The 1963 Atlantic hurricane season
officially began on June 15
, and lasted until November 15
. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones
form in the Atlantic basin
. The season was fairly average, with seven hurricanes and nine total storms forming.
The most notable hurricane of the season was Hurricane Flora. It was the fifth-deadliest Atlantic hurricane on record, killing 7200 as it drifted through Haiti and Cuba as an intense hurricane.
A cloud mass in the central Atlantic became a tropical depression on July 31
. It headed to the west, becoming a tropical storm on August 2
. Arlene rapidly intensified that day to become a 100 mph Category 2 hurricane, but lack of outflow weakened Arlene to a tropical depression on the 4th. For the next three days, a disturbed area of low pressure that may have had a circulation moved to the northwest. On the 8th, while turning northeastward, conditions favored development again, and Arlene rapidly intensified to a hurricane that night. Arlene passed over Bermuda
on the 9th, and, after reaching its peak of 100 mph again that night, steadily weakened until it became extratropical on the 11th. Arlene caused $300,000 in property damage in Bermuda, but no lives were lost.
The precursor to Hurricane Beulah was a tropical wave moving across the tropical Atlantic. It was organized enough to be called a tropical depression on August 20
, and it strengthened to tropical storm force the next day. Beulah moved northwestward, becoming a hurricane on the 22nd and a major hurricane on the 24th. The hurricane turned to the north, where the anticyclone that was favoring development to its south caused unfavorable conditions. Beulah weakened to a minimal hurricane, and raced to the northeast, maintaining hurricane strength until it became extratropical on the 28th, 250 miles east of Newfoundland
Tropical Storm Three
A weak circulation north of Puerto Rico
moved northeastward, becoming a tropical depression on September 10
. It was subtropical in nature, developing with the instability of cool and warm air, and became a tropical storm on the 11th. This small storm reached its peak of 60 mph on the 12th, but a cold front to its west caused it to gradually lose tropical characteristics. The storm became extratropical on the 14th, and was absorbed by the cold front on the 15th.
A trough of low pressure over the Gulf of Mexico
rapidly developed into a tropical storm on September 16
. Cindy reached hurricane strength the next day, but didn't strengthen further prior to its landfall on High Island, Texas
. Cindy brought heavy rain to southeast Texas
as it drifted southwestward over the state. The hurricane dissipated on the 20th, after causing $12.5 million (1963 dollars ($76 million 2005 dollars)) in damage and three deaths.
On September 19
, a westward moving tropical wave became a tropical depression in the central tropical Atlantic. It became a tropical storm on the 21st, and spared the islands as it turned northward. Debra became a hurricane on the 21st, but as it moved northward, it was gradually absorbed by a large extratropical storm. Debra dissipated on the 24th.
The Intertropical Convergence Zone
developed a tropical depression on September 23
, east of the southern Lesser Antilles
. It moved west-northwestward, quickly intensifying to a hurricane on the 24th. It crossed through the Windward Islands
on the 25th as a 95 mph hurricane, but upper level winds weakened it to a minimal hurricane prior to its Dominican Republic
landfall on the 27th. The island ripped apart the circulation, and Edith dissipated on the 29th. Edith killed ten in Martinique
, injured 50 across the Caribbean
, and caused $47 million (unknown USD) in damage. It was an unfortunate prelude to Hurricane Flora
just days later.
Hurricane Flora originated from a tropical depression which formed on September 26 in the Central Atlantic. The depression moved rapidly west-northwestward, and on the 29th it reached tropical storm status. It then rapidly intensified into a 120 mph Category 3 hurricane by the 30th. Flora moved through the Leeward Islands, first striking the island of Tobago
, and passing near Grenada
shortly afterwards. Flora then crossed the Caribbean Sea and strengthened to a Category 4 hurricane, peaking at 140 mph winds.
Flora struck the southwest peninsula of Haiti on October 4 as a 140 mph hurricane, causing heavy rains. Flora then hit southeast Cuba near Guantanamo Bay on the same day, but a high pressure system to its north and west caused it to drift over Cuba and nearby waters. During this time, intense driving rains caused catastrophic flooding, resulting in thousands of deaths and millions in crop damage. A shortwave trough finally pulled Flora to the northeast, bringing the hurricane into the Atlantic Ocean on the 8th. Flora strengthened over the open Atlantic, but posed a threat only to shipping, and became extratropical on the 12th.
Hurricane Flora was the 5th or 6th deadliest Atlantic hurricane of all time, causing over 7,000 deaths and hundreds of millions of dollars in damage, mostly due to flooding from intense rains as it stalled over Cuba and the surrounding areas. Damage estimates (mostly crop losses) reached over $500 million.
A cold-core trough of low pressure existed over the Bahamas
, leading to the development of a depression on October 16
. The depression moved northward, reaching tropical storm force winds on the 19th. Reconnaissance aircraft
reported a cold-core system that day, but as Ginny became better organized, it warmed, becoming a hurricane on the 20th and having an official warm core on the 22nd. After looping off the coast of North Carolina
and moving southwestward, Ginny weakened to a tropical storm, but as it crossed over the Gulf Stream
again, it restrengthened to a hurricane. Ginny turned to the northeast on the 25th, remaining offshore but coming close enough to cause rain and winds. The hurricane's intensity fluctuated as it headed northeastward, reaching its peak of 110 mph on the 29th. Ginny became extratropical due to the cooler waters and cooler air on the 29th, just after making landfall on southwest Nova Scotia
Ginny was unusual as it is one of the latest hurricanes on record to make landfall near New England, and was reported to have produced 18 inches (40 cm) of snow over Maine. The hurricane caused a total of seven deaths and $300,000 in damage (1963 dollars).
Tropical Storm Helena
Tropical Storm Helena formed from an easterly wave on October 25
. It became a tropical storm that day, and reached its peak of 50 mph before hitting the Lesser Antilles
. Helena's intensity fluctuated for the next 3 days, but upper level shear from Ginny and a low pressure surface trough caused it to dissipate on the 29th. Though it was weak, Helena was able to cause 5 deaths and $500,000 (1963 USD ($3 million 2005 USD)) in damage.
The following names were used for named storms (tropical storms and hurricanes) that formed in the North Atlantic in 1963. Names that were not assigned are marked in .
The name Flora was later retired.