1934 Atlantic hurricane season

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1934 Atlantic hurricane season
Season summary map
First system formed June 4, 1934
Last system dissipated Nov. 30, 1934
Strongest storm Thirteen – 955 mbar (hPa) (28.21 inHg), 115 mph (185 km/h) (1-minute sustained)
Total storms 13
Hurricanes 7
Major hurricanes (Cat. 3+) 1
Total fatalities 2,017
Total damage $4.26 million (1934 USD)
Atlantic hurricane seasons
1932, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936

The 1934 Atlantic hurricane season ran through the summer and the first half of fall in 1934. The 1934 season was fairly quiet. However, it was a continuation of deadly seasons that had been going on since 1928.

A Category 2 June hurricane, the 1934 Central America Hurricane, carved an erratic path across Central America and the Gulf of Mexico, causing catastrophic flooding in Central America that killed 1,000-3,000 people.

Elsewhere, a tropical storm formed and existed entirely during the month of May, striking Florida and South Carolina and causing $155,000 in damage. A Category 1 hurricane passed over north Florida as a tropical storm and made landfall in central Texas, causing 11 casualties and $1–2 million in damage. Another Category 1 grazed Galveston. The extratropical remnant of a hurricane moved up the US East Coast, bringing hurricane force winds.

Storms[edit]

1934 Central America hurricane Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale

Hurricane One[edit]

Category 2 hurricane (SSHWS)
Duration June 4 – June 18
Peak intensity 100 mph (155 km/h) (1-min)  966 mbar (hPa)

The first hurricane of the season carved an erratic path through Central America and the Gulf of Mexico, causing catastrophic flooding that killed thousands. It formed in the Gulf of Honduras in early June and slowly moved north and then west into Belize. Over the next four days, it made a slow loop over the same general region of Central America. It went down through Guatemala and El Salvador and then back north into Honduras and the western Caribbean. Still hugging the coast, it strengthened into a hurricane, making landfall north of Majahual, Mexico on the Yucatan Peninsula. It weakened back to a storm as it began to move west across the northern part of the peninsula and into the Bay of Campeche. The storm slowed down further, making a tight (and rare second) counterclockwise loop then turning northward and gaining speed. It regained hurricane status, making landfall in Louisiana at Point au Fer Island on the east end of Atchafalaya Bay. The scale of the destruction in Central America was immense. As many as 3,000 people died in the catastrophic floods. Many places saw in excess of two feet of rain in just 72 hours. Some towns essentially ceased to exist. In Ocotepeque in western Honduras, only the church remained standing after the passage of the storm and the ensuing torrent. The region would not see destruction on this scale until Hurricane Fifi in 1974. Six were killed in Louisiana and over $2.5 million in damages were reported. The storm re-curved inland to the northeast and became extratropical over West Virginia.

Hurricane Two[edit]

Category 1 hurricane (SSHWS)
Duration July 12 – July 16
Peak intensity 90 mph (150 km/h) (1-min)  980 mbar (hPa)

Hurricane Three[edit]

Category 1 hurricane (SSHWS)
Duration July 22 – July 26
Peak intensity 85 mph (140 km/h) (1-min)  975 mbar (hPa)

The third storm was a minimal hurricane that took an unusual southwesterly track from the western Atlantic into the Gulf of Mexico. Storm Three formed from a non-tropical low pressure system off North Carolina's Outer Banks on July 21. The storm grazed Cape Fear on a westerly track but then turned south-southwest, making landfall not far south of St. Augustine, Florida near Crescent Beach and emerging in the Gulf of Mexico south of Cedar Key. It turned due west across the northern Gulf, gradually gaining intensity, becoming a hurricane on July 25 and making landfall near Lamar, Texas later that day. It dissipated a short distance across the Rio Grande from Laredo. The storm killed 11 people (mostly in tornadoes) and caused roughly $2 million in damage.

Tropical Storm Four[edit]

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Duration August 20 – August 23
Peak intensity 40 mph (65 km/h) (1-min) 

Storm Four was a very weak system that formed on August 20 about 200 miles (320 km) east of Martinique and moved west-northwestward. Winds never rose above 40 mph (64 km/h) and after passing directly over Dominica and into the eastern Caribbean, the storm weakened to a tropical depression and dissipated well south of Hispaniola three days after forming. Very little effects were caused by this system.

Hurricane Five[edit]

Category 1 hurricane (SSHWS)
Duration August 26 – September 1
Peak intensity 80 mph (130 km/h) (1-min)  993 mbar (hPa)

The third hurricane of the season formed in the north central Gulf of Mexico in late August and tracked west and then west-northwest. As it approached the north Texas coast, it curved to the south, strengthening to a hurricane while just offshore of Galveston Island on August 27. The storm lost hurricane intensity soon after moving away from the coast. As it neared the Bay of Campeche, the storm curved westward, making landfall near Tampico, Mexico on the night of August 31. It dissipated inland the next day. No damages or loss of life were reported.

Tropical Storm Six[edit]

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Duration September 1 – September 4
Peak intensity 50 mph (85 km/h) (1-min)  1008 mbar (hPa)

Hurricane Seven[edit]

Category 2 hurricane (SSHWS)
Duration September 5 – September 9
Peak intensity 105 mph (165 km/h) (1-min)  967 mbar (hPa)

For what could have been the strongest and most significant storm to strike the US in 1934, strikingly little is written about this storm. It was first detected not far east of the Bahamas at near-hurricane intensity and then re-curved to the north-northeast. Peak intensity came sometime during the day on September 7 while north of the Bahamas. It became extratropical as it brushed by Cape Hatteras as a Category 1. It went on to strike Suffolk County, Long Island with 45 MPH winds.[1] While hurricane-force winds were likely felt in the northern Bahamas, Cape Hatteras, the Monthly Weather Review barely mentions its existence. Clearly listed as a hurricane in the summary table, it is all but dismissed in the report as "apparently of minor importance till it had moved north of the Tropic of Cancer" and then nothing else is said. During the storm 193 passengers were killed when the luxury passenger liner Morro Castle caught fire 8 miles off the coast of Asbury Park, New Jersey.[2] James Roosevelt son of President Franklin Roosevelt was the object of a massive coast guard search when he was feared to be lost during the storm. Roosevelt arrived safely in Portland, Maine and said the concern was unwarranted.[3]

Tropical Storm Eight[edit]

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Duration September 16 – September 23
Peak intensity 50 mph (85 km/h) (1-min)  1010 mbar (hPa)

Storm Eight was a weak system that formed about 100 miles (160 km) east of Barbados on September 16 and moved generally northwest throughout its lifetime. It moved somewhat erratically on September 17, bringing heavy rain to the Leeward Islands. After that, it peaked in intensity with 45 mph (72 km/h) sustained winds (which it maintained for the next 60 hours) and curved gently north-northwestward into the open waters of the west Atlantic. The storm weakened to a tropical depression on September 21 and dissipated that evening while several hundred miles east of Cape Hatteras. No significant effects were reported.

Tropical Storm Nine[edit]

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Duration September 18 – September 24
Peak intensity 60 mph (95 km/h) (1-min)  1000 mbar (hPa)

Hurricane Ten[edit]

Category 2 hurricane (SSHWS)
Duration October 1 – October 4
Peak intensity 100 mph (155 km/h) (1-min)  984 mbar (hPa)

This storm, while one of the season's strongest, occurred over open water so little is known about it. The Best Track initializes it at about 25N 35W as a tropical storm. It moved swiftly throughout its lifetime (generally northwestward), strengthening to a hurricane about 12 hours after initialization. It became a Category 2 late on October 2, but held that intensity for only 12 hours, weakening back into a Category 1 and curving more westward, dissipating suddenly late on the 3rd.

Tropical Storm Eleven[edit]

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Duration October 1 – October 6
Peak intensity 60 mph (95 km/h) (1-min)  1004 mbar (hPa)

The ninth storm of the season formed in the western Caribbean near Cuba's Isle of Youth on the first of October. It moved somewhat slowly northwestward past the western tip of Cuba and into the Gulf of Mexico. On October 4, while in the middle of the Gulf, it re-curved to the north-northeast, reaching its peak intensity of 60 mph (97 km/h) as it did so. It made landfall on Dauphin Island, Alabama late into the next day as a weakening storm. It dissipated inland the next day, having caused no significant damage.

Tropical Storm Twelve[edit]

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Duration October 19 – October 23
Peak intensity 45 mph (75 km/h) (1-min)  1001 mbar (hPa)

Storm Ten, while a weak storm, interacted many times with land. Despite this, next to nothing is written about it. The Monthly Weather Review listed it in their summary table but it's not even mentioned in the report. It formed (according to the Best Track data) just south of Kingston, Jamaica. It crossed the island and then re-curved over southern Cuba, likely dumping large amounts of rain. It continued to the northeast across the Bahamas and into the open Atlantic. It dissipated on October 23 not far south of Bermuda. No effects are known.

Hurricane Thirteen[edit]

Category 3 hurricane (SSHWS)
Duration November 20 – November 30
Peak intensity 115 mph (185 km/h) (1-min)  955 mbar (hPa)

The final storm was a late-season hurricane that took an unusual track across the mid-Atlantic. It was first noticed several hundred miles northeast of the Leeward Islands curving westward. On November 23 it re-curved to the northeast while centered near 26N 66W, strengthening into a hurricane that evening. The storm reached its peak intensity 24 hours later and passed a small distance south of Bermuda before turning sharply back to the south-southwest and picking up speed. It weakened below hurricane strength the next day as it curved more to the south. The storm passed just east of the Turks and Caicos Islands before making landfall on the north coast of Hispaniola on November 28 as a weakening system. It dissipated inland. No damage or loss of life was reported although Bermuda did report gale-force winds.

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