Hurricane Luis

Hurricane Luis

Infobox Hurricane
Name=Hurricane Luis
Image location=Hurricane Luis 03 sept 1995 1705Z.jpg

3 September 1995 at 1705 UTC
Formed=August 27, 1995
Dissipated=September 11, 1995
1-min winds=120

Fatalities=17 direct
Areas=Leeward Islands, Newfoundland
Hurricane season=1995 Atlantic hurricane season

Hurricane Luis was the twelfth named tropical cyclone and one of the most powerful storms during the very busy 1995 Atlantic hurricane season. The Cape Verde-type hurricane lasted for 16 days during August and September. Luis passed through the northern Lesser Antilles with winds of 135 mph (215 km/h), killing 16 and causing billions in damage; weeks later Hurricane Marilyn would strike the same area.

Meteorological history

On August 26, a tropical wave moved off the coast of Africa. As it moved slowly westward, it rapidly organized, and developed into Tropical Depression Thirteen on August 27 near the Cape Verde islands. At this time, there were five simultaneous Atlantic tropical cyclones, including Hurricanes Humberto and Iris, Tropical Storm Karen, and Tropical Depression Jerry. After attaining tropical storm status on the 29th, the storm remained a weak tropical storm due to vertical shear. After the shear abated, Luis rapidly intensified over the warm waters of the tropical Atlantic Ocean, reaching hurricane strength on the 30th and Category 4 status on September 2.

Hurricane Luis moved slowly westward due to higher pressures to its north. Continual favorable conditions allowed the hurricane to peak at convert|140|mi/h|km/h|abbr=on on September 3 as it neared the Leeward Islands. The hurricane passed directly over Barbuda, with its convert|135|mi/h|km/h|abbr=on winds affecting Antigua, St. Barthelemy, Saint Kitts and Nevis, St. Martin, and Anguilla.

Luis turned to the northwest, and remained a Category 4 hurricane until September 7 while north of Puerto Rico. Though forecasts predicted a more westward track towards the eastern Bahamas, the hurricane turned to the north, bringing powerful swells to much of the East Coast of the United States. Moving around the periphery of the subtropical ridge, Luis turned to the north, and weakened to a Category 2 hurricane on the 9th. After passing to the west of Bermuda, it accelerated to the northeast and slowly weakened. Hurricane Luis crossed over southeastern Newfoundland on September 11, and became extratropical later that day.


In the days preceding the hurricane's landfall, Luis remained a slow westward moving Category 4 hurricane, giving the Leeward Islands ample time to prepare for its effects. Hurricane Warnings were issued around 30 hours before Luis passed through, allowing for the opening of shelters and the preparation of the affected islands.


Leeward Islands

Overall, Luis caused extensive crop and property damage across the Leeward Islands from its high winds and heavy rainfall. Damage totals are unknown, due to lack of reports from every island, though it is estimated at $2.5 billion (1995 USD).

Dominica experienced between 60% to 100% damage to all crops, the worst crops being the banana. Property damage was estimated at $47 million, and contributed to the effects of Tropical Storm Iris only weeks before. [ [ Dominica - Hurricane Situation Report] ]

Hurricane Luis brought 6 inches of rain and strong winds as it passed by Saint Martin. 60% of houses were damaged or destroyed, resulting in $1.8 billion in damage (1995 USD).

The entire infrastructure of Saint Kitts and Nevis were damaged, with troubles especially occurring to the water system. Luis caused moderate house and crop damage amounting to $197 million (1995 USD).

Antigua and Barbuda

As a result of a direct hit from a Category 4 hurricane, both Antigua and Barbuda experienced extensive house damage from 135-140 mph winds and convert|10|in|mm of rain. 70% of houses were damaged or destroyed on Barbuda, and nearly half of the houses on Antigua were eradicated by Hurricane Luis. [ NHC Luis report] ] Much of the islands experienced power outages and disrupted water systems. In all, 3 people were killed, with 165 injured and 1,700 people in shelter. In addition, their government estimated a damage total of $350 million (1995 USD). [ Caribbean - Hurricane Luis Sep 1995 UN DHA Situation Reports] ]

International aid was sought after in the days following the storm, with building and food supplies being the most needed. Sanitation in general was lacking subsequent to the storm, contributing to an increased mosquito population. By 2 weeks after the hurricane, life was slowly returning to normalcy as money came to aid the 2 islands, including $200,000 from France to assist in their troubles.

Atlantic Ocean and Canada

Bermuda experienced light winds and seas from Hurricane Luis, and damage was minimal.

During a trip between Southampton, England and New York City, the RMS Queen Elizabeth 2, in an attempt to avoid the storm, sailed into the outskirts of Hurricane Luis (which was just a Category 1 hurricane at the time). High winds caused the ship to list to one side by seven degrees and a 29 metre (95 ft) freak wave crashed over the bow of the ocean liner.
Also, a nearby Canadian buoy recorded a wave 30 meters (98 ft) high at about the same time.

Days after passing through the Caribbean, Luis passed through Newfoundland, bringing heavy winds, seas, and 2 to convert|5|in|mm of rain on the Avalon Peninsula. [ [ Canadian Hurricane Centre Luis report] ] Damage totaled $2 million (1995 USD), and one person died on the island.cite web|author=Université Catholique de Louvain|year=2007|title=EM-DAT: The OFDA/CRED International Disaster Database for North America|accessdate=2007-09-07|url=]


The name Luis was retired in the spring of 1996 and will never be used for another Atlantic hurricane. It was replaced with Lorenzo in the 2001 season. Luis was the first L name to be retired since 1954, and was the first Atlantic Hurricane name to be retired in three years, making it the longest gap recorded, although it was tied with the 1980-1983 gap and 1985-1988 gap as well.


At one point during the 1995 season, the storm was one of four simultaneous Atlantic tropical systems, along with Humberto, Iris, and Karen.

See also

* List of tropical cyclones
* List of Atlantic hurricanes

External links

* [ NHC Luis Report]
* [ Canadian Hurricane Center]
* [ Archimede Houses Weathered Luis With NO Damage]


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