1987 Hurricane Season
season was an ongoing event in the annual cycle of tropical cyclone
formation. It officially started June 1, 1987, and lasted until November
The 1987 season was relatively quiet, with the most notable storm being
Emily formed east of the Windward Islands, and headed west, causing
considerable damage on St. Vincent. It then slowly began turning north,
and landfall in the Dominican Republic, where three people were reported
dead, and there was $30 million (1987 dollars) in damage. After passing
over Hispaniola, Emily began a turn to the northeast, and eventually made
landfall at Bermuda, where it caused $35 million (1987 dollars) in damage,
but no lives were lost. Thousands of migratory birds took refuge on
Bermuda during the storm, including ten thousand Bobolinks and thousands
of Connecticut Warblers.
The first storm to have the new tropical storm warning issued for it
was an unnamed tropical storm in August. A tropical depression formed just
off the upper Texas coast, but was not classified as a named storm until
an after the fact analysis of wind reports from offshore oil rigs revealed
the storm had the sustained winds necessary for that classification. Had
the storm been considered a tropical storm at the time, it would have been
the first named storm of the season.
1987 storm names
The following names were used for named storms that formed in the north
Atlantic in 1987. This is the same list used for the 1981
season. No names were retired, so it was used again in the 1993
season. Names that were not assigned are marked in gray.
Tropical Storm One
A tropical depression formed off the coast of Louisiana on August 9. It
quickly strengthened into a tropical storm, however this strengthening was
not known at the time, so the storm remained unnamed. It travelled
northwest and as it neared the coast, the first tropical storm warning
ever issued for a tropical system was issued for the Texas and Louisiana
coasts from Galveston to Lake Charles. The tropical storm made landfall
near High Island, Texas on the 10th.
Arlene was a Category 1 hurricane that took an unusual track across the
Atlantic. The depression formed on August 8 (before Tropical Storm One but
this was how it was recorded). It made an anticyclonic loop off the coast
and strengthened into a tropical storm. Arlene then proceeded to do long,
leap-frogging hops across the Atlantic like a rock skipping off a pond.
After 12 and a half days as a tropical cyclone, Arlene strengthened into a
hurricane. Those twelve days mean that Arlene took longer than any other
tropical cyclone to become one (discounting Dennis of 1981, who dropped to
a tropical wave and then regenerated). Arlene became extratropical a
couple hundred miles north of the Azores.
Tropical Storm Bret
Tropical Depression Three formed off the African coast near the Cape
Verde Islands on August 18 and headed west. The depression strengthened
into a tropical storm just west of the islands an turned slightly
northwest. The Bret began to weaken in the mid-Atlantic. He dissipated in
open waters on the 24th.
Tropical Storm Cindy
Cindy formed as a depression just west of the Cape Verde Islands. The
depression turned north and strengthened into a tropical storm. Cindy
continued north on a gradual curve to the northwest. Cindy became
extratropical a couple hundred miles south of the Azores.
Tropical Storm Dennis
Dennis formed in about the same place as Bret did. The depression
strengthened to a storm not long after forming and headed northwest. This
track stayed unbroken for a few days until Dennis began to weaken. He
turned west and weakened into a tropical depression. Dennis then swung
north, hooked east and dissipated; all over open waters.
Tropical Depression Six formed a couple hundred miles southeast of the
Windward Islands and quickly strengthened into a tropical storm. Emily
moved northwest into the Caribbean, strengthening rapidly as she
approached the coast of Hispaniola. Emily soon loomed as a major hurricane
of Santo Domingo, Santo Domingo harbor. Emily hit the Dominican Republic
capital with winds exceeding 120 MPH. She was moving very rapidly when she
hit the island, which decreased the rainfall but increased the wind
damage. Over $25 million dollars in damage was reported in the Dominican
Republic. Hispaniola was faithful to its reputation as a hurricane killer:
Emily emerged from the island as a disorganized tropical storm, however,
for the residents of Bermuda, the Caribbean island wasn't faithful enough.
Emily regained hurricane strength and struck the island with winds
exceeding 92 MPH. The damages in Bermuda were over $50 million. In all,
Emily caused over $100 million in damage and killed three people. The
hurricane became extratropical over the north Atlantic.
Floyd formed as a tropical depression in the Western Caribbean and
moved north. The depression quickly attained tropical storm strength and
continued to strengthen. Floyd became a hurricane just south of Cuba
before crossing over the island and curving east. Floyd lashed the Florida
Keys with hurricane force winds before moving away from Florida, crossing
the Bahamas (weakening on the way) and dissipating in the open Atlantic.
Some say that Floyd continued across the Atlantic and became the Great
Storm of 1987 which hit England.