The 1971 season was characterized by recurrent and persistent patterns of activity. A record 12 hurricanes and six tropical storms were counted. Satellite pictures and ship reports provided most of the clues to developing storms. U.S. Air Force Weather Reconnaissance provided most of the location, intensity, and structure information after development was underway.
Several of the hurricanes and storms rate special attention: Agatha, a small violent May hurricane, hit the village of Playa Azul, Mexico; Bridget did $40 million damage at Acapulco, Mexico; Denise, Francene, Olivia, and Priscilla had reported surface winds of 100 kt or more; Monica was described by reconnaissance (which could not penetrate) as the strongest ever seen in the area; Katrina was an elusive ministorm that caused floods at Los Mochis, Mexico; Lily, a violent, recurving hurricane, took 12 lives in Mexico and caught several ships in her hurricane-force winds; and Olivia had an earlier existence as Caribbean hurricane Irene.