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Hurricane Summary 2004

This year has started out slowly... but it really picked up once August rolled around...  Here's summaries of the Atlantic Named storms, and some notes on each...



While it looked impressive, the brunt of the storm remained off shore.

One item of note... Alex became the first tropical storm to become a Category 3 hurricane ABOVE 38 degrees North Lattitude.


Bonnie came across the Atlantic as a Tropical wave, but didn't form into anything until it got close to the Caribbean Islands... It fell apart into a wave after a day or so, but once it got over the warmer waters of the gulf, it quickly developed into a Tropical storm.

Hitting the Florida Panhandle, it dumped a ton of rain, but not much else.



The first "big" hurricane of the season, Charley ripped  Florida pretty good.


Danielle didn't do all that much... it went North right out of the gate...



Earl Blew in, raised some eyebrows, then fizzled into a tropical wave, and was gone.


Frances formed "way out there", but almost from the start, it looked IMPRESSIVE...


It entered the Caribbean looking like a monster!

On Saturday, the 4th of September, it blew onto the coast....  It took 3 days for it to move across Florida, then it slowly churned its way up through the coastal states, dumping a tremendous amount of rain, and causing some pretty serious flooding...



Unlike Frances, Gaston formed just off the coast of South Carolina, then raked the coastline with Rain.  Intense flooding was reported in Virginia, where more than 9 inches of rain fell in an hour!

In the aftermath, the devastation of some areas - especially around those with historic buildings more than 100 years old - was totally devastating.  I have NO IDEA, though, how that car got to be upside down!


For a while at least, it looked as if Hermine was going to hit Maine, where I grew up, and where my mom still lives... It formed just as Gaston was falling apart over Virginia.

Just as it got to the coast of Maine, however, it broke up, and basically just faded away.  They got some rain, but other than a few gusts, there was no wind to speak of.

My mom, who likes the out of character weather that a tropical storm brings, was disappointed.

This storm quickly earned the name, "Ivan the Terrible"...  This one came back after it had fizzled out for a few days...

Yep, the graphic is right... IVAN CAME BACK TO LIFE... I've never seen that before...


Just as Frances was hitting Florida, Ivan formed in the Atlantic...

By the time Ivan entered the Caribbean, it was a Category 4 storm, with an ominous look to it... For the longest time, it looked like Central Florida was in for another one...

But it ended up hitting the Alabama/Florida Panhandle area...

It dumped an incredible amount of water, flooding most of the South East.

It spun out, but as odd as it sounds, it wasn't done... it drifted back down over Florida, and re-entered the Gulf... and blew back up into a Tropical Storm!  The "ghost of Ivan" crashed ashore in Texas, and flooded out several communities in that state, as well.



Jeanne blew in on shore... once again, in Florida!



Carl didn't really do that much... It spun up fairly quickly, but then turned North, and ended out in the middle of the ocean.


Lisa flared up, and basically followed in the footsteps of Karl



Mathew flared up, came ashore, and fizzled out...



Nicole formed while already heading North



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The Atlantic Basin had a more active season than average in 2004 with 15 tropical storms and 9 hurricanes, including 6 major hurricanes. The average (based on data from 1944-1996) is approximately 10 named storms and 6 hurricanes, including 2-3 major hurricanes. The ACE index of hurricane activity also indicates an above average season, with a preliminary value of approximately 220 x104 knots. An average season is anywhere from 66 x104 knots to 103 x104 knots. Hurricane Ivan alone produced an ACE value of 69.9 x104 knots. Its strength and longevity contributed substantially to the cumulative seasonal activity and it holds the record for the greatest consecutive time (7 days) spent with windspeeds of 120 kts/138 mph or greater for any basin. After weakening back to a depression, Ivan also looped southward and then westward through the Atlantic to regenerate into a tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico. The first named storm of the season, Alex, brushed North Carolina in August before moving northeast and reaching windspeeds of 105 kts (121 mph), category 3 on the Saffir-Simpson scale. The only other storm to reach major hurricane status north of 38N was Hurricane Ellen in 1973 and it reached 100 kts (115 mph). This season is also the most costly hurricane season on record ($42 billion) for the US, with 9 storms affecting its coast. Impacts are described below.

Of additional interest was the development, in March, of a hurricane in the South Atlantic, the only documented hurricane in that basin to impact land, and the first hurricane in the South Atlantic to be recorded in the satellite era.