The average frequency of tropical storms and hurricanes slowly increases inJuly. During the first part of the month, common breeding grounds are mainlythrough the western Atlantic. Storms crossing the Atlantic are more likely tooccur in August and September. The main reason for the time lag in stormsforming over the eastern Atlantic is that sea surface temperatures are stillbelow the threshold value for storm intensification.In 2005, Hurricane Dennis became the most intense hurricane to form in theAtlantic Basin during July. That title was stripped away a mere six days laterby Hurricane Emily. On July 16, Emily reached Category 5 intensity and becamethe only July hurricane ever to do so.

Dennis and Emily were just two players in what turned out to be the mostprolific hurricane season of all time. In all, there were 28 storms, seven ofwhich became major hurricanes (at least Category 3). Five of those reachedCategory 4 intensity, and four out of the five turned into Category 5 storms.

The Category 5 storms that occurred that season were Emily, Katrina, Rita andWilma. Wilma earned top honors by becoming the most intense hurricane ever inthe Atlantic Basin with peak sustained winds of 185 miles per hour and acentral pressure of 26.06 inches.

Typhoon Tip is still the holder of the world record with peak sustained windsof 190 miles per hour and a central pressure of 25.69 inches.

Another interesting fact is that three of the 10 most intense Atlantichurricanes on record occurred in 2005.

Story by senior Meteorologist John Kocet.