County, North Carolina, was estimated at $2.4 million. One minor injury was reported.

Alex later headed out to sea and strengthened to a 120-mile-per-hour (195 km/h) Category Three hurricane, making Alex only the second hurricane on record to have reached Category Three strength north of 38° N latitude. Alex became extratropical over the north Atlantic, where it continued to produce gale-force winds.

For the official forecasts, see the NHC's archive on Hurricane Alex and their Tropical Cyclone Report.

Tropical Storm Bonnie

On August 3, a tropical wave approaching the Lesser Antilles organized into a tropical depression, dubbed Tropical Depression Two, or TD2. As the storm traveled west over the islands, it dissipated on August 4.

The remnants of Tropical Depression Two continued westward and, on August 9, had strengthened into Tropical Storm Bonnie 410 miles (660 km) south of the mouth of the Mississippi River. Although appearing disorganized, Bonnie showed unusual structure, with a closed eye wall and a ten-mile (16 km) eye being reported by hurricane hunters on the night of August 9 and morning of August 10. As a NHC forecaster described it, they are "almost unheard of in a system of this intensity." Bonnie was a very small storm, with tropical storm-force winds extending only 30 miles (50 km) out from the center.

Bonnie made landfall as a weakening tropical storm just south of Apalachicola, Florida, around 11 a.m. CDT on August 12. Rain was fleeting with the landfall of the tropical system, as the Apalachicola area only experienced thunderstorms for a couple of hours. As Bonnie weakened to a tropical depression, it interacted with an approaching cold front, producing large amounts of rain along the East Coast. Bonnie then exited back into the Atlantic.

At 11 p.m. August 13, what was left of Bonnie had lost tropical characteristics and was positioned beyond the New England seaboard. Bonnie did cause significant rainfall to coastal North Carolina and the New England states. Three deaths in Pender County, North Carolina were attributed to a tornado spawned by Bonnie.

For the official forecasts, see:

See also the NHC's Tropical Cyclone Report.

Hurricane Charley

Main Article: Hurricane Charley

Hurricane Charley nearing Florida coast
Hurricane Charley nearing Florida coast

Hurricane Charley formed east of the Windward Islands on August 9 and moved rapidly west across the Caribbean. As it neared Jamaica, it became a hurricane and grazed that island on the August 11, passing through the Cayman Islands the next morning. On August 12 Charley passed over mainland Cuba as a Category 3 hurricane just west of Havana.

On August 13, Charley unexpectedly underwent rapid strengthening, jumping from a Category 2 to a powerful Category 4 storm in a few hours, while at the same time taking a sharp turn to the northeast. Charley made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane near Port Charlotte, Florida. Although the storm caused serious damage, much of this was limited to a narrow swath associated with the hurricane's eye wall. Charley was a very fast-moving, compact storm, and so much of its damage was attributed to high winds rather than heavy rain, as is the case in most hurricanes. Charley remained a hurricane across the entire Florida peninsula and passed near Orlando and Daytona Beach. It later made a second landfall near North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on August 14. Charley dissipated near Cape Cod, Massachusetts on August 15.

Charley caused approximately $14 billion in damage to the United States, making it the third costliest hurricane in U.S. history. Fifteen deaths were directly attributed to Charley; four in Jamaica, one in Cuba, and ten in Florida.

For the official forecasts, see the NHC's archive on Hurricane Charley and their Tropical Cyclone Report.

Hurricane Danielle

At 11 a.m. AST on August 13, a tropical wave formed into Tropical Depression Four around 275 miles (440 km) southeast of Cape Verde. Twelve hours later, TD4 strengthened and was named Tropical Storm Danielle. Late on August 14, Danielle's wind speeds increased, and it was classified as a hurricane. Danielle moved northwest, peaking at Category Two. It was predicted to curve towards the Azores, but on August 18 lost motion and slackened to a tropical storm. By August 19, the storm had become stationary with minimal storm strength 810 miles (1305 km) southwest of the Azores. The storm was downgraded to a tropical depression the next day, and degenerated to a broad low-pressure area on August 21.

For the official forecasts, see the NHC's archive on Hurricane Danielle and their Tropical Cyclone Report.

Tropical Storm Earl

Earl formed initially as the fifth tropical depression of the season on August 13 east of the Lesser Antilles. After traveling west, it reached tropical storm strength on August 14 around 375 miles (605 km) southeast of Barbados. On August 15, Earl passed just south of Grenada and entered the Caribbean. The storm had degenerated by that point, and that night would have been classified as a tropical wave. However, the government of Venezuela denied access to their airspace for storm reconnaissance aircraft. An on-site assessment of Earl's circulation was needed, since satellite observations are inaccurate for that purpose. Earl also posed a threat to land, so advisories continued for another 12 hours.

The next morning a reconnaissance aircraft was able to reach the storm. It found no closed circulation, and Earl was reclassified as a tropical wave at 11 a.m. AST on August 16. Remnants of the storm continued across the Caribbean and into Central America, later becoming Tropical Depression 8E and then Hurricane Frank in the Pacific Ocean (the first time since 1996, when Hurricane Cesar became Douglas in the Pacific). Earl caused minor damage to Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

For the official forecasts, see the NHC's archive on Tropical Storm Earl and their Tropical Cyclone Report. See also 2004 Pacific hurricane season for information on Earl after it crossed oceans.

Hurricane Frances

Hurricane Frances on September 1
Hurricane Frances on September 1

Main Article: Hurricane Frances

Frances began as Tropical Depression Six on August 24, and it became a named storm on August 25 while well east of the Windward Islands. Frances strengthened rapidly, reaching Category 4 intensity by August 27. Initially forecast to turn north and potentially threaten Bermuda, conditions changed and Frances's predicted track shifted westward. After grazing the Turks and Caicos Islands, it plowed through the Bahamas. From September 2 through September 4, Frances slowly grinded its way across the Bahamas. Its slow movement allowed a record 2.5 to 3 million Floridians to evacuate their homes. However, as it grinded its way across the Bahamas, it weakened to a Category 2 hurricane, although it was still a very large storm.

After sitting stationary off the coast of Florida for nearly 24 hours, Frances finally moved onto the coast of Florida in the early hours of September 5. It traveled northwest over land, briefly emerging over the Gulf of Mexico and striking the Florida panhandle. As it passed over Georgia on September 6, it caused heavy rainfall across the southern U.S. Over 15 inches of rain were recorded in some places in North Carolina and Virginia, causing heavy flooding. Frances was downgraded to a tropical depression and dissipated over Pennsylvania on September 9.

Damage to the United States was approximately $9 billion, making it the sixth costliest hurricane in U.S. history. Most of Hurricane Frances's damage occurred in Florida as a result of the storm's slow movement, large size, and long duration of winds. The storm is directly responsible for seven deaths; one in the Bahamas and six in the United States. Hurricane Frances also produced a record-setting 123 tornadoes as it moved its way through the United States.

For official forecasts, see:

See also the NHC's Tropical Cyclone Report.

Hurricane Gaston

Tropical Depression Seven formed at 5 p.m. EDT (2100 UTC) on August 27, around 140 miles (225 km) southeast of Charleston, South Carolina. The depression meandered off the coast for the rest of the day, strengthening into Tropical Storm Gaston by midday August 28.

At 10 a.m. EDT (1400 UTC) on August 29, Gaston made landfall on the coast of Bulls Bay, South Carolina, near the towns of McClellanville and Awendaw. It was downgraded to a tropical depression later that day. The storm made landfall in almost the same location as Hurricane Hugo in 1989.

At landfall the storm was originally classified as just shy of hurricane strength. While wind damage in South Carolina was minimal, the slow-moving storm produced five to ten inches (125 to 250 mm) of rain along its path, causing extensive flooding. Gaston moved north over land, weakening to a tropical depression but still bringing torrential rain to central Virginia, where at least eight people were killed in the ensuing floods. The Shockoe Bottom entertainment district near downtown Richmond, Virginia was devastated by the flooding. Total damage was estimated at about $130 million.

Late on August 30, as Tropical Depression Gaston crossed Chesapeake Bay, its winds strengthened, and it was again classified as a tropical storm. It headed out over the Atlantic and became extratropical on September 1, about 185 miles (300 km) southeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

On November 19, after a detailed analysis by the NHC, surface-level winds were determined to be about 75 mph (120 km/h) at landfall, and Gaston was reclassified as a Category 1 hurricane.

For official forecasts, see the NHC's archive on Hurricane Gaston and their Tropical Cyclone Report.

Tropical Storm Hermine

Hermine formed out of an organized area of disturbed weather that had formed about 325 miles (520 km) southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, or 360 miles (580 km) west of Bermuda and moved very rapidly north towards Cape Cod. On its northward trek, Hermine left behind most of its convection. The storm made landfall near New Bedford, Massachusetts, early on August 31, appearing as little more than a low-level swirl of clouds. It became extratropical a few hours later. Some rainfall and thunderstorms over Long Island and parts of New England were attributed to Hermine, but most people did not realize a tropical storm had struck.

There were no casualties or reports of damage caused by Hermine.

For the official forecasts, see the NHC's archive on Tropical Storm Hermine and their Tropical Cyclone Report.

Hurricane Ivan

Hurricane Ivan infrared satellite image taken on September 16, 2004, at 1:45 a.m. CDT.
Hurricane Ivan infrared satellite image taken on September 16, 2004, at 1:45 a.m. CDT.

Main Article: Hurricane Ivan

Ivan was a Cape Verde-type hurricane that began as Tropical Depression Nine on September 2. It became a tropical storm on September 3, and a hurricane on the September 5 while 1,040 miles (1670 km) east of the Windward Islands, at 9.9° N. Later that day, while at 10.6° N, it unexpectedly underwent rapid strengthening, reaching Category 4 intensity by that evening. It was the strongest storm to have ever been known to intensify that far south.

Ivan struck Grenada directly on September 7 while at Category 3 strength, destroying 90% of Grenada's structures and devastating the island's economy. Ivan continued across the Caribbean Sea and strengthened into an extremely dangerous Category 5 hurricane. It headed northwest and skimmed the southern coast of Jamaica at Category 4, and then passed within 30 miles (50 km) of Grand Cayman at Category 5, destroying 85% of the structures on the island. Ivan then grazed the far western tip of Cuba, also at Category 5 strength, as it moved into the Gulf of Mexico.

On September 16, Ivan made landfall on the Gulf coast of Alabama at the upper end of Category 3. Ivan sustained hurricane force winds until it reached central Alabama, and caused flooding as far north as Pennsylvania. The combination of Hurricane Ivan with the rain of Frances previously brought many rivers in the Southeastern U.S. to near-record flood levels. On the morning of September 21 it combined with a low-pressure system to create hurricane-force winds in Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, Canada.

A remnant of Ivan turned southward and made a loop over the southeastern United States. The low developed into a tropical storm on September 22 in the Gulf of Mexico and was given the name Ivan again. Ivan headed northwest, making landfall near Cameron, Louisiana, and heading west into Texas. The tropical system quickly deteriorated and caused minimal flooding and damage.

Hurricane Ivan killed 92 people directly throughout the Caribbean and United States; 39 in Grenada, 25 in the United States, 17 in Jamaica, 4 in the Dominican Republic, 3 in Venezuela, 2 in the Cayman Islands, and 1 each in Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados. Ivan caused approximately $13,000,000,000 in damage to the United States, making it the fourth costliest hurricane in United States history. Ivan was the strongest storm of the season, and the only 2004 Atlantic hurricane to reach Category 5 intensity. Its low pressure reading of 910 mbar made it the sixth most intense Atlantic hurricane on record.

For official forecasts see:

See also the NHC's Tropical Cyclone Report.

Tropical Depression Ten

In addition to the fifteen named storms, there was a single tropical depression, Tropical Depression 10, that did not strengthen into a tropical storm. It lasted for only 12 hours after forming 420 miles (675 km) west of the Azores on September 9.

Hurricane Jeanne

Hurricane Jeanne visible satellite image taken on September 22, 2004 at 11:15 a.m. EDT.
Hurricane Jeanne visible satellite image taken on September 22, 2004 at 11:15 a.m. EDT.

Main Article: Hurricane Jeanne

Jeanne formed as a tropical depression east-southeast of Guadeloupe on the evening of September 13. Having strengthened to a tropical storm, Jeanne crossed Puerto Rico on September 15. It then moved toward Hispaniola, barely reaching hurricane strength before making landfall on September 16. It tracked slowly across the northern coast of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, its heavy rains bringing mudslides and flooding. Jeanne's unusually slow journey was actually caused by a weakening Hurricane Ivan. Ivan broke up a trough that was fueling Jeanne's steering currents. Interaction with Hispaniola caused it to degenerate into a tropical depression.

After wreaking havoc on Hispaniola, Jeanne struggled to reorganize. However, it eventually began strengthening and headed north. After performing a complete loop over the open Atlantic, it headed westwards, strengthening into a Category 3 hurricane and passing over the islands of Great Abaco and Grand Bahama in the Bahamas on September 25. Jeanne made landfall later in the day in Florida just 2 miles (3 kilometers) from where Frances had struck 3 weeks earlier. Building on the rainfall of Frances and Ivan, Jeanne brought near-record flood levels as far north as West Virginia and New Jersey before its remnants turned east into the open Atlantic.

Jeanne is blamed for at least 3,006 deaths in Haiti with about 2,800 in Gonaïves alone, which was nearly washed away by floods and mudslides. The storm also caused 7 deaths in Puerto Rico, 18 in the Dominican Republic and at least 4 in Florida, bringing the total number of deaths to at least 3,025. Final property damage in the United States was $6,800,000,000, making this the tenth costliest hurricane in U.S. history.

For official forecasts see:

See also the NHC's Tropical Cyclone Report.

Hurricane Karl

Tropical Depression Twelve formed from a tropical wave about 670 miles (1,080 km) west-southwest of the Cape Verde islands on September 16. It became Tropical Storm Karl at 11 p.m. AST (0300 UTC) that day. Early on September 18, it strengthened rapidly to become a hurricane and was a major hurricane later that day.

Karl continued strengthening and became a 140 mph (225 km/h) Category 4 hurricane on September 19. It fluctuated in intensity over the next few days, reaching Category 4 strength on two different occasions. It moved steadily northwards, staying hundreds of miles from any land, until it began to weaken and become extratropical over cooler waters. Karl was still of Category 1 strength when it became an extratropical system on September 24 over the far northern Atlantic at about 47° N.

The extratropical system struck the Faeroe Islands two days later. [5]

For official forecasts see the NHC's public advisory archive on Hurricane Karl and their Tropical Cyclone Report.

Hurricane Lisa

Tropical Depression Thirteen developed from a tropical wave 650 miles (1,045 km) west-southwest of the Cape Verde islands on September 19. It became Tropical Storm Lisa at 8 a.m. AST on September 20 with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph (80 km/h). A very small storm, its development was hindered by its proximity to Hurricane Karl. On September 22, Lisa began merging with a large tropical disturbance to its east and weakened to a tropical depression for a couple of days before regaining tropical storm strength on September 25. By then it was heading generally northwards in the mid-Atlantic. Lisa went through several phases of weakening and strengthening as it headed north, finally reaching hurricane strength on October 1, and again the next day.

At the time, Lisa earned the record for being a named tropical cyclone (i.e., after first reaching Tropical Storm strength) for 11 days before becoming a hurricane. (Hurricane Dennis of 1981 took longer overall but dropped to a tropical wave before regenerating.) However, this record was beaten by Hurricane Irene in the 2005 Atlantic Hurricane Season. (Subsequent reevaluation determined that Lisa only became a hurricane on October 2, after 11¾ days as a named cyclone. Its total development time from Tropical Depression to hurricane, at 12½ days, is second only to Hurricane Josephine of 1990.)

Lisa was a hurricane only briefly, moving over cooler waters and weakening to a tropical storm. It became extratropical early on October 3 while located about 475 miles (760 km) north-northwest of the Azores. It never threatened any land area.

For official forecasts see the NHC's public advisory archive on Hurricane Lisa and their Tropical Cyclone Report.

Tropical Storm Matthew

Matthew began with a tropical wave that entered the southwestern Gulf of Mexico. This wave grew into a large area of low pressure in the western Gulf. The nontropical low began feeding moisture into a cold front that was traversing the United States, causing heavy rainfall across Louisiana, East Texas, and Arkansas.

On the afternoon of October 8, the low pressure system developed into Tropical Storm Matthew 260 miles (420 km) east-southeast of Brownsville, Texas. Matthew was a minimal tropical storm, and its sustained winds stayed at or near 40 mph (64 km/h) from its naming until landfall on October 10. It became extratropical inland over Louisiana later in the day, and dissipated when it was near El Dorado, Arkansas.

Matthew brought up to 12 inches (300 mm) of rain to southern Louisiana. About a dozen homes were flooded in Terrebonne Parish after a canal levee burst, and streets in St. Bernard Parish were reportedly under 2 feet (60 cm) of water. The remnants of Matthew continued to spin inland and delivered heavy rainfall for at least five more days. No injuries or deaths were reported.

For official forecasts see:

See also the NHC's Tropical Cyclone Report.

Subtropical Storm Nicole

Early on October 10, the National Hurricane Center determined that a low-pressure system to the west of Bermuda had acquired sufficient organization to be named Subtropical Storm Nicole. It brought light rain to Bermuda and briefly threatened it before heading towards the northeast.

Nicole continued heading generally northeastward over cooler waters and was declared fully extratropical on October 11 while 345 miles (555 km) south-southeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia. The Canadian Hurricane Centre continued to issue advisories on, as they called it, post-tropical Storm Nicole for another day as it moved closer to land and dropped heavy rainfall on the Maritimes. The remnants of Nicole finally merged with a larger low-pressure area while in the vicinity of Anticosti Island on October 14. No injuries or deaths were reported.

Since 2002, subtropical storms have been assigned names from the same sequence as tropical storms. Nicole was the first named storm under this dispensation which never achieved tropical status.

For official forecasts, see the NHC's public advisory archive on Subtropical Storm Nicole and their Tropical Cyclone Report.

Tropical Storm Otto

After a period of inactivity lasting seven weeks, Tropical Storm Otto formed on November 30, the last day of the official hurricane season. It developed from a nontropical low-pressure system over the central North Atlantic Ocean. Otto moved generally south and southwest for a few days as a minimal tropical storm before degenerating on December 2.

For official forecasts, see the NHC's public advisory archive on Tropical Storm Otto and their Tropical Cyclone Report.

Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) Ranking

ACE (104 kt2) – Storm
1. 70.0 – Ivan 9. 2.50   – Bonnie
2.   46.8 – Frances     10. 2.18   – Gaston
3. 28.0 – Karl 11. 1.16   – Nicole
4. 24.9 – Jeanne 12. 1.05   – Otto
5. 12.0 – Lisa 13. 1.05   – Earl
6. 12.0 – Danielle 14.   1.01   – Hermine
7. 11.2 – Alex 15. 0.773 – Matthew
8. 10.4 – Charley

The tropical storms of 2004 ranked from highest to lowest ACE, given to three significant figures. The total for the season was 225. This placed it 3rd in the list of most energetic seasons since 1950.

ACE measures the strength and duration of a tropical cyclone. Hurricane Ivan, because it was such a long lasting and strong Cape Verde-type hurricane, contributed almost one-third of the ACE value for 2004.

Source: US National Climatic Data Center - Atlantic Basin 2004 Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) Index

2004 storm names

The following names were used for named storms that formed in the north Atlantic in 2004. The names not retired from this list will be used again in the 2010 season. This is the same list used for the 1998 season except for Gaston and Matthew, which replaced Georges and Mitch. Storms were named Gaston, Matthew and Otto for the first time in 2004. Names that were not assigned are marked in gray.

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


The World Meteorological Organization retired four names in the spring of 2005: Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne. They will be replaced in 2010 by Colin, Fiona, Igor, and Julia. The 2004 season is currently tied with the 1955 season and 1995 season for the most storm names retired after a single season.

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