1983 Hurricane Season
season was an ongoing event in the annual cycle of tropical cyclone
formation. It officially started June 1, 1983, and lasted until November
The 1983 season had very little activity, with only four named storms,
less than half of the average ten. It is the least active season since
1950, as measured by Accumulated Cyclone Energy.
The most notable storm of 1983 was Hurricane
Alicia, which traveled inland over the city of Houston, Texas.
Hurricane Barry was responsible for widespread damage to Mexican fishing
villages near the US/Mexico border.
Alicia was the first hurricane to strike the United States mainland in
just over three years, ending what was, as of the end of the 2004
hurricane season, the longest such gap recorded.
1983 storm names
The following names were used for named storms that formed in the north
Atlantic in 1983. The names not retired from this list were used again in
the 1989 season.
It was the first time these names had been used since the post-1978 change
in naming. Names that were not assigned are marked in gray.
- Erin (unused)
- Felix (unused)
- Gabrielle (unused)
- Hugo (unused)
- Iris (unused)
- Jerry (unused)
- Karen (unused)
- Luis (unused)
- Marilyn (unused)
- Noel (unused)
- Opal (unused)
- Pablo (unused)
- Roxanne (unused)
- Sebastien (unused)
- Tanya (unused)
- Van (unused)
- Wendy (unused)
The World Meteorological Organization retired one name in the spring of
1984: Alicia. It was replaced in 1989 by Allison.
- Main article: Hurricane
Alicia formed in the north-central 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 maximum intensity. The storm moved
northward, its eye passing over Houston. Alica retained its tropical
characteristics until well inland, finally becoming extratropical and
merging with another system over northern Kansas on the 21st.
Houston suffered millions of dollars in damage, including thousands of
shattered glass panes from downtown skyscrapers. In the end, Alicia killed
22 people and caused $2 billion in damage ($3.4 billion in 2000 dollars).
Alicia was the first storm for which the National Hurricane Center
issued numeric landfall probabilities. Probabilities had been calculated
for prior storms for use in the issuing of hurricane watches and warnings,
but this was the first time the raw numeric probabilities were released to
the public. The probabilities issued were accurate, indicating that
Galveston and surrounding portions of the upper Texas coast were the most
likely area to be struck.
An African tropical wave crossed the Atlantic Ocean and briefly
strengthened into Tropical Storm Barry just off the east coast of Florida
on August 24. Barry weakened to a depression as it made landfall near
Melbourne, but crossed the Florida peninsula intact and continued west
across the Gulf of Mexico. In the central gulf, it began restrengthening,
and was a minimal Category 1 hurricane when it struck northeastern Mexico.
No casualties were reported from Barry, but numerous fishing boats were
sunk in Mexico, along with the destruction of several hundred homes. Barry
is credited with helping to relieve drought conditions in inland parts of
An area of disturbed weather south of Bermuda took on tropical
characteristics on September 10 and was named Tropical Storm Chantal.
Chantal traveled generally northeast, missing Bermuda, and strengthening
to a minimal hurricane. The storm weakened and dissipated in the face of a
front on the 14th.
Tropical Storm Dean
Dean was a short-lived storm that had its origins in a subtropical
storm that developed between Bermuda and the Bahamas on September 26. The
subtropical storm headed north-northeast and became tropical the next day.
It then turned northwest, and struck the coast of Virginia on September
30. It dissipated several hours later.
Damage from Tropical Storm Dean was limited to minor beach erosion and