Even with Laura, Louisiana Hurricanes Have Not Increased Since 1851

August 26th, 2020 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

As I write this, it looks like major Hurricane Laura will arrive on the Louisiana coast late tonight as a Category 4 hurricane somewhere south of Lake Charles.

Fig. 1. GOES-East Geocolor image of major Hurricane Laura heading toward the southwest Louisiana coast at 9:50 a.m. CDT 26 August 2020.

There will be the inevitable fake news coverage claiming how U.S. landfalling hurricanes are getting worse, a subject which I addressed in my Amazon Kindle e-book Inevitable Disaster: Why Hurricanes Can’t Be Blamed on Global Warming.

Of course, hurricane damage has increased, as people flock to the nation’s coasts and associated infrastructure increases. But we should remember that (for example) Miami only had 444 residents when incorporated in 1896, and now the Miami metroplex has over 6,000,000 inhabitants.

So, yes, storm damage will increase, but not because the weather has gotten worse.

Given the current event, which is sure to bring major damage to southwest Louisiana, I thought I would present the statistics for all documented hurricanes affecting Louisiana in the last 170 years (1851-2020).

Neither Hurricane Numbers nor Intensities Have Increased in Louisiana

If we examine all of the hurricanes affecting Louisiana in the last 170 years in the National Hurricane Center’s HURDAT database (as summarized on Wikipedia) we find that there has been no long-term increase in either the number of hurricanes or their intensity since 1851.

Fig. 2. Neither the number nor intensity of hurricanes impacting Louisiana since 1851 have experienced a long-term increase, assuming major Hurricane Laura (2020) makes landfall as a Cat4 storm. Dashed lines are the linear trends.

Again, this is based upon official NOAA National Hurricane Center (NHC) statistics.

191 Responses to “Even with Laura, Louisiana Hurricanes Have Not Increased Since 1851”

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