NOAA aims to provide tropical cyclone best track data in a centralized location to aid our understanding of the distribution, frequency, and intensity of tropical cyclones worldwide. These data are derived from the NOAA National Weather Service revised Atlantic hurricane database (HURDAT2) data set and the NOAA National Climatic Data Center’s International Best Track Archive for Climate Stewardship (IBTrACS) data set. Storms from 1842 to the present for the United States Atlantic coast are available. Data aquisition tools were developed as part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office for Coastal Management's Historical Hurricanes Tool, but contain data and information from a variety of data sources, including non-NOAA data.
The strike data includes both direct and indirect hits. When the innermost core regions, or "eye," moved over a county, it was counted as a direct hit. "R" is defined as the radius of maximum winds in a hurricane (the distance in miles from the storm's center to the circle of maximum winds around the center). A county is regarded as receiving a direct hit when all or parts of a county fall within about 2R to the right and R to the left of a storm's landfall. This assumes an observer at sea looking toward shore. On average, this direct hit zone extended about 50 miles along the coastline (Rz15 miles). Of course, some hurricanes were smaller than this and some, particularly in higher latitudes, were much larger. Indirect hits are characterized by the hurricane's strength and size and on the configuration of the individual county coastline. Here again, much subjectivity was necessary often complicated by storm paths and geography. Generally, those areas on either side of the direct hit zone which received hurricane force winds or tides of at least 4 to 5 feet above normal. Cases were judged individually, and many borderline situations had to be resolved, thus introducing some level of subjectivity. In effect, this data is useful for making general comparisons between counties, but may not represent an exact, objective count. Resource Watch shows only a subset of the dataset. For access to the full dataset and additional information, see the Learn More link.
Historical Hurricane Tracks County Strikes
(1) National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office for Coastal Management (1992). Hurricane experience levels of coastal county populations from Texas to Maine. A Tabular Hurricane Climatology by counties, Texas to Maine, 1900 - 1990 (Report and data set; data set updated to 2010). Retrieved from https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/pdf/NWS-NHC-1992-46.pdf. Accessed through PREPdata, (date). www.prepdata.org.
(2) Knapp, K. R., M. C. Kruk, D. H. Levinson, H. J. Diamond, and C. J. Neumann, 2010: The International Best Track Archive for Climate Stewardship (IBTrACS): Unifying tropical cyclone best track data. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 91, 363-376. non-gonvernment domain doi:10.1175/2009BAMS2755.1. Accessed through PREPdata, (date). www.prepdata.org.
(3) Landsea, C. W. and J. L. Franklin, 2013: Atlantic Hurricane Database Uncertainty and Presentation of a New Database Format. Mon. Wea. Rev., 141, 3576-3592 . Accessed through PREPdata, (date). www.prepdata.org. (NOTE) To cite the processed data set, use citation (1). Accessed through Resource Watch, (date). www.resourcewatch.org.