The 1956 Atlantic hurricane season was a slightly below active season with 10 storms forming, 9 of them hurricanes. The 1956 season was a deadly one for the US and Caribbean, most of it from Charley, George and Hermine. The combined storms caused 2065 deaths in the US. In the Caribbean the combined storms caused 1100 deaths. Together this makes it one of the deadlier seasons, with 3165 deaths in total. The season was costly too. The combined storms caused US$300 million in damages. In total the season summarized with 3165 deaths and US$305 million in damage.
The first storm of the season formed on August 8 in the mid Atlantic. Allen exploded from a depression into a 105 mph Category-2 hurricane on the 8, becoming one of the fastest intensifying storms on record. After peaking, Allen moved northeast, becoming extratropical on the 9 without affecting land.
A tropical wave exited out of Africa in late August. The wave moved towards the Caribbean and along the became a depression east of the Caribbean on August 26. It became a tropical storm later that day. Bonnie made landfall in Martinique on the 27 as a Category-1 hurricane with 80 mph winds. Bonnie continued to move west, towards Belize. It again reached Category-1 strength with 80 mph winds on the 29 and moved towards Belize at that strength. It made landfall near Belize City on the 31. Bonnie dissipated on September 1 over Mexico. Bonnie did not cause no known damages or deaths in the Caribbean or Belize.
The origins of Hurricane Charley are much like of those of Hurricane Bonnie. A tropical wave exited out of Africa in early September and became Tropical Storm Charley just east of the Windward Islands on September 6. Later that day, Charley made landfall in Guadeloupe as a weak Category 1 hurricane. Charley continued to move across the Caribbean, moving between Hispaniola and Cuba to the north and Jamaica to the south. Charley curved north towards the Gulf of Mexico where it peaked as a 105 mph Category 2 hurricane on the 10. Charley maintained that strength until its landfall near the Texas/Louisiana border on the 13. Charley moved inland and dissipated over Arkansas the next day. Charley caused 300 deaths in Guadeloupe and a further 28 in USA, most of it in Louisiana. Charley also caused US$80 million in damages.
An area of low pressure moved over the Atlantic from New Jersey in late September. Warm waters organized the low and on September 22, the low became a depression. The depression moved to the northeast. On the 23, it became Tropical Storm Danielle. Danielle continued northeastwards and made landfall in Canada as a 105 mph Category 2 hurricane on the 24. It became extratropical later that day. Danielle did not cause any deaths or damages.
A low developed north of the Caribbean. The low moved northwestward, and encountered the Gulf Stream. The low became organized and became a tropical depression on September 29. The depression further intensified and became a tropical storm. Earl became a hurricane on September 30. It briefly peaked as a 105 mph Category 2 hurricane before moving northeast and weakened. Earl dissipated over the Atlantic without ever making landfall on October 1.
Tropical Storm Frances
A system of showers persisted over the Gulf of Mexico in late September. The system became organized, and became a depression on October 1. The depression moved northeastwards, towards the southeastern Louisiana coastline. On October 4, it produced heavy rain in New Orleans. The depression finally made landfall in Apalachicola, Florida later that day. As the depression moved over Florida, it weakened into a wave. It reemerged into the Atlantic on the 5 near Savannah, Georgia and parralleled the Carolina coast, while strengthening back to a deppression. On October 6 the depression became Tropical Storm Frances and reached its peak as a strong tropical storm later that day. Frances became extratropical on the 7 in the open Atlantic. Frances did not cause any deaths but US$5 million in damage.
While Frances was affecting the Gulf Coast, a system of showers persisted over the Atlantic in early October. The showers moved slowly, but became a depression on October 4. It was then that it moved northeast towards Canada and became a tropical storm later that day. On the 5, George peaked as a 105 mph Category 2 hurricane off Massachusetts. It made landfall in Portland, Maine at that intensity later that day. this made it the few hurricanes to affect Maine. George weakened quickly at land and dissipated on the 7 over the Gulf of St. Lawrence. George caused US$120 million in damages and 37 deaths in Maine and Canada.
Hermine developed south of Hispaniola on October 5. It moved northwestwards, becoming a hurricane south of Cuba on the 6. Hermine rapidly became a weak Categiry 3 hurricane when it made landfall in Matanzas, Cuba on the 7. After crossing Cuba, Hermine moved northeastwards through the Florida Keys as a Category 1 on the 10. Hermine continued northeastwards, weakening until its dissipation on the 14. Hermine caused a catostrophic toll of 2000 deaths: 800 in Cuba and 1200 in Florida. Damage was estimated to be US$120 million.
Ivan formed from a wave exiting Africa in early October. The wave moved northeastwards until it reached north of the Caribbean Sea. It was there that it became Tropical Storm Ivan on October 10. Ivan moved west, peaking as an 80 mph category 1 hurricane on the 11, before it started to parralel the US coast. Ivan dissipated shortly after its Canadian landfall on the 13.
Jean originated from an area of thunderstorms over the Bay of Campeche in late October. The low began to organize and became a depession on October 22. The depression moved northeastwards and became a tropical storm the next day. Jean made landfall as a strong tropical in Cedar Key, Florida and reemerged the peninsula as a weak one near Jacksonville, Floida on the 25. Jean moved towards Charleston, South Carolina and made landfall there as an 80 mph Category 1 hurricane on the 27. It dissipated later that day.
These names were used for the 1956 Atlantic hurricane season. The names that were not retired were used again in 1962. Storms were named Allen, Bonnie, Charley, Danielle, Earl, Frances, George, Hermine, Ivan and Jean for the first time in 1956. The names that were not used are marked in gray.
Allen Hermine Otto (unused)
Bonnie Ivan Paula (unused)
Charley Jean Richard (unused)
Danielle Karl (unused) Shelly (unused)
Earl Lisa (unused) Thomas (unused)
Frances Mitch (unused) Virginia (unused)
George Nicole (unused) Walter (unused)
Retirement: The names Charley, George and Hermine were retired in 1956. They were replaced by Charles, Gerald and Herminie for 1962.