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1983 Atlantic hurricane season facts for kids

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1983 Atlantic hurricane season
Season summary map
First storm formed July 23, 1983
Last storm dissipated September 30, 1983
Strongest storm Alicia – 962 mbar (hPa) (28.42 inHg), 115 mph (185 km/h) (1-minute sustained)
Total depressions 7
Total storms 4
Hurricanes 3
Major hurricanes (Cat. 3+) 1
Total fatalities 22 total
Total damage $3 billion (1983 USD)
Atlantic hurricane seasons
1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985
Related article
  • Timeline of the 1983 Atlantic hurricane season

The 1983 Atlantic hurricane season was the least active Atlantic hurricane season ever recorded. The season officially started on June 1, 1983, and ended on November 30. The seaon had only a total of 4 named storms, which was less than half of the average number of storms in a season. In addition, it was the least active season since ACE recording began in 1950.

The most strongest and deadliest storm of the season was Hurricane Alicia, which hit Texas causing great destruction and killing 21 people directly. The damages it brought totaled up to be $2 billion.


Tropical Depression One

Tropical depression (SSHS)
Duration July 29, 1983 – July 30, 1983
Intensity 55 km/h (35 mph) (1-min),  Unknown

This was a small depression that affected the Lesser Antilles, but did not cause much damage.

Tropical Depression Two

Tropical depression (SSHS)
Duration July 31, 1983 – August 3, 1983
Intensity 55 km/h (35 mph) (1-min),  Unknown

Hurricane Alicia

Category 3 tropical cyclone (SSHS)
Duration August 15, 1983 – August 21, 1983
Intensity 185 km/h (115 mph) (1-min),  962 hPa (mbar)

Alicia formed in the north-central part of the Gulf of Mexico on August 15. It traveled west, strengthening into a hurricane. It quickly reached Category 3 strength as it approached the Texas coastline, and made landfall at Galveston, Texas on August 18 at its strongest intensity. The storm then moved northward, its eye passing over Houston. Alicia still kept its tropical characteristics while over land, but eventually becoming extratropical and combining itself with another storm over northern Kansas on September 21. A total of 21 people died in the storm, which caused $5.1 billion (2005 USD) of damages.

Hurricane Barry

Category 1 tropical cyclone (SSHS)
Duration August 24, 1983 – August 29, 1983
Intensity 130 km/h (80 mph) (1-min),  986 hPa (mbar)

An African tropical wave crossed the Atlantic Ocean and strengthened into Tropical Storm Barry for a short time just off the east coast of Florida on August 24. Barry weakened to a depression just before it made landfall near Melbourne, Florida, but managed to cross the Florida peninsula and continued west across the Gulf of Mexico. In the central Gulf, it began to restrengthen, and was a minimal Category 1 hurricane when it made landfall in northeastern Mexico. Barry then began to quickly weaken over land at about 1200 UTC August 29 and soon dissipated.

Hurricane Chantal

Category 1 tropical cyclone (SSHS)
Duration September 10, 1983 – September 14, 1983
Intensity 120 km/h (75 mph) (1-min),  992 hPa (mbar)

A group of scattered tropical thunderstorms 200 km south of Bermuda, strengthened into the fifth tropical depression of the 1983 season. An Air Force Reconnaissance aircraft found winds of 35 kt (40 mph, 65 km/h) and was named Tropical Storm Chantal. Chantal continued to strengthen and developed into a minimal hurricane with 75 mph (120 km/h) winds on September 11 and maintained that strength until September 13, when it weakened back into a tropical storm.

Chantal travelled northeast over open waters, missing the island of Bermuda, before weakening and being destroyed by a frontal system on September 15. As Chantal never made landfall, no damage or fatalities were reported that was related to the storm. However, Chantal created giant waves that were 30–40 ft (9–12 m) high across the East Coast of the United States.

Tropical Depression Six

This was a depression that formed over the Lesser Antilles. It caused no major damage.

Tropical Storm Dean

Tropical Storm Dean was a short-lived storm that began as a subtropical storm which developed between Bermuda and the Bahamas on September 26. The subtropical storm headed north-northeast and became tropical the next day. Gale warnings were issued from North Carolina to New England that were produced by Dean, but the storm turned northwest and made landfall on the eastern shore of Virginia on September 30. The storm died out several hours later. Dean was one of only two tropical storms ever to make landfall in eastern shore of Virginia, the other storm being Tropical Storm Bret from the 1981 season.

Overall damage turned out to be light with only minor beach erosion and flooding along parts of the Virginian coastline.

Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) Rating

ACE (104kt2) – Storm:
1 6.38 Alicia 2 4.27 Chantal
3 3.14 Barry 4 3.07 Dean
Total = 16.86 (17)

The table on the right shows the ACE for each storm in the season. ACE means the measure of the power of the hurricane multiplied by the length of time it existed, so storms that last a long time, as well as particularly strong hurricanes, have higher ACEs. ACE is only calculated for full advisories on tropical systems at or exceeding 35 knots (39 mph, 63 km/h) or tropical storm strength. The 1983 season had a cumulative ACE of 16.86 (17), which is extremely below normal and currently the least active season on record since 1914, which had an ACE rating of 2.53.

Related pages

  • Detailed information on all storms from 1983 from NHC

Tropical cyclones of the 1983 Atlantic hurricane season

Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale
TD TS C1 C2 C3 C4 C5

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