The 2028 Atlantic hurricane season was a hyperactive season of tropical cyclone development in the northern Atlantic Ocean, and the costliest tropical cyclone season on record. The season's storms and their effects were catastrophic around the basin, inducing over $367 billion (USD), with areas in the United States particularly affected. The season featured 16 total named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes, two of which reached Category 5 intensity. Much of the season's damage was due to hurricanes Ian and Karl, both of which produced catastrophic and calamitous damage in the Tampa Bay metro area within a two-week period in September, and hurricane Ethan, which devastated North Carolina. These storms were retired before the 2029 season, and will never be used for another Atlantic hurricane name. The season was the most active, costliest, and deadliest since 2021, and its infamy would not be matched until 20 year later.
Two Category 5 hurricanes developed during the season, Ethan and Karl, one of only nine on record to feature multiple Category 5 hurricanes, and the first since the 2021 season. The strongest of such storms, Karl, made landfall in Florida at peak intensity, caused widespread damage and chaos throughout the Tampa and Orlando metropolitan areas.
The season officially began on June 1 and ended on November 30. These dates historically describe the period of year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic basin and are adopted by convention. However, the first storm did not form until July 21, over a month and a half after the official start of the season. In July, Tropical Storm Alex developed in the western Caribbean Sea and made landfall in Central America as a tropical storm, causing minor damage. Alex was notably the first storm of its name to have not attained hurricane status in its forty-seven year existence on the Atlantic naming list. Hurricane Bonnie neared landfall in North Carolina after is passed south and east of the Outer Banks. Activity increased in August; Colin and Danielle became tropical storms, while Hurricane Ethan became a long-lasting, erratic and powerful Category 5 hurricane that struck the Outer Bank of North Carolina, inducing more damage to the area after Bonnie a month prior. Hurricane Fiona developed in August, but peaked as a Category 3 hurricane in early September and made landfall Louisiana, causing moderate damage. Hurricane Gaston followed and made landfall in eastern Texas a week later, while Hermine affected the Lesser Antilles as a tropical storm. Hurricane Ian caused severe and catastrophic damage in the Tampa Bay area, and Hurricane Julia formed in the central Atlantic and briefly peaked as a Category 2 hurricane, away from land. Hurricane Karl developed in the Caribbean Sea and made a northward turn towards Florida, making landfall within the city limits of Tampa, completely devastating the city and worsening the impacts from Ian a week prior. Tropical storm Lisa and Subtropical Storm Martin did not cause any damage. Nicole made landfall in Mexico as a tropical storm and induced minor damage in the area, particularly because of flooding. Hurricane Owen underwent rapid intensification before making landfall in Nicaragua and causing moderate damage, along with fifteen reported deaths. The season concluded with Hurricane Paula, which affected the Bahamas before moving out to sea and going extratropical on November 22.
Many forecasting agencies anticipated above-average activity, the first since the 2021 season. Initial predictions expected a La Niña to develop, which verified in after developing in August. This marked the first La Niña since 2022, breaking a seven-year streak of warmer than usual temperatures near the equator in the Pacific Ocean. The developing La Niña helped influence the hyperactive activity of the season.
The Atlantic hurricane season officially began on June 1, 2028. It was an above average-season, featuring 16 tropical storms, 8 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes, and was the costliest since records began. The season featured the highest number of tropical storms, hurricanes, and major hurricanes since 2021, and the first Category 5 hurricane since Bret in 2023. Several storms affected the United States, and two of them, Ian and Karl, became among the costliest tropical cyclones in history, after devastating the Tampa and Orlando metropolitan areas. A La Niña developed early in the season, which likely influenced the activity of the season.
The activity of the season was influenced by many different factors, including the aforementioned La Niña. Sea surface temperatures were well above-average for most of the season, especially in the Gulf of Mexico, central Caribbean, and central Atlantic Ocean, where much of the storm activity occurred, and wind shear remained low during the peak months of the season. This activity broke a streak of below-average and insignificant hurricane seasons that began after 2021, and the seasonal setup was reminiscent of other active seasons, especially 2004 and 2017 in particular.
Tropical and subtropical activity began as early as April. On April 16, an extratropical cyclone lost its frontal characteristics and was designated for potential subtropical transition by the National Hurricane Center. The system meandered around the central Atlantic, but ultimately failed to develop, and was last noted on April 20. The season's first system, Alex, developed on July 21, almost a month and a half after the official start of the season. Bonnie developed in late July, becoming the first hurricane of the season. The precursor to Tropical Storm Colin also formed in July.
Peak season activity
Activity continued into August, with the formations of four tropical storms. The first of which, Colin, developed on August 2, and made landfall in Alabama, causing minor damage. Danielle became a tropical storm and affected the Lesser Antilles, however remained mostly weak and short-lived. Ethan formed on August 15, and trekked across the Atlantic as a powerful and erratic Category 5 hurricane. It stalled east of North Carolina and devastated the Outer Banks and Coastal Plains, before turning eastward and bringing rip currents and high surf along the Eastern Seaboard. Fiona developed on August 28, and became a major hurricane, the second of the season, before making landfall in Louisiana. In September, activity continued to increase, featuring four hurricanes; Gaston, Ian, Julia, and Karl; and excluding Fiona, which remained a hurricane for the latter part of the month. Gaston made landfall in Texas and affected areas that were recently affected by Hurricane Fiona, slowing recovery efforts for a brief period. Tropical Storm Hermine remained out to sea and did not directly affect land. Ian developed on September 13, and peaked as a Category 4 hurricane with 150 mph winds during its landfall in Tampa, Florida, causing calamitous damage in its surrounding areas. Julia became a Category 2 hurricane in the central subtropics of the Atlantic, while Karl became a very powerful, large, and deadly hurricane that caused further damage and misery in the Tampa Bay area, only a week after Ian's catastrophic landfall. The catastrophic activity in September was followed by three weak (sub)tropical storms, one of which, Nicole, made landfall in central Mexico as a tropical storm, causing moderate damage.
Late season activity
The final two storms were hurricanes. The second to last storm, Owen, rapidly intensified to high-end Category 2 status in the Caribbean Ocean before making landfall in Nicaragua. Despite its intensity, it caused significant damage and death in Central America. Owen continued northward and affected eastern Mexico, Cuba, and eventually the Gulf Coast, inducing even more damage. The final storm of the season, Paula, formed east of the Bahamas, and passed through the Bahamas, causing minor damage throughout the archipelago.
On July 18, the National Hurricane Center began monitoring a tropical wave east of the Lesser Antilles. This wave began to develop as it moved westward, and it formed a closed circulation on July 21; because of this, the NHC designated it as a tropical depression later that day. On July 22, the depression attained gale-force winds and was given the name "Alex" as it became a tropical storm. Alex was forecast to become a minimal hurricane; as such, Hurricane Watches were issued for Nicaragua. Alex continued to strengthen, and peaked as a high-end tropical storm on July 24, right before it made landfall in Nicaragua. Alex failed to reach hurricane intensity, meaning Alex was the first storm of its name to not reach hurricane intensity since it was added to the naming list in 1981. The storm caused minor damage in Central America because of flooding.
On July 24, the NHC began tracking an upper-level system over the Southern United States. The system was given a low chance of development, but its rainfall and flooding potential were noted in the advisory. The system brought severe weather to North Carolina, producing three tornadoes around the city of Charlotte, along with severe winds and torrential rainfall for much of the the rest of the state. On July 26, the low pressure system developed a low-level circulation and entered the Atlantic Ocean, where its chances of development were increased to fifty percent. The low was designated as a tropical depression on July 27, and Tropical Storm Watches were issued for the northern Bahamas, eastern Florida, and the Carolinas. Tropical Depression Two became a tropical storm and was named Bonnie on July 28, where it began its northward turn. Long-range hurricane models came to a general consensus of a Category 1 hurricane peak for the storm; as such, the NHC issued Hurricane Warnings for the coasts of North and South Carolina. On July 31, Bonnie became a Category 1 hurricane east of Charleston, South Carolina, and briefly made landfall near Morehead City. Bonnie continued eastward as a hurricane, and weakened to tropical storm status on August 2. It weakened as it continued moving eastward, and dissipated on August 5.
The NHC began monitoring a low pressure area north of the Yucatan Peninsula on July 29. This low pressure system moved northward, where it slowed its forward movement and began to organize. The invest organized enough to reach tropical depression status on August 2, just south of Louisiana. Later that day, the depression was named Colin as it attained gale-force winds, and was designated as a tropical storm. Shortly after, Colin made landfall over the Mississippi River delta, in far southern Louisiana. Torrential rainfall from Colin caused sporadic flooding in areas across the Gulf Coast, especially in Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida. Late on August 2, Colin made its second and final landfall hear the Alabama-Florida border, bringing tropical storm-force winds to Pensacola. Colin dissipated on August 3, although continued to affect areas recently affected by Bonnie, particularly in the form of minor flooding and rainfall.