Hurricane Georges

Hurricane Georges

Infobox Hurricane
Name=Hurricane Georges
Type=hurricane
Year=1998
Basin=Atl
Image location=Hurricane Georges 20 sept 1998 1445Z.jpg


Formed=September 15, 1998
Dissipated=September 29, 1998
1-min winds=135
Pressure=937
Da

Inflated=0
Fatalities=604 direct
Areas=Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, Florida Keys, Mississippi, Alabama, Southeastern Louisiana, Florida Panhandle
Hurricane season=1998 Atlantic hurricane season

Hurricane Georges (IPA2|ʒɔʒ) was the seventh tropical storm, fourth hurricane, and second major hurricane of the 1998 Atlantic hurricane season. The tropical cyclone made seven landfalls on its long track through the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico during September, becoming the second most destructive storm of the season. Georges killed 603 people, mainly on the island of Hispaniola, and caused nearly $6 billion (1998 US dollars, $7 billion 2006 USD) in damages, mostly in Puerto Rico and Hispaniola.

The hurricane affected at least six different countries (Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Cuba and the United States) and Puerto Rico, a Commonwealth of the United States — more than any other hurricane since Hurricane Inez of the 1966 season , and more than any other hurricane until Hurricane Wilma in the 2005 season affected ten different countries.cite web | author = John L. Guiney | url = http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/1998georges.html | title = Preliminary Report: Hurricane Georges, 15 September - 01 October 1998 | date = 1999-01-05 | publisher = National Hurricane Center | accessdate = 2007-08-24]

Meteorological history

A tropical wave exited the coast of Africa on September 13. Moving westward, the large system quickly developed a closed circulation, and was classified Tropical Depression Seven on the 15th. A strong upper-level ridge forced the depression to the west-northwest, where warm water temperatures allowed it to strengthen to a tropical storm on the 16th. Georges's circulation developed strong banding features around a well-organized Central Dense Overcast, and with the aid of a developing anti-cyclone, Georges attained hurricane status late on September 17.

Conditions became nearly ideal for continued development, including warm water temperatures, low-level inflow to the hurricane's north, and good upper-level outflow. A banding eye developed, and Georges reached major hurricane strength on September 19 while 675 miles (1085 km) east-southeast of Antigua. Rapid intensification continued, and Georges peaked at 155 mph (250 km/h) on the 20th. Shortly after peaking, upper-level wind shear from the development of an upper-level low weakened the hurricane as it approached the Leeward Islands.

On September 21, Georges made landfall directly on Antigua and St. Kitts, though its wide windfield affected many other islands. After weakening to a Category 2 hurricane over the Caribbean Sea, upper-level shear decreased, and Georges strengthened again before making landfall near Fajardo, Puerto Rico as a 115 mph (185 km/h) hurricane. Over the mountainous terrain of the island, the hurricane weakened to a Category 2 storm again, but over the Mona Passage it again re-intensified to hit eastern Dominican Republic with winds of 120 mph (195 km/h) on the 22nd. Like in Puerto Rico, Georges was greatly weakened by the mountainous terrain, and after crossing the Windward Passage, it struck 30 miles (48 km) east of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba on the 23rd. Well-defined upper-level outflow allowed the hurricane to remain well organized, and while paralleling the northern coastline of the island Georges retained minimal hurricane status.

Hurricane Georges reached the Straits of Florida on September 24, and as it had done earlier in its lifetime, quickly restrengthened to Category 2 status on the 25th due to warm water temperatures and little upper-level shear. It continued to the west-northwest, and struck Key West later on the 25th with winds of 105 mph (165 km/h). Despite moving over warmer water, Georges only managed to peak at 110 mph (175 km/h) in the Gulf of Mexico, likely due to its disrupted inner core. A mid-tropospheric anticyclone pushed the hurricane slowly north-northwestward, forcing Georges to make its 7th and final landfall near Biloxi, Mississippi on the 28th. Within 24 hours, Georges had weakened to a tropical depression, and due to weak steering currents the storm looped over southern Mississippi, then drifted to the east. The weak circulation moved eastward over the interior of the Florida Panhandle, and dissipated on October 1 near the Florida/Georgia border.

Preparations

In the days prior to the hurricane's arrival, thousands of citizens in Puerto Rico prepared for the major hurricane by boarding windows and purchasing supplies. Puerto Rican governor Pedro Rosselló activated the island's National Guard, opened 416 shelters, and enacted a temporary prohibition on alcohol sales. More than 28,000 people across the island evacuated their homes to the shelters in the northern portion of the island. Both FEMA and the American Red Cross deployed workers there with supplies for a potentially deadly event.cite news | url = http://web.archive.org/web/20060829204640/http://www.cnn.com/WEATHER/9809/21/hurricane.georges.01/ | title = Hurricane Georges pounds Caribbean islands | author = Staff writer | publisher = Associated Press (via the Wayback Machine) | date = 1998-09-21 | accessdate = 2007-08-24] cite web | url = http://wwwnotes.reliefweb.int/w/rwb.nsf/480fa8736b88bbc3c12564f6004c8ad5/03a244915646dfc9c1256689004cd2ad?OpenDocument | title = FEMA operates In both response and recovery modes after hurricane Georges hits Puerto Rico and heads toward Florida | author = Federal Emergency Management Agency | publisher = ReliefWeb | date = 1998-09-28 | accessdate = 2007-08-24] The National Hurricane Center issued hurricane warnings for the island 37 hours prior to Hurricane Georges's landfall.

Due to initial forecasts of the hurricane brushing the northern portion of the country, the Dominican Republic was caught off guard. Instead, like in Puerto Rico, Georges traversed the entire country, and passed close to Santo Domingo. Neighboring Haiti expected the worst, opening shelters and evacuating vulnerable people from low-lying coastal areas.cite news | url = http://web.archive.org/web/20060205010608/http://www.cnn.com/WEATHER/9809/22/georges.04/index.html | title = Georges tears across Dominican Republic | author = Staff writer | publisher = CNN (via the Wayback Machine) | date = 1998-09-22 | accessdate = 2007-08-24]

Prior to making landfall, more than 200,000 people were evacuated from coastal areas in eastern Cuba. In the potentially impacted area, Cuba's revolutionary army was sent to farm lands to harvest crops that could be destroyed during the storm. Members of the Cuban government travelled door-to-door to alert everyone of the hurricane. In addition to this, President Fidel Castro spoke live on national television to explain the country's plans to withstand the hurricane, as well as ensuring a quick recovery effort by using all of the nation's resources.cite web | url = http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/43/105.html | title = Hurricane Georges: A tale of two systems | date = 1998-10-08 | accessdate = 2007-08-24 | author = Greg Butterfield | publisher = Workers World] The Cuban Government issued Hurricane Warnings 30½ hours prior to landfall.

Initial forecasts of a southeastern Florida landfall forced over 1.2 million to evacuate, including much of the Florida Keys. Despite the mandatory evacuation order, 20,000 people, including over 7,000 Key West citizens, refused to leave. Some of those who remained to ride out the storm were shrimpers, whose boats were their entire livelihood. Insurance companies refused to insure some of the older shrimp boats, leading shrimpers to ride it out with all they had left.cite news | url = http://web.archive.org/web/20061223085338/http://www.cnn.com/WEATHER/9809/25/georges.05/ | title = Hurricane Georges spares Florida ... for now | author = Staff writer | publisher = CNN (via the Wayback Machine) | date = 1998-09-26 | accessdate = 2007-08-24] Due to lack of law enforcement, those who stayed in Key West went through red lights, double-parked, and disobeyed traffic laws. Long-time Florida Keys citizens noted the solitude of the time and enjoyed the island for how it once was, rather than the large crowds of tourists.cite news | title = Widespread South Florida evacuation urged | url = http://web.archive.org/web/20061217222512/http://www.cnn.com/WEATHER/9809/24/georges.04/index.html | author = Staff writer | date = 1998-09-24 | accessdate = 2007-08-24 | publisher = CNN (via the Wayback Machine)]

In the northern Gulf of Mexico, Georges was forecast to attain major hurricane status and make landfall in southeastern Louisiana. Because of this, portions of the state were evacuated, including New Orleans. There, the Louisiana Superdome was, for the first time in its history, used as a refuge of last resort for those unable to evacuate New Orleans. More than 14,000 citizens rode out the storm in the facility, causing difficulties to supply necessities. The building had no problems related to the weather, though evacuees looted the building, stole furniture, and damaged property. However, the damage was much less than in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Many citizens in southern Mississippi were told to leave due to a mandatory or recommended evacuation. Of those in the evacuation area, 60% actually left. Most of those who stayed remained because they believed their house was safe enough for the storm. Of those who left, most went to a relative's house in their own county.cite web | url = http://www.floridadisaster.org/bpr/Response/Plans/Nathaz/hurricanes/georges.pdf | title = Hurricane Georges Assessment: Review of Hurricane Evacuation Studies Utilization and Information Dissemination | author = Post, Buckley, Schuh & Jernigan, Inc. | publisher = United States Army Corps of Engineers / Federal Emergency Management Agency | format = PDF | date = August 1999 | accessdate = 2007-08-24] Prior to making landfall, Georges's track was very uncertain. This forced for the mandatory evacuations of Alabama's two coastal counties, Baldwin and Mobile Counties, with a combined population of over 500,000 people.cite web | url = http://www.usatoday.com/weather/huricane/1998/wgrgedmg.htm | title = Hurricane Georges' damage reports | publisher = USA Today | author = Associated Press | date = 2002 | accessdate = 2007-08-24] Despite the order, only 67% of the area actually left to a safer place. Most of those who remained stayed because they believed their house would be able to withstand the hurricane. The majority of those who did leave went to a relative's house in a safer portion of the state. In the days before making landfall, only 22% of the population in recommended evacuation areas along the Florida Panhandle actually left. However, most of them were prepared to leave if the situation became worse. Those who did leave were concerned about the severity of the storm, while those who stayed felt their home was safe enough for the hurricane's effects. Floridians who evacuated typically left for a friend or relative's house, and only went to another area of their county.

Impact

A long-lasting hurricane, Hurricane Georges brought torrential rainfall and mudslides along much of its path through the Greater Antilles. In all, the hurricane caused $5.9 billion (1998 USD, $6.9 billion 2006 USD)) in damage to the United States and its possessions, and resulted in 603 fatalities. In the two months after Georges's final landfall, the American Red Cross spent $104 million (1998 USD, $120 million 2005 USD) on relief aid through Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi, making Georges the costliest disaster aid in the program's 125-year history. [http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/1998georges.html NHC Georges Report] ]

Leeward Islands

Upon moving through the Leeward Islands, Georges brought strong winds and heavy rainfall, amounting to a maximum of 7.5 inches (190 mm) at St. John.

In Antigua, strong winds caused severe property damage, mostly caused to roofs. 10-20% of houses were greatly impacted, including three schools. High winds during the passage of the hurricane downed telephone and power lines, causing loss of communication and power across much of the island.cite web | url = http://wwwnotes.reliefweb.int/w/rwb.nsf/480fa8736b88bbc3c12564f6004c8ad5/c2f0e3a1839e89fec125668a0045c53c?OpenDocument | title = Impact situation report #2 - Hurricane Georges | author = Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency | publisher = ReliefWeb | date = 1998-09-21 | accessdate = 2007-08-24] Between Barbuda and Antigua, Georges killed 2 people and left 3,800 homeless.cite web | author = Gary Padgett | url = http://australiasevereweather.com/cyclones/1999/summ9809.txt | title = Monthly Global Tropical Cyclone Summary | date = September 1998 | accessdate =2007-08-24]

After passing through Antigua, Georges produced strong winds of up to 115 mph (185 km/h) while passing over St. Kitts, downing power lines, telephone lines, and trees across the island. Lack of electricity resulted in damage to water facilities, as well. Georges's high winds caused extensive property damage, damaging 80-85% of the houses on the island, and destroying 20-25% of homes. Many schools, businesses, hospitals, and government buildings lost their roofs, while the airport experienced severe damage to its main terminal and control tower, limiting flights to the daytime. St. Kitts' economy was disrupted from severe agricultural losses, including the devastation of 50% of their sugar crop. In addition, damaged hotels and piers created a long-term impact through lack of tourism - an industry the island relies on. In all, Hurricane Georges caused 5 fatalities, left 3,000 homeless, and resulted in $445 million (1998 USD) in damage on the island.cite web | url = http://web.archive.org/web/20060620154635/http://website.lineone.net/~stkittsnevis/hurrican.htm | title = Hurricane Georges | date = 2001-10-16 | accessdate = 2007-08-24 | work = St. Kitts/Nevis History Page]

In the other part of the country, Nevis fared better. Like on St. Kitts, high winds downed power and telephone lines, damaging the water system there. 35% of homes on the island were damaged, though none were destroyed. Rainfall and debris killed several hundred livestock and seriously damaged coconut trees, amounting to $2.5 million (1998 USD) in agricultural damage. There were no casualties reported on the island, and damaged amounted to $39 million (1998 USD).

In other nearby islands, Georges's impact was relatively minor. Power outages, flooding, and minor to moderate structural damage was common.

Puerto Rico

On making landfall, Georges brought a 10 foot (3 m) storm surge, along with 20 foot (6 m) waves on top of it.cite web | url = http://www.arrl.org/w1aw/1998-arlb076.html | publisher = American Radio Relay League | title = Hurricane Georges hits Puerto Rico and moves on | date = 1998-09-22 | accessdate = 2007-08-24] The hurricane spawned 2 tornadoes on the island, though they caused little damage. Georges dropped immense precipitation in the mountain regions, amounting to a maximum of 30.51 inches (775 mm) in Jayuya with many other locations reporting over 1 foot (300 mm).cite web | url = http://www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov/tropical/rain/georges1998.html | author = David Roth | title = Hurricane Georges - September 19 - October 1, 1998 | work = Tropical Cyclone Rainfall Climatology | accessdate = 2007-08-24] The mountain flooding drained off in the island's rivers, causing every river to overflow its banks. Near the coast, the surfeit of water carved new channels from the record discharge rate. The storm's strong winds caused beach erosion in many places along the coastline. Eroded beaches, flooding, and debris left many roads impassable or destroyed, isolating some villages on the western portion of the island.cite web | url = http://www.srh.noaa.gov/sju/public_report.html | title = Hurricane Georges Preliminary Storm Report | author = Shawn P. Bennett and Rafael Mojica | publisher = National Weather Service | accessdate = 2007-08-24] Over 22,000 people were sheltered in 139 shelters in cities throughout the island. All experienced power outages, and after the storm passed through, lack of water and sewer systems was a serious problem.

Hurricane Georges was the first hurricane to cross the entire island since the San Ciprian Hurricane in 1932. Its large circulation brought fierce winds to the entire island, damaging 72,605 houses and destroying 28,005 homes. This left tens of thousands homeless after the storm's passage. High winds downed nearly half of the island's electric and telephone lines, leaving 96% of the population powerless and 8.4% of telephone customers without service. Lack of electricity greatly damaged the water system, resulting in the loss of water and sewers for 75% of the island. Georges's deluge of rainfall caused significant damage to the agricultural industry, including the loss of 75% of its coffee crop, 95% of its banana or plantain crop, and 65% of its live poultry.

In all, Hurricane Georges caused $1.9 billion in damage (1998 USD, $2.25 billion 2006 USD), but due to well-executed warnings there were no reported casualties.

In the nearby small island of Culebra, Georges destroyed 74 houses and damaged 89 others, although damage estimates are not available there.

Hispaniola

Though there are no recorded amounts, satellite-derived rainfall estimates show up to 39 inches (990 mm) of rain falling in the mountainous terrain of the countries. This heavy rainfall resulted in mudslides and flooding, killing a total of 589 people across the island. [http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/1998georges.html NHC Georges Report] ]

Dominican Republic

In the Dominican Republic, Georges brought strong winds and very heavy rains, along with a 7 foot (2 m) storm surge. Nearly 10 hours of continuous rainfall resulted in mudslides and overflown rivers across the mountainous country, damaging many cities along the southern coastline, including the capital. 120 mph (195 km/h) winds downed and uprooted trees across much of the country, littering streets with debris and mud. Thousands of houses were destroyed, while many were completely destroyed from the flooding and winds. The entire country was without electricity during the aftermath of the storm, damaging water and communication systems.cite web | url = http://stormcarib.com/georges/gdomrep3.htm | title = Updates from the Islands: Georges - Dominican Republic | publisher = Stormcarib.net | date = 1998 | accessdate = 2007-08-24] Heavy wind damage and flooding caused extensive damage to the airport in Santo Domingo, restricting usage to military and non-commercial flights.cite web | url = http://wwwnotes.reliefweb.int/w/rwb.nsf/480fa8736b88bbc3c12564f6004c8ad5/00d7d4b29c36d5b18525668d005b110c?OpenDocument | title = Caribbean, Dominican Republic, Haiti -- Hurricane Georges Fact Sheet #2 | date = 1998-09-25 | author = Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance | accessdate = 2007-08-24 | publisher = ReliefWeb]

Most impacted by Hurricane Georges was the agricultural industry. The areas hardest hit by the hurricane coincided with the country's main crop-growing areas, including the provinces around Santo Domingo. After a severe drought in 1997, extreme rainfall damaged around 470,000 acres (1,900 km²) of food crops, including various types of vegetables, fruits, and roots — some of the country's main diet food. Substantial amounts of tobacco and sugar plantations, the country's most important export crop, were severely damaged. The extreme flooding caused great losses in the poultry industry, an important economy in the area. The Dominican Republic had to import significant amounts of rice and other crops to compensate for the losses.cite web | url = http://www.fao.org/documents/show_cdr.asp?url_file=/docrep/004/x0058e/x0058e00.htm | title = Hurricane "Georges" Causes Extensive Crop Damage in Caribbean Countries | publisher = Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations | date = 1998-10-13 | author = Economic and Social Development Department]

Death toll reports were slow in the wake of the storm, but a total of 380 people died from Hurricane Georges. Damage in the Dominican Republic amounted to $1.2 billion (1998 USD, $1.4 billion 2006 USD).cite news | url = http://www.usatoday.com/weather/news/1998/wgdomini.htm | title = Georges devastates Dominican Republic | publisher = Associated Press | author = Staff writer | date = 1999-06-11 | accessdate = 2007-08-24]

Haiti

Upon reaching Haiti, Georges was a weakened hurricane, but it still brought heavy rainfall across the entire country. The capital city of Port au Prince was largely unharmed, with the exception of flooding in low-lying coastal areas, damaging the main commercial port. The rest of the country, however, experienced a significant number of mudslides due to deforestation along the mountains.cite web | title = Haiti Hurricane Death Toll Hits 147 | url = http://www.webster.edu/~corbetre/haiti/misctopic/disaster/deathtoll.htm | author = Michael Norton | publisher = Associated Press | accessdate = 2007-08-24 | date = 1998-09-30] These mudslides destroyed or severely damaged many houses, leaving 167,332 homeless. Damage was greatest along the northern coastline from Cap-Haitien to Gonaives due to the flooding and mudslides.cite web | url = http://web.archive.org/web/20050925101233/http://www.colorado.edu/hazards/sp/sp38/part2.html | title = Hurricane Georges and the Dominican Republic | work = Special Publication 38 - The Storms of '98: Hurricanes Georges and Mitch | author = Richard Stuart Olson, et al. | publisher = University of Colorado at Boulder (via the Wayback Machine) | date = 2001 | accessdate = 2007-08-24] On the southern coast, the head of a U.S.-based medical team, stranded for several days by flooding in the remote town of Belle Anse, anticipated a rise in malnutrition, disease, homelessness and poverty.cite news | author = Clint Williams | title = Hurricane Georges: Cobb medical team stuck in Haiti | publisher = The Atlanta Journal-Constitution | date = 1998-09-26 | pages = A06] cite web | url = http://desastres.unanleon.edu.ni/pdf2/2005/noviembre/pdf/eng/doc10303/doc10303-contenido.pdf | author = Gerónimo Lluberas |title = The Impact of Hurricane Georges on the area of Belle-Anse, Haiti | date = 1998-09-26 | accessdate = 2007-08-24 | format = PDF] Lack of electricity led to a total disruption of Haiti's water supply system, causing a decrease in sanitary conditions across the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.cite web | url = http://wwwnotes.reliefweb.int/w/rwb.nsf/480fa8736b88bbc3c12564f6004c8ad5/7445f2d058e4a12dc125668e004cc37f?OpenDocument | title = Impact Situation Report - Hurricane Georges - Republic of Haiti | author = Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency | publisher = ReliefWeb | date = 1998-09-26 | accessdate = 2007-08-24] In all, 209 people died in Haiti.

Like in the Dominican Republic, the agricultural sector suffered extreme damage. After a severe drought in 1997, Georges's severe flooding stopped any chances of recovering quickly. Most of the country's significant crop land, including Artibonite Valley, suffered total losses. Up to 80% of banana plantations were lost, while vegetable, roots, tubers, and other food crops were ruined. In addition, thousands of small farm animals were either killed or lost. Total agricultural losses amounted to $179 million (1998 USD, $210 million 2006 USD).cite web | title = Eastern Caribbean, Dominican Republic, Haiti - Hurricane Georges Fact Sheet #9, Fiscal Year (FY) 1999 | url = http://iys.cidi.org/disaster/98b/0076.html | date = 1998-10-08 | accessdate = 2007-08-24 | author = Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance | publisher = United States Agency for International Development] The country requested food assistance in the aftermath of the hurricane to alleviate the serious losses.

Cuba

Upon making landfall, Hurricane Georges produced torrential rainfall, amounting to a maximum of 24.41 inches (620 mm) at Limonar in the province of Guantánamo. Several other locations reported over a foot (300 mm) of precipitation as well. Storm surge of 4 – 6 feet (1 – 2 m) was expected along the eastern coastline, along with dangerous waves on top of the surge. Though winds were reduced by the time Georges hit Cuba, it still retained winds of 75 mph (120 km/h), along with stronger gusts in squalls.cite web | url = http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/pub/PAL0798.035 | author = Richard Pasch | title = Hurricane Georges Public Advisory Number 35 | date = 1998-09-23 | accessdate = 2008-08-24 | publisher = National Hurricane Center]

The hurricane's heavy rainfall resulted in mudslides along the mountainous terrain. This, combined with strong winds, damaged 60,475 homes, of which 3,481 were completely destroyed. In the country, 100,000 were left homeless due to Hurricane Georges.cite web | url = http://www.hurricanecity.com/dam/dam1998.htm | title =Damage Reports from 1998 | publisher = Hurricane City | accessdate = 2007-08-24] High winds downed power lines, trees, and telephone poles, leaving many in eastern Cuba without electricity in the aftermath of the storm. Along the coast, severe flooding washed out railroad and highway bridges. Though eastern Cuba was the area most affected, the central and western portion of the island, including Havana, experienced torrential rains and strong wind gusts.cite web | title = OCHA Geneva Situation Report No. 5 | date = 1998-09-29 | accessdate = 2007-08-24 | author = Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs | publisher = United Nations | url = http://iys.cidi.org/disaster/98b/0069.html] There, strong waves broke over the seawall, and caused heavy flood damage to some of the town's old buildings.cite news | url = http://www.cubanet.org/CNews/y98/sep98/28e9.htm | title = Cuba: 4 dead; thousands left without homes | author = Staff writer | publisher = Miami Herald | date = 1998-09-27 | accessdate = 2007-08-24]

Like in Puerto Rico and Hispaniola, the severe drought during the El Niño of 1997 exacerbated the flood's disruption to crops in eastern Cuba. The heavy rainfall from Georges damaged the crops greatly, despite the effort to harvest them prior to its arrival. Up to 70% of the plantain crop, a chief food in the country's diet, was destroyed. The sugarcane crop fared badly as well, limiting one of the country's important export crops. The coffee and cocoa plantations also suffered from the hurricane, further damaging the country's food supply.

Well-executed evacuations and warnings limited the death toll to six, while damage amounted to $40 million (1998 USD, $46 million 2005 USD).cite journal | title = Hurricane Vulnerability in Latin America and The Caribbean: Normalized Damage and Loss Potentials | url = http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/Landsea/NHR-Cuba.pdf | author = Roger A. Pielke Jr., Jose Rubiera, Christopher Landsea, Mario L. Fernández, and Roberta Klein | date = 2003-08-01 | accessdate = 2007-08-28 | volume = 4 | issue = 3 | journal = Natural Hazards Review | format = PDF]

Bahamas

Though Georges was forecast to move through the Bahamas, it passed to the south of the archipelago. It brought 70 mph (110 km/h) winds to Turks and Caicos Islands and South Andros, as well as precipitation in the storm's outer bands. Though damage was minimal, one person died in the country.

outh Florida

The eye of the storm passed near Key West about midday. Upon making landfall, Hurricane Georges brought a storm surge of up to 12 feet (3.6 m) in Tavernier, Florida, with similar but lesser amounts along the Florida Keys. The islands, some only 7 feet (2 m) high and 300 yards (275 m) wide, are easily flooded, and with up to 10 foot (3 m) waves many parts of the Overseas Highway were under water. Strong winds downed palm trees and power lines, leaving all of the Keys without power. Georges's waves overturned 2 boats in Key West, damaged 1,536 houses, and destroyed 173 homes, many of which were mobile homes. Rainfall amounts amounted to a maximum of 8.41 inches (210 mm) in Tavernier, while other locations reported lesser amounts. Damage in the Florida Keys amounted to $200 million (1998 USD, $235 million 2006 USD).cite news | url = http://www.cnn.com/US/9810/02/georges.aftermath/ | title = Gulf Coast damage estimates trickle in for Georges | author = Staff writer | publisher = CNN | date = 1998-10-02 | accessdate = 2007-08-24]

Further up the coast, the hurricane's outer bands produced light rainfall of up to 3 inches (80 mm). Strong winds knocked down power lines, leaving 200,000 without power in the Miami area. Damage was minimal, and there were no reported casualties.

Louisiana

Georges's strong storm surge caused extensive beach erosion and flooding on the Chandeleur Islands, the first line of protection for the coasts of Louisiana and Mississippi. The long island chain was reduced to a few banks of sand in the Gulf. Grand Gosier, the home to a flock of the endangered Brown Pelicans, experienced severe flooding, destroying their habitats.

Upon making landfall, Hurricane Georges brought a storm surge peaking at 8.9 feet (2.4 m) in Pointe a la Hache, Louisiana, along with higher waves on top of it. Located on the weaker side of the storm, rainfall totals were low, and amounted to a maximum of 3 inches (8 cm). Winds were generally light, peaking at 45 mph (70 km/h). Overall, damage was minimal in Louisiana. High winds downed power lines, leaving 160,000 without electricity across the state.cite news | title = Georges deluges Gulf Coast | author = Staff writer | publisher = CNN (via the Wayback Machine) | date = 1998-09-29 | accessdate = 2007-08-24 | url = http://web.archive.org/web/20061213182254/http://www.cnn.com/WEATHER/9809/28/georges.05/] In the state, Hurricane Georges caused $25 million (1998 USD, $29 million 2006 USD) in damage, but no deaths due to well-executed evacuations.

Mississippi

Upon making landfall, Hurricane Georges brought a storm surge of up to 8.9 feet (2.7 m) in Biloxi, Mississippi. While stalling over the southern portion of the state, it produced torrential rainfall, amounting to 16.7 inches (420 mm) in Pascagoula. The heavy rainfall contributed to significant river overflowing, including the Tchoutacabouffa River at D'Iberville, which set a record crest of 19 feet (5.7 m). The overflown rivers in the southern portion of the state flooded homes and forced more to evacuate just days after the hurricane came through. In addition, squall lines spawned multiple tornadoes, damaging evacuation shelters in Pascagoula and Gautier.

Beach erosion occurred along the coastline, resulting in some property damage on beach houses. Around Biloxi, coastal casinos and the shipyards experienced little from the storm. Inland, high winds and flooding caused extensive damage to homes.cite web | url = http://web.archive.org/web/20060220123430/http://www.fema.gov/fima/mat/pdfs/fema338/glf_sec6.pdf | work = Building Performance Assessment: Hurricane Georges In The Gulf Coast |title = Flood Observations: Damages and Successes | publisher = Federal Emergency Management Agency (via the Wayback Machine) | accessdate = 2007-08-24] Georges's winds downed power lines, leaving 230,000 without power after the storm. After the storm, over 6,800 people stayed in 49 different shelters. One shelter in Forrest County was damaged, forcing the citizens to another camp. The shelters experienced roof damage and severe power outages, though one problem that could not be overcome was the language barrier with immigrants. Overall, Hurricane Georges caused $665 million (1998 USD, $779 million 2006 USD) in damage, though no deaths due to well-executed evacuations.

Alabama

Upon making landfall, Georges brought a strong storm surge peaking at 11.9 feet (3.6 m) in Fort Morgan, along with 25 foot (7.6 m) waves on top of it. [http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/1998georges.html NHC Georges Report] ] [http://www.usatoday.com/weather/huricane/1998/wgrgedmg.htm Overall Impact] ] While moving slowly through the state, it dropped torrential rainfall, peaking at 29.66 inches (75 cm) in Bay Minette. Outer squalls spawned tornadoes in the southeast portion of the state, though damage from them was minimal. [http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/1998georges.html NHC Georges Report] ] Along the coastline, heavy rainfall and strong waves caused extensive property damage. In Gulf Shores, for example, 251 houses, 16 apartment buildings, and 70 businesses experienced significant damage. On the barrier island, Dauphin Island, the hurricane destroyed 50 houses and left 40 uninhabitable. [http://www.cnn.com/US/9810/02/georges.aftermath/ United States totals] ] Further inland, high winds downed power lines and trees, leaving 177,000 people without power after the storm. [http://www.usatoday.com/weather/huricane/1998/wgrgedmg.htm Overall Impact] ] 17 shelters housed 4,977 people in the aftermath of the storm. Damage to the buildings were minimal to non-existent, with the only direct effect from the hurricane being a brief interruption of electricity. [http://www.floridadisaster.org/bpr/Response/Plans/Nathaz/hurricanes/georges.pdf Before and After Effects] ]

Overall, damage in Alabama amounted to $125 million (1998 USD, $146 million 2006 USD). Freshwater flooding in Mobile resulted in one death, the only death in the United States. [http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/1998georges.html NHC Georges Report] ]

Florida Panhandle

Upon making landfall, Hurricane Georges produced a storm surge of up to 10 feet (3 m), with higher waves on top of it. As it moved slowly through the northern Gulf Coast, it produced torrential rainfall amounting to a maximum of 38 inches (960 mm) in Munson, with other locations reporting over 20 inches (510 mm). Winds were light, peaking at 50 mph (80 km/h) along the coast, though Eglin Air Force Base recorded a wind gust of 90 mph (145 km/h). Outer squalls produced a tornado outbreak of 28 twisters, most of which occurred in northwestern Florida. [http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/1998georges.html NHC Georges Report] ]

6,525 people stayed in 34 shelters in the Florida Panhandle, though the shelters experienced little from the hurricane. [http://www.floridadisaster.org/bpr/Response/Plans/Nathaz/hurricanes/georges.pdf Before and After Effects] ] Damage amounted to $100 million (1998 USD, $117 million 2006 USD), though no deaths were reported. [http://www.cnn.com/US/9810/02/georges.aftermath/ United States totals] ]

Georgia

In Georgia, the remnants of Georges dropped convert|4|in|mm of rain across Franklin County. [NCDC (1998) [http://www4.ncdc.noaa.gov/cgi-win/wwcgi.dll?wwevent~ShowEvent~352299 Georgia Event Details] URL Accessed: July 13, 2006] In Appling County however, rainfall of 5-7 inches closed several roads and left $10,000 (1998 USD) in damage. [NCDC (1998) [http://www4.ncdc.noaa.gov/cgi-win/wwcgi.dll?wwevent~ShowEvent~318654 Georgia Event Details] URL Accessed: July 13, 2006] Atkinson County also reported flood damage of $15,000 (1998 USD) in damage. [NCDC (1998) [http://www4.ncdc.noaa.gov/cgi-win/wwcgi.dll?wwevent~ShowEvent~318655 Georgia Event Details] URL Accessed: July 13, 1998] Stewart County, received over convert|5|in|mm of rain which caused extensive flooding that left several roads impassable. Damage from the storm totaled to $33,000 (1998 USD). [NCDC (1998) [http://www4.ncdc.noaa.gov/cgi-win/wwcgi.dll?wwevent~ShowEvent~316132 Georgia Event Details] URL Accessed:July 13, 2006] In the town of Lumpkin, a funnel cloud was reported but there were no damage. [NCDC (1998) [http://www4.ncdc.noaa.gov/cgi-win/wwcgi.dll?wwevent~ShowEvent~320238 Georgia Event Details] URL Accessed: July 13, 1998] In addition to the flooding, the remnants of Georges spawned numerous tornadoes across the state of Georgia. In Randolph County, an F1 tornado uprooted several trees and injured one person. Damage from the tornado totaled up to $500,000 dollars (1998 USD) [NCDC (1998) [http://www4.ncdc.noaa.gov/cgi-win/wwcgi.dll?wwevent~ShowEvent~351484 Georgia Event Details] URL Accessed: July 13, 1998]

Retirement

The name Georges was retired in the spring of 1999 and will never again be used in the Atlantic basin. It was replaced with Gaston in the 2004 season.

ee also

* List of Atlantic hurricanes
* List of retired Atlantic hurricane names
* List of wettest tropical cyclones in the United States

Effects

* Effects of Hurricane Georges in the Dominican Republic
* Effects of Hurricane Georges in the Lesser Antilles
* Effects of Hurricane Georges in Puerto Rico

External links

* [http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/1998georges.html NHC Georges Report]
* [http://www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov/tropical/rain/georges1998.html HPC Georges Rainfall Report for the United States]

Notes


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