2019 Hurricane Season in Review

The 2019 Atlantic hurricane season was from June 1 to November 30. The areas covered include the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.

The 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season ended with the demise of Tropical Storm Sebastien on November 24th. In total, 18 storms were named, including six hurricanes, three of which were of high intensity. Both Hurricane Dorian and Lorenzo were Category 5 storms, making 2019 the fourth consecutive year in which a category 5 storm developed in the Atlantic which makes for a new record. However, seven of the eighteen Atlantic named storms this lasted 24 hours or less at tropical storm strength. This is the most extremely short-lived named storms on record since 2005. Considering all factors, 2019 was near or above average historically.

NOAA goes east 9/3

A look at three tropical systems in the Atlantic on September 3rd.

Quick Stats

  • Named storms: 18 (Andrea through Sebastion)
  • Hurricanes: 5 (Barry, Dorian, Humberto, Jerry, Lorenzo, Pablo
  • Major Hurricanes (3-5 Category): 3 (Dorian, Humberto, and Lorenzo)
  • Strongest Storm: Cat 5 Dorian – Sept 1 (Date of strongest conditions)
  • Highest Maximum Sustained Winds: 220 mph (354 km/h)
  • Lowest Minimum Central Pressure: 910 mb (26.9 inHg)
  • Est Damages: $8.4 Billion (USD, 2019)

Hurricane Dorian

The storm first hit St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands as a Category 1 Hurricane on August 28. The slow-moving Hurricane Dorian rapidly intensified into a Category 5 Hurricane as it approached the Great Abaco Island in The Bahamas on September 1. At landfall, Dorian had sustained winds of 185 mph, gusts up to 220 mph, and a central pressure of 911 mb, tying the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 in the Florida Keys as the most powerful landfalling Atlantic hurricane (by wind speed) on record. Winds eventually exceeded the Category 5 scale. Dorian was also the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the open Atlantic, outside of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. 

dorian from space

Hurricane Dorian from Space

Dorian was moving at just 5 mph or less over The Bahamas for 27 hours at Category 5 strength. This means the storm traveled only 25 miles in 24 hours, the second slowest movement since 1950. Portions of Dorian’s center sat over the Great Abaco and Grand Bahama islands with Category 5 winds for 22 hours before finally weakening to Category 4 strength. No storm in the past century has impacted The Bahamas in such a way, bringing storm tide up to 25 ft and 3ft of rain. 

The storm then moved north, northwest scraping past the eastern Florida coast. Luckily, the state as well as its neighbor Georgia were able to sustain minimal impact. The storm continued to move north, weakening to a Category 1 Hurricane as it directly made landfall on September 6 at Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. The coastal state saw 90 mph winds and a minimum central pressure of 956 mb.  The storm brought significant flood damage, particularly on the Outer Banks, specifically Ocracoke Island. Parts of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Virginia all incurred damage from Dorian. The hurricane killed ten people in the US and cost $1.2 billion, according to NOAA. 

Dorian Facts

  • Slow moving storm that lasted 15 days, averaging 5 mph over the Bahamas and as low as 1.3 mph 
  • Sustained winds were measured at 185 mph, with gusts up to 220 mph.
  • The highest rainfall total from Dorian was more than 13 inches recorded at the North Carolina
  • The most damaging tornado occurred in Emerald Isle in Carteret County, rated as an EF-2 with estimated winds of 115 mph
  • Caused at least 4.5 billion USD in damages, including an estimated 13,000 homes.
  • At least 80 overall deaths were recorded, while more than 280 people remain missing.

The 2020 hurricane season will officially begin on June 1 and NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center will provide its initial seasonal outlook in May.


Source(s)

https://www.noaa.gov/media-release/active-2019-atlantic-hurricane-season-comes-to-end

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/eye-of-the-storm/a-review-of-the-atlantic-hurricane-season-of-2019/

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