The 1949 Atlantic hurricane season officially began on June 16, 1949, and lasted until October 31, 1949. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic basin.
1949 was a fairly active season, with 13 storms reaching tropical storm strength, 7 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes. 1949 was the last year in which Atlantic tropical cyclones were not named. Some notable storms of the 1949 season include a Category 4 hitting near West Palm Beach in August, as well as a Category 4 hurricane hitting Freeport, Texas in October; this season was one of only two, along with the 1945 season, in which two Category 4 Atlantic hurricanes hit the United States.
A tropical storm was first observed about a few hundred miles north of the Lesser Antilles on August 21. The storm moved west-northwestward and was upgraded to a hurricane six hours later, after various surface vessels reported winds of 80 mph (130 km/h). It paralleled The Bahamas and turned northward on August 23. Further intensification continued until August 24, with the storm approaching major hurricane status. At 1200 UTC it peaked with sustained winds of 110 mph (175 km/h) and a minimum barometric pressure of 977 mbar (28.9 inHg)
On August 23 a tropical storm was located northeast of the Lesser Antilles. It moved west-northwest, passing the islands to the north, and became a hurricane on August 25. Moving through the Bahamas, it rapidly strengthened over the warm Gulf Stream waters, and attained a peak of 150 mph (240 km/h) winds just before hitting West Palm Beach, Florida on August 27. The hurricane turned northward, weakened to a tropical storm, moved up the Atlantic coast states, and became extratropical on the 29th over New Hampshire. Hurricane Two caused more than $52 million in damage (1949 dollars), as well as two deaths.
A tropical depression formed to the east of the Lesser Antilles on August 30. It moved steadily west-northwestward, passing over Barbados and the central Lesser Antilles as a 50 mph (85 km/h) tropical storm. After entering the Caribbean Sea on September 1, hostile conditions weakened the storm, and the third tropical cyclone of the season degenerated into a tropical wave on September 3 to the south of the eastern tip of the Dominican Republic.
A tropical wave, the same one which spawned the previous storm, developed a tropical storm near eastern Puerto Rico on September 3. It moved northward and strengthened to a hurricane later that day. The hurricane halted its forward motion and turned to an eastward drift, and continually intensifying it became a major hurricane on September 6. The hurricane turned to the north on September 7, and after briefly weakening to a Category 2 hurricane it re-attained major hurricane status. It passed about 65 miles (105 km) east of Bermuda on September 8, and later that day it reached a peak intensity of 125 mph (205 km/h).
The hurricane weakened as it accelerating northeastward over cooler waters, and became extratropical on September 10 near Atlantic Canada. Shortly after becoming extratropical, it passed over Newfoundland, and ultimately dissipated on September 11 near southwestern Greenland. The hurricane produced gale force winds on Bermuda, though overall, no damage was reported. In Newfoundland, the storm brought rainfall up to 2 inches (51 mm) in many areas. The Bayfield was smashed into pieces along the rocky shores, though the all of the crewmen swam to safety.
Early on September 3, a tropical storm developed in the south-central Gulf of Mexico. Throughout much of its duration, the storm headed north-northwestward and maintained an intensity of 45 mph (75 km/h). At around 1200 UTC on August 24, the storm made landfall near Cocodrie, Louisiana at the same intensity. While moving inland, it passed west of New Orleans, Louisiana, and east of Vicksburg, Mississippi. The storm curved northeastward and slowly weakened across the Southern United States. Late on September 5, it dissipated over Tennessee. Damage was minimal in Louisiana and Mississippi, likely amounting to less than $50,000 (1949 USD).
The sixth tropical storm of the season was first observed on September 5 about half-way between the northern Lesser Antilles and the Azores. The storm moved to the northwest and reached peak winds of 45 mph (75 km/h) on September 6. It turned to the northeast, southeast, then looped back to the northwest. On September 11 it again turned to the northeast, and later that day the storm was last observed about half-way between the Azores and Newfoundland, or about 1000 miles (1600 km) north-northwest of its starting position.
On September 13, a tropical storm developed in the eastern Atlantic Ocean and moved north-northeastward. After attaining peak winds of 60 mph (95 km/h) on September 15, the storm began a weakening trend, and dissipated on September 17 to the south of the Azores.
A tropical wave entered the Gulf of Mexico on September 18. It moved northwestward, slowly organizing, and developed into a tropical storm on September 20 off the coast of Louisiana. The storm continued northwestward, then turned to the southwest, and erratically looped to the south on September 22. Steadily strengthening as it tracked south-southwestward, the storm intensified into a hurricane on September 23, and after turning to the southwest it reached a peak intensity of 105 mph (155 km/h) on September 24. The hurricane weakened as it turned to the south-southeast then south, and degenerated into a tropical storm shortly before making landfall between Veracruz and Nautla. The system quickly dissipated.
The storm produced 2 to 3-foot (0.91 m) higher than normal tides along the coast of Texas and Louisiana, while its outer rainbands produced locally heavy rainfall. No damage is associated with the system. Operationally, the storm was treated as two separate storms, due to Reconnaissance Aircraft being unable to report a center of circulation on September 23.
A strong tropical wave approached the Lesser Antilles on September 20. Reconnaissance Aircraft reports indicated the system initially lacked a circulation, though based on a ship report of westerly winds, it is estimated the system developed into a tropical storm on September 21 about 100 miles (160 km) south-southeast of Saint Croix. A small storm, it quickly strengthened as it traversed west-northwestward, and became a hurricane about 6 hours after forming. After reaching peak winds of 80 mph (130 km/h) the hurricane weakened, and it made landfall on the southeastern Dominican Republic on September 22 with winds of 75 mph (120 km/h). The storm rapidly dissipated.
Strong winds resulted in heavy damage in Saint Croix. In Puerto Rico, where it was known as the San Mateo Hurricane, wind gusts from the hurricane peaked at 64 mph in Ramey. The hurricane dropped heavy rainfall of up to 13.56 inches in San Lorenzo, which caused flooding in several rivers in the northern portion of the island. Damage in Puerto Rico totaled to over $1 million (1949 USD), mainly to coffee crops and buildings. In the Dominican Republic, the hurricane killed 15 people, while damage amounted to $12,000 (1949 USD).
On September 27, a tropical storm formed in the Eastern Pacific Ocean just off the coast of Guatemala. It drifted northwestward, and made landfall on Guatemala on September 28. It moved northward along the western border of Guatemala, and after crossing southeastern Mexico the storm entered the Gulf of Mexico near Ciudad del Carmen on October 1. As it traversed northwestward it strengthened, and became a hurricane on October 2. It turned more to the north and intensified to a major hurricane on October 3 as it neared the Texas coastline. It rapidly attained peak winds of 135 mph (205 km/h). Subsequently, the made landfall near Freeport, Texas on October 4 as a Category 4 hurricane. The lowest recorded pressure was 978 mbar, and estimates place the minimum central pressure near 972 mbar. The hurricane rapidly weakened to a tropical storm as it turned northeastward over land, though it maintained tropical storm status until October 6 while over Missouri. As a tropical depression it accelerated northeastward, and later that day it dissipated near Chicago, Illinois.
The hurricane produced high tides along the Texas coast, peaking at 11 feet (3.4 m) in Velasco. Moderate beach erosion from the storm damaged streets in Galveston and destroyed a wooden fishing pier. The hurricane dropped heavy rainfall in Texas, including a maximum amount of 14.5 inches in Goodrich. Damage from the storm totaled to $6.7 million (1949 USD), primarily to crop damage. The hurricane also caused two deaths.
A tropical storm moved through Cuba on October 12 and October 13. As it moved northeast across the open Atlantic, it reached a peak of 105 mph (165 km/h) winds. It became extratropical on October 18, causing little damage on its way.
This storm formed over the open Atlantic east of Bermuda in mid-October and moved north-northwest. The storm reached its peak with winds of 60 mph (95 km/h). The storm never threatened land and dissipated over the north Atlantic on October 17.
The final storm developed from a persistent low pressure area in the northwestern Caribbean Sea near Swan Island on November 3. A reconnaissance aircraft reported a well-defined eye feature, though sustained winds were only 60 mph (95 km/h). The storm drifted south-southwestward and began weakening on November 4. Later that day, it made landfall over northeastern Honduras as a minimal tropical storm. Shortly after moving inland, the storm weakened to a tropical depression. The storm curved east-northeastward and re-emerged into the southwestern Caribbean Sea on November 5; it promptly dissipated. Despite crossing Central America, no impact was reported in Honduras or Nicaragua.