The 1996 Atlantic hurricane season was a slightly above active season, and quite destructive. This season featured a total of 13 tropical cyclones all of which became named storms, 9 hurricanes, and 6 major hurricanes.
Bertha was an early-season Cape Verde Hurricane that moved across the islands of the northeastern Caribbean Sea as a Category 1 Hurricane on the Saffir/Simpson Scale and made landfall on the North Carolina coast near Wilmington as a Category 2 Hurricane. Bertha's one-minute winds reached their maximum peak of 115 MPH/100 Knots on the 9th of July, while located to the north of Puerto Rico. The last Hurricane to reach this strength, this early in the season, was Alma of 1966 in the eastern Gulf of Mexico with 125 MPH/110 Knots. Bertha is responsible for an estimated 12 deaths and $270 million in U.S. damages.
Edouard, the strongest tropical cyclone of the 1996 Atlantic season, was a prototypical Cape Verde hurricane. It had a very long track, and maintained category three or greater intensity on the Saffir/Simpson Hurricane Scale for nearly eight days. Edouard brushed southeastern New England as it recurved out to sea.
Fran was a Cape Verde hurricane that moved across the Atlantic during the peak of the hurricane season. It made landfall on the North Carolina coast as a category three hurricane on the Saffir/Simpson Hurricane Scale, resulting in significant storm flooding on the North Carolina coast, widespread wind damage over North Carolina and Virginia, and extensive flooding from the Carolinas to Pennsylvania.
Hortense became the second category four hurricane and the fourth category three hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale (SSHS) of the season. Hortense was a wet hurricane and most of the damage was caused by its accompanying torrential rains. Hortense crossed the southwestern tip of Puerto Rico and the eastern top of the Dominican Republic as a category one hurricane and he associated floods killed at least 21 people. Hortense moved northward over the western Atlantic and crossed Nova Scotia as a weakening hurricane.
Kyle was a small, short-lived tropical storm that formed over the northwestern Caribbean Sea in mid-October. It moved onshore near the border of Guatemala and Honduras as a weakening tropical depression and quickly dissipated. There were no significant effects on land associated with this system.
Lili was the sixth category 3 Atlantic hurricane on the Saffir/Simpson hurricane scale during 1996. It moved across central Cuba and the central Bahamas with sustained winds in the 90 to 105 MPH/80 to 90 Knot range.