Hurricane Jerry (1989)
|Category 1 hurricane (SSHS)|
Hurricane Jerry making landfall
|Formed||October 12, 1989|
|Dissipated||October 16, 1989|
|Highest winds||1-minute sustained:
85 mph (140 km/h)
|Lowest pressure||983 mbar (hPa); 29.03 inHg|
|Damage||$70 million (1989 USD)|
|Areas affected||Texas, eastern United States|
|Part of the 1989 Atlantic hurricane season|
Hurricane Jerry was the tenth named storm and the sixth and final hurricane of the 1989 Atlantic hurricane season. Jerry was also the fourth U.S. landfalling storm and the third storm to strike Texas during the 1989 season; the two previous storms were Allison in June and Chantal in August. When it hit, it marked the most number of Texas landfalls in one season since 1886. Only four October tropical cyclones have struck and/or caused significant effects along the upper-Texas coast over the past 150 years, which occurs about once every 38 year, with only six having done so in the past 175 years.
Hurricane Jerry more notable for its unpredictability, as it was unexpected that it would continue northwest into the upper Texas coast, with computer models predicting a majority of the United States Gulf Coast was at threat of landfall. Although there was unpredictability and a hurricane warning issued only eight hours before landfall, only three fatalities resulted and $70 million (1989 USD, $132 million 2013 USD) in property damage.
A tropical wave emerged from the coast of northwest Africa on September 23. No additional signs of development were noted as the tropical wave crossed the tropical Atlantic or the Caribbean Sea. The tropical wave decelerated when it reached the Yucatán Peninsula and stalled for several days in the southern Gulf of Mexico. After reaching the Gulf of Mexico, Dvorak Technique began to estimate intensity of the tropical wave starting on October 12. A later reconnaissance Air Force Flight had discovered a closed circulation at 1900 UTC, classifying the system as Tropical Depression Fourteen; post-storm analysis estimates that a tropical cyclone actually developed at 1200 UTC near the Mexican port of Veracruz.
Tropical Depression Fourteen headed northward after development, quickly intensifying into a tropical storm; the National Hurricane Center assigned it to the name Jerry. Jerry continued northward between five mph (10 km/h) and 10 mph (20 km/h), while gradually intensifying. It decelerated on October 13, in response to a middle to upper-level trough which weakened the steering currents of Tropical Storm Jerry. The middle to upper-level trough generated a cut-low pressure area, which shifted Jerry to the north-northwest. Upper level wind shear on Tropical Storm Jerry in the central Gulf of Mexico, temporarily preventing no further intensification. The upper-level outflow pattern became more apparent, which decreased wind shear on Jerry and resumed strengthening.
After upper-level wind shear decreased, Tropical Storm Jerry began to develop deep convection near the center, and within the following twelve hours, Jerry had attained Category 1 hurricane status. Three hours thereafter, a minimum pressure of 983 mbar (hPa; 29.03 inHg) was reported, the lowest barometric pressure in association with Hurricane Jerry. Based on aircraft reports, Hurricane Jerry quickly deepened between 0800 UTC and 2100 UTC on October 15, although too slow to be considered rapid deepening. Slightly further intensification occurred, and Hurricane Jerry made landfall in Galveston, Texas at 7:30 p.m. CDT (0300 UTC October 16) with winds of 85 mph (140 km/h). Hurricane Jerry headed north and accelerated after moving inland, also rapidly weakening to a tropical storm less than six hours after landfall. Rapidly weakening continued, although much slower, with Jerry being downgraded to a tropical depression after several more hours. Tropical Depression Jerry was absorbed into a frontal zone later on October 16.
Jerry was an unpredictable storm as the strengthening before landfall and the continuation to the northwest was not anticipated. Equipment failure meant that data was not readily available. The National Hurricane Center forecast model was also disabled, throwing the accuracy of Jerry's track off. Tropical cyclone warnings and watches began early on October 14, with a hurricane watch for Port Arthur, Texas to the mouth of the Mississippi River in Louisiana. At 2200 UTC later that day, a tropical storm watch was issued for the entire coast of Louisiana. Another tropical storm watch was posted from Port O'Connor, Texas to Morgan City, Louisiana at 1200 UTC on October 15.
Due to the unpredictability of the storm, a hurricane warning was issued from Freeport, Texas to Intracoastal City, Louisiana at 1600 UTC, only eight hours prior to landfall. Simultaneously, two separate tropical storm warnings were posted, from Matagorda to Freeport and Intracoastal City to Morgan City. Although the storm had already made landfall, a tropical storm warning was issued from Freeport to Intracoastal City at 0400 UTC on October 16. By six hours later, all tropical cyclone warnings and watches were discontinued.
About 4,000 oil company employees were evacuated off the rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, at least 1,3000 of them by helicopter. In Louisiana, approximately 8,000 people evacuated, 1,000 from Grand Isle and 7,000 others from Cameron Parish.
Rainfall from Hurricane Jerry peaked at 6.4 inches (160 mm) in Silsbee. Jerry caused light beach erosion along the Texas coast. The storm destroyed a 20 miles (32 km) section of Texas State Highway 87, between High Island and Sabine Pass. High winds in Angelina County unroofed a barn and toppled the side wall of another barn in Zavalla. A walkway and four boats were damaged at the Hanks Creek Marina, located on the eastern shore of Sam Rayburn Reservoir. The marina itself was deroofed. Similar impact was reported at the nearby Shirley Creek Marina. In Brazoria County, high tides caused minor road damage in Surfside Beach. Storm surge in Chambers County caused coastal flooding in Anahuac. A tornado inflicted damage to a beach house in the area. Strong winds from the storm in Liberty County downed at least 300 trees. The falling trees struck houses, mobile homes, cars, carports, and power lines in the cities of Cleveland and Liberty. Some barns and other buildings were blown over throughout the county.
In Galveston County, abnormally high astronomical tides and rough surf from Jerry resulted in coastal flood damage. Beach erosion was reported, while some sand dunes were flattened. On the western end of Galveston Island, beachfront roads were inundated and covered with debris, glass, and boards. Three people were killed when their car was either blown or washed off the Galveston Seawall during the storm. Winds left damage to roofs and minor impact to other structures. Numerous windows were blown out of homes, automobiles, hotels, motels, and condos. A number of tree, power lines, and electrical poles, while signs and traffic lights were bent. Doors were also ripped off the hangars at Scholes Field. In Texas City, a brick wall at an apartment complex collapsed. Waterfront businesses in Kemah suffered considerable damage, including restaurants, boat docks, and bait stands. Property losses in the city of Kemah was estimated to have reached $2 million. There were three tornadoes in the county, the first of which unroofed some buildings in Galveston. The second tornado, also touching down in Galveston, inflicted roof damage to many businesses, homes, and apartment complexes. The third tornado, spawned in League City, toppled several trees and a flag pole.
At the upper end of Galveston Bay in Harris County, businesses in low-lying areas were effected by coastal flooding. Strong winds destroyed four high steel towers, which supported power lines that traversed the northern Galveston Bay near the Houston Ship Channel. Another tornado was spawned in downtown Baytown, which shattered windows at a hospital, a mall, and store windows. Damage in Baytown reached $2 million. Strong winds in Orange County damaged several businesses in downtown Orange. Additionally, some homes were also inflicted impact, though damage was mainly limited to broken windows and a loss of roofing material. One home and a business were moved off their foundations, while a box trailer flipped over. In San Jacinto County, winds toppled a number of trees, some of which fell on homes, mobile homes, and carports. a small tornado in Polk County caused minor damage, totaling $10,000. Numerous trees and limbs fell onto residences, carports, and automobiles in Tyler County. Falling trees also temporarily blocked most roads. Power lines and electrical poles were also downed. Some barns, outbuildings, and sheds were destroyed by the strong winds.
In Louisiana, tides ranging from 2 to 3 feet (0.61 to 0.91 m) above normal lashed the coast. However, coastal flooding damage was minimal. Gusty winds in the northwestern portion of the state downed some trees and power lines. In Tennessee, between 3 and 5 inches (8–130 mm) of precipitation was observed.
Similar rainfall was reported in Kentucky, ranging from 4 to 6 inches (100 to 150 mm). Flash flooding caused significant damage in several counties. Numerous roads and bridges were washed out. Hundreds of homes were damaged or destroyed, forcing hundreds to evacuate. Additionally, many cars were damaged or swept away. The Kentucky River overflowed at Hazard in Perry County, inundating a number of streets with up to 4 feet (1.2 m) of water. About ten families were forced to evacuate. Damage in Perry County exceeded $1 million. In neighboring Letcher County, 100 bridges and culverts were washed out, while about 50 homes were impacted by flooding. Damage in the county reached $2 million. In Floyd County, over 750 students and teachers were stranded at a school in McDowell after the Frasure Creek overflowed, inundating several classrooms with over 2 feet (0.61 m) of water. Over 200 homes were flooded and many bridges and roads washed in Pike County, with damage reaching $2 million.
Many residents were left isolated in eastern Kentucky after flooding destroyed bridges and roads. According to state disaster assessment teams, hundreds of residents in eastern Kentucky and West Virginia had flood damage to their houses.
- Mayfield, Max (21 November 1989). "Hurricane Jerry Preliminary Report". National Hurricane Center. p. 1. Retrieved 15 September 2010.
- Mayfield, Max (21 November 1989). "Hurricane Jerry Preliminary Report". National Hurricane Center. p. 2. Retrieved 15 September 2010.
- Max Mayfield (21 November 1989). "Forecast and Warning Critique". National Hurricane Center (Miami, Florida: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration): 3. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/storm_wallets/atlantic/atl1989-prelim/jerry/prelim03.gif. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
- Max Mayfield (21 November 1989). "Table 2. Summary of watches and warnings on Hurricane Jerry, October 1989". National Hurricane Center (Miami, Florida: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration): 10. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/storm_wallets/atlantic/atl1989-prelim/jerry/prelim10.gif. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
- "Evacuation urged as Jerry bears down on La.". Sunday Record-Journal (Grand Isle, Louisiana). Associated Press. 15 October 1989. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
- Jay Hollifield and S. C. Lackey (1990). "Storm Data and Unusual Weather Phenomena: October 1989". National Climatic Data Center (Asheville, North Carolina: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration): 21. http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/orders/IPS-0550E8FA-1841-4C00-82FD-12DDD3926C0B.pdf. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
- Roth, David (16 June 2007). "Hurricane Jerry - October 12-18, 1989". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 15 September 2010.
- "Hurricane Jerry floods Kentucky". Pittsburgh Press. 19 October 1989. Retrieved 4 October 2011.