1945 Southeast Florida Hurricane

Hurricane Nine
1945 Homestead hurricane
Category 4 hurricane (SSHS)
Surface weather analysis of the hurricane on September 16
Formed September 12, 1945 (1945-09-12)
Dissipated September 18, 1945 (1945-09-19)
Highest winds 1-minute sustained:
130 mph (215 km/h)
Lowest pressure 949 mbar (hPa); 28.02 inHg
Fatalities 26 total
Damage $54.115 million (1945 USD)
Areas affected Leeward Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands, Bahamas, Florida, Georgia, The Carolinas
Part of the 1945 Atlantic hurricane season

The 1945 Homestead hurricane was the most intense tropical cyclone of the 1945 Atlantic hurricane season. It made landfall on Homestead, Florida, with estimated sustained winds of 135 miles per hour (217 km/h). The ninth tropical storm, third Atlantic hurricane, and third major hurricane of the season, it developed east-northeast of the Leeward Islands on September 12. It moved briskly west-northwest, and it attained winds of 115 mph (185 km/h) on September 13, becoming the equivalent of a Category 3 hurricane. It moved over the Turks and Caicos Islands on September 14, and it struck Andros on September 15. Later, it intensified to its peak intensity over the Gulf Stream, and it made landfall on Key Largo and southern Dade County.

Meteorological history

Early on September 12, a tropical storm of unknown intensity was detected 200 miles (320 km) east of Antigua,[1] prompting hurricane warnings for the Leeward Islands and Guadeloupe to Sint Maarten. The cyclone is believed to have attained hurricane status late on September 11.[2] Later, the hurricane quickly intensified to the equivalent of a Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. On September 13, the hurricane reached peak winds of 110 mph (175 km/h), moving westward north of the Greater Antilles.[2] On September 14, the deepening storm strengthened to the equivalent of a major hurricane, and it swiftly passed south of Grand Turk Island. The local weather station estimated gusts of 150 mph (240 km/h) over the island.[3]

On September 15, the hurricane made landfall on the southern portion of Andros with 125 mph (200 km/h) sustained winds.[2] Later, the cyclone strengthened over the Gulf Stream, striking the northern half of Key Largo around 3:30 p.m. EDT.[4] The light station at Carysfort Reef reported winds of 138 mph (220 km/h) from a southwest direction.[4] The hurricane crossed southern Biscayne Bay and passed over the Army Air Base in the city of Homestead, Florida.[4] On September 16, the hurricane weakened and turned north-northeast over central Florida, and the winds decreased to 75 mph (120 km/h).[2] Early on September 17, the low pressure system re-entered the Atlantic Ocean near Atlantic Beach, Florida as a tropical storm.[2] It crossed the coast near Parris Island, South Carolina, producing wind gusts of hurricane force.[4] The system transitioned to an extratropical cyclone on September 18 as it moved inland over the Mid-Atlantic states.[2] On September 20, it dissipated 310 miles (495 km) east of Saint John's, Newfoundland and Labrador.[2]

Preparations

Although hurricane warnings were initially issued for the Leeward Islands and Guadeloupe through Sint Maarten, the cyclone passed north of the Lesser Antilles.[2] In advance of the storm, aircraft were evacuated from the Naval Air Station in Miami, Florida.[3] In total, hundreds of planes left vulnerable locations.[5] Residents were advised to heed advisories in Florida, the Bahamas, and northern Cuba.[3] On September 15, hurricane force winds were expected to affect areas from Fort Lauderdale, Florida through the Florida Keys, and hurricane warnings were accordingly released for this region. Storm warnings also extended north to Melbourne and Tampa.[5] Military personnel sought shelter at Hialeah Race Track, while residents boarded homes and evacuated from coastal areas to public structures.[5] Boats were utilized to transport people from barrier islands, and small watercraft were secured along the Miami River.[5]

Impact

In the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands, 22 people were killed.[4] The hurricane demolished three-quarters of the structures on Grand Turk Island, while the remaining intact buildings were damaged.[6] The cyclone also produced heavy damage on Long Island, though damages were not reported in Nassau.[7] Peak gusts were estimated near 40 mph (65 km/h) in the city.[6] After the storm, The Daily Gleaner initiated a fund to offer aid for residents in the Turks and Caicos Islands.[6]

In south Florida, peak gusts were estimated near 150 mph (240 km/h) at the Army Air Base in Homestead.[4] The strong winds destroyed 1,632 residences across the state, while 5,372 homes received damages.[4] The hurricane was the second-strongest tropical cyclone, after the 1926 Miami hurricane (145 mph (233 km/h), 930 mb (27.5 inHg)), to strike Dade County, though Hurricane Andrew (165 mph (266 km/h), 922 mb (27.2 inHg)) in 1992 moved the storm to third place.[2] In Miami, gusts reached 107 mph (170 km/h), and damages were minimal compared to communities in southern Dade County.[4] 200 people were injured at the Richmond Naval Air Station[8] when a fire ignited during the storm, affecting three hangars and destroying 25 blimps, 366 planes, and 150 automobiles.[4] An additional fire also destroyed a furniture factory and a tile manufacturing plant in the northwestern portion of downtown Miami.[8] More than 1,000 Red Cross workers were activated in response to the cyclone.[9] In the Florida Keys, hundreds of residences were damaged.[8] Four people died across the state.[4]

In Charleston, South Carolina, strong winds caused high waves, but the storm arrived at low tide and produced modest damage. Rainfall peaked at 6.40 inches (163 mm).[10] In Aiken, South Carolina, heavy precipitation caused damage to unpaved streets.[11] Inland, the system produced heavy rainfall over North Carolina, peaking at 8 inches (203 mm) in the state.[12] Previous precipitation over the past 3–5 days led to saturated grounds, allowing new water to spill into streams. Many crop fields and dwellings were flooded near the Cape Fear River as levels rose to record heights. The towns of Moncure, Fayetteville, and Elizabethtown exceeded flood stage levels. Broken dams in Richmond County produced significant flash floods.[12] Few deaths were reported, but economic losses were extensive.[12] In Hopewell, New Jersey, the remnants of the system produced winds of 50 mph (80 km/h), though major damage was not reported.[13]

See also

Tropical cyclones portal

References

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