1934 Central America hurricane

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1934 Central America Hurricane
Category 2 hurricane (SSHWS/NWS)
Formed June 4, 1934 (1934-06-04)
Dissipated June 18, 1934 (1934-06-19)
Highest winds 1-minute sustained: 100 mph (155 km/h)
Lowest pressure 966 mbar (hPa); 28.53 inHg
Fatalities 1,000–3000 direct
Damage $2.6 million (1934 USD)
Areas affected Belize, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Louisiana, Maryland, New England
Part of the 1934 Atlantic hurricane season

The 1934 Central America Hurricane is among the deadliest hurricanes on record. Although a weak hurricane, it killed 1,000-3,000 people, mainly from landslides in Central America, and spawned eight tornadoes when it made landfall in Louisiana.

Meteorological history[edit]

Map plotting the track and intensity of the storm according to the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale

The storm formed in the Gulf of Honduras on June 4, a typical site of formation for June Atlantic tropical cyclones. It moved slowly to the west-southwest, and made landfall in Belize (then known as British Honduras) on June 5. The storm maintained tropical storm strength over land while still moving slowly as it executed a counter-clockwise loop over Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. On the 8th, the storm again reached the Caribbean Sea, and briefly reached minimal hurricane strength off the coast of Belize on June 8. It paralleled the coastline before making landfall on the Yucatán Peninsula on the 9th.

Over the next two days the storm tracked to the west-northwest before executing a second loop in the Gulf of Mexico on June 12. On the 15th it turned to the northeast, causing a hurricane warning to be issued along the Louisiana coast. The small hurricane made landfall on June 16 near Morgan City, Louisiana with winds of 75 mph, and quickly weakened over land. The storm accelerated to the northeast through the Ohio Valley before becoming extratropical near Virginia on June 19. The extratropical storm continued through the Mid-Atlantic states and New England before dissipating over northeastern Quebec.

Impact[edit]

Rainfall which fell across Florida from June 11-16, 1934 to the northeast of the tropical cyclone

The storm's slow movement over and near Belize, Honduras, and other Central American countries likely contributed to deadly flooding and mudslides that resulted in the storm's high death toll. The worst-hit area from the storm was Honduras, though other parts of Central America were affected as well. The town of Ocotepeque in Honduras was devastated by the floods and landslides, with one report estimating rain totals up to 25 inches. The town's church was the only building left standing after the floods; about 500 people were killed. In all, Honduras received a catastrophic blow from this storm, with death toll estimates between 1,000 and 3,000 people.

To the northeast of the system, a frontal zone fed off the moisture from this system, leading to a heavy rainfall event across Florida. The highest total measured was 20.91 inches (531 mm) at St. Leo, Florida.[1] The storm killed six people in Louisiana. Two children were killed when they were swept off their makeshift raft in the heavy seas, a man died in an automobile accident near New Iberia, Louisiana, another person drowned when he tried to swim in Bayou Plauqemine, and one other died in the storm. Between 75 and 150 homes were destroyed; 1,500 others remained uninhabitable. In all there was $2.605 million (1934 US dollars, $37.2 million in 2005 USD) in damage.

References[edit]

  1. ^ United States Corp of Engineers (1945). Storm Total Rainfall In The United States. War Department. p. SA 5-1. 

See also[edit]

External links[edit]