The 2005 Atlantic hurricane season officially began June 1, 2005, and lasted until January 6, 2006 (record latest). These dates conventially delimit the period of each year when most Tropical Cyclones form in the Atlantic basin.

The 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was the most active hurricane season ever recorded, featuring 28 named storms (record high), 1 unnamed storm, 15 hurricanes (record high), and 7 major hurricanes. Most of the storms of this horrific hurricane season affected land at least one point in their lifetime. Notable storms include Hurricane Dennis, a strong Category 4 hurricane with 150 mph winds that formed in early July and made landfall in the Florida Panhandle on July 10 as a Category 3 hurricane with 115-120 mph winds. Hurricane Emily, a Category 5 hurricane that formed in July. This intensification was caused because Dennis pushed WARM water behind it (typically, a hurricane pushes cold water behind its path), thus greatly aiding in Emily's rapid intensification. Emily hit Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula as a Category 4 hurricane with 135 mph winds, and then made landfall again in northeastern Mexico not too far south of Brownsville, Texas. Hurricane Katrina, which formed from an area of disturbed weather over the Bahamas, made landfall in South Florida as a Category 1 hurricane with 80 mph winds, then moved into the Gulf of Mexico, where on August 29, it made landfall in extreme southeastern Louisiana near Buras/Triumph as a Category 3. Katrina devastated the city of New Orleans, breaching the levees protecting the city, and inundating it with storm surge and tremendous flooding. Winds were also around 90 mph or more most likely (sustained winds) during the height of Katrina. After that, it made landfall in Mississippi, still a Category 3 major hurricane. Katrina also became the most expensive natural disaster to ever hit the United States, causing over $100,000,000,000 in damage, surpassing Hurricane Andrew in 1992, which caused around $26,000,000,000 ($37,000,000,000 2006 USD) of damage. The total damage during this season was $159.2 billion (2005 USD).

Hurricane Rita, which formed from an area of disturbed weather near the Turks & Caicos islands, headed westward into the Gulf of Mexico, then struck between the Texas/Louisiana border in late September as a Category 3 hurricane. Hurricane Rita also surpassed Katrina both in wind speed and in barometric pressure, even though Katrina had left behind cooler water in its wake. Hurricane Stan struck eastern Mexico, striking as a Category 1 hurricane with 80 mph winds. Stan caused torrential rains, which triggered flash flooding and mudslides across Mexico. Stan wasn't responsible for very many of the deaths said to have been caused by the storm. Instead, a non-tropical area of rain showers interacted with Stan and brought saturating rains to Mexico. Hurricane Vince formed at an unusual location. It developed in the northeastern Atlantic off the coast of Morocca. Vince developed at 32.9°N 20.6°W. This is the farthest northeast a tropical cyclone has ever developed in the Atlantic basin.

Vince also developed into a hurricane further east than any other storm, becoming a hurricane at 18.9° W. Vince also slammed ashore near Huelva, Spain as a tropical depression that had just weakened to a tropical storm. This is the first time a tropical system had impacted Spain. In the past, Spain has been hit by cyclones from the Atlantic basin, but they were extropical cyclones, not tropical ones. Hurricane Wilma is another notable storm of the season, surpassing Hurricane Gilbert as the most intense Atlantic hurricane ever observed, with a minimum central pressure of 882 mb (previously, Gilbert held the record with a pressure of 888 mb in 1988). Wilma reached Category 5 intensity in the Carribean (a 185 mph hurricane in mid October is not normal), struck the Yucatan Peninsula as a Category 4 hurricane, stalled over the Yucatan for two days, battering it with major hurricane force sustained winds for an extremely long time. After battering the Yucatan, Wilma headed eastward towards the coast of Florida, strengthening from a 100 mph Category 2 hurricane to a 125 mph Category 3 hurricane by the time of its landfall near Naples, Florida. After landfall, Wilma headed up the east coast of the United States, never making landfall in any of the states along the East Coast. Other notable storms include Tropical Storm Alpha, which broke the previous record made in 1933 for 21 named storms.

Since all 21 names were used up, NHC had to revert to using the Greek alphabet to name storms for the first time since naming began in 1950. Hurricane Beta is also a notable storm, reaching Category 3 strength in late October, a rarity, and making landfall in Nicaragua as a Category 2 hurricane with 110 mph winds. Thankfully, damage wasn't even close to that of the destructive Hurricane Fifi in 1974, which caused around 8,000 deaths in Honduras and Nicaragua (Mitch also caused around 12,000 deaths in Honduras and Nicaragua in the 1998 Atlantic hurricane season), because of tremendous flooding. Tropical Storm Delta impacted the Canary Islands, which had never been impacted by a tropical cyclone before. Just before landfall, Delta transitioned into an extropical storm, and made landfall just under hurricane intensity, with sustained winds of 70 mph, with gusts up to hurricane force.

Hurricane Epsilon is another notable storm, which achieved hurricane status in December, an extreme rarity, surpassing Hurricane Nicole as the strongest December hurricane on record. Epsilon tied with Hurricane Alice of 1954-1955 as the strongest December hurricane on record. Epsilon was also the longest-lasting December hurricane. Finally, the final storm of the record-breaking season, Tropical Storm Zeta, formed in late December and lasted into early January, only the second time a tropical storm/hurricane has done this in recorded history (Hurricane Alice of 1953-1954 being the first to do so, and the only other one). Zeta peaked as a 65 mph tropical storm before dissipating.

Storms That Formed

List of Storm Names

  • Arlene
  • Bret
  • Cindy
  • Dennis
  • Emily
  • Franklin
  • Gert
  • Harvey
  • Irene
  • Jose
  • Katrina
  • Lee
  • Maria
  • Nate
  • Ophelia
  • Philippe
  • Rita
  • Stan
  • Tammy
  • Vince
  • Wilma

Retired Names

A total of 5 names were retired this season in the Spring of 2006 by the World Meteorological Organization. They are: Dennis, Katrina, Rita, Stan, and Wilma. This is the most amount of names ever that have been retired after a hurricane season in the Atlantic. The names were replaced with Don, Katia, Rina, Sean, and Whitney for the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season.