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Hurricane Floyd (1987)

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Hurricane Floyd
Category 1 hurricane (SSHWS/NWS)
Floyd 12 oct 1987 1313Z.jpg
Satellite image of Hurricane Floyd approaching Florida
FormedOctober 9, 1987
DissipatedOctober 13, 1987
Highest winds1-minute sustained: 75 mph (120 km/h)
Lowest pressure993 mbar (hPa); 29.32 inHg
Fatalities1 reported
Damage$500,000 (1987 USD)
Areas affectedCuba, Florida and The Bahamas
Part of the 1987 Atlantic hurricane season

Hurricane Floyd was the only hurricane to make landfall in the United States during the 1987 Atlantic hurricane season. It was the last of seven tropical storms and three hurricanes. Floyd developed on 9 October just off the east coast of Nicaragua. It then became a tropical storm. After this, it moved northward and crossed western Cuba. Because a cold front was approaching, Floyd suddenly turned to the northeast. Late on 12 October it became a hurricane near the Florida Keys. It moved through the south of Florida. It produced two tornadoes and caused some damage. The hurricane also produced rip tides. This killed one person in southern Texas. Floyd was a hurricane for only twelve hours. After this, because of the cold front, it became weak. It passed through the Bahamas before becoming extratropical. It dissipated on 14 October.

Meteorological history[change | change source]

Storm path

Hurricane Floyd originated from a low pressure area in the Gulf of Honduras on October 5. It drifted eastward in the next few days. Then, it moved southward. It moved to a place off the east coast of Nicaragua. On October 9, a Hurricane Hunters flight confirmed that an organized circulation was formed. This showed that the year's thirteenth tropical depression had developed. It drifted more to the south. Then the depression turned to the north and later northwest. This was because a ridge was formed to its east. With an anticyclone over it, the depression gradually organized. It then became stronger and was named Tropical Storm Floyd on October 10.[1]

After it became a tropical storm, Floyd accelerated to the north in the western Caribbean Sea. This was because a cold front was approaching. It steadily became more intense. The storm moved over extreme western Cuba early on October 12.[1] Initially it was forecast to make landfall in the United States between Naples and Fort Myers, Florida. Suddenly, the storm moved sharply northeastward. It went into the southeastern Gulf of Mexico.[2] The Hurricane Hunters gave reports which said Floyd got the status of a hurricane on October 12 for a short time. Around the same time, the nearby cold front created a low pressure area. This cut off the hurricane's inflow. While moving through the Florida Keys, Floyd became the only hurricane to affect the United States that year. However, its convection was decreasing very fast over the center due to the front. Soon after this, Floyd weakened to tropical storm status. The circulation became nearly impossible to track on satellite imagery.[1] But surface observations showed it passed just south of Miami. The storm turned extratropical. It went to a process called extratropical transition, meaning it was changed from tropical storm to an extratropical one. This happened as it weakened over the Bahamas. Floyd was no longer a tropical cyclone by late on October 18. The circulation dissipated within the cold front early the next day.[3]

Preparations and impact[change | change source]

Rainfall totals for Hurricane Floyd

Around when Floyd first became a tropical storm, a tropical storm warning was issued for the Swan Islands and Grand Cayman. Soon after this, a tropical storm warning and hurricane watch was issued for the northeast Yucatán Peninsula. The storm caused heavy rainfall along the coast after this warning was issued.[4][5] A tropical storm warning and hurricane watch were also issued for Cuba west of Havana.[4] To prepare themselves for the storm, Cuban officials in Pinar del Río Province evacuated 100,000 people, as well as 40,000 head of cattle. International flights were also canceled for a day when Floyd was passing.[6] Floyd passed over Western Cuba as a tropical storm. But it left no serious damage or killed anyone in the country.[2]

When Floyd was a tropical storm located over Cuba, the National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane warning for the Florida Keys. The southwest Florida coast to Venice also got a warning. It was the first warning in the state related to the storm. It was issued as the National Hurricane Center anticipated Floyd to become more intense into a hurricane. It was also issued because there was not much time left for this.[2] A tropical storm watch, and then a warning, was issued for eastern Florida too.[4] But the track became more easterly after this. So, a hurricane warning was issued for southeastern Florida.[2] It was also issued for the northwestern Bahamas.[7] Officials in southern Florida closed schools due to the storm.[6] A few flights were canceled at Miami International Airport. About 100 F-4 and F16 fighter jets were transported out of Homestead Air Force Base to safer places. The American Red Cross opened 55 shelters in 10 Florida counties. They had 2,000 people at some point. This was mainly in Lee County.[8] People in the hurricane's path prepared by buying supplies from supermarkets, keeping the gas in their vehicles full and keeping loose outside items safe.[9]

Floyd was the first named storm to strike southern Florida in two years. The last one was Hurricane Bob in 1985.[10] While passing south of Florida, Floyd produced its strongest winds over water away and from land. The strongest wind in the Florida Keys was 59 mph (94 km/h) at Duck Key. But wind gusts were stronger. The Air Force station on Cudjoe Key reported an unofficial gust of 92 mph (152 km/h). Rainfall directly from Floyd's rainbands was very low, about 1 in (25 mm). But, the interaction between the hurricane and the approaching cold front caused much heavier rainfall.[3] It reached as far north as Daytona. The highest rainfall was 10.07 in (256 mm) in Fort Pierce.[11] Floyd created a waterspout that moved ashore in Rock Harbor. It damaged a few boats and homes.[3] The hurricane produced rip tides. They went far west as the Texas coast. It killed one person along South Padre Island.[12]

Across southern Florida, the hurricane left minor damage of around $500,000 (1987 USD).[13] This was largely due to falling of trees and damaging of power lines. There was also minor crop damage in Dade County.[2] The rainfall flooded roads in southern Florida. This caused several vehicles to fail on the Florida Turnpike.[6] After affecting Florida, Floyd caused minor wind damage in the Bahamas.[2] In the country, the highest reported gust was 48 mph (77 km/h). This was at Freeport, Grand Bahama. Freeport International Airport reported sustained winds of 40 mph (64 km/h) from the remnants of Floyd.[14]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Gilbert C. Clark (1987-10-27). "Hurricane Floyd Preliminary Report (Page 1)" (GIF). National Hurricane Center. Retrieved 2011-07-13.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Gilbert C. Clark (1987-10-27). "Hurricane Floyd Preliminary Report (Page 3)" (GIF). National Hurricane Center. Retrieved 2011-07-14.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Gilbert C. Clark (1987-10-27). "Hurricane Floyd Preliminary Report (Page 2)" (GIF). National Hurricane Center. Retrieved 2011-07-13.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Gilbert C. Clark (1987-10-27). "Table 3. Watches and Warnings for Hurricane Floyd, October 1987" (GIF). National Hurricane Center. Retrieved 2011-07-14.
  5. Staff Writer (1987-10-11). "Storms Cause Heavy Rains". The Victoria Advocate. Associated Press. Retrieved 2011-07-14.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Staff Writer (1987-10-12). "Storm gains strength, nears Florida". The Dispatch. Associated Press. Retrieved 2011-07-14.
  7. Gilbert C. Clark (1987-10-27). "Table 3. Watches and Warnings for Hurricane Floyd, October 1987 (page 2)" (GIF). National Hurricane Center. Retrieved 2011-07-14.
  8. Richard Cole (1987-10-13). "Floyd Brushes Over Keys, Miami, Moves Out to Sea". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Associated Press. Retrieved 2011-07-14.
  9. Mark Zaloudek (1987-10-13). "Floyd Misses Gulf Coast - Which Doesn't Miss Floyd". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved 2011-07-14.
  10. Staff Writer (1987-10-13). "Floyd rolls over Florida". Star-News. Associated Press. Retrieved 2011-07-17.
  11. David Roth (2005-09-25). "Hurricane Floyd - October 10-13, 1987". Hydrometeorological Prediction Center. Archived from the original on 2011-05-18. Retrieved 2011-07-14.
  12. Staff Writer (1987-10-13). "Hurricane Floyd causes riptide along Texas coast". The Bonham Daily Favorite. Associated Press. Retrieved 2011-07-17.
  13. Robert A. Case and Harold Gerrish (April 1988). "Atlantic Hurricane Season of 1987" (PDF). Monthly Weather Review. American Meteorological Society. 116. Retrieved 2011-07-14.
  14. Staff Writer (1987-10-14). "Floyd Nicks Bahamas, Fades Into Oblivion". Miami Herald. Retrieved 2009-07-03.

Tropical cyclones of the 1987 Atlantic hurricane season

Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale
TD TS C1 C2 C3 C4 C5