Hurricane Erin (1995)

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Hurricane Erin
Category 2 hurricane (SSHWS/NHC)
Hurricane Erin AVHRR High res.jpg
Hurricane Erin hitting Florida Panhandle
Formed July 31, 1995
Dissipated August 6, 1995
Highest winds 1-minute sustained: 100 mph (160 km/h)
Lowest pressure 973 mbar (hPa); 28.73 inHg
Fatalities 6 direct; 7 indirect[1][2][3]
Damage $700 million (1995 USD)
Areas affected Jamaica, Bahamas, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi
Part of the 1995 Atlantic hurricane season

Hurricane Erin was the fifth named tropical cyclone and the second hurricane of the unusually active 1995 Atlantic hurricane season . Erin began as a tropical wave off the west coast of Africa on July 22, and crossed the Atlantic ocean without ever developing. On July 31, the last day of the month, it strengthened into a tropical depression, and was later named Erin. It made landfall on the central eastern Florida coastline on August 2 as a Category 1 hurricane, and again along the Florida Panhandle as a Category 2 hurricane on August 3, respectively, causing a moderate amount of damage. The system reached peak strength at 100 mph (160 km/h) and 973 millibars in central pressure.[3]

Hurricane and tropical storm warnings and watches were issued for both coasts, prior to Erin's two landfalls. Tornado and flood watches and warnings were also issued for these areas, as a preparation for the impact of Erin.

$700 million (1995 USD; $923 million 2006 USD), was the total monetary damage estimate from Erin. The monetary damages from the system primarily came from downed tree, crop damages, and ship damages. There was various other damages that also occurred as a result of Erin's impact.[3][4] Erin was the first hurricane to hit the U.S. since Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

Meteorological history[edit]

Map showing the path of the storm; the points indicate the storm's position and intensity at six-hour intervals, and are colored using the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale.

On July 22, a tropical wave emerged into the eastern Atlantic Ocean, off the western coast of Africa. The system had two distinct low-level circulation centers, and a large area of convection. By July 27, both circulations were generating deep convection a few hundred miles to the northeast of the Leeward Islands. These centers began to show tropical storm-force winds, but they did not have enough of a closed circulation needed, to be named.[3]

Near midday, on July 30, T-number estimates began to show numbers, potentially indicative of a tropical cyclone. The National Hurricane Center then decided to fly a special night reconnaissance mission into the system, due to the systems close range to the Bahamas and the state of Florida. At midnight on the July 30, Hurricane Hunter aircraft data had showed that the storm had acquired a closed circulation. The system was named Tropical Storm Erin upon the National Hurricane Center's interpreting the data and information on July 31.[3]

Hurricane Erin at first landfall in East Florida

The track of the center was pushed by an upper-level low, off the coast of Florida, onto a northwesterly track, from its west-northwest track. This change in the track had it cross only the northern part of the Bahamas and caused the storm to affect the central coast of Florida instead of south Florida. The steering currents associated with the upper-level low made Erin speed up to 17 mph, from a previous 6 mph, and diverted Erin up and around the northeastern portion of the upper-level low. As this was happening, the system experienced shearing, that permitted the system to only have slow strengthening. The shear eventually diminished somewhat however, and on the evening of the July 31, Erin was upgraded to a hurricane. The next day, an eye began to become apparent on satellite imagery. Early in the day on August 2, Erin made landfall at Vero Beach, Florida with winds around 85 mph (140 km/h).[3]

Erin's track bent back to west-northwest while the storm crossed the Florida peninsula during the morning and early afternoon of August 2. Erin weakened to a tropical storm with 60 mph (95 km/h) winds while crossing the peninsula, but remained fairly well-organized, although the system lost its visible eye. Upon emerging into the eastern Gulf of Mexico, Erin reintensified to a hurricane and continued strengthening until its final landfall near Pensacola, Florida during the late morning of August 3. Erin had maximum sustained winds around 100 mph (160 km/h) in a small area of its northeastern eyewall when that portion of the hurricane came ashore near Fort Walton Beach, making it a Category 2 hurricane at landfall.[3]

Erin weakened to a tropical storm over southeastern Mississippi overnight on August 3 and 4. It weakened to tropical depression status by the time its track shifted to the north on August 5. The storm then merged with a frontal system over West Virginia later the next day.[3][4]

Preparations[edit]

Florida[edit]

A hurricane warning was issued at Erin's first landfall from New Smyrna Beach southward, and Lake Okeechobee. A tropical storm was issued from New Smyrna Beach, northward to St. Augustine. A flood watch was issued for all of East-Central Florida. A tornado watch was also issued for East-Central Florida.[5]

Many people in the east coast was weary of Erin because of Hurricane Andrew impact to the southern suburbs of Miami three years earlier.[6] Evacuations were issued for 800,000 people initially in Florida, in preparation for the storm. The evacuation of 400,000 people was quickly canceled as the storm moved north, but 400,000 remained evacuated in Palm Beach County.[6] Local banks, universities and shopping malls closed their doors.[6] Police in the county were sent patrolling, to prevent looting. About 300 military aircraft, in the Florida Panhandle, were evacuated to neighboring states.[1]

At Erin's first landfall, a tornado warning was issued for eastern Volusia County, in East-Central Florida, after radar indicated a possible tornado offshore of Volusia County. The warning said that the tornado was approaching the coast at Ormond Beach and Holly Hill. The National Weather Service bureau in Melbourne also warned that other storms offshore Volusia County showed signs of rotation.[7]

NASA had to halt some activities or preparation of shuttles at Kennedy Space Center, due to Erin.[8]

During Erin's second landfall in Florida, a tropical storm watch was issued 37 hours prior to Erin's landfall, a tropical storm warning 25 hours prior, and a hurricane warning 23 hours prior.[3]

Louisiana[edit]

9,000 residents underwent mandatory evacuation in southeastern Louisiana. A state of emergency was issued to prepare for Erin.[1] A hurricane watch was issued on August 2 that included from south of the mouth of the Pearl River, to the mouth of the Mississippi River, including the city of New Orleans. This was upgraded to a hurricane warning later on August 2. This warning was discontinued on August 3. A tropical storm watch was also issued on August 2 that included east of the Pearl River to south of the mouth of the Pearl River. The last hurricane warning issued was from Grand Isle to Morgan City on August 3. All other hurricane warning were then discontinued.[3]

Alabama-Mississippi[edit]

A tropical storm watch was issued on August 2, that included the southern coast of Mississippi.[3]

In Alabama, Dauphin Island and low lying areas of Mobile County underwent voluntary evacuation. Alabama opened shelters to house evacuees. A tropical storm watch was also issued on August 2 that included the southern coast of Alabama.[1][3]

Impact[edit]

Widespread tree downings, power line, crop, and roof damage was reported throughout the Southeastern United States.[9]

Total rainfall from Erin

Jamaica[edit]

Heavy rains occurred in Jamaica, which caused a plane crash that killed 5 people. The plane was a Cessna 310 twin-engine aircraft, owned by RegionAir, a subsidiary of the Guardsman Group. The aircraft contained four employees of Brinks Jamaica, who were due to testify in a court hearing, and a pilot. The plane departed from the Tinson Pen Aerodome in Kingston, Jamaica, and was bound for Montego Bay, St. James. Two teenagers were also killed on a football field in Braeton, Saint Catherine Parish, when lightning associated with Erin struck them dead.[2][10]

Northwest Caribbean[edit]

Wettest tropical cyclone s in the Bahamas
Highest known totals
Precipitation Storm Location Ref
Rank mm in
1 747.5 29.43 Noel 2007 Long Island [11]
2 436.6 17.19 Flora 1963 Duncan Town [12]
3 390.1 15.36 Inez 1966 Nassau Airport [12]
4 337.1 13.27 Fox 1952 New Providence [12]
5 321.1 12.64 Michelle 2001 Nassau [13]
6 309.4 12.18 Erin 1995 Church Grove [14]
7 260.0 9.88 Fay 2008 Freeport [15]
8 236.7 9.32 Floyd 1999 Little Harbor Abacos [16]
9 216.4 8.52 Cleo 1964 West End [12]
10 207.0 8.15 Betsy 1965 Green Turtle Cay [12]

All of the Bahaman islands had sustained damage, characterized by the Bahamas Department of Meteorology as mostly minor, much of it from sunken boats. Some of the other damage resulted from structural damage, and crop loss. Damage totaled to $400,000 (1995 USD).[3]

Hurricane-force sustained winds were experienced over various portions of the Bahamas.[3]

A gust of 128 knots occurred at Providenciales, in the Turks and Caicos Islands.[3]

Georgia[edit]

Minimal damage was experienced in Georgia. Some beach erosion was reported through portions of the state.[1][3][17]

Florida[edit]

Erin caused six drowning deaths across the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean off Florida. The cruise ship Club Royale sank, causing three of the deaths. Another ship was also sunk due to Erin. More than one million people lost power due to the hurricane. Erin caused $700 million (1995 US dollars) in damage, mostly in Florida. Moderate beach erosion was reported along Florida's east coast and Panhandle.[1][3][17]

Multiple waterspouts and tornadoes were reported throughout the state. A tornado in Titusville, caused minor damage. Another tornado, near Lake Lizzie, killed two horses. Trees also went down and roofs were blown off houses.[1][3][17]

Two to four foot storm tide was reported on Florida's east coast, during Erin's first landfall. One to two foot storm tide was reported on Florida's West-Central coast. Six to seven feet storm tides were estimated west of Navarre Beach, and three to four foot storm tides were reported along Pensacola Beach.[3]

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issued a federal disaster declaration for Florida, due to Erin.[18]

NASA recorded a peak wind gust of 82 mph, from the east-southeast, within the Kennedy Space Center vicinity, at a wind tower.[8]

The most significant damage from the second landfall in Florida was near Pensacola, where Erin made landfall, and Navarre Beach, where almost one-third of buildings suffered major damage.[19] A maximum wind of 101 mph was reported at Pensacola Naval Air Station. The tower of Pensacola Airport was evacuated, due to high winds, and the data is therefore unavailable. More than 2,000 homes were reported damaged from Erin. Some beach erosion was also reported west of Navarre Beach.[3] There was a large amount of crop losses in Northwest Florida resulting from Erin. This included about of the cotton crop of the region, and around 20 to 25 percent of the pecan crop. An estimated amount of 63 percent of power customers in Northwest Florida were left without power from the hurricane.[20]

Two tornadoes were reported at Erin's second landfall in Northwest Florida. A tornado in southern Amelia Island resulted in trees blocking route A1A. A portion of a roof was torn off a mall in south Jacksonville beach as a result of tornado.[9]

Alabama[edit]

The American Insurance Services Group estimated that there was $20 million of damage in Alabama, which is estimated at half of the total damage by the National Hurricane Center.[3]

Trees and power lines were blown down throughout southwest Alabama. At least 100 homes were reported damaged in Alabama. The estimated pecan crop, for Baldwin County, Alabama, lost 50 to 75 percent of its total portion.[20]

Mississippi[edit]

In Jackson, Mississippi, winds of 90 mph were felt, even though Erin made landfall in Pensacola, Florida.[21]

The American Services Group estimated that there was $5 million of damage in Mississippi, which is estimated at half of the total damage by the National Hurricane Center.[3]

There are no reports of the total amount of houses reported damaged in Mississippi.[20]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g (Associated Press via the Syracuse Herald Journal)
  2. ^ a b (The Gleaner)
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v Rappaport, Edward (1995-11-26). "Hurricane Erin Preliminary Report". National Hurricane Center. Retrieved 2011-10-05. 
  4. ^ a b Roth, David (2007-08-30). "Hurricane Erin - August 1-7, 1995". Hydrometeorological Prediction Center. Retrieved 2011-10-05. 
  5. ^ (Hurricane Local Statement 836 PM)
  6. ^ a b c Clary, Mike (August 2, 1995). "HURRICANE ERIN SLAMS INTO FLORIDA // Storm Strikes Land North of Palm Beach". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  7. ^ (Tornado Warning for Volusia County)
  8. ^ a b (NASA Data)
  9. ^ a b (Pshjax NOAA Archive)
  10. ^ (Associated Press via The Post Standard)
  11. ^ Brown, Daniel P; National Hurricane Center (December 17, 2007) (PDF). Hurricane Noel 2007 (Tropical Cyclone Report). United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service. p. 4. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/pdf/TCR-AL162007_Noel.pdf. Retrieved June 10, 2012.
  12. ^ a b c d e Roth, David M; Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (November 16, 2012). "Tropical Cyclone Rainfall Point Maxima". Tropical Cyclone Point Maxima. United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service. Retrieved December 7, 2012. 
  13. ^ Beven III, John L; National Hurricane Center (January 23, 2002). Hurricane Michelle 2001 (Tropical Cyclone Report). United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/2001michelle.html. Retrieved June 10, 2012.
  14. ^ Rappaport, Edward N; National Hurricane Center (November 26, 1995). Hurricane Erin 1995 (Preliminary Report). United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/1995erin.html. Retrieved June 10, 2012.
  15. ^ Beven III, John L; Stewart, Stacey R; National Hurricane Center (February 8, 2009). Tropical Storm Fay 2008 (Tropical Cyclone Report). United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/pdf/TCR-AL062008_Fay.pdf. Retrieved June 10, 2012.
  16. ^ Pasch, Richard J; Kimberlain, Todd B; Stewart, Stacey R; National Hurricane Center (November 18, 1999). Hurricane Floyd 1999 (Preliminary Report). United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/1999floyd.html. Retrieved June 10, 2012.
  17. ^ a b c (Tracking the Tropics Summary of Erin)
  18. ^ (Federal Disaster Declarations 1995)
  19. ^ (NOAA Newspaper Archive ss0804p2)
  20. ^ a b c (NOAA Mobile Preloc Archive)
  21. ^ (Florida Hurricanes and Tropical Storms)

External links[edit]