The 2004 Atlantic hurricane season officially began on June 1, 2004, and lasted until November 30, 2004. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic basin.

2004 was a very active year in the Atlantic basin, producing a total of 15 named storms, 9 hurricanes, and 6 major hurricanes. This activity was in spite of a weak El Niño event. The season's most notable storms were Hurricane Alex, which became a major hurricane north of the very high latitude of 38°N. Hurricane Charley became a Category 3 hurricane before striking Cuba. It then proceed north-northeastward where it made landfall near Punta Gorda, Florida as a Category 4 hurricane with 145 mph winds. An earlier earlier, Charley had made landfall near the island of Cayo Costa, Florida with winds of 150 mph. Finally, Charley struck near Cape Romain, South Carolina as an 80 mph Category 1 hurricane, moved offshore briefly, and then made its fourth and final landfall near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane. Hurricane Frances became a Category 4 hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean, and it passed over the Bahamas as a Category 3 hurricane, and proceeded to strike the east coast of Florida near Hutchinson Island as a Category 2 hurricane. Frances was a large storm, so its impact was widespread. Hurricane Gaston, although weak, caused significant flooding along the East Coast of the United States. Hurricane Ivan was easily the most notable storm of the season, reaching Category 5 status on three separate occasions. Ivan passed through the Windward Islands as a major hurricane, then passed just south of the island of Jamaica as a Category 4 hurricane, and then it struck extreme western Cuba before entering the Gulf of Mexico and striking near Gulf Shores, Alabama as a 125 mph Category 3 hurricane. Ivan made a loop across the eastern United States, then moved back southwestward across the Atlantic Ocean, crossed over the Florida Peninsula, and then emerged into the Gulf of Mexico, where it regenerated into a tropical cyclone. Ivan made its final landfall near the Texas/Louisiana border as a tropical depression.

Hurricane Jeanne killed 3,000 people in Haiti, despite only being a tropical storm. This was due to the extensive flash flooding and mudslides that the storm produced as it nearly stalled over the country. Jeanne eventually became a Category 3 hurricane with 120 mph winds before striking the east coast of Florida, quite close to where Frances struck earlier in the season. Tropical Storm Otto was notable for forming on November 30, the last day of an Atlantic hurricane season. Otto was never a threat to land. 2004 was also notable because 7 tropical cyclones developed during the month of August, with one of those, Alex, moving over to that month (the depression that became Alex formed on July 31). With this, a total of 8 tropical cyclones reached tropical storm status during the month of August, beating the record of 7 set in 1995. 2004 also had a very high Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) Index, mainly due to Hurricane Ivan, which has the second highest ACE for an Atlantic hurricane, with the 1899 Hurricane San Ciriaco being the only Atlantic hurricane to have a higher ACE than Ivan. Finally, 2004 was notable because of a total of five tropical cyclones hitting the state of Florida: Bonnie, Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne. The Carribean Sea also had a very bad year in 2004. In addition, floodwaters were brought to near-recordlevels in the southeastern United States.

List of Storms

List of Storm Names

  • Alex
  • Bonnie
  • Charley
  • Danielle
  • Earl
  • Frances
  • Gaston
  • Hermine
  • Ivan
  • Jeanne
  • Karl
  • Lisa
  • Matthew
  • Nicole
  • Otto
  • Paula
  • Richard
  • Shary
  • Tomas
  • Virginie
  • Walter

Retired Names

The World Meteorological Organization retired four names for the 2004 season during the Spring of 2005: Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne. They were replaced with Colin, Fiona, Igor, and Julia for the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season.

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