The 2006 Atlantic hurricane season officially began June 1, 2006, and lasted until November 30, 2006. These dates conventially delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic basin.

The 2006 Atlantic hurricane season was a fairly quiet one with no hurricanes striking the United States, the first time this has happened since 2001. The season featured 9 named storms, 1 unnamed storm, 5 hurricanes, and 2 major hurricanes. This is only slightly below the long-term average hurricane season, by a mere hurricane (typically, the average is 6 hurricanes, based on long-term averages, although the 10 year average features much more storms than that). Notable storms include Hurricane Ernesto, which was at one point forecast to become a major hurricane and potentially threaten New Orleans or some other portion of the Gulf Coast, which had already been devastated by hurricanes Dennis, Katrina, Rita, and Wilma of 2005. Thankfully, Ernesto stayed a minimal Category 1 hurricane at its peak. Ernesto moved through the Leeward and Windward Islands, then battered Haiti with tropical storm force winds and heavy rains.

After battering Haiti, Ernesto weakened to a tropical storm, then made landfall in Cuba as as 50 mph tropical storm later in its life, then after exiting Cuba, its winds were down to 40 mph, typical of a minimal tropical storm. Ernesto reintensified slightly to a 45 mph tropical storm before it hit central Florida. After its Florida landfall, Ernesto made landfall in the North Carolina/South Carolina border as a 70 mph tropical storm, just under hurricane strength. After landfall, Ernesto brought some flooding rains to the Mid-Atlantic states and the northeastern United States. Other notable storms include Hurricane Florence, which passed very close to the island of Bermuda in September as a Category 1 hurricane with 80 mph winds, just 3 years after Hurricane Fabian devastated Bermuda.

After passing Bermuda, Florence skirted the coast of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, becoming extratropical as it did so. Hurricane Gordon passed well to the east of Bermuda, but caused some moderate wind damage in places like the Azores and Spain. Overall, this season was well below the 10-year average in activity, but just below the long-term average of activity. The reason for the lack of activity was an ongoing El Niño event that lasted until around February of 2007. The presence of the Saharan Air Layer and the Bermuda-Azores High being far out that year also contributed to the lack of activity.

Storms That Formed

List of Storm Names

  • Alberto
  • Beryl
  • Chris
  • Debby
  • Ernesto
  • Florence
  • Gordon
  • Helene
  • Isaac
  • Joyce
  • Kirk
  • Leslie
  • Michael
  • Nadine
  • Oscar
  • Patty
  • Rafael
  • Sandy
  • Tony
  • Valerie
  • William

Retired Names

No names names were retired this season in the Spring of 2007 by the World Meteorological Organization. This is the first time since 1997 that no names were retired in the Atlantic basin.