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May-June 2017

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The 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season: Matthew Leads an Above-Average Seaso

Tropical cyclone activity in the Atlantic basin during the 2016 season was above the 1981–2010 long-term average and well above that seen during the 2013–2015 hurricane seasons. Fifteen tropical storms formed, of which seven became hurricanes, and four reached major hurricane strength (Category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale). There was also one tropical depression that did not reach tropical storm strength. By comparison, the 1981–2010 averages are 12 tropical storms, six hurricanes, and three major hurricanes. The Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) index, a measure that takes into account the strength, duration, and frequency of the season's tropical storms and hurricanes, was 140% of the long-term median value. Figure 1 shows the tracks of the 2016 Atlantic tropical storms and hurricanes.

JOHN L. BEVEN II is a senior hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida.

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