Hurricane Opal

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Hurricane Opal
Category 4 hurricane (SSHS)
Hurricane Opal in the Gulf of Mexico
Formed September 27, 1995
Dissipated October 6, 1995
Highest winds 1-minute sustained:
150 mph (240 km/h)
Lowest pressure 916 mbar (hPa); 27.05 inHg
Fatalities 59 direct, 10 indirect[source?]
Damage $3.9 billion (1995 USD)
Areas affected Guatemala, Yucatán Peninsula, Alabama, Florida Panhandle, Georgia, most of eastern North America
Part of the 1995 Atlantic hurricane season

Hurricane Opal was a major hurricane that formed in the Gulf of Mexico in September 1995.

Opal was the 9th hurricane of the highly active 1995 Atlantic hurricane season. Opal was the strongest hurricane of the 1995 Atlantic hurricane season. It crossed the Yucatán Peninsula while still a tropical depression from September 27, then strengthened northward in the Gulf, becoming the most powerful Category 4 Atlantic hurricane before making a second landfall, October 4, in the Florida Panhandle near Pensacola as a 125-mph (201-km/h) hurricane. Opal devastated the Pensacola/Panhandle area with a 15-ft (5-m) storm surge and travelled up the entire state of Alabama, becoming a tropical storm in Tennessee. Opal also caused heavy damage in the mid-Atlantic states before dissipating.

Afterward, 50 people had died from flooding by Opal in Guatemala and Mexico, with another 13 deaths in the United States directly or indirectly related to Opal. Preliminary damage estimates were $3 billion.[1]

Meteorological history[change | edit source]

Storm path

The beginning of this storm started from a tropical wave that moved off of Africa on September 11. It disappeared into a low pressure while in the Caribbean Sea several days later. The wave was found again on September 27 and was good enough to become Tropical Depression Eighteen. Tropical Depression Eighteen made landfall in the Yucatán Peninsula shortly afterword. On September 30 Tropical Depression Eighteen strengthened into Tropical Storm Opal. Tropical Storm Opal continued west until October 2. On October 2 it turned northeast and strengthened into Hurricane Opal. After that Hurricane Opal strengthened fast and reached it's top winds of 150 mph (making it a category 4) on October 4, only two days after becoming a hurricane. Hurricane Opal continued northeast and weakened a little and made its last landfall in Santa Rosa Island, Florida on October 4 while a category 3 hurricane. Hurricane Opal did not weaken to a tropical storm till it was in Tennessee. Tropical Storm Opal weakened into a depression while it was over Ohio. Tropical Depression Opal became extratropical over Canada and died on October 6.[2]

Retirement[change | edit source]

See also: List of retired Atlantic hurricane names

The name "Opal" was retired in the Spring of 1996. In 2001, the name "Olga" was used instead, Olga was also used in 2007, and could be used in 2013.

Other pages[change | edit source]

References[change | edit source]

  1. "weather.com — Storm Encyclopedia" (section "Hurricane Opal"), Weather.com, 2007, webpage: WeatherCom-1995-storms.
  2. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/1995opal.html