|Category 4 major hurricane (SSHWS/NWS)|
|Formed||August 28, 1964|
|Dissipated||September 14, 1964|
|Highest winds||1-minute sustained: 130 mph (215 km/h)
|Lowest pressure||942 mbar (hPa); 27.82 inHg|
|Damage||$250 million (1964 USD)|
|Areas affected||Leeward Islands, Bermuda, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, The Carolinas, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Northeastern United States, Atlantic Canada|
|Part of the 1964 Atlantic hurricane season|
Hurricane Dora of August–September 1964 was the first tropical cyclone on record to make landfall over the extreme northeast coast of Florida. Dora was also the first storm to produce hurricane force winds to Jacksonville, Florida, in the almost 80 years of record keeping. Dora killed five people and left over $200 million in damage, mainly in Florida. Dora was one of four hurricanes to affect Florida during the 1964 season, the others being Cleo, Hilda, and Isbell.
Hurricane Dora was first identified as a broad area of low pressure on August 28, 1964, as it moved off the west coast of Africa into the Atlantic Ocean near Dakar, Senegal. Traveling west-southwestward, the system brushed the Cape Verde Islands the following day. By August 31, images from the eighth Television Infrared Observation Satellite (TIROS VIII) depicted a developing storm with a central dense overcast, banding features and cirrus outflow. Observations from ships in the vicinity of the storm indicated decreasing barometric pressures and wind gusts up to 40 mph (65 km/h). On September 1, reconnaissance aircraft flew into the system and determined that it had already become a tropical storm, with sustained winds reaching 60 mph (95 km/h). Shortly thereafter, the first advisory was issued on Tropical Storm Dora and the center was estimated to be roughly 850 mi (1,370 km) east of Trinidad.
Upon being classified on September 1, Dora turned towards the northwest and intensified. Several reconnaissance missions into the storm indicated that it attained hurricane status during the afternoon of September 2; however, in the official Atlantic hurricane database, it is not listed as reaching this intensity until the nighttime hours. Increasing in size and strength, Dora attained winds of 100 mph (155 km/h) early on September 3, the equivalent of a Category 2 on the modern-day Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale. At the time, meteorologists expected the storm to maintain a northwesterly course and be steered over open waters by a trough associated with Hurricane Cleo to the west. However, Dora "missed" the trough and gradually turned towards the west on September 6. That day, the hurricane attained its peak intensity as a Category 4 equivalent storm with winds estimated at 130 mph (215 km/h) and a central pressure of 942 mbar (hPa; 27.82 inHg).
While executing the turn, Dora steadily weakened as its low-level inflow was disrupted. By September 8, the storm restrengthened slightly and attained winds of 115 mph (185 km/h). Tracking westward towards Florida, Dora's forward movement decreased and became erratic as it neared the coast. Early on September 9, the storm abruptly turned southeastward before moving north for several hours. Throughout the remainder of September 9, the hurricane executed three distinct cyclonic loops while maintaining a general westward motion. During the afternoon hours, Dora passed over the Gulf Stream, resulting in its central pressure decreasing 9 mbar (hPa; 0.27 inHg) in a few hours.
Around 12:20 a.m. EST on September 10, Hurricane Dora made landfall about 6 mi (9.7 km) north of St. Augustine, Florida, with sustained winds between 115 and 125 mph (185 and 205 km/h). Striking northeastern Florida, Dora became the first tropical cyclone on record to make landfall in the region. Once onshore the storm gradually weakened, losing hurricane status about 24 hours later, and began a gradual turn towards the northeast. During the morning of September 12, Dora became almost stationary over the southern border between Alabama and Georgia. However, the storm rapidly accelerated and re-emerged into the Atlantic Ocean on September 14 near the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Hours after moving over water, the system transitioned into an extratropical cyclone. The remnants of Dora were last mentioned on September 16 off the northeast coast of Newfoundland.
As Dora approached Florida, gale warnings were issued for the northeast section of the coastline. As Dora moved inland, gale warnings were issued from Sarasota to Pensacola. In addition, small craft for much of the Gulf Coast to the west coast of Florida, and later in the Mid-Atlantic were advised to stay in port until the storm subsided.
In the Bahamas, Dora brought heavy rains and high winds to Nassau. The damage associated with Dora in Florida was moderate to severe in some places. However, only one person died directly as a result of the storm from a drowning in Live Oak. Two other people, navy personnel, were killed when an aircraft that was being evacuated crashed at take-off. Because of the slow movement of Dora, wind and flooding were major dangers as some areas bore the brunt of the storm for several hours and in some places up to a day. When Dora made landfall near St. Augustine, points north of Daytona Beach received sustained winds of at least 100 mph (160 km/h), while in some places even more on the evening of September 9. This was a lot of wind damage in coastal areas north of Daytona beach and the worst damage could be found between St. Augustine and the Georgia border.
In St. Augustine, the place of landfall, the city was in the eye of the storm from 12:15 A.M. EST until 1:30 A.M. EST. During that time period, the observer reported a minimum pressure of 28.52 hPa. Shortly after the eye's passage over the city, sustained winds of 125 mph (201 km/h) were reported. Heavy rain overspread the city as the night progressed, totaling to 7.1 inches (180 mm). Power supply for Jacksonville and surrounding towns was lost for six days. The highest rainfall amount recorded during the hurricane fell at Mayo, where 23.73 inches (603 mm) fell.
Overall, Hurricane Dora was responsible for $250 million in damage and five fatalities.
- List of Atlantic hurricanes
- List of retired Atlantic hurricane names
- List of Florida hurricanes (1950-1974)
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- NHC 1964 Preliminary Report on Dora
- Historic Images of Florida Hurricanes (State Archives of Florida)