Hurricane Erin (1995)


Hurricane Erin (1995)

Infobox Hurricane
Name=Hurricane Erin
Image location=Hurricane Erin AVHRR High res.jpg


Type=hurricane
Year=1995
Basin=Atl
Formed=July 31, 1995
Dissipated=August 6, 1995
1-min winds=88
Pressure=973
Da

Inflated=0
Fatalities=6 direct; 7 indirect [http://www.thehurricanearchive.com/Viewer.aspx?
] ] [http://www.thehurricanearchive.com/Viewer.aspx?
] ] [http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/1995erin.html (NOAA Hurricane Erin 1995 report)] ]
Areas=Jamaica, Bahamas, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi
Hurricane season=1995 Atlantic hurricane season

Hurricane Erin was the fifth named tropical cyclone and the second hurricane of the unusually active 1995 Atlantic hurricane season. Erin began as a tropical wave, from the coast of Africa, on July 22, became a tropical storm on July 31, and dissipated as a tropical depression on August 6. It made landfall on the central Florida coastline and along the Gulf Coast as a Category 1 hurricane and Category 2 hurricane in early August 1995, respectively, causing a moderate amount of damage. The system reached peak strength at 100 mph, or 160 km/h, in the Gulf of Mexico. [http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/storm_wallets/atlantic/atl1995-prelim/erin/prelim03.gif(NOAA Prelim 3)] ]

Hurricane and tropical storm warnings and watches were issued for both coasts, prior to Erin's two landfalls. Tornado and flood watches and warnings were also issued for these areas, as a preparation for the impact of Erin.

$700 million 1995 USD, $923 million (2006 USD), was the total monetary damage estimate from Erin. The monetary damages from the system primarily came from tree downings, crop damages, and ship damages. There was various other damages that also occurred as a result of Erin's impact. [http://www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov/tropical/rain/erin1995.html (HPC Summary)] ] Erin was the first hurricane to hit the U.S. since 1992's Andrew (in 3 years and 11 days), or 1001 total days, the longest gap recorded.

Meteorological history

On July 22, a tropical wave emerged into the eastern Atlantic Ocean, off the western coast of Africa. The system had two distinct low-level circulation centers, and a large area of convection. By July 27, both circulations were generating deep convection a few hundred miles to the northeast of the Leeward Islands. These centers began to show tropical storm-force winds, but they did not have enough of a closed circulation needed, to be named.

Near midday, on July 30, T-number estimates began to show numbers, potentially indicative of a tropical cyclone. The National Hurricane Center then decided to fly a special night reconnaissance mission into the system, due to the systems close range to the Bahamas and the state of Florida. At midnight on the July 30, Hurricane Hunter aircraft data had showed that the storm had acquired a closed circulation. The system was named Tropical Storm Erin upon the National Hurricane Center's interpreting the data and information on July 31.

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The track of the center was pushed by an upper-level low, off of the coast of Florida, onto a northwesterly track, from its west-northwest track. This change in the track had it cross only the northern part of the Bahamas and caused the storm to affect the central coast of Florida instead of south Florida. The steering currents associated with the upper-level low made Erin sped up to 17 mph, from a previous 6 mph, and diverted Erin up and around the northeastern portion of the upper-level low. As this was happening, the system experienced shearing, that permitted the system to only have slow strengthening. The shear eventually diminished somewhat however, and on the evening of the July 31, Erin was upgraded to a hurricane. The next day, an eye began to become apparent on satellite imagery. Early in the day on August 2, Erin made landfall at Vero Beach, Florida with winds around 85 mph (140 km/h).

Erin's track bent back to west-northwest while the storm crossed the Florida peninsula during the morning and early afternoon of August 2. Erin weakened to a tropical storm with 60 mph (95 km/h) winds while crossing the peninsula, but remained fairly well-organized, although the system lost its visible eye. Upon emerging into the eastern Gulf of Mexico, Erin reintensified to a hurricane and continued strengthening until its final landfall occurred near Pensacola, Florida during the late morning of the 3rd. An eye had redeveloped while crossing the Gulf of Mexico, as well. Erin had maximum sustained winds around 100 mph (160 km/h) in a small area of its northeastern eyewall when that portion of the hurricane came ashore near Fort Walton Beach, making it a Category 2 hurricane at landfall.

Erin weakened to a tropical storm in southeastern Mississippi overnight on the 3rd and 4th. It was only a tropical depression, by the time its track shifted to the north on the 5th and then to the east on the 6th. The depression then merged with a frontal system, over West Virginia, later on the 6th.

Preparations

Louisiana

9,000 residents underwent mandatory evacuation in southeastern Louisiana. A state of emergency was issued to prepare for Erin. [http://www.thehurricanearchive.com/Viewer.aspx?
] ] A hurricane watch was issued on August 2 that included from south of the mouth of the Pearl River, to the mouth of the Mississippi River, including the city of New Orleans. This was upgraded to a hurricane warning later on August 2. This warning was discontinued on August 3. A tropical storm watch was also issued on August 2 that included east of the Pearl River to south of the mouth of the Pearl River. The last hurricane warning issued was from Grand Isle to Morgan City on August 3. All other hurricane warning were then discontinued. [http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/storm_wallets/atlantic/atl1995-prelim/erin/prelim14.gif(NOAA Prelim 14)] ] [http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/storm_wallets/atlantic/atl1995-prelim/erin/prelim15.gif(NOAA Prelim 15)] ]

Mississippi

A tropical storm watch was issued on August 2 that included the southern coast of Mississippi.

Alabama

Dauphin Island and low lying areas of Mobile County underwent voluntary evacuation. Alabama opened shelters to house evacuees. A tropical storm watch was also issued on August 2 that included the southern coast of Alabama.

Florida

A hurricane warning was issued at Erin's first landfall from New Smyrna Beach southward, and Lake Okeechobee. A tropical storm was issued from New Smyrna Beach, northward to St. Augustine. A flood watch was issued for all of East-Central Florida. A tornado watch was also issued for East-Central Florida. [ [http://www.srh.weather.gov/mlb/sep96/836pm.htm (Hurricane Local Statement 836 PM)] ]

Evacuations were issued for 800,000 people initially in Florida, in preparation for the storm. The evacuation of 400,000 people was quickly cancelled as the storm moved north, but 400,000 remained evacuated in Palm Beach County. Police in the county were sent patrolling, to prevent looting. About 300 military aircraft, in the Florida Panhandle, were evacuated to neighboring states. [http://www.thehurricanearchive.com/Viewer.aspx?
] ]

At Erin's first landfall, a tornado warning was issued for eastern Volusia County, in East-Central Florida, after radar indicated a possible tornado offshore of Volusia County. The warning said that the tornado was approaching the coast at Ormond Beach and Holly Hill. The National Weather Service bureau in Melbourne also warned that other storms offshore Volusia County showed signs of rotation. [http://www.srh.weather.gov/mlb/sep96/1115pm.htm (Tornado Warning for Volusia County)] ]

NASA had to halt some activities or preparation of shuttles at Kennedy Space Center, due to Erin. [http://www-pao.ksc.nasa.gov/kscpao/status/stsstat/1995/aug/8-03-95s.htm (NASA Data)] ]

During Erin's second landfall in Florida, a tropical storm watch was issued 37 hours prior to Erin's landfall, a tropical storm warning 25 hours prior, and a hurricane warning 23 hours prior.

Impact

Widespread tree downings, power line, crop, and roof damage was reported throughout the Southeastern United States. [http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/storm_wallets/atlantic/atl1995-prelim/erin/prelim04.gif(NOAA prelim04)] ] [http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/storm_wallets/atlantic/atl1995/erin/preloc/pshjax.gif(Pshjax NOAA Archive)] ]

Jamaica

Heavy rains occurred in Jamaica, which caused a plane crash that killed 5 people. The plane was a Cessna 310 twin-engine aircraft, owned by RegionAir, a subsidiary of the Guardsman Group. The aircraft contained four employees of Brinks Jamacia, who were due to testify in a court hearing, and a pilot. The plane departed from the Tinson Pen Aerodome in Kingston, Jamaica, and was bound for Montego Bay, St. James. Two teenagers were also killed on a football field in Braeton, Saint Catherine Parish, when lightning associated with Erin struck them dead.

Northwest Caribbean

All of the Bahaman islands had sustained damage, characterized by the Bahamas Department of Meteorology as mostly minor, much of it from sunken boats. Some of the other damage resulted from structural damage, and crop loss. Damage totaled to $400,000 (1995 USD).

Hurricane-force sustained winds were experienced over various portions of the Bahamas.

A gust of 128 knots occurred at Providenciales, in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Georgia

Minimal damage was experienced in Georgia. Some beach erosion was reported through portions of the state. [http://www.trackingthetropics.com/erin.html (Tracking the Tropics Summary of Erin)] ]

U.S. Gulf Coast

No deaths were reported on land, throughout the entire Gulf Coast region. [http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/storm_wallets/atlantic/atl1995/erin/preloc/mobile.gif(NOAA Mobile Preloc Archive)] ]

Florida

Erin caused 6 drowning deaths across the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean off Florida. The cruise ship Club Royale sank, causing three of the deaths. Another ship was also sunk due to Erin. More than 1 million people lost power due to the hurricane. Erin caused $700 million (1995 US dollars) in damage, mostly in Florida. Moderate beach erosion was reported along Florida's east coast and Panhandle.

Multiple waterspouts and tornadoes were reported throughout the state. A tornado in Titusville, caused minor damage. Another tornado, near Lake Lizzie, killed two horses. Trees also went down and roofs were blown off houses. [http://www.trackingthetropics.com/erin.html (Tracking the Tropics Summary of Erin)] ]

Two to four foot storm tide was reported on Florida's east coast, during Erin's first landfall. One to two foot storm tide was reported on Florida's West-Central coast. Six to seven feet storm tides were estimated west of Navarre Beach, and three to four foot storm tides were reported along Pensacola Beach.

FEMA issued a federal disaster declaration for Florida, due to Erin. [ [http://www.fema.gov/news/disasters.fema?year=1995 (Federal Disaster Declarations 1995)] ]

NASA recorded a peak wind gust of 82 mph, from the east-southeast, within the Kennedy Space Center vicinity, at a wind tower.

The most significant damage from the second landfall in Florida was near Pensacola, where Erin made landfall, and Navarre Beach, where almost one-third of buildings suffered major damage. [http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/storm_wallets/atlantic/atl1995/erin/news/ss0804p2.gif(NOAA Newspaper Archive ss0804p2)] ] A maximum wind of 101 mph was reported at Pensacola Naval Air Station. The tower of Pensacola Airport was evacuated, due to high winds, and the data is therefore unavailable. More than 2,000 homes were reported damaged from Erin. Some beach erosion was also reported west of Navarre Beach. There was a large amount of crop loses in Northwest Florida resulting from Erin. This included about of the cotton crop of the region, and around 20 to 25 percent of the pecan crop. An estimated amount of 63 percent of power customers in Northwest Florida were left without power from the hurricane.

Two tornadoes were reported at Erin's second landfall in Northwest Florida. A tornado in southern Amelia Island resulted in trees blocking route A1A. A portion of a roof was torn off a mall in south Jacksonville beach as a result of tornado.

Alabama

The American Insurance Services Group estimated that there was $20 million of damage in Alabama, which is estimated at half of the total damage by the National Hurricane Center.

Trees and power lines were blown down throughout southwest Alabama. At least 100 homes were reported damaged in Alabama. The estimated pecan crop, for Baldwin County, Alabama, lost 50 to 75 percent of its total portion.

Mississippi

In Jackson, Mississippi, winds of 90 mph were felt, even though Erin made landfall in Pensacola, Florida. [http://nsgl.gso.uri.edu/flsgp/flsgpb97001.pdf (Florida Hurricanes and Tropical Storms)] ]

The American Services Group estimated that there was $5 million of damage in Mississippi, which is estimated at half of the total damage by the National Hurricane Center.

There are no reports of the total amount of houses reported damaged in Mississippi.

Lack of retirement

Despite the damage, the name Erin was not retired at the end of the season. It was used again during the 2001 and 2007 seasons.

ee also

* List of Atlantic hurricanes

References

External links

* [http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/1995erin.html Hurricane Erin 1995 report]


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