Effects of Hurricane Ivan in Jamaica

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Hurricane Ivan
Category 4 major hurricane (SSHWS/NWS)
Hurricane Ivan 11 sept 2004 1610Z.jpg
Satellite image of Hurricane Ivan passing south of Jamaica
Winds 1-minute sustained: 150 mph (240 km/h)
Fatalities 17 direct
Damage $360 million (2004 USD)
Areas affected Jamaica
Part of the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season



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The effects of Hurricane Ivan in Jamaica were among the worst from a tropical cyclone in the island's recorded history. Hurricane Ivan formed as a Cape Verde-type hurricane in early September 2004 and became the ninth named storm, the sixth hurricane, and the fourth major hurricane of the year. Ivan reached Category 5 strength on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale, the strongest possible category. Ivan became the sixth most intense Atlantic hurricane on record.[1] In Jamaica, the storm caused severe damage which left 18,000 people homeless. An estimated 17 people on the island were killed by Ivan.


On September 12, 2004, a hurricane watch was issued for the island. The next day, that advisory was upgraded to a hurricane warning, as hurricane conditions had become more imminent. By 1500 UTC on September 12, all tropical cyclone watches and warnings were discontinued for Jamaica.[1] About 500,000 Jamaicans were told to evacuate from coastal areas,[2] P.J. Patterson, Prime Minister, declared a public emergency.[3] According to Patterson, the island had to "prepare for the worst-case scenario".[4] Schools and churches were converted into shelters, and the national blood bank requested residents to donate blood, in anticipation of potential injuries.[4] By September 10, over 1,000 individual shelters were set up throughout the country.[5] The Jamaican Government urged off-duty corrections officers to report to work.[4] Air Jamaica canceled all flights to and from the island, as well as inter-island flights; aircraft were transported to the United States until the storm passed.[6] The Mennonite Central Committee designated the equivalence of $20,000 USD for assisting with potential damage.[7] Businesses in Kingston were closed, and fishermen secured their boats to trees.[8] Workers boarded up windows, and grocery stores remained open later than normal to allow for residents to purchase supplies.[9]


On September 11 and September 12, the center of Ivan passed near Jamaica. High winds and heavy rainfall affected the island, causing significant wind and flood damage.[1] The storm was described as one of the most intense hurricanes in Jamaica's recorded history.[10] Rainfall exceeded 35 inches (0.89 m) in some places. At Ritchies, 28.37 in (720.8 mm) of rain was reported, and 27.92 in (709.4 mm) fell at Mavis Bank. In southern parishes, rainfall data was lost due to damage to rain gauges.[1] Doppler radar velocity data estimated that winds of 112 miles per hour (180 km/h) affected the island. Pedro Bank, to the southwest of Jamaica, reported a 10-minute average wind of 133 miles per hour (214 km/h).[1] Ivan caused severe damage, damaging and destroying houses, and triggering mudslides that washed out roads. In Kingston, the winds downed trees and poles and caused flooding.[11] In Montego Bay, the Barnett River overflowed its banks; businesses were flooded with up to 4 feet (1.2 m) of water. Roads suffered flooding, and part of the A1 Road, the primary northern coastal highway, was washed away.[12] Along the coast, 23 ft (7.0 m) were reported, and in Kingston, several large trees were brought down. Tiles on the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel were blown off and broken,[13] and waves flooded a causeway to an airport near Kingston that was closed and evacuated.[14]

Due to a shift Ivan's track, the capital city of Kingston was spared from extreme damage.[15] However, flooding in the city was deemed a "major catastrophe".[16] Some roads throughout the region were left impassible due to downed trees and utility poles.[17] The majority of tourism and resort areas suffered "mainly cosmetic damage and all structures remained primarily intact".[18] In the aftermath of the storm, looters were reported roaming the streets of Jamaica's capital city, Kingston, robbing emergency workers at gunpoint.[19] Overall, 17 people were killed in Jamaica and 18,000 people were left homeless as a result of the flood waters and high winds. Damage on the island totaled US$360 million (2004 USD).[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Stacy R. Stewart (2005). "Hurricane Ivan Tropical Cyclone Report" (PDF). National Hurricane Center. Retrieved 2008-11-09. 
  2. ^ Jamaica Observer (2004). "500,000 to evacuate, Many refuse to -11".  line feed character in |title= at position 37 (help);
  3. ^ Staff Writer (2004-09-11). "Ivan Rages Across Jamaica". CBS News. Retrieved 2008-11-09. 
  4. ^ a b c Manuel Roig-Franzia and Catharine Skipp (2004-09-10). "Jamaicans Hurriedly Brace For Fury of Hurricane Ivan". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-11-09. 
  5. ^ Agence France-Presse (2004). "Half-million Jamaicans may be evacuated". ReliefWeb. Retrieved 2008-11-09. 
  6. ^ Agence France-Presse (2004). "Jamaica in cross hairs of deadly Hurricane Ivan". ReliefWeb. Retrieved 2008-11-09. 
  7. ^ Mennonite Central Committee (2004). "MCC prepares response to hurricane in Jamaica". ReliefWeb. Retrieved 2008-11-09. 
  8. ^ Horace Helps (2004). "Ferocious Hurricane Ivan begins to lash Jamaica". Reuters. Retrieved 2008-11-09. 
  9. ^ "Jamaicans ordered to flee direct hit from hurricane Ivan". IOL. 2004. Retrieved 2008-11-09. 
  10. ^ Staff Writer (2004-09-11). "Jamaica counts cost of hurricane". BBC News. Retrieved 2008-11-09. 
  11. ^ "Hurricane Ivan wrecks Jamaica". TrinidadandTobagoNews. 2004. Retrieved 2008-11-09. 
  12. ^ Associated Press (2004-09-11). "Hurricane Ivan Pounds Jamaica". Fox News. Retrieved 2008-11-09. 
  13. ^ Associated Press (2004). "Hurricane Ivan Pummels Jamaica; 39 Dead". redOrbit.com. Retrieved 2008-11-09. 
  14. ^ Carol J. Williams (2004-09-11). "A Deadly Hurricane Ivan Slams Into Jamaica". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2008-11-09. 
  15. ^ Scott Simon (2004). "Hurricane Ivan Pounds Jamaica". NPR. Retrieved 2008-11-08. 
  16. ^ http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A11381-2004Sep10.html (2004-09-11). "Ivan's Rains Pound Jamaica". Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-11-10. 
  17. ^ Jeremy Collymore; et al. (2004). "SITREP #04JM - Effects of Hurricane Ivan on Jamaica". Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency. Retrieved 2008-11-09. 
  18. ^ "Jamaica's Tourism Industry Looks to the Future as Eye of Hurricane Ivan Skirts the Island". Caribbean Edge Magazine. 2004. Retrieved 2008-11-10. 
  19. ^ United States Department of State. U.S. Gives Jamaica $450,000 for School Equipment and Supplies. Retrieved on 2005-02-16.