North Atlantic tropical cyclones usually form in the northern hemisphere summer or fall. Tropical cyclones can be categorized by intensity. Tropical storms have one-minute maximum sustained winds of at least 39 mph (34 knots, 17 m/s, 63 km/h), while hurricanes have one-minute maximum sustained exceeding 74 mph (64 knots, 33 m/s, 119 km/h). Most Atlantic tropical storms and hurricanes form between June 1 and November 30. The United States National Hurricane Center monitors the basin and issues reports, watches and warnings about tropical weather systems for the Atlantic Basin as one of the Regional Specialized Meteorological Centers for tropical cyclones as defined by the World Meteorological Organization.
Tropical disturbances that reach tropical storm intensity are named from a predetermined list. Hurricanes that result in significant damage or casualties may have their names retired from the list at the request of the affected nations in order to prevent confusion should a subsequent storm be given the same name. On average, 10.1 named storms occur each season, with an average of 5.9 becoming hurricanes and 2.5 becoming major hurricanes (Category 3 or greater). The climatological peak of activity is around September 10 each season.