1944 Atlantic hurricane season

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1944 Atlantic hurricane season
1944 Atlantic hurricane season summary map.png
Season summary map
Seasonal boundaries
First system formed July 13, 1944
Last system dissipated November 3, 1944
Strongest storm
Name "Great Atlantic"
 • Maximum winds 145 mph (230 km/h)
(1-minute sustained)
 • Lowest pressure 933 mbar (hPa; 27.55 inHg)
Seasonal statistics
Total depressions 21
Total storms 14
Hurricanes 8
Major hurricanes
(Cat. 3+)
Total fatalities 1,156
Total damage $202 million (1944 USD)
Atlantic hurricane seasons
1942, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1946

The 1944 Atlantic hurricane season officially began on June 16, 1944,[1] and lasted until October 31, 1944. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic basin.

The 1944 season was an active season: the accumulated cyclone energy index was 104, and the season featured eight hurricanes, of which three were major storms. A major August hurricane struck near Kingston, Jamaica, causing severe damage as it crossed the island to Montego Bay. A large and potent hurricane, known as the Great Atlantic hurricane, attained Category 4—possibly even Category 5—intensity and then struck the Eastern Seaboard, though only at Category 2 strength, in September. Another large and intense hurricane in October destroyed many coastal villages as it made landfall in Cuba, bringing sustained winds of 140 miles per hour (230 km/h) to Havana, though it greatly weakened by the time it struck the United States near the Dry Tortugas and Sarasota, Florida.


1944 Cuba–Florida hurricane 1944 Great Atlantic hurricane Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale


Hurricane One[edit]

Category 1 hurricane (SSHWS)
Hurricane One analysis 17 Jul 1944 18z.jpg 1944 Atlantic hurricane 1 track.png
Duration July 13 – July 18
Peak intensity 80 mph (130 km/h) (1-min)  995 mbar (hPa)

A tropical wave was noted near Grenada on July 11;[2] it organized into the season's first tropical depression two days later around 06:00 UTC while situated near Navidad Bank in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Upon designation, the Weather Bureau planned reconnaissance missions for the first time ever to intercept the newly-formed cyclone. It intensified as it moved northwest, attaining tropical storm intensity by 00:00 UTC on July 14 and further strengthening into the season's first hurricane around 06:00 UTC on July 16. After reaching peak winds of 80 mph (130 km/h),[3] the hurricane recurved toward the northeast and began to weaken, though Bermuda reported winds near 40 mph (65 km/h) upon the storm's closest approach. It transitioned into an extratropical cyclone around 00:00 UTC on July 19 and continued into the northern Atlantic, where it was absorbed by a larger extratropical low southeast of Newfoundland the next day.[2][3]

Tropical Storm Two[edit]

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Tropical Storm Two analysis 1944.jpg 1944 Atlantic tropical storm 2 track.png
Duration July 24 – July 27
Peak intensity 65 mph (100 km/h) (1-min)  999 mbar (hPa)

A tropical wave organized into a tropical storm east of Barbados around 06:00 UTC on July 24, although it is possible the system existed farther east in the absence of widespread observations. The system passed just south of Martinique,[3] where Fort-de-France recorded peak winds of 55 mph (89 km/h),[2] before continuing on a west-northwest course through the Caribbean Sea. Though it was initially believed the small storm struck Haiti, where considerable damage was reported along the coastline near Port-au-Prince, and ultimately degenerated, modern reanalysis suggests the cyclone continued south of the island. The system was then intercepted by strong wind shear that led to its demise west-southwest of Jamaica by 18:00 UTC on July 27. Its remnants continued westward and were last noted north of Honduras the following day.[3][4]

Hurricane Three[edit]

Category 1 hurricane (SSHWS)
Hurricane Three surface analysis 1944.jpg 1944 Atlantic hurricane 3 track.png
Duration July 30 – August 4
Peak intensity 80 mph (130 km/h) (1-min)  985 mbar (hPa)

A tropical wave organized into a tropical storm about 135 mi (215 km) east of Cockburn Town in the Turks and Caicos Islands around 12:00 UTC on July 30.[2] The newly-formed system intensified on a west-northwest course parallel to the Bahamas, attaining hurricane strength by 00:00 UTC on August 1. From there, it curved toward the north before making landfall on Oak Island, North Carolina, with peak winds of 80 mph (130 km/h) at 23:00 UTC. The system weakened as it progressed through the Mid-Atlantic and into the northwestern Atlantic, and it was last considered a tropical depression around 06:00 UTC on August 4 about 105 mi (165 km) east of Nantucket.[3]

Despite the storm's small size, it produced wind gusts of 72 mph (116 km/h) in Wilmington, North Carolina, where many houses were unroofed, communication lines were toppled, glass windows were shattered, and hundreds of trees were uprooted. Throughout Carolina Beach and Wrightsville Beach, an unusually high tide—combined with waves perhaps as large as 30 ft (9 m)—demolished several cottages and homes, or otherwise swept the structures off their foundations. The former city was particularly hard hit as its famed boardwalk was smashed to pieces, while in Wrightsville Beach, local police estimated that the water reached 18 ft (5 m) by its city hall. Two fishing piers were destroyed in each city.[4] Crops sustained catastrophic loss throughout coastal beach counties. Rainfall was generally moderate, reaching 3–5 in (76–127 mm) across eastern North Carolina, with a maximum storm-total amount of 7.7 in (195.6 mm) in Cheltenham, Maryland.[5] Damage reached $2 million. As the cyclone exited into the Atlantic, it produced a gust of 38 mph (61 km/h) in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Though no fatalities occurred along the storm's path in the wake of mass evacuations,[2] there were several casualties, including a few with serious injuries.[4]

Hurricane Four[edit]

Category 3 hurricane (SSHWS)
Hurricane Four analysis 20 Aug 1944 06z.png 1944 Atlantic hurricane 4 track.png
Duration August 16 – August 24
Peak intensity 120 mph (195 km/h) (1-min) ≤ 973 mbar (hPa)

The fourth cyclone of the season was first noted as strong tropical storm east of Barbados around 18:00 UTC on August 16.[2] The small storm passed over Grenada and into the eastern Caribbean Sea, where it quickly intensified into a hurricane. On a west-northwest course, the system organized into the season's first major hurricane around 12:00 UTC on August 19, attaining peak winds of 120 mph (195 km/h) six hours later. The potent hurricane grazed the northern coastline of Jamaica and continued westward in a slightly weakened state before making a second landfall south of Playa del Carmen on the Yucatán Peninsula with winds of 90 mph (150 km/h) early on August 22. The cyclone entered the Bay of Campeche as a strong tropical storm but fell to an intensity of 40 mph (65 km/h) before moving ashore just north of Tecolutla, Veracruz. Once inland, it quickly dissipated by 12:00 UTC on August 24.[3]

As the cyclone entered the Caribbean, it intercepted a British vessel which then went missing, with all 74 passengers aboard presumed dead. Across Jamaica, numerous buildings were heavily damaged, including faulty dwellings that were blown down or crushed under fallen trees. Significant crop loss was observed, with 41% of coconut trees and 90% of banana trees destroyed; in some cases, every tree was toppled in coconut plantations. Two railway vans, each weighing 14.5 t (29,000 lbs), were overturned; as such, it was estimated that gusts reached 100–120 mph (160–195 km/h) along the northeastern coastline. At least 30 people were killed across the island. In the nearby Cayman Islands, wind gusts topped 80 mph (130 km/h), though no damage was reported. [4]

Tropical Storm Five[edit]

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Tropical Storm Five surface analysis 1944.jpg 1944 Atlantic tropical storm 5 track.png
Duration August 18 – August 23
Peak intensity 60 mph (95 km/h) (1-min)  1007 mbar (hPa)

A tropical wave was first noted passing through the Windward Islands on August 13.[4] Trekking through the Caribbean Sea, coalescing into a tropical depression about 115 mi (185 km) east of the Isla de Cozumel by 12:00 UTC on August 18. Narrowly missing the Yucatán Peninsula, the system continued west-northwest into the central Gulf of Mexico, where it attained tropical storm intensity by 18:00 UTC on August 19 and reached peak winds of 60 mph (95 km/h) by early on August 21. The system moved ashore northeast of San Fernando, Tamaulipas with slightly weaker winds of 50 mph (85 km/h) before progressing inland and dissipating by 06:00 UTC on August 23.[3] Little impact was noted from the cyclone, though it did produce a maximum gust of 45 mph (72 km/h) in Brownsville, Texas.[4]

Tropical Storm Six[edit]

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Tropical Storm Six surface analysis 1944.jpg 1944 Atlantic tropical storm 6 track.png
Duration September 9 – September 11
Peak intensity 65 mph (100 km/h) (1-min)  992 mbar (hPa)

A tropical storm hit southeastern Louisiana on September 10. It dissipated the next day, after causing minor damage in Mobile, Alabama.

Hurricane Seven[edit]

Category 4 hurricane (SSHWS)
1944 Great Atlantic hurricane analysis 13 September.png 1944 Atlantic hurricane 7 track.png
Duration Before September 9 – September 15
Peak intensity 145 mph (230 km/h) (1-min) ≤ 933 mbar (hPa)

An intense Cape Verde-type hurricane, the Great Atlantic hurricane probably began earlier than September 9, though due to World War II restrictions on observations at sea, the storm remained undetected until that date. It traveled generally north of due west, becoming a hurricane at 06 UTC on September 10. Early the next day, the storm slowed down and intensified rapidly, becoming a major hurricane at 00 UTC on September 12. An unknown ship or aircraft may have reported a barometric low of 943 mb (27.8 inHg) twelve hours later, when the storm strengthened further to 130 mph (210 km/h). By 00 UTC on September 13, the cyclone sharply turned more northward and began moving up the Eastern Seaboard, reaching its peak intensity of 145 mph (233 km/h) twelve hours later—equal to the modern-day Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. A ship near the center reported a pressure of 933 mb (27.6 inHg), though the actual central pressure may have been as low as 909 mb (26.8 inHg). The storm accelerated up the coast, bypassing Cape Hatteras to the east at about 12 UTC on September 14. In 14 hours, the eye of the storm made landfall at East Hampton, Long Island, as a Category 2 hurricane with winds of 105 mph (169 km/h). Along the entire Eastern Seaboard, the hurricane eroded beaches, sunk ships, and threw wave-watchers into the sea. The entire coastline from Cape Lookout to Cape Cod was raked with hurricane-force winds. The hurricane caused several millions of dollars in damage, as well as 390 deaths.[3]

Hurricane Eight[edit]

Category 1 hurricane (SSHWS)
Hurricane Eight surface analysis 1944.jpg 1944 Atlantic hurricane 8 track.png
Duration September 19 – September 22
Peak intensity 80 mph (130 km/h) (1-min)  996 mbar (hPa)

A tropical wave developed into a tropical storm in the western Caribbean Sea on September 19. It became a hurricane later that day, and hit the Yucatán Peninsula on September 20. The hurricane turned southward in the Bay of Campeche, making landfall near Campeche, Campeche, on September 22. The hurricane dissipated later that day, after resulting in extensive damage from flooding as well as 200-300 fatalities.

Hurricane Nine[edit]

Category 2 hurricane (SSHWS)
Hurricane Nine surface analysis 1944.jpg 1944 Atlantic hurricane 9 track.png
Duration September 21 – September 26
Peak intensity 100 mph (155 km/h) (1-min) 

A tropical disturbance from the Cape Verde region developed into a tropical storm in the south-central Atlantic on September 21. The storm made a broad turn to the north and slowly strengthened. It became a hurricane while well east of Bermuda and continued its journey north. The storm was briefly a Category 2 hurricane with winds of 100 mph (160 km/h) before weakening in the cooler waters of the north Atlantic. The storm was able, however, to maintain hurricane status until it became extratropical in the far north Atlantic south of Greenland.

Tropical Storm Ten[edit]

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Tropical Storm Ten surface analysis 1944.jpg 1944 Atlantic tropical storm 10 track.png
Duration September 30 – October 3
Peak intensity 50 mph (85 km/h) (1-min)  1003 mbar (hPa)

Tropical Storm Eleven[edit]

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Tropical Storm Eleven surface analysis 1944.jpg 1944 Atlantic tropical storm 11 track.png
Duration September 30 – October 3
Peak intensity 45 mph (75 km/h) (1-min) 

The tenth storm was a weak tropical storm that formed to the immediate northeast of Barbados in early October. The storm turned north with peak winds of 45 mph (72 km/h). It never got any stronger. After moving north for a little ways, the storm turned away from the islands and dissipated causing nothing but rain showers.

Hurricane Twelve[edit]

Category 1 hurricane (SSHWS)
Hurricane Twelve surface analysis 1944.jpg 1944 Atlantic hurricane 12 track.png
Duration October 11 – October 15
Peak intensity 80 mph (130 km/h) (1-min)  998 mbar (hPa)

Hurricane Thirteen[edit]

Category 4 hurricane (SSHWS)
Hurricane Thirteen surface analysis 1944.jpg 1944 Sanibel Island hurricane track.png
Duration October 12 – October 20
Peak intensity 145 mph (230 km/h) (1-min) ≤ 937 mbar (hPa)

A tropical storm formed in the western Caribbean Sea on October 12. It headed northward, becoming a hurricane at 18 UTC the next day. It then drifted westward and strengthened to 100 miles per hour (160 km/h) at 12 UTC on October 15. It then reached major hurricane strength. It crossed Cuba at this intensity on October 18, and continued northeastward where it made landfall on Sarasota, Florida, on October 19. The hurricane continued northeastward over the southeast United States, and became extratropical on October 21. The hurricane caused $100 million in damage (1944 dollars), as well as 300 casualties.[3]

Tropical Storm Fourteen[edit]

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Tropical Storm Fourteen surface analysis 1944.jpg 1944 Atlantic tropical storm 14 track.png
Duration November 1 – November 3
Peak intensity 70 mph (110 km/h) (1-min)  1002 mbar (hPa)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jack Rutledge. In Our Valley. Retrieved on 2008-06-06.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Edgar W. Woolard (December 1944). Monthly Weather Review: North Atlantic Hurricanes and Tropical Disturbances of 1944 (PDF) (Report). Washington, D.C.: Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory. Retrieved May 15, 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i National Hurricane Center; Hurricane Research Division (April 11, 2017). "Atlantic hurricane best track (HURDAT version 2)". United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved May 25, 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Christopher W. Landsea; et al. "Documentation of Atlantic Tropical Cyclones Changes in HURDAT". Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory. Retrieved May 15, 2017. 
  5. ^ Rainfall Associated With Hurricanes (PDF) (Report). Weather Prediction Center. July 1956. Retrieved May 12, 2017. 

External links[edit]