The 1963 Atlantic hurricane season was a below average North Atlantic hurricane season, with nine total storms completing tropical cyclogenesis. Despite the below-average number of storms, the number of hurricanes and major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher on the SSHS) were near average.

The first storm, Tropical Storm Arlene, formed on August 1, and the last storm, Tropical Storm Irene, dissipated on October 6. The strongest storms, Hurricanes Cindy and Ginny, both reached a minimum barometric pressure of 963 millibars (mbar). Mainly due to Hurricanes Beulah and Flora, the season caused 245 fatalities and $200 million (1963 USD) dollars in damage.

Season summary

As a whole, the 1963 season was below average. This was due to a moderate El Niño persisting throughout the season's entire duration. An abnormal feature of this season was a streak of seven tropical storms (Beulah, Cindy, Debra, Edith, Flora, Ginny, and Helena) making landfall within American soil, an all time record.

August saw four total tropical cyclones: Tropical Storm Arlene, Tropical Depression Two, Hurricane Beulah, and Hurricane Cindy. Arlene and Tropical Depression Two stayed out in the open Atlantic Ocean, while Beulah and Cindy respectively made landfall near Louisiana and Savannah, Georgia as Category 1 hurricanes, causing 100 deaths and $75 million (1963 USD) and 47 deaths and $20 million (1963 USD), respectively. Despite the active August, an even more active September was on the way.

September saw seven tropical cyclones: Tropical Storm Debra, Hurricane Edith, Hurricane Flora, Tropical Depression Eight, Tropical Depression Nine, Hurricane Ginny, and Hurricane Helena. Debra caused 13 deaths and $5 million (1963 USD) following its Sabine Pass, Texas landfall. Edith was the only hurricane on record (doing so at Category 1 intensity over Jacksonville, Florida) to make landfall on the First Coast region of Florida until Hurricane Dora the next year. Fortunately, due to advanced preparations, Edith only caused 4 deaths and $3 million (1963 USD) in damages. Tropical Depressions Eight and Nine stayed out to sea, causing no known damage or deaths. Flora was the deadliest and costliest storm of the year. Following its Category 2 landfall near Mobile, Alabama, it caused 120 deaths and $130 million (1963 USD) in damages. Ginny, on the heels of Hurricane Flora, was steered into Florida near Punta Gorda as a Category 1 hurricane, causing a death and $5 million (1963 USD) dollars in damage. The final storm, Hurricane Helena, made a landfall near Daytona Beach, Florida as a tropical storm, but fortunately did not kill anyone and had an extremely low damage total of $2 million. Following an active September, activity in October rapidly slowed down.

October saw only one tropical cyclone, Tropical Storm Irene, capping off the season. It did not affect land.

The season's activity was reflected with an extremely low accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) rating of 29, which is categorized as below normal. ACE is, broadly speaking, a 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 high ACEs. ACE is only calculated for full advisories on tropical systems at or exceeding 34 knots (39 mph, 63 km/h) or tropical storm strength. Subtropical cyclones are excluded from the total. The reason the ACE was so low this year was because almost all of the storms were short-lived and did not have much time to intensify.


Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale

List of storms

Tropical Storm Arlene

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Rachel 2.png
Duration August 1 – August 3
Peak intensity 65 mph (100 km/h) (1-min)  996 mbar (hPa)

Tropical Depression Two

Tropical depression (SSHWS)
Subtropical Storm One (1974).jpg
Duration August 19 – August 20
Peak intensity 35 mph (55 km/h) (1-min)  1000 mbar (hPa)

Hurricane Beulah

Category 1 hurricane (SSHWS)
Hurricane Danny (1985).jpg
Duration August 25 – August 29
Peak intensity 85 mph (140 km/h) (1-min)  987 mbar (hPa)

Hurricane Cindy

Category 3 hurricane (SSHWS)
Duration August 27 – September 2
Peak intensity 120 mph (195 km/h) (1-min)  963 mbar (hPa)

Tropical Storm Debra

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Mitch 2004.JPG
Duration September 7 – September 9
Peak intensity 45 mph (75 km/h) (1-min)  1003 mbar (hPa)

Hurricane Edith

Category 1 hurricane (SSHWS)
Dora 1964.png
Duration September 16 – September 18
Peak intensity 85 mph (140 km/h) (1-min)  982 mbar (hPa)

Hurricane Flora

Category 2 hurricane (SSHWS)
TD 27 oct 1984 2100Z.jpg
Duration September 23 – September 26
Peak intensity 100 mph (155 km/h) (1-min)  974 mbar (hPa)

Tropical Depression Eight

Tropical depression (SSHWS)
Oct TD 1979.jpg
Duration September 27 – September 28
Peak intensity 30 mph (45 km/h) (1-min)  1009 mbar (hPa)

Tropical Depression Nine

Tropical depression (SSHWS)
Tropical Storm Cesar (1984).jpg
Duration September 27 – September 28
Peak intensity 30 mph (45 km/h) (1-min)  1009 mbar (hPa)

Hurricane Ginny

Category 4 hurricane (SSHWS)
Duration September 28 – October 3
Peak intensity 140 mph (220 km/h) (1-min)  963 mbar (hPa)

Hurricane Helena

Category 1 hurricane (SSHWS)
Flossie 1978.jpg
Duration September 28 – October 1
Peak intensity 90 mph (150 km/h) (1-min)  982 mbar (hPa)

Tropical Storm Irene

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Hurricane Debbie August 18 1969.jpg
Duration October 3 – October 6
Peak intensity 60 mph (95 km/h) (1-min)  995 mbar (hPa)

Storm names

The following names were used for named storms (tropical storms and hurricanes) that formed in the North Atlantic Ocean during the year 1963. The names Ginny and Helena were used to name storms for the first time in 1963. Names that were allocated but not assigned this year are marked in gray.

  • Arlene
  • Beulah
  • Cindy
  • Debra
  • Edith
  • Flora
  • Ginny
  • Helena
  • Irene
  • Janice (unused)
  • Kristy (unused)
  • Laura (unused)
  • Margo (unused)
  • Nona (unused)
  • Orchid (unused)
  • Portia (unused)
  • Rachel (unused)
  • Sandra (unused)
  • Terese (unused)
  • Verna (unused)
  • Wallis (unused)


The names Beulah and Flora were later retired and replaced by Brenna and Fern for 1967.