1928 Atlantic hurricane season

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1928 Atlantic hurricane season
Season summary map
First system formed August 3, 1928
Last system dissipated October 15, 1928
Strongest storm "Okeechobee" – 929 mbar (hPa) (27.44 inHg), 160 mph (260 km/h) (1-minute sustained)
Total storms 6
Hurricanes 4
Major hurricanes (Cat. 3+) 1
Total fatalities 4,000+
Total damage + $75 million (1928 USD)
Atlantic hurricane seasons
1926, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930

The 1928 Atlantic hurricane season ran through the summer and the first half of fall in 1928. The season was not active, but eventful. Six tropical cyclones formed during the season. Four of those became hurricanes. Only one became a major hurricane, which was also a Category 5 hurricane.


1928 Okeechobee hurricane 1928 Fort Pierce hurricane Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale

Hurricane One[edit]

Category 2 hurricane (SSHWS)
Duration August 3 – August 10
Peak intensity 105 mph (165 km/h) (1-min)  971 mbar (hPa)

This storm developed from a tropical wave north of the Virgin Islands on August 23.[1] The system paralleled the Greater Antilles throughout much of its early existence. On August 5, the tropical storm strengthened to the equivalent of a Category 1 hurricane while positioned over the Bahamas. The hurricane continued to intensify, and after reaching Category 2 hurricane strength, peaked with sustained winds of 105 mph (165 km/h) on August 7. Shortly thereafter, the hurricane made landfall as a slightly weaker storm near Fort Pierce, Florida, at 07:00 UTC on August 8. Weakening as it moved across Florida over the course of the next day, the storm briefly moved over the Gulf of Mexico before recurving northwards. It made a second landfall on the Florida Panhandle on August 10 as a tropical storm. Once inland, the system continued to weaken, degenerating to tropical depression strength before transitioning into an extratropical storm later that day. The extratropical remnants progressed outwards into the Atlantic Ocean before dissipating on August 14.[2]

In its early developmental stages north of the Greater Antilles, the storm caused minor damage to shipping in the Bahamas and generated rough seas offshore Cuba.[3][4] At its first landfall on Fort Pierce, the hurricane caused extensive property damage, particularly in coastal regions, where numerous homes were unroofed.[5] Central Florida's citrus crop was hampered by the strong winds and heavy rain.[1] Several of Florida's lakes, including Lake Okeechobee, rose past their banks, inundating coastal areas.[6][7] Damage to infrastructure was less in inland regions than at the coast, though power outages caused loss of communication statewide.[8] At the hurricane's second landfall, wind damage was relatively minor, though torrential rainfall, aided by orthographic lift, caused extensive flooding as far north as the Mid-Atlantic states.[9] Overall, the hurricane caused $235,000 (1928 USD) in damages, primarily in Florida, and two deaths.[1]

Hurricane Two[edit]

Category 1 hurricane (SSHWS)
Duration August 7 – August 17
Peak intensity 90 mph (150 km/h) (1-min)  ≤998 mbar (hPa)

A 40 mph (64 km/h) tropical storm formed near Barbados late on August 7. Moving west-northwest, the system moved through the Windward Islands on August 8 as a weak tropical storm and then began to slowly intensify shortly thereafter. Continuing to move west-northwest, the strengthening tropical storm intensified to a hurricane late on August 9, and the hurricane reached its peak as an 90 mph (140 km/h) Category 1 hurricane early on August 10. The hurricane later made landfall at its peak intensity in southwest Hispaniola on August 11, and the storm maintained intensity before making a second landfall near Guantanamo Bay later on August 11. The hurricane weakened to a tropical storm shortly after moving inland over Cuba, and the system entered the Straits of Florida late on August 12 as a 50 mph (80 km/h) tropical storm before slowly beginning to reintensify on August 13 as it crossed the Florida Keys near Key West. Moving northwest, the system slowly reintensified to a brief secondary peak of 65 mph (105 km/h) off southwest Florida before slowly weakening on August 14, eventually making landfall near St. George Island as a weak 45 mph (72 km/h) tropical storm. The system soon weakened to a depression late on August 15 after moving inland, and the remnants dissipated on August 17. Heavy rain fell across the United States from the eastern Florida panhandle, through central Georgia, and up the Appalachians into southwest Virginia. Caesars Head, South Carolina reported the most rain, with 13.5 in (340 mm) between August 13 and August 17.[10]

Tropical Storm Three[edit]

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Duration September 1 – September 8
Peak intensity 60 mph (95 km/h) (1-min) 

A tropical storm formed on September 1 just south of Hispaniola. Moving just north of due west, the system brushed the south coast of Jamaica as a 40 mph (64 km/h) tropical storm on September 2 before slowly beginning to intensify on September 3. The strengthening tropical storm reached its peak of 60 mph (97 km/h) on September 4 shortly before making landfall on the Yucatan Peninsula near Playa del Carmen near its peak intensity early on September 5. The system weakened after crossing the peninsula, entering the Bay of Campeche early on September 6 as a weak tropical storm, later restrengthening slightly to a 50 mph (80 km/h) while nearing mainland Mexico on September 7. The tropical storm then weakened slightly shortly before making landfall north of Tampico early on September 8 as a weak 40 mph (64 km/h) tropical storm. After moving inland, the system weakened quickly to a depression and dissipated.

Hurricane Four[edit]

Category 5 hurricane (SSHWS)
Duration September 6 – September 18
Peak intensity 160 mph (260 km/h) (1-min)  ≤929 mbar (hPa)

This system developed as a tropical depression just offshore the west coast of Africa on September 6. The depression strengthened into a tropical storm later that day, shortly before passing south of the Cape Verde Islands. Further intensification was slow and halted by late on September 7. However, about 48 hours later, the storm resumed strengthening and became a Category 1 hurricane on the modern-day Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale. Still moving westward, the system reached Category 4 intensity before striking Guadeloupe on September 12. There, the storm brought "great destruction" and 1,200 deaths. Martinique, Montserrat, and Nevis also reported damage and fatalities, but not nearly as severe as in Guadeloupe.

Around midday on September 13, the storm strengthened into a Category 5 hurricane and peaked with sustained winds of 160 mph (260 km/h). About six hours later, the system made landfall in Puerto Rico; it was the only recorded tropical cyclone to strike the island at Category 5 intensity. Very strong winds resulted in severe damage in Puerto Rico. Throughout the island, 24,728 homes were completely destroyed and 192,444 were damaged, leaving over 500,000 people homeless. Heavy rainfall also led to extreme damage to vegetation and agriculture. On Puerto Rico alone, there were 312 deaths and about $50 million (1928 USD) in damage. While crossing the island and emerging into the Atlantic, the storm weakened slightly, falling to Category 4 intensity. The storm began crossing through the Bahamas on September 16. In the Bahamas, many buildings and houses were damaged or destroyed, especially on Bimini, Eleuthera, New Providence, and San Salvador Island. Nineteen deaths were reported, eighteen from a sloop disappearing and one due to drowning.

Early on September 17, the storm made landfall near West Palm Beach, Florida with winds of 145 mph (233 km/h). In the city, more than 1,711 homes were destroyed. Elsewhere in the county, impact was severest around Lake Okeechobee. The storm surge caused water to pour out of the southern edge of the lake, flooding hundreds of square miles as high as 20 feet (6.1 m) above ground. Numerous houses and buildings were swept away in the cities of Belle Glade, Canal Point, Chosen, Pahokee, and South Bay. At least 2,500 people drowned, while damage was estimated at $25 million. While crossing Florida, the system weakened significantly, falling to Category 1 intensity late on September 17. It curved north-northeastward and briefly re-emerged into the Atlantic on September 18, but soon made another landfall near Edisto Island, South Carolina with winds of 85 mph (140 km/h). Early on the following day, the system weakened to a tropical storm and became extratropical over North Carolina hours later. Overall, the system caused $100 million in damage and at least 4,078 deaths.

Tropical Storm Five[edit]

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Duration September 8 – September 10
Peak intensity 70 mph (110 km/h) (1-min)  ≤1015 mbar (hPa)

A 40 mph (64 km/h) tropical storm formed in the central Atlantic northeast of the Leeward Islands on September 8. Moving northwest while slowly intensifying, the system began to turn northward on September 10, and the system reached its peak of 70 mph (110 km/h) early on September 10 while turning northeast and becoming extratropical. The remnants dissipated on September 12 over the open North Atlantic.

Tropical Depression[edit]

Tropical depression (SSHWS)
Counterclockwise vortex
Duration September 22 – September 23
Peak intensity 30 mph (45 km/h) (1-min)  1009 mbar (hPa)

A low pressure area previously associated with a frontal system developed into a tropical depression near Bermuda on September 22. The depression had sustained winds of 30 mph (45 km/h) and failed to strengthen further. It became extratropical on September 23.[1]

Hurricane Six[edit]

Category 1 hurricane (SSHWS)
Duration October 10 – October 15
Peak intensity 90 mph (150 km/h) (1-min)  ≤980 mbar (hPa)

A tropical storm formed on October 10 in the eastern tropical Atlantic west of Cape Verde. Moving north-northwest, the system maintained intensity on October 11 before beginning to intensify more rapidly on October 12. The strengthening tropical storm intensified to its peak as an 80 mph (130 km/h) Category 1 hurricane on October 13 as it began to turn northeast. In the process, the hurricane weakened to a 70 mph (110 km/h) tropical storm on October 14, and the system became extratropical later that day and dissipated on October 15.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Monge, Luigi (2007). "Their Eyes Were Watching God: African-American Topical Songs on the 1928 Florida Hurricanes and Floods". Popular Music 26 (1): 129–140. doi:10.1017/S0261143007001171. 


  1. ^ a b c d Christopher W. Landsea et al. (December 2012). Documentation of Atlantic Tropical Cyclones Changes in HURDAT. Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (Report) (Miami, Florida: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). Retrieved June 6, 2015. 
  2. ^ National Hurricane Center; Hurricane Research Division (May 7, 2015). "Atlantic hurricane best track (HURDAT version 2)". United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved August 28, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Storm Curves Away; Florida to Miss Blow". Sarasota Herald-Tribune (Miami, Florida). Associated Press. August 6, 1928. p. 1. Retrieved March 21, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Heavy Sea on Cuban Coast". The Evening Independent (Havana, Cuba). Associated Press. August 8, 1928. p. 12. Retrieved March 22, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Tampa Isolated by Florida Storm". Painesville Telegraph (Jacksonville, Florida). Associated Press. August 9, 1928. p. 1. Retrieved March 23, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Hurricane Sweeps to Gulf". Rochester Evening Journal and the Post Express (Jacksonville, Florida). Associated Press. August 9, 1928. p. 2. Retrieved March 22, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Florida in Grip of Gale". Lewiston Evening Journal (Melbourne, Florida). Associated Press. August 8, 1928. p. 9. Retrieved March 22, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Roofs Off at Kissimmee". The Evening Independent (Tampa, Florida). Associated Press. August 9, 1928. p. 1. Retrieved March 23, 2013. 
  9. ^ R. W. Schoner and S. Molansky. "Rainfall Associated With Hurricanes (And Other Tropical Disturbances)" (PDF). United States Weather Bureau's National Hurricane Research Project. p. 84. Retrieved March 21, 2013. 
  10. ^ United States Corp of Engineers (1945). Storm Total Rainfall In The United States. War Department. p. SA 2–13. 

External links[edit]