The 1976 Atlantic hurricane season
officially began on June 1
, and lasted until November 30
. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones
form in the Atlantic basin
. The season was average in activity, with ten total storms and six hurricanes forming.
Although several storms made landfall in 1976, only Hurricane Belle caused significant damage when it hit New England in August, causing $100 million in damage. Hurricane Emmy caused 68 indirect deaths when a Venezuelan Air Force plane carrying a school choir crashed on a landing attempt at Lajes Air Base in the Azores during the storm.
Subtropical Storm One
On May 19
an upper-level trough produced widespread thunderstorms over the Gulf of Mexico
. Slowly, the system organized, first to a subtropical
depression on May 21
, then to a subtropical storm on the 23rd. The storm began to move faster, and on the 23rd, it hit the Florida Panhandle
. After moving across Georgia
at 25 mph the storm reached its peak of 50 mph while southeast of the Carolinas
on the 24th. It merged with a frontal system on the 25th. Heavy rainfall was associated with the system, but little damage occurred.
Tropical Depression Two
This depression effected Florida
Tropical Depression Three
This depression effected Florida
Tropical Depression Four
Tropical Depression Five
Tropical Storm Anna
The system that became Tropical Storm Anna formed in the central Atlantic, several hundred miles southeast of Bermuda
. It began as a subtropical
depression on July 28
, and strengthened to Subtropical Storm Two on the 30th. That afternoon it rapidly acquired tropical characteristics, and was named Anna. Anna reached her peak of 45 mph winds that day, but became extratropical on August 1
. Steering currents were weak, so the system made a slow counterclockwise loop around the Azores
before dissipating on the 6th.
Hurricane Belle was a major hurricane that threatened much of the East Coast of the United States. It made landfall in Long Island
, New York
as a tropical storm, causing $100 million in damage (1976 USD
)-$342 million in damage (2005 USD)- and 5 casualties.
On August 11
, an upper-level low was located south of Bermuda
. Over the next week, the system warmed and moved toward the surface. On August 18
, it became a tropical depression, and later that day, it was named Tropical Storm Candice. Moving to the northeast, it remained weak until the 21st, when it rapidly became a hurricane, located at 41ºN, 400 miles east of Cape Cod
. When Candice became a hurricane, it was one of only seven hurricanes to reach hurricane strength north of 40ºN. Soon after, Candice rapidly moved to the northeast, and it lost its identity to a cold front on August 24
Tropical Storm Dottie
A strong upper level trough led to the formation of a low pressure area in the eastern Gulf of Mexico
, on August 17
. This low became a tropical depression on August 18
. After drifting to the east-southeast, a pressure of a 1004 mbar
occurred on August 19
. The storm rapidly moved to the northeast, reaching tropical storm strength on the way. After passing over Florida
, Dottie moved to the north, reaching a peak of 50 mph winds. Conditions appeared favorable, and a hurricane watch was issued. However, upper-level winds ripped the storm apart on the 20th, and it was barely a tropical storm at its South Carolina
landfall on the 21st. It weakened to a tropical depression, and advisories were stopped, later on August 21
. A tide in Atlanta Beach, North Carolina
reached 3.5 feet above normal. The remnant low of the system followed its track, moving southwestward into Florida, bringing more rain to the area. A total of 10.68 inches (271.3 mm) of rain fell at Fort Lauderdale. Dottie lost its identity after re-entering the Gulf of Mexico
on August 25
. Damage was minor, but four deaths occurred due to a fishing boat sinking over the Bahamas.
The tropical depression that became Hurricane Emmy developed on August 20
from a tropical wave, located about 1000 miles east of the Lesser Antilles
. As it moved west-northwestward, the area strengthened to a tropical storm on the 22nd. On the 24th, it recurved to the northeastward, and strengthened to a hurricane on the 25th. Its eastward movement so early in the year is almost unprecedented, as it occurred from the rapid development of a low pressure system to its northeast. Emmy moved recurved back northwest on the 26th, but again moved eastward on the 29th, when it reached its peak of 100 mph. It gradually weakened, and on September 4
, a weakened extratropical Emmy was absorbed by the larger circulation of Hurricane Frances while located over the Azores
Hurricane Emmy caused 68 indirect deaths when a Venezuelan Air Force plane carrying a school choir crashed on a landing attempt at Lajes Air Base in the Azores during the storm. This makes Hurricane Emmy the fifth documented storm to have downed an airplane (the others were Hurricane Janet, Typhoon Emma, Hurricane Betsy and Hurricane Esther).
Like Emmy, the tropical depression that became Hurricane Frances formed from a tropical wave on August 27
, while midway between the Lesser Antilles
and the coast of Africa
. The next day, it became a tropical storm, and on August 30
, Frances became a hurricane. As it recurved to the north and east, Frances reached her peak of 115 mph on September 1
. Steady weakening occurred afterwards, and Frances became extratropical on the 4th.
Tropical Depression Thirteen
Tropical Depression Fourteen
Subtropical Storm Three
On September 12
, the interaction between mid-tropospheric low and a diffuse stationary front led to the formation of a low pressure system over central Florida
. As it moved north-northeastward, it developed a circulation and became a subtropical
depression on the 13th. The next day it became a subtropical storm, and reached its peak of 45 mph over the western tropical Atlantic, off the coast of Georgia
. The storm quickly made landfall near Charleston, South Carolina
, and dissipated over southern Virginia
on the 17th.
Tropical Depression Sixteen
Tropical Depression Seventeen
This depression effected Louisiana
A tropical wave became a tropical depression on September 26
, located 400 miles northeast of the Lesser Antilles
. On the 27th while moving northward, it strengthened to become Tropical Storm Gloria. After moving northwestward for a day, Gloria moved northeast, strengthening to a 100 mph hurricane on the 30th. Steady weakening ensued, and Gloria lost her tropical characteristics on October 4
Tropical Depression Twenty
This depression effected Cuba
Tropical Depression Twenty-One
The tropical depression that became Hurricane Holly formed from a tropical wave 200 miles east of the northern Lesser Antilles
on October 22
. After a day, the storm became Tropical Storm Holly, strengthening to Hurricane Holly on the 24th. Holly weakened to a tropical storm on the 25th. The storm became extratropical
on October 28
while located 400 miles northwest of the Azores
Tropical Depression Twenty-Three
Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) Rating
The table on the right shows the ACE
for each storm in the season. The ACE is, broadly speaking, a measure of the power of the hurricane multiplied by the length of time it existed for, so hurricanes that lasted a long time have higher ACEs.
The following names were used for named storms (tropical storms and hurricanes) that formed in the Atlantic basin
in 1976. Names that were not assigned are marked in . This is the last time these names have been used except for Gloria, Frances & Maria.
None of the names from the 1976 season were retired.