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From September 21-30, 1998, Hurricane Georges left a trail of destruction in the Caribbean region and across the southern U.S. Gulf coast. Estimates indicate more than 600 people were killed (or still missing) as the storm pushed its way across the islands of the Caribbean. The Caribbean islands where preliminary death totals are reported so far include Antigua, Barbuda, St. Kitts, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, and the Bahamas. In the U.S. mainland, there were four Georges-related fatalities. An elderly woman died from heat stress while being evacuated from New Orleans. Two more people died in Florida and Louisiana in fires started by candles during power outages, and another person died as a result of an auto accident on a slick highway near Crestview, Florida. Puerto Rico reported 12 fatalities.
Damage estimates for the U.S. including Puerto Rico are now $5.9 billion. Extreme flooding was reported with rainfall amounts in excess of 20 to possibly 30 inches along portions of the southern U.S. Gulf coast. Mobile, Alabama received 13.0 inches of rain from the storm, which boosted the monthly total to 23.0 inches, breaking the September record of 16 inches set 100 years ago. The highest individual storm total reported thus far is Munson, Florida, which reported 25.0 inches of rain from Georges.
Following are reports from individual states and countries as provided by the Southeast Regional Climate Center and other sources:
Alabama: Gusts to 85 mph reported. 25-foot waves on immediate coast. 177,000 customers without power. No deaths or major injuries. Severe flooding in southern Alabama, with many homes and businesses flooded. Downtown Mobile flooded in many areas.
Florida: 18-30 inches of rain in portions of Panhandle, with NEXRAD estimates exceeding 35 inches for one small area near the AL state line. Mandatory evacuations total about 225,000. Severe flooding, high winds, and isolated tornadoes caused extensive damage. Nearly 700,000 without power at some point during storm. Approximately 200 residents in the Florida panhandle were rescued by the Coast Guard Sunday night. A portion of Interstate 10 near the Alabama border was destroyed or washed over. One death reported statewide.
On the Florida Keys, 90 mph winds were reported for >10 hours during storm passage; heavy structural damage from the storm, according to the Florida Division of Emergency Management. More than 900 homes suffered minor damage, 500 major damage, and more than 150 homes were completely destroyed, including 75 houseboats on so-called "Houseboat Row." All Key West residents were without power, and residents are under a "boil water" order. Utility restoration expected to take 7-10 days. Big Pine Key and Kudjoe Key were hardest hit, including severe storm surge damage. Since the highest elevation in the Keys is 14 feet, high water quickly swept into homes and businesses.
Puerto Rico: A major disaster. Damages estimated to exceed $2 billion. Three direct deaths; nine others from medical complications (heart attacks, etc.). Power and water out to 80% of the 3.8 million people on island. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimates 33,113 homes destroyed in Puerto Rico, with nearly 50,000 more suffering major or minor damage. The storm destroyed 75 percent of the coffee crop, 95 percent of Puerto Rico's plantains, and 65 percent of its chickens.
US Virgin Islands: No deaths and little major damage was reported. Only about 20 homes were destroyed and another 50 damaged. Adherence to building codes likely prevented further damage. Most structures on the three islands had been rebuilt to FEMA standards after hits by Hugo (1989) and Marilyn (1995). Damage reported is almost solely restricted to agriculture (coconuts & mangoes) and livestock losses.
Antigua: Two dead; major structural damage island-wide; major coastal flooding; major marina, boat, and port damages.
St. Kitts & Nevis: Three dead, 3000 homeless; 85% of all homes damaged. Early damage estimate is $402 million. Infrastructure damaged (most hospitals, police stations, schools damaged); severe damage to airport terminal and control tower.
Cuba: Five dead; 2100 homes destroyed; 40,000 homes damaged. 20,000 homes flooded in Holguin Province. Major crop damage; 200,000 evacuated during and after the storm.
Haiti: 94 deaths at last tally. 60 missing. Flooding in Port-au-Prince, in Artibonite Valley, Cap-Haitien.
Dominican Republic: At least 210 dead, more than 500 missing. About 100,000 homeless. 70% of all bridges damaged or out; 90% of all plantation crops destroyed; damages estimated at more than $1 billion.
September 26-28 - Mobile (KMOB) NEXRAD - Derived 48-hour Storm Totals
Preliminary Precipitation Reports (Based on daily rainfall data from the Climate Prediction Center)
Rainfall in affected states for 6-day period ending at 12Z on Sep 30, 1998 - amounts listed for totals exceeding 10.00:
DAYS = Number of days of data for Sep 25-30, 1998 period -- Note that some stations did not report for all 6 days ID = National Weather Service Station ID STATION = Station name COUNTY = County for the station ST = State ELEV = Elevation in feet LAT/LON = Latitude and Longitude in degrees and hundredths RAINFALL = Total reported rainfall (inches) for Sep 25-30 period, ending at 12Z on the 30th
All rainfall reports for LA, MS, AL, GA, SC, and FL
DAYS = Number of days of data for Sep 22-23, 1998 period -- Note that some stations reported only for 1 of the 2 days ID = National Weather Service Station ID STATION = Station name ST = State or Territory ELEV = Elevation in feet LAT/LON = Latitude and Longitude in degrees and hundredths RAINFALL = Total reported rainfall (inches) for Sep 22-23 period, ending at 12Z on the 23rd DAYS ID STATION ST ELEV LAT LON RAINFALL 2 COMP4 COMERIO PR 604 18.22N 66.22W 25.68 1 JAYP4 JAYUYA PR 1560 18.22N 66.57W 18.13 2 CIEP4 CIDRA PR 1279 18.35N 66.13W 17.19 2 RORP4 OROCOVIS PR 500 18.22N 66.40W 16.76 1 CAIP4 CAGUAA PR 1475 18.13N 66.05W 15.74 2 BAUP4 OROCOVIS PR 773 18.23N 66.45W 14.38 1 SLJP4 SAN LORENZO PR 330 18.17N 65.98W 14.27 2 PCYP4 PONCE PR 253 18.07N 66.58W 14.25 1 NGIP4 NAGUABO PR 2020 18.28N 65.78W 13.78 2 SLKP4 SAN LORENZO PR 490 18.15N 65.95W 13.54 2 GUSP4 JUNCOS PR 1115 18.25N 65.83W 13.18 2 AIBP4 AIBONITO PR 850 18.15N 66.22W 12.32 2 GURP4 GURABO PR 137 18.25N 65.97W 12.01 2 VEDP4 RIO GRANDE PR 40 18.36N 65.81W 11.83 2 CAJP4 CAGUAS PR 426 18.25N 66.10W 11.04 2 BZAP4 CAGUAS PR 623 18.28N 66.08W 11.03 2 TRUP4 TRUJILLO ALTO PR 49 18.35N 66.00W 10.92 2 TOVP4 VILLALBA PR 525 18.13N 66.47W 10.92 2 ZLBP4 COAMO PR 18.12N 66.24W 10.90 2 NGHP4 NAGUABO PR 640 18.28N 65.79W 10.53 2 LARP4 LARES PR 951 18.30N 66.87W 10.27All rainfall reports for Puerto Rico
List of modern day (post 1950) hurricanes that have struck Hispaniola and/or Puerto Rico. Click on name to see track. For more information on these hurricanes visit the Satellite's Eye Gallery discussion area.