1989 Hurricane Season
season was an ongoing event in the annual cycle of tropical cyclone
formation. It officially started June 1, 1989, and lasted until November
The most notable storm of 1989 was Hurricane
Hugo, which tracked across the Lesser Antilles and into South
Carolina. Hugo killed 49 and at $7 billion ($9.4 billion in 2000 dollars)
in damage, was the most expensive Atlantic hurricane until Hurricane
Andrew in 1992.
Although Hugo was by far the most damaging storm of the season, other
storms caused significant damage.
Tropical Storm Allison caused half a billion dollars (1989 dollars) in
damage and killed eleven when it made landfall near Freeport, Texas. All
significant damage was caused by severe inland flooding as it meandered
across East Texas. Twelve years later a similar storm, also named Tropical
Storm Allison, affected the same area, causing even greater damage.
Hurricane Chantal, the first hurricane of the season, was responsible
for $100 million (1989 dollars) in damage when it made landfall at High
Island, Texas. Thirteen people died, ten of which drowned when an offshore
oil pipeline construction platform capsized near Morgan City, Louisiana.
1989 storm names
The following names were used for named storms that formed in the north
Atlantic in 1989. The names not retired from this list were used again in
the 1995 season. This is the same list used for the 1983
season except for Allison, which replaced Alicia. Storms were named
Allison, Erin, Felix, Gabrielle, Hugo, Iris, Jerry, and Karen for the
first time in 1989. Names that were not assigned are marked in gray.
- Luis (unused)
- Marilyn (unused)
- Noel (unused)
- Opal (unused)
- Pablo (unused)
- Roxanne (unused)
- Sebastien (unused)
- Tanya (unused)
- Van (unused)
- Wendy (unused)
The World Meteorological Organization retired one name in the spring of
1990: Hugo. It was replaced in 1995 by Humberto.
Tropical Storm Allison
A tropical depression formed off the Mexican coast on June 24 from a
tropical wave influenced by the remnants of Pacific Hurricane Cosme. It
was upgraded to Tropical Storm Allison two days later and made landfall on
the Texas coast near Freeport. Although it rapidly became extratropical
over land, the remnants wandered over the southern USA for several days
bringing heavy rains (up to 20 inches). The storm reached as far north as
Indiana before heading south again and finally dissipating over Arkansas
on July 7.
11 deaths by drowning were attributed to the rains associated with
Allison, and flood damage in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi was
estimated at $500 million in 1989 terms.
Tropical Storm Barry
Tropical Storm Barry formed midway between Africa and the Lesser
Antilles becoming a storm on July 11. It dissipated 2 days later without
Chantal developed from an ITCZ disturbance first observed near
Trinidad, but did not become a storm until north of Yucatan on July 31. It
strengthened to a Category 1 hurricane before landfall at High Island,
Texas on August 1. It dissipated in south-west Oklahoma.
13 deaths were reported, including 10 crew of the oil-rig construction
vessel Avco 5 which capsized off Morgan City, Louisiana. Damage
caused by wind and flooding was estimated at $100 million.
Hurricane Dean developed as a tropical storm in mid-Atlantic August 1
and a hurricane the next day. Initially headed for the Leeward Islands it
swung to the north, with the eye passing over Bermuda on August 6. It
later passed over Nova Scotia and Newfoundland before losing its tropical
Damage in Bermuda approached $10 million dollars, with 16 persons
injured. No significant damage was reported from Canada.
Erin became a storm August 19 500 miles west of Cape Verde. It headed
generally northwards becoming a hurricane and then weakening before
becoming extratropical on August 27. It did not approach land.
Felix became a storm August 26 north of Cape Verde. It headed generally
northwards with varying intensity, eventually becoming a hurricane on
September 7. It became extratropical two days later without approaching
Gabrielle developed south of Felix and took a more westerly course. It
became a storm by August 31 and a developed into a major hurricane
reaching Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale by September 3.
It continued northwards merging with a non-tropical storm off Newfoundland
on September 13.
Although it never approached close to land, it generated swells up to
20 ft all the way from the Caribbean to Canada. These were responsible for
eight deaths on the East Coast of the United States.
See main article: Hurricane
A devastating hurricane, at the time this was the costliest in US
history, causing great damage in the Caribbean and South Carolina.
Tropical Storm Iris
Iris developed 400 miles east of Barbados from a tropical wave
following the one which spawned Hugo. It reached storm strength on
September 18 but was dominated by outflow from Hugo, tracked north of the
Lesser Antilles and had dissipated north-east of the Turks Islands by
September 22. It brought further heavy rains to regions already drenched
by Hugo, but no further damage or casualties were reported.
Jerry developed from an African tropical wave, but no development
occurred before it crossed Yucatan into the Bay of Campeche. There it
became a tropical storm on October 13. It tracked generally northwards and
reached hurricane strength on Galveston Island on October 15. The remnants
were absorbed by a frontal trough over Arkansas.
Three people died when an automobile was blown off Galveston seawall
and Texas State Highway 87 was washed away from High Island, Texas to the
eastern portion of Sea Rim State Park. Total property damage was estimated
at $35 million.
Tropical Storm Karen
Karen developed to a storm south of the Isle of Youth on November 30.
It wandered southwest and had lost its circulation by December 4. The
remnants passed over Nicaragua. Karen brought heavy rain to western Cuba
causing damage to property and crops. No casualties were reported.