1979 Hurricane Season
Atlantic hurricane season was an ongoing event in the annual cycle of
tropical cyclone formation. It officially started June 1, 1979, and lasted
until November 30, 1979.
Notable storms of 1979 include Hurricane
David and Hurricane
Hurricane David was a Cape
Verde-type hurricane that made landfall in the Dominican Republic near
Santo Domingo at Category 5 strength. The
storm travelled north and tracked up the Florida coastline until it
finally made landfall at greatly reduced strength near Savannah Beach,
Georgia. David killed roughly 2060, most in the Dominican Republic.
Damages to the United States were minimal, but the Dominican Republic and
Dominica suffered widespread damage.
Hurricane Frederic became one of the costliest hurricanes on record
when it made landfall near the border between Mississippi and Alabama.
Frederic caused over $2.3 billion ($5.0 billion in 2000 dollars) in
damage, and was the most expensive storm to hit the US until Hurricane
Hugo in 1989. Frederic still holds a position as the seventh most
expensive hurricane to hit the US, both with and without adjustments for
inflation. Nine deaths were directly attributed to Hurricane Frederic.
The 1979 Atlantic Hurricane Season was the first season to use a full
list of pre-chosen names since naming of storms began. It is also the
first season to be composed of male and female names. 1979's Hurricane Bob
is the first intentional male Hurricane since naming began.
1979 storm names
The following names were used for named storms (tropical storms and
hurricanes) that formed in the North Atlantic in 1979. The names not
retired from this list were used again in the 1985
season. This season was the first in which men's names were included
on the list (from the early 1950s when the naming system was introduced
until 1978, women's names were used exclusively for ravaging storms).
Names that were not assigned are marked in gray.
- Isabel (unused)
- Juan (unused)
- Kate (unused)
- Larry (unused)
- Mindy (unused)
- Nicholas (unused)
- Odette (unused)
- Peter (unused)
- Rose (unused)
- Sam (unused)
- Teresa (unused)
- Victor (unused)
- Wanda (unused)
Tropical Storm Ana
Ana formed as a tropical depression east of the Lesser Antilles. She
was one of the first tropical storms to develop that far east during the
month of June. The depression curved gently northwest and strengthened
into Tropical Storm Ana a hundred miles northeast of Barbados. Ana crossed
the Leeward Islands and weakened into a tropical depression. The storm
dissipated the next morning.
Bob was a weak hurricane that formed in the western Gulf of Mexico and
curved northeast. Bob strengthened rapidly, reaching hurricane strength a
couple hundred miles south of the Louisiana coast on July 11. It made
landfall near Dulac, Louisiana later that day, killing one person and
causing $20 million in damage.
Tropical Storm Claudette
Claudette was a long-lived (August 15 - August 29) but fairly weak
storm that spent almost its entire life as a tropical depression.
Claudette formed in the mid-Atlantic east of the Windward Islands. It had
two spells as a tropical storm; the first was a brief one east of Puerto
Rico. The storm passed directly over the island just after weakening,
where it killed one person from flooding. The depression moved casually
through the Greater Antilles and moved into the Gulf of Mexico. Claudette
restrengthened into a tropical storm south of Sabine, Texas and made
landfall near Port Arthur, killing one person from floods. Damages from
flooding in Texas were enormous, totaling $400 million dollars. Claudette
was one of the costliest storms on record that never reached hurricane
Main Article: Hurricane
David ranks as one of the strongest and deadliest storms on record. It
formed in the mid-Atlantic east of the Windward Islands from a tropical
wave. The storm headed west, steadily strengthening. By the time David
reached the Leeward Islands, it was at Category 4 intensity. David
continued strengthening and reached Category 5 status south of Puerto
Rico. It spent nearly two days at category 5 intensity, storming through
Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic. Hispaniola worked
its magic though; David exited the island as a weak Category 1. It
strengthened into a Category 2 off the south Florida coast. The western
eyewall crossed the shoreline near Fort Lauderdale and continued up the
entire length of the coast. The beach erosion was severe. David made
landfall near Savannah, Georgia as a Category 1, and dissipated inland.
David had killed over 2,000 people in Hispaniola, 56 people on the island
of Dominica, and 12 people in the U.S. as well as causing $320 million in
Tropical Storm Elena
Tropical Depression Five formed in the Gulf of Mexico on August 30 and
strengthened into Tropical Storm Elena on August 30th. Elena never
strengthened further and made landfall near Sargent, Texas as a weak
tropical storm, rapidly degenerating as it moved inland. It caused less
than $10 million dollars in damage but managed to kill two people in
Main Article: Hurricane
Frederic was a long-lived Cape Verde-type hurricane. It first became a
hurricane in the mid-Atlantic east of the Windward Islands but soon
weakened back into a tropical storm. Frederic crossed Hispaniola and
weakened into a tropical depression. Frederic then crossed Cuba and
regained tropical storm strength before entering the Gulf of Mexico. It
was then that Frederic started to strengthen rapidly. By the time he
reached a point just east of the Mississippi River Delta, Frederic was a
Category 4. It made landfall near the Alabama/Mississippi border.Thanks to
prior warning, the death toll was a minimal five people; however, damages
soared to $2.3 billion dollars.
Gloria was a minor hurricane that stayed out to sea. It formed near
Cape Verde and was a tropical depression for a while before beginning to
strengthen. Gloria reached peak intensity in the mid-Atlantic with
sustained winds of 95 miles per hour and a central pressure of 975
millibars. Gloria became extratropical over the north Atlantic two days
Henri was a weak hurricane that took an unusual track through the Gulf
of Mexico. It formed as a tropical depression off Cancun and curved around
the peninsula, entering the Bay of Campeche. Henri quickly strengthened
into a tropical storm and reached hurricane strength on September 17. It
soon weakened back to a tropical storm and stalled off Tampico, Mexico.
Henri then doubled back the way he came, weakened into a tropical
depression, and curved sharply east into the open Gulf of Mexico,
dissipating in the eastern Gulf. No damage was reported.
Subtropical Storm One
Subtropical Storm One formed south of Bermuda on October 23, and headed
north. The subtropical depression grazed Bermuda and became a tropical
storm. This unnamed storm headed north and continued to strengthen. The
storm briefly reached hurricane strength before weakening back into a
tropical storm. The storm made landfall on Newfoundland on the 25th and
dissipated later that day. No damage was reported.