Geographic And Seasonal Distribution Origin

Typically, in the Atlantic Ocean basin tropical storms and hurricanes develop over warm water between around 10°N to 35°N, generally, during the summer and fall. During an average year about 16 tropical cyclones develop in the eastern Pacific and approximately 10 in the Atlantic including the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea (Neumann, 1993). During the period of record, tropical cyclones fail to develop south of the equator in the Western Hemisphere east of 130 W because of one or more of the following factors: the relatively cold ocean temperature, typically strong winds in the upper troposphere, or the absence of an initiation area for tropical low-pressure systems with an associated cluster of thunderstorms (Gray, 1968).* Elsewhere these storms develop in the Indian Ocean, western Pacific, and eastern Pacific

*McAdie and Rappaport (1991), however, discussed the formation of a weak tropical cyclone in the south Atlantic west of tropical Africa in 1991.

4 GEOGRAPHIC AND SEASONAL DISTRIBUTION: ORIGIN 795

TABLE 1 "Retired" Atlantic Hurricane Names through 1994

Year

Name

Location

U.S. Costs (1990S) and Total Casualties, etc.

1954

Carol

Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama

$2.37 billion, 60 deaths

1954

Hazel

Antilles, North and South Carolina

$144 billion, 1000 deaths

1955

Connie

North Carolina

25 deaths

1955

Diane

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast U.S.

$4.20 billion, 184 deaths

1955

lone

North Carolina

$444 million

1955

Janet

Lesser Antilles, Belize, and Mexico

538 deaths

1957

Audrey

Louisiana and North Texas

$696 million, 550 deaths

1960

Donna

Bahamas, Florida, and eastern U.S.

$1.82 billion, 364 deaths

1961

Carla

Texas

$1.93 billion, 46 deaths

1963

Flora

Haiti and Cuba

8000 deaths

1964

Cleo

Lesser Antilles, Haiti, Cuba,

$595 million, 213 deaths

southeast Florida

1964

Dora

Northeast Florida

$1.16 billion

1964

Hilda

Louisiana

$579 million, 304 deaths

1965

Betsy

Bahamas, southeast Florida,

$6.46 billion, 75 deaths

southeast Louisiana

1966

Inez

Lesser Antilles, Hispaniola, Cuba,

1000 deaths

Florida Keys, Mexico

1967

Beulah

Antilles, Mexico, South Texas

$844 million; most tornadoes,

115, ever associated with a

hurricane

1969

Camille

Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama

$5.24 billion, 256 deaths

1970

Celia

South Texas

$1.56 billion

1972

Agnes

Florida, northeast U.S.

$5.24 billion, 122 deaths

1975

Eloise

Antilles, northwest Florida, and

$1.08 billion

Alabama

1979

David

Lesser Antilles, Hispaniola, Florida,

$487 million, 2000 deaths

and eastern U.S.

1988

Joan

Curacao, Venezuela, Columbia, and

216 deaths; crossed into Pacific

Nicaragua

and was renamed Miriam

1989

Hugo

Antilles and South Carolina

$7.16 billion, 56 deaths

1990

Diana

Mexico

96 deaths

1990

Klaus

Martinique

1991

Bob

North Carolina and northeast U.S.

$1.5 billion

1992

Andrew

Bahamas, South Florida, and

> $25 billion

Louisiana

1995

Luis

Leeward Islands

$2.5 billion, 16 deaths

1995

Marilyn

Virgin Islands

$1.5 billion, 8 deaths

1995

Opal

Mexico, Florida

$3 billion, 59 deaths

1995

Roxanne

Mexico

$1.5 billion, 14 deaths

After Pielke and Pielke (1997).

After Pielke and Pielke (1997).

TABLE 2 Saffir/Simpson Hurricane Scale

Category

Central Pressure (mbars) (inches)

Winds (mph)

Surge (ft)

Damage

1

>980

>28.94

74-95

4-5

Minimal

2

965-979

28.50-28.91

96-110

6-8

Moderate

3

945-964

27.91-28.47

111-130

9-12

Extensive

4

920-944

27.17-27.88

131-155

13-18

Extreme

5

<920

<27.17

> 155

> 18

Catastrophic

north of the equator (Fig. 1). The western north Pacific is the most active area with an annual average of more than 26 tropical cyclones. Globally, there are about 84 tropical cyclones each year with an annual average of 45 that reach hurricane strength (Neumann, 1993).

Hurricanes are classified by their damage potential according to a scale developed in the 1970s by Robert Simpson, a meteorologist and then-director of the National Hurricane Center, and Herbert Saffir, a consulting engineer in Dade County, Florida (Simpson and Riehl, 1981). The Saffir/Simpson scale was developed by the National Weather Service to give public officials information on the magnitude of a storm in progress and is now widely used by producers and users of hurricane forecasts. The scale has five categories, with category 1 representing the least intense hurricane and category 5 the most intense. Table 2 shows the Saffir/Simpson scale and the corresponding criteria for classification.

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