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1979 Hurricane Season

By Wikipedia

The 1979 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 Frederic.

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.

Atlantic hurricane seasons
1970 1971 1972 1973 1974
1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980

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.

  • Henri
  • 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.

Hurricane Bob

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 intensity.

Hurricane David

Main Article: Hurricane David

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 damage.

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 floods.

Hurricane Frederic

Main Article: Hurricane Frederic

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.

Hurricane Gloria

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 later.

Hurricane Henri

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.


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Courtesy of NASA

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