1886 Atlantic hurricane season

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1886 Atlantic hurricane season
Season summary map
First system formed June 13, 1886 (Hurricane 1)
Last system dissipated October 26, 1886 (Tropical Storm 12)
Strongest storm "Indianola" – 925 mbar (hPa) (27.33 inHg), 150 mph (240 km/h)
Total storms 12
Hurricanes 10
Major hurricanes (Cat. 3+) 4
Total fatalities 200-225
Total damage ~ $2.25 million (1886 USD)
Atlantic hurricane seasons
1884, 1885, 1886, 1887, 1888

The 1886 Atlantic hurricane season ran through the early summer and the first half of fall in 1886. This is the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic basin. It was a very active year, with ten hurricanes, seven of which struck the United States.[1] Four hurricanes became major hurricanes (Category 3+). However, in the absence of modern satellite and other remote-sensing technologies, only storms that affected populated land areas or encountered ships at sea are known, so the actual total could be higher. An undercount bias of zero to six tropical cyclones per year between 1851 and 1885 and zero to four per year between 1886 and 1910 has been estimated.[2] Of the known 1886 cyclones, Hurricane Seven and Tropical Storm Eleven were first documented in 1996 by Jose Fernandez-Partagas and Henry Diaz. They also proposed large alterations to the known tracks of several other 1886 storms.[3]


Season summary[edit]

Corpses of population of Johnson Bayou, Louisiana carried into the woodlands by the storm surge of Hurricane Ten

The Atlantic hurricane database (HURDAT)[4] recognizes twelve tropical cyclones for 1886 in the Atlantic basin; two were tropical storms and ten were hurricanes. The most notable hurricane of the 1886 Atlantic season was Hurricane Five or the 1886 Indianola Hurricane which led to the abandonment of that town. The 1886 Atlantic hurricane season began with three U.S. landfalling hurricanes in June. Of the four years that have had three June tropical storms (1968, 1936, 1909 and this), 1886 was the only season to have three June hurricanes. The first of these was Hurricane One that formed in the Gulf of Mexico on June 13 and made landfall in Louisiana the next day. It brought a storm surge and flooding to parts of both the Texas and Louisiana coast. A week later, Hurricane Two also made a landfall along the US Gulf Coast, at St Marks Florida. At the end of June, a second Category 1 hurricane hit the Florida coast. Before its Florida landfall, at Apalachicola, Hurricane Three had caused fatalities in Jamaica and some damage in Cuba. Moving north from Florida it brought flooding to Virginia. In mid-July Hurricane Four brought heavy rain to both Cuba and Florida before moving into the Atlantic. Hurricane Five struck Hispaniola as a Category 1 hurricane on August 15, then Cuba as a Category 2 storm on August 16 after which it strengthened still further to Category 4 intensity while crossing the Gulf of Mexico. It impacted the Texas coast at that strength on August 20 with fatal results for the town of Indianola and other settlements. Five days after Hurricane Five hit Cuba, Hurricane Six struck the centre of the island. The hurricane originated east of Barbados on August 15 and had already caused some damage at Curacao and, possibly some fatalities at Saint Vincent and on Jamaica. The hurricane also struck the Bahamas before dissipating off Newfoundland. Hurricane Seven was a strong Category 3 hurricane that was active in the Western Atlantic between August 20 and 25th, and which struck several vessels in the Georges Bank and Grand Banks areas. Five weeks after been struck by Hurricane Five the Texas town of Indianola was again flooded when Hurricane Eight hit the Texas coast between Brownsville and Corpus Christi on September 23. The town was abandoned shortly afterwards. Hurricane Nine was a Category 2 hurricane active in the Western Atlantic between September 22 and 30th, that never made a landfall. Hurricane Ten did make a landfall on the Gulf Coast at the border of Texas and Louisiana. It wrecked the town of Sabine Pass, Texas, flooded parts of both New Orleans and Port Eads and destroyed the settlement at Johnson Bayou. After ten hurricanes, the 1886 season ended with two tropical storms. Tropical Storm Eleven was active in the Atlantic between October 10 and 15th. Tropical Storm Twelve formed in the Caribbean Sea, south of Haiti on October 22. It crossed Haiti the same day and dissipated in the Atlantic on October 26.

Timeline[edit]

Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale

Storms[edit]

Hurricane One[edit]

Category 2 hurricane (SSHS)
Duration June 13 – June 15
Peak intensity 100 mph (155 km/h) (1-min)  973 mbar (hPa)

A tropical storm formed in the Gulf of Mexico on the morning of June 13. The next day it made landfall near Calcasieu Pass, Louisiana as a Category 1 hurricane. On June 15 it weakened to first a tropical storm then to a tropical depression before dissipating.[4] A maximum wind speed of 100 mph (160 km/h) and a minimum pressure of 997 mbar was recorded on June 14 when the cyclone briefly reached Category 2 status. When the hurricane made landfall it brought a seven foot storm tide and flooding to Sabine Pass, Texas[5] and also caused extensive flooding at Calcasieu Pass. A barge was blown ashore. Half of the corn crop in southwest Louisiana was damaged.[6]

Hurricane Two[edit]

Category 2 hurricane (SSHS)
Duration June 17 – June 24
Peak intensity 100 mph (155 km/h) (1-min)  973 mbar (hPa)

A tropical storm formed in the Caribbean Sea, southwest of Cuba, on June 17. It strengthened to a Category 1 hurricane as it passed the western tip of Cuba the next day. Moving slowly northwards, it grew to a Category 2 cyclone as it approached the west coast of Florida. By June 21 it had made landfall near St. Marks, Florida[7] as a Category 1 hurricane. As it continued northward overland it weakened, first to a tropical storm while crossing Georgia, then on June 23 to a tropical depression over Virginia.[4]

Hurricane Three[edit]

Category 2 hurricane (SSHS)
Duration June 27 – July 2
Peak intensity 100 mph (155 km/h) (1-min)  973 mbar (hPa)

A tropical storm formed in the Caribbean Sea, west of Jamaica, on June 27. The next day it strengthened to a Category 1 hurricane as it passed the Cayman Islands and approached Cuba. By June 30 it was north of Cuba in the Gulf of Mexico and had reached Category 2 strength with winds of 100 mph (160 km/h).[4] On the evening of June 30 it made landfall near Apalachicola, Florida at hurricane strength.[7] Although it weakened whilst overland the next day it continued moving north and its effects as a tropical storm were seen as far north as Virginia. On July 2 the storm moved off shore at Chincoteague, Virginia.[3] In Jamaica, at least 18 people lost their lives due to the storm and there was also some fatalities at Cuba.[8] Passing Cuba, the hurricane caused damage at Batabanó to some property and to boats in the harbour. At Apalachicola roofs were blown off houses and several craft in the bay sunk.[3] Two days of heavy rain brought flooding to the southeast of Virginia with railtracks washed away. The James River at Richmond rose 10 feet above high-water mark.[9] In North Carolina, winds of 47 mph47 mph (76 km/h) were recorded at Fort Macon on June 30 and of 42 mph (68 km/h) at Kitty Hawk on July 1.[10]

Hurricane Four[edit]

Category 1 hurricane (SSHS)
Duration July 14 – July 22
Peak intensity 85 mph (140 km/h) (1-min)  985 mbar (hPa)

A tropical storm developed in the western Caribbean, southwest of the Cayman Islands on July 14. It moved slowly northward. Although it passed west of Cuba it brought heavy rains to Pinar del Rio throughout July 16 and 17.[3] The cyclone reached Florida early on July 19, making landfall south of Cedar Key,[7] at minimal hurricane strength. It weakened whilst passing overland but regained hurricane intensity when it entered the Atlantic. It reached a peak of 85 mph (137 km/h) over the Western Atlantic while moving out to sea, and became extratropical on July 22.

Hurricane Five[edit]

Category 4 hurricane (SSHS)
Duration August 12 – August 21
Peak intensity 150 mph (240 km/h) (1-min)  925 mbar (hPa)

A tropical storm developed east of Trinidad and Tobago on August 12 and began moving northwestward. Originally it was thought the storm became a Category 1 hurricane the next day but re-analysis now shows it remained as a tropical storm until August 14.[5] On the evening of August 15 it reached the island of Hispaniola. After crossing the south of that island as a Category 1 hurricane, it struck southeastern Cuba on August 16 as a Category 2 hurricane.[5] The storm briefly weakened whilst over land and entered the Gulf of Mexico near Matanzas on August 18 as a Category 1 storm. As the hurricane crossed the Gulf of Mexico it strengthened further, first to a Category 2 then to a Category 3 cyclone. As it approached the coast of Texas, it had intensified to a 150 mph (240 km/h) Category 4 hurricane. On August 20, it made landfall at that strength with catastrophic results. The storm eventually dissipated on August 21 in the northwest corner of Texas.

At Indianola, Texas a storm surge of 15 feet overwhelmed the town. Every building in the town was either destroyed or left uninhabitable. When the Signal Office there was blown down, a fire started which took hold and destroyed several neighboring blocks. The village of Quintana, at the mouth of the Brazos River was also destroyed.[11] At Houston the bayou rose between 5–6 feet on August 19. Bridges were overrun by flood water and trees blown over at Galveston. Offshore several ships were wrecked there.[11] Later in 1886, the town of Indianola was abandoned.

Hurricane Six[edit]

Category 3 hurricane (SSHS)
Duration August 15 – August 27
Peak intensity 120 mph (195 km/h) (1-min)  ≤977 mbar (hPa)

On August 15 a hurricane was seen 90 miles northeast of Barbados. On August 16 it passed over the island of Saint Vincent as Category 2 hurricane. The hurricane passed north of Grenada and continued westward towards the coast of Venezula, bringing a heavy gale, and some damage, to Curacao before curving north. Around midnight on August 19 it hit Jamaica, still at Category 2 intensity. The island experienced winds of 110 mph (180 km/h) throughout August 19 and 20th. The hurricane approached the south coast of Cuba as a major Category 3 hurricane on August 21. It crossed Cuba over the central provence of Ciego de Ávila before exiting the island near Moron on the north coast. The hurricane then passed over Nassau on the night of August 22. It quickly moved northeastward, and travelled parallel to the east coast of the United States, still at Category 2 intensity, before it weakened and dissipated south of Newfoundland on the August 27.[3] Damage was extensive at several of the locations impacted by the hurricane and some fatalities occurred on St. Vincent, Jamaica and possibly Cuba. Throughout the south of St Vincent, damage was extensive with many injuries and some fatalities reported. Thousands of trees were blown down and 300 homes destroyed on the island. At Jamaica crops and plantations were destroyed and some ships wrecked in Kingston harbour. In Cuba hundreds of homes were blown down, many trees were uprooted and some areas flooded. In the Bahamas, several sailing ships were blown ashore, both at Nassau and at Andros and at the Berry Islands.[3]

Hurricane Seven[edit]

Category 3 hurricane (SSHS)
Duration August 20 – August 25
Peak intensity 115 mph (185 km/h) (1-min)  ≤962 mbar (hPa)

A tropical storm formed west of Bermuda on August 20. It passed about 175 miles to the south of the island before turning northwestward. As the storm travelled north on August 21, it intensified to a 115 mph (185 km/h) Category 3 hurricane. It reached the area of Georges Bank at that intensity on August 22 and damaged several vessels there.[3] On August 23 it weakened to a Category 1 hurricane and became an extratropical storm on August 24 near the Grand Banks.[4]

Hurricane Eight[edit]

Category 2 hurricane (SSHS)
Duration September 16 – September 24
Peak intensity 100 mph (155 km/h) (1-min)  973 mbar (hPa)

A tropical storm formed north of Puerto Rico on September 16. It travelled west, passing north of Hispaniola on September 17 and crossing Cuba in the Las Tunas region on September 18. The next day the storm passed just south of Isla de la Juventud and continued westward before curving north into the Gulf of Mexico. As the storm travelled north, parallel to the east coast of Mexico, it intensified to a 100 mph (160 km/h) Category 2 hurricne.[4] However when it made landfall in Texas between Brownsville and Corpus Christi on September 23, it was more likely at Category 1 intensity.[5] The hurricane quickly weakened and dissipated over Texas the next day. Landfall was accompanied by record amounts of rainfall. 26 inches fell at Brownsville between September 21 and 23rd. Two hundred houses were blown down there.[3] Only five weeks after the devastation brought by Hurricane Five, Indianola was again flooded by rainwater and storm surge from Matagorda Bay. The remaining residents were evacuated. Following this storm the post office at Indianola was shut down, marking the official abandonment of the town.[11]

Hurricane Nine[edit]

Category 2 hurricane (SSHS)
Duration September 22 – September 30
Peak intensity 100 mph (155 km/h) (1-min)  ≤990 mbar (hPa)

A tropical storm formed in the western Atlantic on September 22. Within two days it had grown to a Category 2 hurricane with winds of 100 mph/160kph. The storm maintained this intensity for six days until September 30, when it weakened to first a Category 1 hurricane then to a tropical storm.[4] The cyclone never made landfall but is known from several ship reports. Most notable are those from the bark Mary, which endured the storm from September 22 until the 28th, and that of the brigantine Pearl which, on the evening of September 25, recorded sightings of ball lighting and "St. Elmo's light at the yard-arms" during the storm.[3]

Hurricane Ten[edit]

Category 3 hurricane (SSHS)
Duration October 8 – October 13
Peak intensity 120 mph (195 km/h) (1-min)  955 mbar (hPa)

A tropical storm was observed in the northwest Caribbean Sea on October 8. It moved to the northwest, reaching major hurricane strength in the Gulf of Mexico on October 11. Late on October 12, the hurricane made landfall near the border between Louisiana and Texas. It caused between 126-150 deaths in the East Texas area.[12] due to the heavy rainfall and storm surge, with $250,000 in damage occurring. Port Eads, Louisiana and parts of New Orleans were reported to be flooded.[3] Sabine Pass, Texas was all but destroyed. On the afternoon of October 12 wind speeds there reached 100 mph (160 km/h) and waves from the Gulf were 20 feet high. Most buildings in the town were destroyed and ten miles of railroad track damaged. Numerous vessels were washed miles inshore and wrecked. At Johnson Bayou, Louisiana most buildings in the town were destroyed, and many residents drowned, by the impact of a seven foot storm surge which extended twenty miles inland.[13]

Tropical Storm Eleven[edit]

Tropical storm (SSHS)
Duration October 10 – October 15
Peak intensity 50 mph (85 km/h) (1-min) 

A tropical storm existed in the western Atlantic between October 10 and October 15. It reached a peak wind speed of 50 mph (80 km/h) throughout October 13 and 14.[4] It is thought that the existence of this storm may have been responsible for the westward deviation taken by Hurricane Ten in the Gulf of Mexico on October 10.[3]

Tropical Storm Twelve[edit]

Tropical storm (SSHS)
Duration October 21 – October 26
Peak intensity 70 mph (110 km/h) (1-min)  ≤992 mbar (hPa)

Several ships reported a large, but weak, tropical storm in the Caribbean Sea, south of Haiti on October 22.[3] It is thought the storm had actually formed the previous day. After crossing Haiti on October 22 the storm continued moving northeastward into the Atlantic. The storm maintained a peak wind speed of 70 mph (110 km/h) throughout October 23 and 24. It weakened on October 25 and dissipated on October 26 in the mid-Atlantic.[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hurricane Research Division (2008). "Chronological List of All Hurricanes which Affected the Continental United States: 1851-2007". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved March 21, 2008. 
  2. ^ Landsea, C. W. (2004). "The Atlantic hurricane database re-analysis project: Documentation for the 1851–1910 alterations and additions to the HURDAT database". In Murname, R. J.; Liu, K.-B. Hurricanes and Typhoons: Past, Present and Future. New York: Columbia University Press. pp. 177–221. ISBN 0-231-12388-4. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Partagas, J.F. and H.F. Diaz, 1996a "A reconstruction of historical Tropical Cyclone frequency in the Atlantic from documentary and other historical sources Part III: 1881-1890" Climate Diagnostics Center, NOAA, Boulder, CO
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Hurricane Research Division (2012). "Easy to Read HURDAT". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved October 23, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c d Hurricane Research Division (2008). "Documentation of Atlantic Tropical Cyclones Changes in HURDAT". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2011-03-14. 
  6. ^ David M. Roth (2010-01-13). Louisiana Hurricane History. National Weather Service Southern Region Headquarters. Retrieved 2011-01-25. 
  7. ^ a b c Al Sandrik and Chris Landsea (2003). "Chronological Listing of Tropical Cyclones affecting North Florida and Coastal Georgia 1565-1899". Hurricane Research Division. Archived from the original on 6 December 2006. Retrieved 2007-01-02. 
  8. ^ Edward N. Rappaport and Jose Fernandez-Partagas (1996). "The Deadliest Atlantic Tropical Cyclones, 1492–1996: Cyclones that may have 25+ deaths". National Hurricane Center. Retrieved 2012-10-16. 
  9. ^ David Roth and Hugh Cobb. "Virginia Hurricane History". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved January 14, 2008. 
  10. ^ Hudgins, James E. (2000). "Tropical cyclones affecting North Carolina since 1586 - An Historical Perspective". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 
  11. ^ a b c David Roth (2010-02-04). "Texas Hurricane History" (PDF). National Weather Service. Retrieved 2011-06-22. 
  12. ^ Edward N. Rappaport and Jose Fernandez-Partagas (1996). "The Deadliest Atlantic Tropical Cyclones, 1492–1996: Cyclones with 25+ deaths". National Hurricane Center. Retrieved 2011-03-14. 
  13. ^ W. T. Block (October 10, 1979). "October 12, 1886: The Night That Johnson's Bayou, Louisiana Died". The Beaumont Enterprise. Retrieved 2011-06-22. 

External links[edit]

Unisys Data for 1886 Atlantic Hurricane Season 1886 Hurricane/Tropical Data for Atlantic