AUSTIN (KXAN) — Hurricane season started on June 1. The forecast for the Atlantic Basin calls for 12 to 17 named storms to form in 2023. Of those, 5 to 9 will become hurricanes (when winds reach 74 mph) and 1 to 4 will be major hurricanes (when winds reach 111 mph).

The Atlantic Basin is just not the Atlantic Ocean but also the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. That raises the question of how many of those hurricanes, major or not, would hit the Gulf Coast of Texas. That answer is a little more difficult to answer.

Could Texas have a hurricane in 2023? It may be time

The latest statistical information shows that hurricanes hit our state’s coastline about once every six years. The average annual rate for tropical storms or hurricanes on the coast is less than one, or 0.8.

This translates to three named tropical storms/hurricanes to hit over a four-year period.

Texas, the state with the second most tropical storms/hurricanes (behind Florida) might just be due for another hurricane. The last hurricane to hit Texas happened in September 2021. The hurricane’s name was Nicholas. It struck the eastern part of Matagorda Peninsula at 12:30 a.m. September 14. At landfall the winds were 75 mph, making it a minimal hurricane, but a hurricane nonetheless. It weakened back to a tropical storm 3 1/2 hours later.

Texas’ two recent hurricanes

It’s possible to have forgotten this hurricane’s Texas landfall as most Texans, actually most people, would remember a much stronger hurricane that hit the Texas coast a few years earlier.

A Category 4 hurricane made landfall on August 26 at San Jose Island near Rockport. Winds at landfall were sustained at 130 mph with a peak gust of 145 mph clocked at the Aransas County Airport. This storm would roar into the record books for the amount of rain it produced. Nederland, Texas, 14 miles southeast of Beaumont, recorded a hard-to-believe 60.58″ of rain. The catastrophic flooding displaced nearly 1.8 million people.

Epic flooding in Houston from Hurricane Harvey in August 2017 Courtesy: Getty Images

The earliest known hurricane in the olden days occurred in 1527 at what is now Matagorda Bay. It happened in November on an unknown date and was responsible for 200 deaths. In fact, there were three hurricanes between 1527 and 1554. The 1600s were “quiet” with no hurricanes.

Before the numbering/naming of tropical storms/hurricanes

In fact, there is no reference identifier for most hurricanes between 1527 and 1885. There are two exceptions. On August 18, 1835, the Antigua Hurricane hit Brownsville. There is no historical footnote other than this hurricane was deemed to be the most severe storm on record. It washed all ships ashore along Brazos Island.

The only other referenced storm, the Racer’s Storm, also hit at Brownsville. This happened in early October 1837 and would become the first hurricane to create havoc along the entire state’s coastline.

The numbering system started in 1886 and would last until 1950 when storms were given names of women. Thirty-four of the 35 hurricanes in Texas were identified by a number between 1886 and 1949. The exception was in September 1900, the always-referenced Galveston Hurricane, a Category 3 (130 mph) that killed between 8000 and 12,000.

Texas first named storms

The first named storm that struck Texas was in late June 1954 when Hurricane Alice made landfall at Brownsville with winds of 80 mph. Major Hurricane Audrey, with winds up to 145 mph, struck at Sabine Pass in late June 1957.

Male names were introduced in 1978 leading to what is now an alternating process of hurricane names. The first Texas hurricane named for a man was Hurricane Gilbert in mid-September, 1988. This hurricane made landfall south of Brownsville with winds of 135 mph (Category 4).

There have been storms that never made it hurricane-strength. Perhaps the worst of those was Tropical Storm Allison in June 2001. Rain measured as much as 20″ to 35″ between June 5 and 9.

They can happen anywhere on the 367 miles of shoreline.

And, it just takes one to create a massive amount of problems.