HURRICANE’S, TYPHOON’S, AND CYCLONES
Cyclones form in most of the Earth’s oceans; depending on
where you live, they are known by different names.
- Hurricane – North Atlantic Ocean and Northeast Pacific
Ocean, east of the International Dateline.
- Typhoon – North Pacific Ocean, west of the International
- Tropical Cyclone – Southwest Pacific Ocean west of 150
Degrees East, and Southeast Indian Ocean.
Kublai Khan’s first invasion of Japan was foiled by a
Hindu temple records claim that a violent storm broke a
natural isthmus that previously joined Sri Lanka to India.
The first written European account of a hurricane comes from
Christopher Columbus, who sheltered his fleet from a tropical cyclone during
his second voyage to the New World. He later declared that “nothing but the
service of God and the extension of the monarchy” would induce him to expose
himself to such danger again. How prophetic.
During his fourth voyage, Christopher Columbus warned the
governor of Hispanola, Nicholas de Ovando, of an approaching hurricane. The
governor ignored Columbus’ warning, refused his request to stay in port at Santo Domingo, and ordered 30 ships from his treasure fleet to set sail back to Spain. Two days later the storm stuck in Mona Passage, between Hispanola and Puerto Rico, sinking 21 of those ships. Five hundred sailors perished.
The first attempt by the Spanish to colonize Florida ended when 73 of 74 ships in the fleet were destroyed by a hurricane. The surviving
ship and its sailors founded a colony in present-day Pensacola Bay.
A French fleet sent to support Fort Caroline, and take
control of the Atlantic coast of North America, is destroyed by a hurricane. As
a result, the Spaniards at St. Augustine massacred the colonists at Fort Caroline, gaining control of East Florida, near present-day Jacksonville.
The British ship Sea Venture, bound for Virginia to relieve the starving Jamestown colonists, was crippled by a hurricane and wrecked
on the uninhabited Bermuda. The survivors establish a British colony. The story
becomes the inspiration for William Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
Fifteen years after the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock,
the Great Colonial Hurricane struck a Massachusetts Bay Colony. The eye passed
between Boston and Plymouth, causing a twenty-foot tide in Boston. Many of the
pilgrims believed that the storm was apocalyptic.
A rare hurricane strikes England, killing some 8,000 people.
Daniel Defoe publishes The Storm from eyewitness accounts.
A Spanish treasure fleet sailing from Cuba to Spain is destroyed in a hurricane off the coast of Florida. Modern day treasure hunters are
still searching for millions of dollars lost in solid gold.
Benjamin Franklin’s plan to study a lunar eclipse from his
location in Philadelphia was prevented when a hurricane struck the Northeastern United States. He soon learned that his brother, residing in Boston,
experienced the same storm, but much later. This led Franklin to the conclusion
that the storm had moved up the Atlantic seaboard, against the direction of the
surface winds. This observation gave rise to the first scientific steps toward
a basic understanding of hurricanes. In addition, Professor Winthrop of Harvard
made his first detailed pressure and tide measurements during this hurricane.
Willoughby Spit was created in Norfolk, Virginia when a
hurricane destroyed Fort George, the site of present day Fort Monroe. An eight hundred acre sand spit was washed up by the storm.
A seventeen foot storm surge, from an Atlantic hurricane,
destroyed Charleston, South Carolina’s infrastructure and over 500 homes.
A powerful hurricane struck Newfoundland, Canada causing a storm surge of up to 30 feet. A total of 4,153 people died in this storm,
including 4,000 sailors, mostly from England and Ireland.
A powerful hurricane hit Martinique and Pointe-a-Pitre Bay, Guadeloupe killing more than 6,000 people.
The Great Hurricane of 1780 hit the Caribbean with winds
estimated at 135 mph, earning it a category 4 designation. Twenty-two thousand
people perished. The entire British and French fleets were destroyed.
A central Atlantic hurricane claims the lives of more than
A hurricane hits western Cuba killing more than 3,000
A powerful hurricane hit Dominica and Martinique causing
3,000 deaths. The cyclone then moved south of Jamaica.
The Great September Gale, the first hurricane to strike New
England in 180 years, first made landfall on Long Island, New York, and then Connecticut. It brought an eleven-foot storm surge to Providence, Rhode Island causing
extensive damage throughout the region.
A category 4 hurricane struck Cape May, New Jersey, with hurricane force winds traveling as far west as Philadelphia, cutting a path of
The Racer’s Storm hurricane was one of the most destructive
storms of the 19th century. It devastated much of the Gulf Coast of
Texas before moving through Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and finally arriving off the coast of North Carolina on October 9th.
Two major inlets in North Carolina were cut by this
September hurricane, referred to as “The Great.” Later that year, a category 5
hurricane struck the Florida Keys, destroying or damaging all but eight of the
600 homes in Key West.
Two hurricanes hit Fort Brooke, present day Tampa Bay, within one month of each other, nearly destroying the town.
A cyclone kills about 60,000 people in Calcutta, India.
A hurricane struck the Southern Coast of Cuba, as predicted
by Father Benito Viñes, his first hurricane warning. Father Benito Viñes
studies of tropical storms and hurricanes made the Cuban forecasters some of
the best in the world at that time.
A hurricane and resulting storm surge struck the Meghna River region in present day Bangladesh killing more than 100,000 people. The resultant
disease claimed an additional 100,000 lives.
Seven hundred people were killed with a hurricane hit Savannah and Augusta, Georgia. Several barrier islands were completely submerged by the
Indianola, the leading port city in Texas, was destroyed by
a hurricane that had already dumped more than twenty-one inches of rain on Alexandria, Louisiana. Indianola was never rebuilt. Sea traffic was diverted to Galveston, making that city the prominent port until it was also destroyed by the Great
Hurricane of 1900.
On August 27, 1893, a category 3 hurricane struck Savannah, Georgia and submerged the Sea Islands in South Carolina killing more than 2,000
people, and leaving more than 30,000 homeless. In October, another storm
flooded a Louisiana bayou, killing more than 2,000 people.
Hurricane San Ciriaco strikes Puerto Rico, leaving 3,433
people dead and causing millions of dollars in damage.
Cyclone Mahina, a category 5 cyclone, strikes Bathurst Bay , Australia, bringing with it a 48 foot storm surge, and leaving over 400 people
The deadliest natural disaster in United States history,
this category 4 hurricane moved through Cuba into the Gulf of Mexico before
crashing into Galveston, Texas without warning. The storm brought tides as high
as fifteen-feet killing an estimated eight-to-twelve-thousand people. The cost
of damage was 20 million dollars. In today’s money, that would equate to 700
A hurricane strikes Cuba, the Florida Keys, and Texas with a storm surge of up to twelve-feet. It was estimated that as many as 900 people
As Miami neared the end of its first boom period, with the
extension of the Florida East coast Railway, a category 4 hurricane struck with
little warning. The 128 miles winds brought a 15-foot high storm surge caused 150
million dollars in damage (1.7 billion in today’s dollars), and taking the
lives of 350 people. The devastation led to the first building code development
in Miami, which was imitated in over 5000 cities nationwide.
The San Felipe/ Lake Okeechobee hurricane hit Puerto Rico on September 13th and continued through the Bahamas until it came ashore near Palm Beach, Florida on September 16th. The hurricane continued to cut a path
inland over the north shore of Lake Okeechobee, causing a lake surge of
nine-feet that drown the entire area. Some 2,500 people perished in Puerto Rico and Florida combined. The damage was estimated at 25 million dollars (300 million in 1990
U.S. dollars). This hurricane now ranks behind Galveston as the second
deadliest natural disaster in United States history.
As many as eight-thousand people were left dead in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic as this hurricane ripped through the capital city.
A category 5 hurricane strikes Cuba leaving more that 3,000
dead and causing millions of dollars in damage.
August, September 1933
This was a very active year for tropical storms and
hurricanes. Twenty-one named storms are on record, including the category 4,
Great Chesapeake Hurricane, which caused 27.2 million dollars in damage (358.4
million in 2005 U.S. dollars), and claimed 30 lives. Virginia was hardest hit with
the center of circulation passing directly over Norfolk.
A Central America hurricane traveled over the Yucatan Peninsula before making landfall in Louisiana. Up to 3,000 people were killed with more
than 2 million dollars in damage to Louisiana.
The most powerful hurricane to make landfall in the United States occurred on Labor Day when a category 5 storm crashed into the Florida Keys before
turning north to the southeastern United States. The 180 mph winds and rushing
tides claimed the lives of 408 people, mostly WWI veterans working in the area.
With little warning, the “Long Island Express,” a category 3
hurricane, slammed into New York’s little island before ripping through southern
New England in less than six hours. There were 600 fatalities.
The Great Hurricane of September, 1944 is largely forgotten
in light of the previous two mentioned here. This is likely due to the fact
that the worst effects were experienced at sea. Five ships, including a United
States Navy destroyer and minesweeper, two United States coast Guard cutters,
and a light vessel were sunk by the storm, causing 344 deaths. The powerful
storm caused extensive damage from North Carolina all the way to New England estimated at 100 million dollars.
Hurricane technology in the 1950’s
In 1946, the United States Navy and Air Force organize
Hurricane Hunter squadrons in the Pacific and Atlantic. In 1947, Navy planes begin
seeding an Atlantic hurricane as part of Project Cirrus. The hypothesis of
storm seeding originates from Dr. Irwin Langmuir, who explored the idea that if
a plane flew into the eye of a hurricane, and dropped a payload of dry ice, or
silver iodide aerosols, the hurricane would form rain, and thus weaken its wind
strength. Unfortunately, the experiment failed. It has since been determined
that hurricane force winds already contain an abundance of ice crystals,
required to produce rain, and are beyond the control of mankind. In 1950, the
United States Weather Bureau officially begins naming hurricanes.
Hurricane Timeline from 1950 to 1960
- September 1950 – Hurricane Easy sustains winds at
125 mph and dumps more than 38 inches of rain of Yankeetown, Florida.
- October 1950 – Hurricane King hits Miami carving a 10 mile path of destruction with gusts reaching 150 mph and a storm surge
as high as 19 feet.
- August 1953 – Hurricane Barbara ravages the Carolinas with gusts of 90 mph, causing damage over 1 million dollars and claiming one
- September 1954 – Hurricane Carol hits North Carolina with winds up to 100 mph and damage of 250,000 dollars.
- September 1954 – Hurricane Edna nips at the heels
of Carol causing damage to New England exceeding 40 million dollars.
Twenty-one people perished.
- October 1954 – Hurricane Hazel, a category 4 storm,
strikes North Carolina and brings hurricane force winds as far as Canada. Hazel also brings a record eighteen-foot storm surge at Calabash, North Carolina.
Wind gusts of 150 mph were recorded as Hazel carved a path of destruction
that cost more than 350 million dollars and left over 600 people dead.
- August 1955 – Hurricane Connie was the first of
three hurricanes to wreak havoc on the Carolina’s that year. Connie produced
heavy rains, tornadoes, and wind gusts up to 100 mph, affecting North Carolina, Eastern Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and New York City. The storm
caused devastating floods and claimed the lives of 155 people.
- August 1955 – On the heels of Hurricane Connie,
just five days later, Diane made landfall along the outer banks of North Carolina. Diane was the first billion dollar hurricane to make landfall in the United States. At her peak, Diane produced winds of 125 mph. Her flooding rains proved more
devastating, killing 200 people. It was Hurricane Diane that brought about
a Presidential Commission on Storm Modification that eventually led to
Project Stormfury (1963), another failed attempt to seed hurricanes.
- September 1955 – Hurricane Ione struck just one
month after Connie and Diane, which fortunately made landfall well after
it had reached peak intensity. Even so, it brought sixteen-inches of
rainfall to parts of North Carolina, 90 million dollars in damage, and
left six dead before turning seaward.
- September 1958 – Hurricane Helene was one of the
most powerful hurricanes of the 1950’s. Thankfully, she spared the Carolina’s, but just barely. Helene raged just 20 miles off the coast of Cape Fear with
winds whipping at 135 mph.
urricane technology in the 1960’s
In 1955, the Miami office of the United States Weather
Bureau is designated the primary hurricane warning center responsible for
coordinating all forecasting and warnings issued for hurricanes in the Atlantic. The U.S. Weather Bureau founds the National Hurricane Research Project (NHRP)
which begins research flights into hurricanes the next year. In 1959, the Joint Typhoon warning Center is formed in Guam, combining itself with the Navy and Air Force
forecasting efforts. In 1960, TIROS I, the first experimental weather satellite
is launched, and promptly discovers an undetected tropical cyclone near New Zealand.
Hurricane Timeline from 1960 to 1970
- Summer 1960 – Hurricane Donna sliced an erratic
path from the Caribbean, through the Florida Keys, into the Gulf of
Mexico, back to and over Florida before heading up the Atlantic coast to North Carolina, New England, and completing her journey at Long Island, New York. Her peak
winds of 200 mph and 13-foot storm surge claimed the lives of 50 people
while causing more than one billion dollars in damage.
- September 1961 – Hurricane Carla, the most powerful
storm to strike Texas in more than 40 years, brought winds of 170 mph,
storm surge waves of at least eighteen-feet, and caused 408 million dollars
in damage, killing 43 people.
- October 1961 – The wicked witch of this Halloween,
Hurricane Hattie, struck the capital of Belize as a category 5 leaving
some 275 dead in her path, causing 60 million dollars in damage, and
causing the government of Belize City to relocate its government offices
inland to Belmopan.
- September 1963 – Hurricane Flora became a category
4 storm just before making landfall on southwestern Haiti then drifting westward through Cuba. Flora was responsible for 8000 fatalities and billions of
dollars in damage.
- August 1964 – Hurricane Cleo produced winds gusts
of 138 mph, caused 125 million dollars in damage, but thankfully did not
claim any lives.
- September 1964 – Hurricane Dora swept through the
Northeastern coast of Florida, just weeks after Cleo had subsided, with
wind gusts of 125 mph and a twelve-foot storm surge.
- September 1965 – Hurricane Betsy, a category 3
storm, struck southern Florida and Louisiana. This area of the United States will enjoy relative calmness before the devastating storm of Andrew in 1992.
- October 1966 –Hurricane Inez, also known as “The
Crazy One,” carves it’s category 3, 190 mph path, from the Caribbean to
Florida, and then to Mexico, producing millions of dollars of damage and
claiming the lives of 1,500 people.
- September 1967 – Hurricane Beulah was a category 4 storm
that hit Texas, producing a record 150 tornadoes after making landfall.
- April 1968 – Cyclone Giselle, with the highest wind
speed ever clocked in New Zealand (166 mph), drove the Wahine ferry onto
Barrett’s Reef. Despite rescue attempts, 51 people perished when the ferry
capsized and sank.
- August 1969 – Hurricane Camille, a category 5
hurricane, came ashore over Gulfport, Mississippi with winds of 180 mph
and a record storm surge of more than 24 feet. The combination of winds,
surges, and rain killed more than 250 people and caused almost 1.5 billion
dollars in damage.
Hurricane technology in the 1970’s
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA),
and the National Hurricane Center (NHC) are formed. The first barotropic
hurricane computer forecast model, SANBAR, is put into operation at NHC.
Project STORMFURY carries out its last experiment when it seeds Hurricane
Ginger. The Saffir-Simpson scale, a 1 to 5 rating based upon hurricane
intensity, is created.
Hurricane Timeline from 1970 to 1980
- August 1970 – Hurricane Celia, a category 3
hurricane, hit the Corpus Christi area with winds as high as 180 mph.
Eleven people were killed, 466 were injured, and the damage is recorded as
453 billion dollars.
- November 1970 – Tropical cyclone Bhola crashed into
Bangladesh with 190 mph winds and a storm surge of 20 feet. The official
death toll was put at 500,000 with another 100,000 missing. This is one of
the deadliest natural disasters in modern times.
- June 1972 – Hurricane Agnes hits the Florida panhandle, moves into Georgia and heads north to New York. Although a minimal
category 1 hurricane, the widespread severe flooding from Virginia northward to New York caused 2.1 billion dollars in damage and killed 122 people.
- September 1974 – Hurricane Fifi kills as many as
10,000 people in Honduras, destroying 80 percent of the banana crop and
drowning two-fifths of the country’s cattle.
- December 1974 – Cyclone Tracy, equivalent to a
category 5 storm, hits Darwin, Australia causing 837 million dollars in
damage, destroying more than 70% of Darwin’s buildings and transportation
infrastructure, leaving 20,000 people homeless, and killing 71.
- September 1975 – Hurricane Eloise, a category 3
hurricane, produces a storm surge as high as 16 feet along the Florida Coast causing about 1 billion dollars in damage and killing 21 people.
- November 1977 – A tropical cyclone hits the Andhra
Pradesh coastline in India killing over 10,000 people, leaving hundreds of
thousands homeless, and destroying almost half of India’s food grains.
- September 1979 – Hurricane David, a powerful
category 5 hurricane, rips through the Caribbean before striking the coast
of Georgia, and producing tornadoes as far away as Long Island. Damage was
estimated at 320 million dollars. Two-thousand people lost their lives to
- September 1979 – Hurricane Frederick slammed into
the Mobile Bay in Alabama after gaining strength while over Hispanola and Cuba, causing 3.5 billion dollars in damage.
Hurricane technology in the 1980’s
Project STORMFURY is officially ended. The first Synoptic
Flow experiment is flown around Hurricane Debby to help define the large scale
atmospheric winds that steer the storm. William Gray and his team issue the
first hurricane seasonal forecast. The Air Force disbands its Pacific Typhoon
Chasers squadrons. The Beta and Advection Model (BAM), and VICBAR, a nested
barotropic hurricane track forecast model, become operational.
Hurricane Timeline from 1980 to 1990
- August 1980 – Hurricane Allen, a category 5
hurricane, is ranked as one of the strongest storms ever recorded in the Atlantic. Allen’s eye didn’t touch land from the time it crossed the Windward Islands,
including St. Lucia, until it came ashore near Port Mansfield, Texas.
Allen caused 2.6 billion dollars and killed 274 people.
- August 1983 – Hurricane Alicia, a category 3
hurricane, hammered Galveston and Houston, causing 2 billion dollars in
damage and killing 21 people.
- September 1985 – Hurricane Elena, a category 3
hurricane, smashes into Biloxi Mississippi causing 1.25 billion dollars in
- September 1987 – Hurricane Gloria, a category 3
hurricane, made landfall on the coast of North Carolina before moving
northward up the East Coast, causing 900 million dollars in damage.
- September 1988 – Hurricane Gilbert, the second most
powerful storm ever recorded in the Atlantic, hits the Yucatan before
proceeding through the Gulf of Mexico and crashing into Matamoras, Mexico. Gilbert caused 5 billion dollars in damage and killed 318 people.
- September 1989 – Hurricane Hugo, a category 5
hurricane, carved its path from the Caribbean until it made a direct hit
on Charleston, South Carolina. Its 20 foot storm surge and 160 mph winds
caused an estimated 7 billion dollars in damage, and claimed 50 lives in
the United States, the Caribbean, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Hurricane technology in the 1990’s
Rapid scan high-resolution satellite loops are made of
Hurricane Luis, showing eye structure and motion. High resolution dropsondes
are released in the eye of Hurricane Guillermo in the eastern Pacific. These
reveal wind structure that surprise scientists. NOAA’s GIV high altitude jet
becomes operational, allowing examination of the steering flow around
hurricanes from a greater height.
Hurricane Timeline from 1990 to 2000
- April 1991 – A category 5 Bangladesh cyclone kills 138,000 people and leaves as many as 10 million homeless in the Chittagong region.
- August 1992 – Hurricane Andrew, a category 5
hurricane, devastates South Florida with winds of 165 mph, causing 30
billion dollars in damage and claiming 26 lives in the United States and the Bahamas.
- September 1992 – Hurricane Iniki, a category 4
hurricane, hits Kauai, Hawaii, causing 1.8 billion dollars in damage and
killing 6 people.
- July 1994 – Tropical Storm Alberto dumps an
enormous amount of rain over northwest Florida and southern Georgia leaving 31 people dead and causing 500 million dollars in damage.
- November 1994 – Hurricane Gordon weaves its erratic
path from Honduras, Nicaragua, and Florida before making landfall in North Carolina and turning back on Florida. The storm left 1,145 people dead and caused 400
million dollars in damage.
- August – October 1995 – With 19 storms on
record, this season goes down as the second-busiest storm season on record
(2nd to the 21 recorded in 1933). Of note is Hurricane Opal, a
category 3 hurricane that came ashore in Pensacola, Florida causing an
estimated 3 billion dollars in damage.
- August – October 1996 – After the 1995
season, it was thought that 1996 could not be as bad, but as it turns out,
it was even worse. Six hurricanes reached a category 3 or higher, causing
4.1 billion dollars in damage and killing 147 people in the United States, Mexico , Central America, and the Caribbean islands.
- August – October 1997 – A welcome relief
from the past two years, 1997 recorded only 3 hurricanes.
- December 1997 – Typhoon Paka, a category 5 super
typhoon, ravages Guam causing 500 million dollars in damage
- October 1998 – Hurricane Mitch, a category 5 storm,
devastated Honduras and Nicaragua with over 75 inches of rain, causing
massive flooding and mudslides. The death toll crept past 12,000 people
and damage exceeded 5.5 billion dollars.
- September 1999 – Hurricane Floyd caused the largest
peacetime evacuation in history, with 3 million people fleeing from South
Florida to North Carolina. The death toll was nearly 80 people, mostly
from the storm-produced floods, and damage is estimated at 6 billion
- October 1999 – Tropical cyclone 05B, equivalent to a
category 5 storm, hits Orissa, India, bringing with it a 26 foot storm
surge. A total of 9,803 people died, 40 were listed as missing, and the
damage was recorded at 4.5 billion dollars.
Hurricane technology in the 2000’s
A NASA experiment, run in conjunction with NOAA’s Hurricane
Field Program, collects detailed data sets on Hurricanes Erin, Gabrielle,
Humberto, and Tropical Storm Chantal. A major paper in Science details
decadal swings in Atlantic hurricane activity. Mike Black and James Franklin publish a paper on hurricane eye wall wind profiles based on GPS dropsondes.
Hurricane Timeline from 2000 to 2006
- April 2000 – Cyclone Rosita struck Broome, Western Australia as a category 5 storm causing severe damage and subsequent
- October 2000 – Hurricane Keith, a category 4
hurricane, strikes Belize City causing 2 million dollars in damage in Belize, Nicaragua, and Honduras. Keith left 24 people dead.
- June 2001 – Tropical storm Allison dumps 37
inches of rain on Houston, during her five day rampage, causing up to 5
billion dollars in damage, the costliest natural disaster to ever hit Houston.
- October 2001 – Hurricane Iris hits central Belize with 145 mph winds killing 28 people and causing millions of dollars in damage.
- November 2001 – Hurricane Michelle, a category 4
hurricane, strikes western Cuba and the Isle of Youth with winds of 135
mph, killing 17 people and causing widespread damage.
- October 2002 – Hurricane Lili, a category 4
hurricane, kills 14 people and causes widespread damage across the
Caribbean and into Louisiana.
- March 2003 – Tropical Cyclone Erica devastated the South Pacific islands as a category 5 storm leaving at least one person
- September 2003 – Hurricane Fabian, a category 4
hurricane, is on record as the worst hurricane to strike Bermuda since
1926. Fabian is responsible for 8 deaths and 300 million dollars in
- September 2003 – Hurricane Isabel was able to stay
at the highest level a hurricane can reach for over 30 hours, making it
one of the longest lasting category 5 storms on record. Isabel struck North Carolina causing 16 deaths and 3.4 billion dollars in damage.
- January 2004 – Cyclone Heta, a category 5
tropical cyclone, causes 150 million dollars of damage across Samoa, Tonga, and Niue, and claims two lives.
- March 2004 – Cyclone Gafilo made landfall on Madagascar as a category 5 storm, killing 350 people, and leaving 300,000 homeless from its
- August 2004 – Hurricane Charley, a rapidly
intensifying category 4 storm, devastated Port Charlotte, Florida, killing 35 people and causing 14 billion dollars in damage.
- September 2004 – Hurricane Jeanne, a category 3
storm, leaves more than 3,000 dead in Haiti as a result of flooding and
- September 2004 – Hurricane Frances, a category 4 hurricane, moved slowly across the Florida Peninsula for more than 24 hours
during Labor Day weekend. Frances forced the evacuation of 2.8 million
people, spawned 75 tornadoes, caused 9 billion dollars in damage, and left
- September 2004 – Category 5 Hurricane Ivan was
responsible for 124 deaths throughout the Caribbean and Eastern United
States. Damage was estimated at 14.2 billion dollars.
- July 2005 – Hurricane Dennis, just missing a
category 5 strength with 150 mph winds, causes damage up to 2.5 billion
dollars and claims 32 lives. Cienfuegos, Cuba bears the brunt of its
assault, but Dennis brought heavy wind and rain to Jamaica, the Caymans, and Hispanola, before eventually making landfall near Pensacola Florida.
- July 2005 – Hurricane Emily, a category 5
storm, claims 64 lives and causes 300 million dollars in damage as it cut
its path through Grenada and the Yucatan Peninsula.
- August 2005 – Hurricane Katrina crosses over Florida as a minimal category 1 hurricane before gaining category 5 strength in the Gulf of Mexico. While gaining her strength, Katrina stuck Buras, Louisiana with 140 mph
winds and then near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi with 135 mph winds. Storm
surges reached 27 feet and winds as high as 90 mph were felt as far east
as Mobile, Alabama, which experienced its worst flooding in 90 years.
Waves as high as 48 feet happened offshore in the Gulf of Mexico.
Extensive flooding occurred in New Orleans, which was actually spared the
brunt of the storm. The death toll is currently at 1,833 with damage of 81
billion dollars. Experts estimate the total cost of the storm could reach
200 billion dollars, making Katrina the costliest hurricane in United States history.
- September 2005 – Hurricane Rita, following a similar
track as Katrina, reached category 5 strength before making landfall on
the Texas/Louisiana border. Damage estimates are currently at 6 billion
dollars. Fifty-four people were killed as a direct result of the storm,
and another 107 deaths from those trying to flee the storm.
- September 2005 – Hurricane Stan barely made
hurricane status but is worth mention here because its torrential rains in
Central America caused flooding and mudslides that claimed the lives of
more than 2,000 people, and caused damage estimated at 1.9 billion
- October 2005 – Hurricane Wilma was the 4th
category 5 hurricane to form in this season, and gradually decreased to a
strong category 4 storm before striking Cozumel, Mexico. It moved over southern Florida with category 3 winds. Wilma devastated the east coast of
southern Florida. Waves as high as 45 feet battered Havana, Cuba. Wilma claimed the lives of 48 people from Florida to Haiti, causing an estimated damage of 10
- March 2006 - Cyclone Larry, a category 4 storm
crossed the Queensland coast in Australia causing 1 billion dollars in
damage and injuring 200 people.
- April 2006 – Cyclone Monica, the strongest cyclone
ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere, caused massive flooding in far
north Queensland, Australia.
- April 2006 – Cyclone Mala, equivalent to a category
5 hurricane, struck Myanmar, India, causing severe damage and at least 22