The 1968 Atlantic hurricane season officially began on June 1, 1968, and lasted until November 30, 1968. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic basin.
Three storms formed this June, making it one of the most active Junes on record. Despite the early season activity, the season ended relatively quietly, with eight named storms, and no major hurricanes, which goes to show that early season activity has no correlation to the entire season. Hurricane Gladys was the costliest storm of the season, causing more than $6 million (1968 USD) in damage as it moved northward through Florida, Cuba, and North Carolina.
Abby was a rare and long-lived June hurricane that developed from a mid-tropospheric trough that persisted over the western Caribbean Sea in late May. When a weak cold front moved into the area, it generated convection, gaining enough organization to be called a tropical depression on June 1. The initial circulation was not embedded within the convection, but as it moved slowly north-northeastward, it was able to strengthen and become better organized, reaching tropical storm strength on June 2. It crossed the western tip of Cuba, and upon reaching the southeast Gulf of Mexico Abby achieved hurricane strength. It weakened to a tropical storm before hitting Punta Gorda, Florida on June 4, and moved across the state. Once it reached the western Atlantic, building high pressure to its east forced Abby northwestward. On June 6, it again reached the Florida coast, this time near Jacksonville. Abby weakened to a tropical depression as it moved over Georgia, and over the next six days, it wandered around the Carolinas, finally dissipating on June 13 east of Virginia.
As Abby crossed Cuba, moderate rainfall and relatively high winds were reported. In addition, Abby dropped heavy rainfall across the state of Florida, peaking at 14.65 in (372 mm) in Hart Lake. However, the rain was almost entirely beneficial, as Florida was suffering from a severe drought. Several tornadoes spawned by Abby caused minor damage throughout the southeastern region of the United States. Total damage in the United States is estimated around $450,000 (1968 USD) and the storm indirectly caused six deaths.
Similar to Abby's origins, Brenda began from a mid-level trough persisting over Florida, forming a tropical depression on June 17 south of Florida. The cyclone moved northward across the peninsula for 60 hours, and upon reaching the Atlantic, reached favorable conditions. Shear was low and water temperatures were warm enough, allowing the depression to become a tropical storm on June 21 and a hurricane on June 23. Brenda wouldn't maintain its intensity for very long, and on June 24, dry air and shear disrupted the system. Brenda weakened to a tropical storm on June 25, and became extratropical on June 26 over the open Atlantic.
Following a similar pattern to the previous two storms, a mid-level low formed over Texas, gradually reaching the surface and warming. It became a tropical depression on June 22 over the western Gulf of Mexico. As it moved quickly northward, became Tropical Storm Candy on June 23, the third storm of June. Just after reaching its peak intensity of 70 mph (110 km/h) Candy moved inland over southeast Texas, causing heavy flooding, crop damage, and tornadoes. Tropical Depression Candy continued to move quickly northeast, becoming extratropical on June 26 over Ohio and dissipating that day. Candy caused $2.7 million in damage ($15 million in 2005 USD).
In late July, a tropical wave emerged into the Atlantic Ocean from the west coast of Africa. After tracking west-northwestward and westward, the wave reached the Florida Straits on August 9, where it began interacting with an upper-level low. Early on August 10, the system developed into a tropical depression, while located near Andros Island in the Bahamas. Shortly thereafter, the depression made landfall near Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The depression quickly reemerged into the Atlantic. Initially, the depression was unable to strengthen and was nearby absorbed by a cold front. After paralleling part of the East Coast of the United States, the depression moved further out to sea. By August 12, the depression finally strengthened into Tropical Storm Dolly. Continuing to intensify, Dolly intensified into a hurricane later that day.
Dolly briefly weakened back to a tropical storm on August 13, though it quickly re-strengthened into a hurricane, despite unfavorable conditions. After remaining a minimal hurricane until August 16, the unfavorable conditions prevailed, causing Dolly to rapidly weaken to a tropical depression. By early on August 17, Dolly became extratropical while about 300 miles (480 km) north of the Azores. Impact from Hurricane Dolly was minimal, with only rainfall being reported on land, especially in Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Precipitation peaked at 3.89 inches (99 mm) at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Florida. Although it was mostly limited to the east coast of Florida, isolated areas of rain were reported in the Panhandle and on the west coast. Elsewhere, rainfall from Dolly was also recorded in North and South Carolina, though it did not exceed or reach 3 inches (76 mm).
The precursor to Tropical Storm Edna was a tropical wave that moved off the coast of Africa. Immediately upon reaching the tropical Atlantic, it became a tropical depression. It likely achieved tropical storm strength on September 14, but it was not until September 15 when it was upgraded to Tropical Storm Edna. An upper level cold core trough weakened it to a tropical depression on September 18. Edna dissipated the next day without affecting land.
A subtropical depression formed in the western Atlantic on September 14. It moved eastward without strengthening, but as it turned northwest, it reached storm strength. The subtropical cyclone headed east-southeastward, reaching hurricane intensity (though it was not a hurricane because it was not tropical) before becoming extratropical on September 23.
A midtropospheric trough developed convection near a circulation over the Bahamas. It became a tropical depression on September 23, and after four days of moving northeastward, it became Tropical Storm Frances. On September 27, Frances reached its peak of 60 mph (97 km/h) while north of Bermuda, but an upper level low weakened the storm on September 29, leaving behind an extratropical depression.
Hurricane Gladys developed from a tropical wave on October 13 in the western Caribbean Sea. It drifted northwestward, reaching tropical storm strength on October 15. On October 16, it became a hurricane just before crossing Cuba. It maintained that intensity as it crossed the island and the eastern Gulf of Mexico. Because Gladys's circulation was mostly over land, it was only an 80 mph (Category 1) hurricane at its Homosassa, Florida landfall on October 19. After moving across Florida, Gladys paralleled the Carolinas, reaching its peak of 85 mph (137 km/h) before becoming extratropical on October 21 near Nova Scotia. It caused $6.7 million (1968 USD) in damage, almost all of it in Florida.
The following names were used for named storms (tropical storms and hurricanes) that formed in the North Atlantic in 1968.
The list is mostly the same as the 1964 season, save for Candy, Dolly, Edna, Frances, Hannah, and Ingrid, which replaced Cleo, Dora, Ethel, Florence, Hilda, and Isbell (although Ethel, Florence, and Isbell were not retired). A storm was named Candy for the first time in 1968. Names that were not assigned are marked in gray