|Formed||October 9, 1780|
|Dissipated||October 20, 1780|
|Highest winds||Gusts:200 mph (325 km/h)|
(Deadliest Atlantic hurricane on record)
|Areas affected||Lesser Antilles, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, Bermuda, possibly East Florida and some U.S. states|
|Part of the 1780 Atlantic hurricane season|
The Great Hurricane of 1780, also known as Huracán San Calixto, the Great Hurricane of the Antilles, and the 1780 Disaster,is the deadliest Atlantic hurricane on record. Between 22,000 and 27,501 people died throughout the Lesser Antilles when the storm passed through them from October 10–16. Specifics on the hurricane's track and strength are unknown because the official Atlantic hurricane database goes back only to 1851.
The hurricane struck Barbados likely as a Category 5 hurricane, with at least one estimate of wind speeds as high as 200 mph (320 km/h) (greater than any in recorded Atlantic basin history) before moving past Martinique, Saint Lucia, and Sint Eustatius, and causing thousands of deaths on those islands. Coming in the midst of the American Revolution, the storm caused heavy losses to the British fleet contesting for control of the area, largely weakening British control over the Atlantic. The hurricane later passed near Puerto Rico and over the eastern portion of Hispaniola, causing heavy damage near the coastlines. It ultimately turned to the northeast and was last observed on October 20 southeast of Atlantic Canada.
The death toll from the Great Hurricane alone exceeds that of many entire decades of Atlantic hurricanes. Estimates are marginally higher than for Hurricane Mitch, the second-deadliest Atlantic storm, for which figures are likely more accurate. The hurricane was part of the disastrous 1780 Atlantic hurricane season, with two other deadly storms occurring in October.
This hurricane was first encountered by a boat in the eastern Caribbean Sea, but it probably developed in early October in the eastern Atlantic Ocean off the Cape Verde Islands. The system strengthened and expanded as it tracked slowly westward and first began affecting Barbados late on October 9. Late on October 10, the worst of the hurricane passed over the island, with at least one estimate of winds as high as 200 mph (320 km/h) during landfall, which is higher than any other 1-minute sustained wind speed in recorded Atlantic basin history. Early on October 11, the hurricane turned north-northwest about 90 kilometers (56 mi) east of Saint Lucia, and later that night it neared the island of Martinique. The cyclone gradually weakened as it passed to the southwest of Dominica early on October 12 and subsequently struck the island of Guadeloupe.
After hitting Guadeloupe, the hurricane turned west-northwest, passing about 145 km (90 mi) southwest of Saint Kitts. The hurricane steadily neared Puerto Rico as it paralleled the southern coastline, and on October 14 made its closest point of approach, to the southwest portion of the island. It subsequently turned to the northwest, going through the Mona Passage before making landfall near the present-day Dominican Republic province of Samaná. Late on October 15, it reached the Atlantic Ocean and after passing about 260 km (160 mi) east of Grand Turk Island; it is estimated to have recurved to the northeast. The hurricane passed 240 km (150 mi) southeast of Bermuda on October 18, and was last observed two days later about 475 km (295 mi) southeast of Cape Race, Newfoundland, Canada.
On October 19, strong winds and high tides were reported in the British province of East Florida (the northeastern portion of present-day Florida). One modern historian suggests the hurricane passed much closer to the province than previously thought.[ who? ] Another possibility considered was an extension to a hurricane in the western Caribbean Sea. Because of lack of data, the exact track of the Great Hurricane is unknown.
The hurricane killed 22,000 to 27,501 people, making it the deadliest hurricane in the recorded history of the Atlantic hurricane basin.
About 4,500 people died on Barbados.The hurricane began affecting the island with rain late on October 9. The ships in the bay broke their moorings by 4:00 the afternoon of October 10, and the full impact arrived around 6:00 in the evening. The hurricane produced violent winds "so deafening that people could not hear their own voices."
... a dreadful hurricane which began to rage with great fury at noon [the 10th] and continue with great violence till four o'clock the next morning, the 11th; At eight o'clock at night St. Thomas's parsonage was demolished and the church where the Rector and his family sought shelter began to fall about two hours after, the Chancel fell while the family were in the church ... St. Thomas's Chapel, St. Michael's, St. George's, Christ Church's and St. Lucy's churches were totally destroyed, the other churches were severely 'injured' (except St. Peter's and St. Philip's). Because of the demolition of the parish church and chapel[,] 'divine services' continued in the 'boiling house' at the 'Rock Hall' estate of Thomas Harper by Rev Wm Duke and curate Hugh Austin of St Thomas. Most other buildings and works were blown down and many lives were lost. The dead could not be brought to a church so were buried in gardens and private land.
The hurricane stripped the bark off trees and left none standing on Barbados. 200 miles per hour (320 km/h). Every house and fort on Barbados was destroyed. According to British Admiral George Brydges Rodney, the winds carried their heavy cannons aloft 100 feet (30 m).Cuban meteorologist José Carlos Millás has estimated that this damage could be caused only by winds exceeding
The wind directions recorded during the hurricane suggest that the eye missed Barbados to the north. Northwesterly winds increased through the day on October 10. The wind gradually backed to westerly through the night of October 10 and peaked at midnight. Wind speed returned to normal by 8:00 the morning of October 11.
Strong winds affected Antigua and Saint Kitts, with many ships in Saint Kitts washed ashore. At Grenada, nineteen Dutch ships were wrecked.
The hurricane later grounded 50 ships near Bermuda.
|Deadliest Atlantic hurricanes|
|See also: List of deadliest Atlantic hurricanes|
The hurricane produced a 25-foot (7.6 m) storm surge on Martinique, destroying all houses in Saint-Pierre and causing 9,000 deaths. A storm surge also struck the south coast of Guadeloupe and caused considerable damage.
In Saint Vincent, the hurricane destroyed 584 of the 600 houses in Kingstown.
On Saint Lucia, rough waves and a strong storm tide struck the fleet of Admiral Rodney at Port Castries, with one ship destroying the city's hospital after being lifted on top of it. The hurricane destroyed all but two houses in Port Castries, and about 6,000 perished on the island.
High winds, heavy rains, and storm surge caused severe damage at Roseau in Dominica.
A Dutch sea-officer was on a ship that was blown from Sint Eustatius to Martinique. When he returned to Sint Eustatius, he reported on the damage in Saint-Pierre, Martinique, Saint Vincent, and St. Lucia. He said that on Sint Eustatius, "some houses are destroyed" and merchandise left on the beach was ruined by sea water. He did not mention a dramatic death toll on the island. He also said that the situation there was not as bad as on the French and English islands.
Heavy damage was reported in southern Puerto Rico, primarily in Cabo Rojo and Lajas. Severe damage also occurred in the eastern region of the Captaincy General of Santo Domingo.
Among the ships lost from Rodney's fleet were the frigates HMS Phoenix, which was wrecked on the Cuban coast, and HMS Blanche, which disappeared without a trace. The sixth rate frigates HMS Andromeda and HMS Laurel were wrecked on Martinique with heavy loss of life. By far the worst losses in the British fleet, however, were under the command of Vice Admiral Peter Parker and Rear-Admiral Joshua Rowley. At the time of the hurricane, Rowley was off the coast of New York with a portion of the fleet, including HMS Sandwich, while Parker was in Port Royal, Jamaica. Many of their ships, however, were in the hurricane's path. HMS Thunderer, HMS Stirling Castle, HMS Scarborough, HMS Barbados, HMS Deal Castle, HMS Victor, and HMS Endeavour were lost, among others, and almost all of their crews died. Seven other ships were dismasted. 58:
A fleet of 40 French ships involved in the American Revolutionary War was struck off Martinique during the hurricane. Several hundred soldiers and about 9,000 civilians died; however, the French military's only loss was the frigate Junon. 114:
The storm was named the San Calixto hurricane in Puerto Rico because the eye of the cyclone made landfall there on October 14, the Christian feast day of Pope Callixtus I, venerated by the Roman Catholic Church as Saint Callixtus ("San Calixto" in Spanish). Since European arrival in the Americas in 1492, all storms and hurricanes had been named after the name of the saint of the day the storm hit Puerto Rico; for example, the 1867 San Narciso hurricane, the 1899 San Ciriaco hurricane, the 1928 San Felipe hurricane, and the 1932 San Ciprian hurricane were named after the feast day on which they struck.
In 1953, the United States Weather Bureau (now the National Weather Service) started naming hurricanes by female human names until 1978, when both gender names began to be used after control over naming was relinquished to the World Meteorological Organization. However, it was only in 1960 that hurricanes stopped being officially named after saints in Puerto Rico; the only two cyclones to ever have both an official woman name and an informal saint name were Hurricane Betsy (Santa Clara, August 12, 1956) and Hurricane Donna (San Lorenzo, September 5, 1960).
Hurricane Klaus was a minimal Atlantic hurricane that dropped heavy rainfall across the Lesser Antilles in October 1990. The eleventh tropical cyclone and sixth hurricane of the 1990 Atlantic hurricane season, Klaus developed from a tropical wave on October 3 a short distance east of Dominica. It drifted northwestward, and quickly intensified to attain hurricane status on October 5. Though its closest approach to the Lesser Antilles was within 12 miles (19 km), the strongest winds remained to its northeast due to strong wind shear, which caused Klaus to steadily weaken. After deteriorating into a tropical depression, Klaus briefly restrengthened over the Bahamas before dissipating on October 9 under the influence of developing tropical storm, Marco.
The 1931 Atlantic hurricane season ran through the summer and the first half of fall in 1931. The 1931 season was average in terms of tropical cyclone formation, but below average in number of hurricanes. 13 tropical cyclones formed during the year, but only three reached hurricane status, and one reached major hurricane status. The season's only major hurricane, the 1931 Belize hurricane, was a Category 4 hurricane that caused severe devastation in Belize, killing approximately 2,500 people. The other hurricane of the season struck Puerto Rico and mainland Mexico as a Category 1 causing some moderate damage.
The 1928 Atlantic hurricane season featured the Okeechobee hurricane, which was second deadliest tropical cyclone in the history of the United States. Only eight tropical cyclones developed during the season. Of these eight tropical systems, seven of them intensified into a tropical storm and four further strengthened into hurricanes. One hurricane deepened into a major hurricane, which is Category 3 or higher on the modern-day Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale. The first system, the Fort Pierce hurricane, developed near the Lesser Antilles on August 3. The storm crossed the Bahamas and made landfall in Florida. Two fatalities and approximately $235,000 in damage was reported. A few days after the first storm developed, the Haiti hurricane, formed near the southern Windward Islands on August 7. The storm went on to strike Haiti, Cuba, and Florida. This storm left about $2 million in damage and at least 210 deaths. Impacts from the third system are unknown.
The 1901 Atlantic hurricane season was the most active season without a major hurricane – tropical cyclones that reach at least Category 3 on the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale – until 2013. The first system was initially observed in the northeastern Caribbean Sea on June 11. The fourteen and final system transitioned into an extratropical cyclone near Bermuda on November 5. These dates fall within the period with the most tropical cyclone activity in the Atlantic. Eight of the fourteen tropical cyclones existed simultaneously.
Hurricane Alice is the only known Atlantic hurricane to span two calendar years and one of only two named Atlantic tropical cyclones, along with Tropical Storm Zeta of 2005, to do so. The twelfth tropical cyclone and the eighth hurricane of the 1954 Atlantic hurricane season, Alice developed on December 30, 1954 from a trough of low pressure in the central Atlantic Ocean in an area of unusually favorable conditions. The storm moved southwestward and gradually strengthened to reach hurricane status. After passing through the Leeward Islands on January 2, 1955, Alice reached peak winds of 90 mph (150 km/h) before encountering cold air and turning to the southeast. It dissipated on January 6 over the southeastern Caribbean Sea.
The decade of the 1820s featured the 1820s Atlantic hurricane seasons. While data is not available for every storm that occurred, some parts of the coastline were populated enough to give data of hurricane occurrences. Each season was an ongoing event in the annual cycle of tropical cyclone formation in the Atlantic basin. Most tropical cyclone formation occurs between June 1 and November 30.
The decade of the 1830s featured the 1830s Atlantic hurricane seasons. While data is not available for every storm that occurred, some parts of the coastline were populated enough to give data of hurricane occurrences. Each season was an ongoing event in the annual cycle of tropical cyclone formation in the Atlantic basin. Most tropical cyclone formation occurs between June 1 and November 30.
The decade of the 1810s featured the 1810s Atlantic hurricane seasons. While data is not available for every storm that occurred, some parts of the coastline were populated enough to give data of hurricane occurrences. Each season was an ongoing event in the annual cycle of tropical cyclone formation in the Atlantic basin. Most tropical cyclone formation occurs between June 1 and November 30.
The Great Barbados hurricane was an intense Category 4 hurricane that left cataclysmic damage across the Caribbean and Louisiana in 1831.
The 1930 Dominican Republic Hurricane, also known as Hurricane San Zenon, is the fifth deadliest Atlantic hurricane on record. The second of three known tropical cyclones in the 1930 Atlantic hurricane season, the hurricane was first observed on August 29 to the east of the Lesser Antilles. The cyclone was a small but intense Category 4 hurricane, killing as many as 8,000 people when it crossed the Dominican Republic.
Hurricane Betsy, known as Hurricane Santa Clara in Puerto Rico, was the first North Atlantic hurricane to make landfall in Puerto Rico in 24 years. The third tropical cyclone of the 1956 Atlantic hurricane season, Betsy developed from a tropical wave on August 9 to the east of the Lesser Antilles. It rapidly developed into a 120 mph (195 km/h) major hurricane before striking Guadeloupe. There, Betsy heavily damaged 1000 houses and left severe crop destruction, and there were 18 deaths in the territory. As Betsy continued into the northeastern Caribbean, it capsized a ship, killing its crew of two.
The 1780 Atlantic hurricane season ran through the summer and fall in 1780. The 1780 season was extraordinarily destructive, and was the deadliest Atlantic hurricane season in recorded history with over 28,000 deaths. Four different hurricanes, one in June and three in October, caused at least 1,000 deaths each; this event has never been repeated and only in the 1893 and 2005 seasons were there two such hurricanes. The season also had the strongest and deadliest Atlantic hurricane of all time, the Great Hurricane of 1780. Only one of the storms was not a hurricane.
Hurricane Jose was the fourteenth tropical cyclone, tenth named storm, and seventh hurricane of the annual season that caused moderate damage in the Lesser Antilles in October 1999. Jose developed from a tropical wave several hundred miles east of the Windward Islands on October 17. The depression intensified and was subsequently upgraded to Tropical Storm Jose on October 18. The storm tracked northwestward and was upgraded to a hurricane the following day as it approached the northern Leeward Islands. Jose briefly peaked as a Category 2 hurricane with winds of 100 mph (160 km/h) on October 20. However, wind shear weakened the storm back to a Category 1 hurricane before it struck Antigua. Further deterioration occurred and Jose weakened to a tropical storm before landfall in Tortola on October 21. While located north of Puerto Rico on October 22, the storm turned northward, shortly before curving north-northeastward. Wind shear decreased, allowing Jose to re-intensify into a hurricane while passing east of Bermuda on October 24. However, on the following day, wind shear increased again, while sea surface temperatures decreased, causing Jose to weaken and quickly transition into an extratropical cyclone.
Tropical Storm Debby was a weak but costly tropical cyclone that affected the Lesser Antilles in September 1994. It was the fourth named tropical storm of the 1994 Atlantic hurricane season; it developed on September 9 east of Barbados. Debby made landfall on Saint Lucia early on September 10, producing heavy rainfall and tropical storm-force wind gusts. The rains caused flooding and landslides, damaging about half of the island's banana plantations. Several villages were isolated after roads and bridges were damaged. Damage totaled about $103 million (1994 USD). On nearby Dominica, Debby damaged crops and fisheries.
The 1851 Atlantic hurricane season was the first Atlantic hurricane season to be included in the official Atlantic tropical cyclone record. Six known tropical cyclones occurred during the season, the earliest of which formed on June 25 and the latest of which dissipated on October 19. These dates fall within the range of most Atlantic tropical cyclone activity. None of the cyclones existed simultaneously with another. Of the six storms, two only have a single point in their track known.
Hurricane Edith brought flooding and wind damage to portions of the Greater and Lesser Antilles. The sixth tropical storm and fifth hurricane of the 1963 season, Edith developed east of the Windward Islands on September 23 from an Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) disturbance. Initially a tropical depression, it strengthened into Tropical Storm Edith the next day. Shortly thereafter, Edith reached hurricane status. Edith fluctuated between Category 1 and 2 status as it moved west-northwest. Upon reaching Category 2 intensity on September 25, the storm peaked with winds of 100 mph (155 km/h). After striking Saint Lucia on September 25, the storm traversed the eastern Caribbean Sea. Curving north-northwest on September 26, Edith made landfall near La Romana, Dominican Republic, early on the following day as a minimal hurricane. Interaction with land and an upper-level trough caused Edith to weaken to a tropical storm on September 28 and to a tropical depression by the next day. The storm dissipated just east of the Bahamas on September 29.
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The 1855 Atlantic hurricane season featured tropical cyclone landfalls in the Gulf Coast of the United States, the Greater Antilles, and Mexico, but none along the East Coast of the United States. It was inactive, with only five known tropical cyclones. Operationally, another tropical storm was believed to have existed offshore Atlantic Canada in late August and early September, but HURDAT – the official Atlantic hurricane database – now excludes this system. The first system, Hurricane One, was initially observed on August 6. The final storm, Hurricane Five, was last observed on September 17. These dates fall within the period with the most tropical cyclone activity in the Atlantic. At one point during the season, two tropical cyclones existed simultaneously. Two of the cyclones only have a single known point in their tracks due to a sparsity of data, so storm summaries for those systems are unavailable.
The 1903 Jamaica hurricane devastated Martinique, Jamaica, and the Cayman Islands in August 1903. The second tropical cyclone of the season, the storm was first observed well east of the Windward Islands on August 6. The system moved generally west-northwestward and strengthened into a hurricane on August 7. It struck Martinique early on August 9, shortly before reaching the Caribbean Sea. Later that day, the storm became a major hurricane. Early on August 11, it made landfall near Morant Point, Jamaica, with winds of 120 mph (195 km/h), with would be the hurricane's maximum sustained wind speed. Early on the following day, the storm brushed Grand Cayman at the same intensity. The system weakened before landfall near Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, early on August 13, with winds of 100 mph (155 km/h). The system emerging into the Gulf of Mexico early on August 14 after weakening while crossing the Yucatán Peninsula, but failed to re-strengthen. Around 00:00 UTC on August 16, the cyclone made landfall north of Tampico, Tamaulipas, with winds of 80 mph (130 km/h). The hurricane soon weakened to a tropical storm and dissipated over San Luis Potosí late on August 16.
Hurricane Dorian caused relatively minor damage across the eastern Caribbean in late-August 2019. Originating from a westward moving tropical wave, Dorian organized into a tropical cyclone on August 24 and reached the Lesser Antilles on August 26 as a tropical storm. Turning northwest, the system unexpectedly intensified to a hurricane as it struck the Virgin Islands on August 27. Antecedent to the storm's arrival, local governments across the archipelago issued tropical cyclone warnings and watches, readied public shelters, closed airports, and placed emergency crews on standby. Many of the threatened islands were still reeling from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria in September 2017 and fears arose over embattled power grids. In the areas first affected, impacts were limited to gusty winds and modest rainfall. Effects were greater in the Virgin Islands where wind gusts reached 111 mph (179 km/h); however, damage was light. Multiple landslides occurred across the islands and Puerto Rico with only a handful of structures suffering damage. One person died in Puerto Rico while preparing for the storm.