Hurricane Danny (1985)
Hurricane Danny making landfall along the United States Gulf Coast
|Formed||August 12, 1985|
|Dissipated||August 18, 1985|
|Highest winds||1-minute sustained:
90 mph (150 km/h)
|Lowest pressure||987 mbar (hPa); 29.15 inHg|
|Fatalities||2 direct, 3 indirect|
|Damage||$100 million (1985 USD)|
|Areas affected||Cuba, Gulf Coast of the United States, Tennessee, Carolinas, Virginia|
|Part of the 1985 Atlantic hurricane season|
Hurricane Danny was a minimal Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale that made landfall in the U.S. state of Louisiana. The fourth tropical cyclone and third hurricane of the 1985 Atlantic hurricane season, Danny originated from a tropical wave that moved into the western Caribbean in the middle of August, and struggled to reach tropical storm status until it entered the central Gulf of Mexico. Organizing rapidly, the system reached hurricane status several hundred miles south of Louisiana, and reached a peak intensity of 90 mph (150 km/h) before making landfall near Lake Charles, Louisiana.
Danny produced an outbreak of 39 tornadoes and flash flooding across the United States Gulf Coast and Southeastern United States causing 100 million dollars (1985 USD) and five fatalities, two of them directly related to the storm.
A tropical wave moved off the west coast of Africa on July 30 and continued across the Atlantic and though the Leeward Islands without any significant shower activity. However, associated shower activity increased as the system moved through the Caribbean. By August 10, a broad low pressure system formed. On August 12, data from a Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicated that a tropical depression formed near the Grand Cayman Islands despite a poorly defined atmospheric circulation.
The depression then moved northwest, crossing the western tip of Cuba and entered the Gulf of Mexico on August 13 with little change in organization. The system intensified fairly quickly, going from a minimal tropical storm to hurricane status in a 24 hour period. Danny attained hurricane status midday August 14 while located 200 mi (320 km) south of the Louisiana Coast. Danny initially continued northwest, but turned north early on August 15 before making landfall near Lake Charles. Shortly before landfall, Danny reached a peak wind speed of 90 mph (150 km/h) and minimum barometric pressure of 987 millibars (29.15 InHg). Danny then quickly weakened into a tropical storm as it moved inland. The center remained identifiable as a tropical depression before the storm became an extratropical cyclone and merged with a cold front near the East coast of the United States on August 20.
Prior to the arrival of Danny, a gale warning and a hurricane watch was issued from the upper-Texas coast to Mobile on August 13. The next day, the gale watch was extended westward. Later that that day, the watch was replaced with a hurricane warning, however, the warning area did not include New Orleans.
Overall, Danny killed five people people and left $50 to $100 million (1985 USD in damage along with 73 injuries. Danny also produced an unusually intense outbreak of tornadoes, with a total of 39 touchdowns occurring over seven states. Two tornadoes were reported in Louisiana, 2 in Mississippi, 34 in Alabama, 3 in Tennessee, 4 in Georgia, 1 in South Carolina, and 3 in North Carolina. Danny's outbreak contained a then-record 13 significant tornadoes spawned by a hurricane; however, since then, Hurricane Ivan surpassed this, producing 18 significant tornadoes. Moderate to heavy rainfall fell to the east of the track while Danny remained tropical. As it was transitioning into a frontal wave across the Eastern United States, heavy rainfall became focused to the left of its track, overrunning the frontal surface ahead of the storm.
In Louisiana, the storm dropped heavy rainfall with 3 in (76 mm) falling in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. The primary effect from Danny in Louisiana was coastal and inland flooding. According to the American Red Cross that 33 single-family homes and 26 mobile homes were destroyed, with 454 one family houses and 175 mobile homes received extensive damage. Minor damage was record in 3 condos, 90 mobile homes, and 454 single-family homes. About 5,700 people were housed in shelters. A total of 792 families were affected, 66 were injured by the storm. However, there were no deaths throughout the state. Initial property damage estimates revealed $17 to $23 million in damage, with roughly half of this coming from agricultural damage. The American Insurance Association estimated $25.1 million in insurance losses with the damage toll about two to three times greater than this.
Two of the most damaging tornadoes spawned by Hurricane Danny was struck Huntsville and Jasper, Alabama. The former damaged trees, signs, and a runway at Marshall Space Flight Center; it also flipped over two trailers. The second tornado, rated F2 on the Fujita scale, caused considerable damage. Twenty-seven single family residences and 18 mobile homes were destroyed. Forty-six houses and 6 mobile homes suffering from major damage. Minimal damage was reported in 44 homes, 2 mobile homes, and 23 businesses. There were two fatalities and 14 injuries in Alabama and $5 million in damage, mostly from tornadoes. Following the storm, then-Governor of Alabama George Wallace declared three counties in the state as a disaster area.
Minimal impact from Danny was reported in Texas. The strongest wind speed observed in the state was 39 mph (63 km/h) at Beaumont. Tides of 2 to 3 ft (0.61 to 0.91 m) above normal caused only minor beach erosion, though State Highway 87 was temporarily closed between Sabine Pass and High Island due to sand and debris washed onto the road. Light rainfall was reported in the state, peaking at 1.85 inches (47 mm) in Bon Weir, which is located in extreme eastern Newton County. One indirect death occurred when a man was electrocuted while moving a sailboat near Galveston.
In Mississippi, an F2 tornado spawned by Danny touched down near Hickory at 1230 UTC. Although it mainly moved through forested areas, the tornado severely damaged 6 homes, 3 barns, and 2 roofs; it also destroyed 1 house. Another tornado touched down at Enterprise in Clarke County. Damage was done almost entirely to trees and power lines. Flooding was reported along the south coast of the state, due to rainfall amounts reaching 5 inches (130 mm), high tides, and waves about 2 ft (0.61 m) above normal. Although flooding as mostly limited to streets and low-lying areas, about 70 homes in Hancock County experienced water intrusion. Beach erosion was significant, with roughly 250,000 cu yd (190,000 m3) of sand lost. The cost to replace the sand was estimated at between $3 and 5 million. Wind gusts between 30 and 50 mph (50 and 80 km/h) down power lines, resulting in numerous electrical outages across the state.
The storm spawned 4 tornadoes in Georgia. A tornado touched down near Jefferson in Jackson County. Along its 10 miles (16 km) path, the tornado destroyed two chicken houses and killed several thousand chickens. Additionally, two houses experienced severe damage and a number of others received minor impact. The tornado ended after impacting the Jackson County Airport, where it destroyed 13 aircraft and severely damaged and unroofed a hangar. Another tornado was spawned in Oconee County at the town of Bogart. One mobile home and a house were destroyed and several others suffered various degrees of damage; a number of trees were also downed along its path. Other than tornadoes, impact in Georgia was minimal, with up to 3 inches (76 mm) of rainfall in the northeastern corner of the state.
A F3 tornado spawned by Danny, struck Waco and was 500 yards wide making the tornado the largest hurricane spawned tornado at that time. Thirty-six injuries were also reported by the Red Cross in South Carolina. In some areas of the Carolinas, 7 in (180 mm) of rain fell. After the storm, then-Governor of South Carolina Richard Riley declared a disaster in Spartanburg County. Two people were killed when their car hydroplaned due to a tornado in Rockingham County in North Carolina. The same tornado injured 35 people and displaced 102 families. High winds downed tress and minor flooding was reported.
A frontal boundary, which combined with the remnants of Danny, brought heavy rainfall to the Roanoke Valley region of Virginia. Precipitation amounts ranged from 7 to 8 inches (180 to 200 mm), with estimates of 10 inches (250 mm) in isolated locations. The South Mayo River began to overflow, after rapidly reaching a height of 16 feet (4.9 m). The town of Stuart in Patrick County flooded. Masonite International and the J.P. Stevens Textile Corporation suffered $1.3 million and about $5 million in losses, respectively. Throughout the state, damage totaled approximately $10 million. Following the storm, Governor of Virginia Chuck Robb declared Patrick County a disaster area.
Heavy rainfall was also reported in Maryland in association with the remnants of Danny, with precipitation totals of 10.49 inches (266 mm) in Hollywood, 7.65 inches (194 mm) in Scotland, 5.69 inches (145 mm) in Tall Timbers, 5.35 inches (136 mm) in Compton, 5.23 inches (133 mm) in Mechanicsville, and 5.12 inches (130 mm) in Budds Creek. Throughout St. Mary's County, at least 14 roads were flooded, with the worst being on Route 243 at McIntosh Run. At some houses, foundations washed away, basements collapsed, and walls fell. Additionally, there were driveways with severe erosion. Additionally, some cars were flooded.
In New York City, 17,000 government workers got a day off to save electricity. Six fires occurred in lower Manhattan. Numerous power failures were reported in New England, especially in Massachusetts, forcing the state to buy power from New York and New Brunswick.
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- RCS (September 18, 1985). "Hurricane Danny Preliminary Report". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (National Hurricane Center): 5. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/storm_wallets/atlantic/atl1985-prelim/danny/prelim05.gif. Retrieved July 15, 2012.
- "Storm Data and Unusual Weather Phenomena: August 1985" (PDF). National Climatic Data Center (Asheville, North Carolina: National Climatic Data Center): 19, 25, 27, 40. http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/orders/IPS-750022ED-5D32-4D04-8671-925FB477B490.pdf. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
- "Hurricane Danny's soggy leftovers make east coast living miserable". The Fort Scott Tribune. Associated Press. August 19, 1985. p. 1. Retrieved July 15, 2012.