Note: This report catalogs recent tropical cyclones across the North Atlantic and East Pacific and places each basin’s tropical cyclone activity in a climate-scale context. It is not updated in real time. Users seeking the real time status and forecasts of tropical cyclones should visit The National Hurricane Center.

North Atlantic

October marks a continuation of a record-long major hurricane (Category 3 or stronger) landfall drought in the United States. The last major hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. was Wilma on October 24, 2005. This major hurricane drought surpassed the length of the eight-years from 1861-1868 when no major hurricane struck the United States' coast. On average, a major hurricane makes landfall in the U.S. about once every three years. The reliable record of landfalling hurricanes in the U.S. dates back to 1851.

October 2015 Tropical Cyclone Counts
Storm Type October 2015 October 1981-2010 Average Record Most for October
Period of Record: 1851-2015
Tropical Storm
(Winds > 39 mph)
1 1.9 6
(1870, 1887, 1950, 2005)
Hurricane
(Winds > 74 mph)
1 1.1
6
(1870)
Major Hurricane
(Winds > 111 mph)
1 0.4 2
(1878, 1893, 1894, 1950,
1961, 1964, 1995, 2005)
October 2015 Individual Tropical Cyclones
Name Dates of winds
>39 mph
Maximum
Sustained Winds
Minimum
Central Pressure
Landfall
Hurricane Joaquin September 28th - October 15th 155 931 Bahamas — Impacts also felt in U.S. and Bermuda

During the first five days of October, a strong upper level low pressure system moved into the Southeast as Hurricane Joaquin moved from the Bahamas, parallel to the Southeast coast, and then out to sea passing by Bermuda. The two systems interacted, streaming deep tropical moisture into the Carolinas. Historic rainfall totals of 15-20 inches were widespread with localized totals greater than 25 inches around Charleston, South Carolina. The heavy rainfall caused record flooding across the region, including coastal flooding that was exacerbated by strong onshore flow and astronomical high tides. The flooding resulted in over 400 roads, including Interstate Highways, being closed and at least 16 fatalities. Although Joaquin did not directly cause the flooding as it remained several hundred miles off the coast, the interaction between the tropical and non-tropical systems was associated with the record flooding.


East Pacific

During the East Pacific hurricane season through October 31st, there have been 14 tropical storms and hurricanes in the Central North Pacific portion of the basin (140°W-180°W), the most on record for this period. This year's 14 tropical systems included five tropical storms and three hurricanes that actually formed between 140°W and the International Date Line, as well as five hurricanes that originated in the Eastern North Pacific and moved into the Central North Pacific. This bested the previous record of 11 tropical cyclones in the Central Pacific in 1992 and 1994.

October 2015 Tropical Cyclone Counts
Storm Type October 2015 October 1981-2010 Average Record Most for October
Period of Record: 1949-2015
Tropical Storm
(Winds >39 mph)
5 2.1 5
(1992, 2015)
Hurricane
(Winds >74 mph)
4 1.2
4
(2015)
Major Hurricane
(Winds >111 mph)
2 0.6 3
(1983)
October 2015 Individual Tropical Cyclones
Name Dates of winds
>39 mph
Maximum
Sustained Winds
Minimum
Central Pressure
Landfall
Hurricane Marty (Cat. 1) September 26th - October 1st 80 mph 986 mb N/A - Impacts along Mexico's Pacific Coast
Hurricane Oho (Cat. 2) October 3rd-8th 110 mph 957 mb N/A - High surf in Hawaii
Tropical Storm Nora October 9th-15th 70 mph 993 mb N/A - Remnants brought heavy rain to Hawaii
Hurricane Olaf (Cat. 4) October 15th-27th 150 mph 938 mb N/A
Hurricane Patricia (Cat. 5) October 20th-24th 200 mph 879 mb Near Cuixmala, Mexico

Hurricane Patricia formed off the western coast of Mexico from a low pressure system on October 20th. The precursor low had caused significant flooding across Central America on the 18th and 19th, with six fatalities reported due to flooding and landslides in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. On the 20th and 21st, Patricia was slow to strengthen to a tropical storm over the open waters of the Pacific, but favorable environmental conditions led to an explosive intensification on the 22nd. Patricia strengthened from a tropical storm to a Category 5 hurricane in 24 hours. The storm peaked in strength on the 23rd with maximum sustained winds of 200 mph and a central minimum pressure of 879 mb, as measured by NOAA's Hurricane Hunters. Patricia was the most intense tropical cyclone recorded in terms of barometric pressure in the Western Hemisphere, besting the 882 mb observed during Wilma in 2005. Late on the 23rd Patricia made landfall near Cuixmala, Mexico, a sparsely populated part of the country. At landfall Patricia had weakened with winds of 165 mph, still a Category 5 storm, marking only the second East Pacific hurricane to make landfall as a Category 5, with the other occurring in 1959. Given the strength of the storm, Patricia's damage was remarkably limited with no fatalities reported in Mexico. The largest impacts were losses to agriculture. As Patricia moved inland it quickly weakened to a remnant low on the 24th after interacting with high terrain in western Mexico. Over the next few days the remnant low moved into the southern U.S. where significant flooding was observed across Texas and the Gulf Coast.


Citing This Report

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, Monthly Tropical Cyclones Report for October 2015, published online November 2015, retrieved on March 2, 2024 from https://www.ncei.noaa.gov/access/monitoring/monthly-report/tropical-cyclones/201510.