1976 Atlantic hurricane season
First storm formed July 30
Last storm dissipated November 23
Strongest storm Jill - 190 mph, 895 mbar
Total depressions 20
Total storms 17
Hurricanes 12
Major hurricanes 8 (Record)
Total damages $7.305625 billion (1976 USD)
Total fatalities 18,385

The 1976 Atlantic hurricane season officially began on June 1, 1976, and it ended on November 30, 1976; these are dates that conventionally delimit the timeframe for tropical cyclone tropical cyclone formation. It was rather active due to the sudden appearance of a strong La Niña, with 20 depressions, 17 storms, 12 hurricanes, and a record eight major hurricanes forming; the latter two were records for their time.

Notable storms of the season included Hurricane Belle, which struck North Carolina as a Category 3 major hurricane, Hurricane Candice, which struck Texas as a Category 4 major hurricane, Hurricane Emmy, which struck Nicaragua as a Category 5 major hurricane, Hurricane Frances, which struck Miami as a Category 5 major hurricane and New York City as a Category 1 hurricane, Hurricane Gloria, which also made landfall over Miami, but as a Category 3 major hurricane, Hurricane Jill, which made landfall over both Cancún and Tampico, Mexico as a Category 5 major hurricane, and Hurricane Lilias, which made landfall over Louisiana as a Category 4 major hurricane.

The real season witnessed 23 depressions, 10 storms (8 named), 6 hurricanes, and 2 major hurricanes, neither of which exceeded Category 3 intensity.


wikipedia:Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale


Tropical Depression One

Tropical depression (SSHWS)
Tropical Storm Arlene (1967).jpg
Duration July 30 – July 31
Peak intensity 35 mph (55 km/h) (1-min)  997 mbar (hPa)

Tropical Depression One did not affect any landmasses.

Tropical Storm Anna

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Duration July 31 – August 4
Peak intensity 45 mph (75 km/h) (1-min)  997 mbar (hPa)

Initially struggling at first due to heavy wind shear, Anna affected much of Texas and Oklahoma. Twelve fatalities and $2.4 million (1976 USD) in losses were reported.

Hurricane Belle

Category 3 hurricane (SSHWS)
Hurricane Daisy (1962).jpg
Duration August 3 – August 16
Peak intensity 125 mph (205 km/h) (1-min)  946 mbar (hPa)

Belle affected wide swaths of Bermuda, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia, along with most of the Midwestern United States and Ontario. Primarily due to strong winds and heavy flooding, the hurricane was responsible for 444 fatalities and $751.16 million (1976 USD) in losses, especially in North Carolina.

Hurricane Candice

Category 4 hurricane (SSHWS)
Hurricane Anna 1961.jpg
Duration August 6 – August 25
Peak intensity 150 mph (240 km/h) (1-min)  921 mbar (hPa)

Candice, developing in the Caribbean Sea, affected portions of Cuba, Jamaica, the Yucatán Peninsula, Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. Due to its prolonged slow movement, extreme amount of tornadoes, heavy storm surge, intense gusts, and phenomenal rainfall, 809 fatalities and $1.3 billion (1976 USD) in losses were reported, albeit well-advanced preparations.

Hurricane Dottie

Category 1 hurricane (SSHWS)
Duration August 9 – August 14
Peak intensity 85 mph (140 km/h) (1-min)  983 mbar (hPa)

Dottie brought extremely strong rip currents to Nova Scotia, killing four and causing $765,000 (1976 USD) in damages.

Subtropical Storm One

Subtropical storm (SSHWS)
Irma 4 October 1978.jpg
Duration August 11 – August 14
Peak intensity 60 mph (95 km/h) (1-min)  991 mbar (hPa)

Subtropical Storm One had no land effects.

Tropical Depression Six

Tropical depression (SSHWS)
Frances Sept 27 1968.png
Duration August 14 – August 16
Peak intensity 35 mph (55 km/h) (1-min)  998 mbar (hPa)

Tropical Depression Six also did not affect land.

Hurricane Emmy

Category 5 hurricane (SSHWS)
Hurricane Debbie September 13, 1961.jpg
Duration August 19 – September 4
Peak intensity 160 mph (260 km/h) (1-min)  915 mbar (hPa)

Emmy affected most of the Windward Islands with strong gusts and nearly all of Central America with intense winds, up to a few feet of rainfall, and thousands of landslides. These impacts would render large parts of both regions uninhabitable. Damages neared to be around $500 million (1976 USD), while roughly 6,351 fatalities were reported in the hurricane's aftermath.

Hurricane Frances

Category 5 hurricane (SSHWS)
Hurricane Gladys of 1964.jpg
Duration August 23 – September 7
Peak intensity 180 mph (285 km/h) (1-min)  902 mbar (hPa)

Frances caused colossal damage across the entire U.S. East Coast, especially in New England, who was unprepared for the magnitude of this storm. Heavy rainfall in excess of 18 inches and a storm surge of almost 20 feet put vast portions of Miami and New York City underwater, trapping many civilians. In the aftermath of the catastrophe, $2.1 billion (1976 USD) in damages was reported and 1,856 fatalities were confirmed.

Hurricane Gloria

Category 3 hurricane (SSHWS)
Hurricane Betsy 1961.jpg
Duration August 27 – September 7
Peak intensity 120 mph (195 km/h) (1-min)  950 mbar (hPa)

Taking a similar path to Elaine from 1974, Gloria passed through regions of The Bahamas and Florida already severly affected by Frances. Excessive rainfall, a moderate storm surge, and major hurricane-force gusts resulted in 96 fatalities and $146 million (1976 USD) in losses.

Hurricane Holly

Category 2 hurricane (SSHWS)
Duration September 4 – September 9
Peak intensity 105 mph (165 km/h) (1-min)  971 mbar (hPa)

Holly grazed through the Greater Antilles and the Bahamas before striking Miami as a Category 2 hurricane, becoming the third straight storm to attack the city. Due to the unexpected large size of the system, 234 fatalities and $51.7 million (1976 USD) in damages was reported.

Tropical Storm Inga

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Duration September 10 – September 13
Peak intensity 50 mph (85 km/h) (1-min)  994 mbar (hPa)

Inga caused rough surf across Nova Scotia, but no damages or fatalities were reported.

Hurricane Jill

Category 5 hurricane (SSHWS)
Hurricane Carol (1965).jpg
Duration September 12 – September 30
Peak intensity 190 mph (305 km/h) (1-min)  895 mbar (hPa)

Forming east of the Windward Islands, Jill brought heavy surf and storm surges reaching 24 feet to portions of the Lesser Antilles, Greater Antilles, Central America, Yucatán Peninsula, and the remainder of Mexico, bringing heavy rainfall and soil erosion. All in all, 7,459 fatalities and losses of $855 million (1976 USD) were reported.

Hurricane Kay

Category 3 hurricane (SSHWS)
Duration September 16 – September 26
Peak intensity 125 mph (205 km/h) (1-min)  944 mbar (hPa)

Kay brought rough waves to Bermuda, but no damages or deaths were reported.

Hurricane Lilias

Category 4 hurricane (SSHWS)
Hurricane Carla Satellite.jpg
Duration September 24 – October 10
Peak intensity 155 mph (250 km/h) (1-min)  917 mbar (hPa)

Taking a somewhat similar path to Candice from earlier in the season, Lilias affected the Windward Islands, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Jamaica, Central America, the Yucatán Peninsula, Southeastern United States, and Texas. A storm surge of roughly 15 feet, over 100 tornadoes, heavy rainfall in excess of 50 inches, and gusts of strong Category 5 intensity, 986 fatalities and $1.4 billion (1976 USD) in losses were reported across the affected areas. It was described by some to be nothing along the likes they had ever seen.

Hurricane Maria

Category 2 hurricane (SSHWS)
Tropical Storm Becky (1970).jpg
Duration September 29 – October 4
Peak intensity 105 mph (165 km/h) (1-min)  973 mbar (hPa)

Maria grazed through portions of Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina already severely affected by Frances, Gloria, and Holly. Rainfall of roughly 10 inches and gusts to Category 4 intensity killed 73 and caused damage reports of $108 million (1976 USD).

Hurricane Nola

Category 2 hurricane (SSHWS)
Duration October 6 – October 13
Peak intensity 110 mph (175 km/h) (1-min)  969 mbar (hPa)

Nola made landfall and affected portions of Texas and Oklahoma already badly flooded from previous storms. Strong gusts of Category 3 intensity and a storm surge of seven to nine feet caused additional carnage to the region, resulting in $87 million (1976 USD) in losses and 53 fatalities.

Subtropical Storm Two

Subtropical storm (SSHWS)
SS Gilda 73.jpg
Duration October 11 – October 15
Peak intensity 65 mph (100 km/h) (1-min)  982 mbar (hPa)

Subtropical Storm Two grazed most of the U.S. East Coast from North Carolina upwards. Strong surf and moderate gusts caused eight fatalities and $3.6 million (1976 USD) in damages.

Tropical Depression Orpha

Tropical depression (SSHWS)
SS One dissipating (1978).jpg
Duration November 3 – November 5
Peak intensity 35 mph (55 km/h) (1-min)  999 mbar (hPa)

Operationally deemed a tropical storm, Orpha had no effects on land.

Tropical Storm Pamela

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Tropical Storm Floyd (1981).jpg
Duration November 19 – November 23
Peak intensity 45 mph (75 km/h) (1-min)  997 mbar (hPa)

Concluding the season, Pamela also did not impact land.

Storm names

The following names were used to name tropical cyclones in 1976. Subtropical cyclones were not named. Storms were named Belle, Candice, Dottie, Emmy, Gloria, Jill, Kay, Lilias, Maria, Nola, Orpha, and Pamela for the first time in 1976.

  • Anna
  • Belle
  • Candice
  • Dottie
  • Emmy
  • Frances
  • Gloria
  • Holly
  • Inga
  • Jill
  • Kay
  • Lilias
  • Maria
  • Nola
  • Orpha
  • Pamela
  • Ruth (unused)
  • Shirley (unused)
  • Trixie (unused)
  • Vilda (unused)
  • Wynne (unused)


After the end of the season, the names Belle, Candice, Emmy, Frances, Jill, and Lilias were retired; this is the highest number of names retired after any season. Because this was the only time this naming list was used, no particular replacements were chosen.