1947 Atlantic hurricane season

1947 Atlantic hurricane season

The 1947 Atlantic hurricane season officially began on June 16, 1947, and lasted until November 1, 1947. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic basin.

The 1947 hurricane season was a fairly active one in terms of landfalling storms. A Category 2 hit near Tampico, a Category 1 hit near Galveston, and a Category 1 hit near the Georgia/South Carolina border. The most significant storm by far, however, was the Fort Lauderdale Hurricane which struck Fort Lauderdale as a Category 4 hurricane, then made a second landfall in Louisiana.


Tropical Storm One

A weak tropical storm moving northwest across the Gulf of Mexico hit just south of the Mexico/United States border on August 2. It dissipated that day after causing $2 million in damage (1947 dollars), mostly crop damage from flooding.

Hurricane Two

On August 9, a tropical storm formed in the Caribbean Sea. It moved west-northwest, hitting near Cozumel, Mexico on August 12. As it moved through the Bay of Campeche, it quickly strengthened to a peak of 110 mph (180 km/h) winds, and hit just south of Tampico, Mexico on August 15. The hurricane dissipated the next day over land, causing 19 fatalities.

Hurricane Three

A tropical wave became a tropical storm over the Florida Straits on August 18. It headed west-northward, producing a storm surge as it passed off shore of Grand Isle, Louisiana on August 22, steadily strengthening to an 80 mph (130 km/h) Category 1 hurricane before making landfall near Galveston, Texas on the September 24. Hurricane Three resulted in $200,000 in damage, as well as one death.

Hurricane Four

A powerful hurricane hit near Fort Lauderdale, Florida on September 17. It moved across the Gulf of Mexico as a weakened hurricane, but restrengthened before striking eastern Louisiana on September 19 as a Category 3 hurricane. The hurricane caused $110 million in damage (1947 dollars) and 51 casualties. Although it was very powerful at its Florida landfall, its destruction was less severe than previous tropical cyclones in the 1920s.

Tropical Storm Five

A weak tropical storm formed in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico west of the Saint Petersburg/Tampa area on September 7. The short-lived tropical storm peaked at 45 mph before weakening to a depression the following day and making landfall just southwest of Mobile on September 8. The system dissipated shortly thereafter.

Tropical Storm Six

A tropical wave developed into a tropical storm over western Jamaica on September 20. It headed northwestward, hitting Cuba on September 22. The storm turned north-northeastward over the Gulf of Mexico, strengthening to a tropical storm before hitting near Cedar Key on September 24. The storm became extratropical later that day, after causing tornadic activity amounting to $100,000 in damage (1947 US dollars).

Tropical Storm Seven

On October 6, a tropical wave formed into a tropical storm over the Bahamas. It moved rapidly north-northwestward, and hit near Brunswick, Georgia on October 7. It looped over Georgia and Florida, and dissipated on October 8.

Hurricane Eight

A tropical low was detected off the coast of Nicaragua on October 8. The low then drifted northward where it became a tropical storm the next day. The tropical storm then passed over the western tip of Cuba, producing a peak wind gust of 57 mph (92 km/h). The storm strengthened over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico to attain hurricane status on October 11, and after brushing the Florida Keys before making landfall near Cape Sable, Florida on October 12. The hurricane moved offshore near Pompano Beach and later reached a peak intensity of 85 mph (135 km/h) in the western Atlantic before turning back to the west. On October 15, the hurricane made its final landfall near the Georgia/South Carolina border, and dissipated 24 hours later. The storm was unofficially known as Hurricane King.

An airport in south Florida recorded peak winds of 80 mph (130 km/h). The hurricane dropped 5-13 (12.7-33 cm) inches of rain across central and southern part of the state, including in Hialeah where the storm produced 3.6 inches (7.6 cm) in a one hour period and over 6 inches (15.2 cm) in a 75 minute period. The flooding rains left many neighborhoods in up to six feet of water due to a previously wet summer, and left over 2,000 Miami-Dade County residents homeless. The flooding also closed U.S. 1 from Miami to Fort Lauderdale, as well as a highway to Everglades City. The hurricane spawned a tornado in both Coral Gables and Miami, one of which destroyed three warehouses. In all, the hurricane caused $27.5 million dollars (1947 USD, $260 million 2005 USD) in damage in Florida. Following the passage of the hurricane, Hialeah mayor Henry Milander declared a state of emergency and restricted access to the city. In Miami, many residents had to use boats and rafts to survey damage and look for survivors, due to the flooding. Winds in Georgia peaked at 85 mph (135 km/h) in Savannah, where the storm caused $20 million dollars (1947 USD, $189 million 2005 USD) in damage. Elsewhere in Georgia, the storm caused $500,000 (1947 USD, $4.7 million 2005 USD) in damage, mainly due to a tornado that touched down near Hinesville. Tides twelve feet above normal were reported from Georgia to South Carolina. In Charleston, South Carolina, the high tides caused minor beach erosion and isolated street flooding, and one person was killed there by a falling tree. In North Carolina, the high tides caused minor flooding. The hurricane was noted for the first time hurricane seeding was conducted in the Atlantic basin by the United States Weather Bureau through an operation called Project Cirrus.

Hurricane Nine

This storm developed on October 16 over the Leeward Islands as a tropical storm. It moved northwest, bypassing Puerto Rico and strengthening to hurricane status while beginning a gradual curve to the northeast. The storm reached its peak intensity as a 120 mph (195 km/h) Category 3 hurricane just west of Bermuda, bringing winds estimated at 100 mph (175 km/h) to the island. The storm continued northeast and became extratropical on October 22.

Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) rating

ACE (104kt²) (2008 Atlantic hurricane season/ACE calcs) — Storm:
1 62.6025 Four 6 3.1 Six
2 13.7575 Nine 7 1.3 One
3 10.925 Eight 8 0.89 Seven
4 10.03 Two 9 0.6025 Five
5 9.19 Three
Total: 112.3975

The table on the right shows the ACE for each storm in the season. ACE is, broadly speaking, a measure of the power of the hurricane multiplied by the length of time it existed, so storms that last a long time, as well as particularly strong hurricanes, have high ACEs. ACE is only officially released for full advisories on tropical systems at or exceeding 34 knots (39 mph, 63 km/h) or tropical storm strength. Subtropical storms are not included in season totals.

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