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Hurricane Kate

By Richard G. Henning (Elgin AFB)

This was the strongest late-season hurricane to ever threaten the U.S., as it did not form until late November. After forming in the tropical Atlantic, Kate moved through the Bahamas, and prompted hurricane warnings for the Miami area for the first time in 19 years (the first since since Inez in 1966). It passed just south of Key West and then curved NW into the center of the Gulf, about 200 miles south of Fort Walton Beach, where it intensified to Category 3 status.

While water temperatures in the middle Gulf were still warm, especially for late November, as the system moved north toward the coast, it encountered much cooler water and began to weaken. In addition, a strong cold front had moved into the Panhandle and cold, dry air began to enter the storm's circulation. By landfall, it had some non-tropical characteristics, and had lost much of its intensity, but still caused wind damage well inland around Tallahassee and coastal flooding in the Big Bend region. Damage totaled about $300 million.

Source: Richard G. Henning, Staff Meteorologist, 46th Weather Squadron, Eglin AFB, FL.


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Track of Kate.

Courtesy of NOAA

Date(s): November 16-23, 1985

Location: Gulf of Mexico

Deaths: 2


Damage: $300M

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