Frequency of Hurricanes Hitting the United States is Not Increasing
Weather Data Stats Show Landfall Hurricanes Have Decreased in the United States
If you listen to the media hype these days you would believe the frequency of hurricanes hitting the United States has been dramatically increasing due to climate change. However, if you look at the facts the number of hurricanes hitting the United States has not been increasing at all.
In fact, as the data below shows, the frequency of hurricanes hitting the United States has actually decreased by a very significant amount over the last 75 years. And as the National Weather Service notes the frequency of hurricanes from 1850 to 1900 were almost certainly underestimated as many areas where hurricanes hit at that time were not heavily populated.
Here is a list of the number of hurricanes to make landfall in the United States by decade. The list goes from the decade with the most hurricanes at the top to the decade with the least hurricanes at the bottom.
The National Weather Service counts each decade as the year beginning in zero and ending in nine. For example, we have just started a new decade in 2020. This decade will end in 2029. Obviously, we cannot count this new decade yet.
Since 1850, we have hurricane weather data for 17 different decades. First we will look at the data from all 17 decades separately. Then we will group the decades together for a more telling data set. By grouping the decades together we can better take randomness out of the data set.
As you can see, the 2010s have seen the fewest hurricanes that have made landfall in the United States since records have been kept. And the number of hurricanes making landfall over the last 10 years is well under half the number that made landfall during the decade with the most hurricanes.
Frequency of Hurricanes Hitting the United States is Not Increasing (Number of hurricane landfalls by decade since 1850)
1. 1880s - 25
2. 1940s - 23
3. 1910s - 21
4. 1890s - 20
5. 1870s - 19
6. 2000s - 19
7. 1950s - 18
8. 1930s - 18
9. 1900s - 17
10. 1850s - 16
11. 1980s - 16
12. 1860s - 15
13. 1920s - 15
14. 1960s - 15
15. 1990s - 14
16. 1970s - 12
17. 2010s - 11
Average Per Year Frequency
1. 1850 -1899 - 1.9 per year
2. 1900-1949 - 1.88 per year
3. 1950- 1999 - 1.5 per year
4. 2000 to 2019 - 1.5 per year
As you can see from the above numbers, the frequency of hurricanes making landfall in the United States has declined from almost two per year for 100 years (1850 to 1949) to just 1.5 per year average over the last 70 years.
Here's a few things to keep in mind regarding the hurricane data. As mentioned above, the National Weather Service believes that a number of hurricanes were not counted from 1850 to 1900 because they struck areas in the United States that were not populated, or at least not heavily populated.
So the numbers are even more skewed than is shown above towards decreasing landfall hurricanes.
Just because the numbers show that landfall hurricanes have been decreasing in frequency since 1850, it does not mean that trend will continue. Weather is volatile and constantly changing.
Due to increased population, when hurricanes do make landfall in the United States they are naturally going to cause more damage and be more costly than in the past when there was far less infrastructure around.
Based upon the weather data above, though, there is one thing we can say for certain right now. The idea that climate change is causing a greater number of hurricanes to make landfall in the United States is just not true.