Hurricane Joan took a very unusual track for an Atlantic hurricane.
It formed east of the Windward Islands in October 1988, and then hugged
the northern coast of South America for several days. Joan is only the
second storm known to have taken that track. Relatively weak for most of
its life, it was a tropical storm until it reached hurricane strength
while off the coast of Colombia, and made landfall at Bluefields,
Nicaragua. Joan killed 148 people in Nicaragua alone, with the large death
toll is in part blamed on residents' resistance to evacuation. Joan had
strengthened rapidly in the day before landfall, and was a Category
4 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale storm when it slammed into Central
Joan killed another 68 people in other affected nations. Damage in
Nicaragua was estimated at 840 million US dollars.
After passing over Nicaragua and into the Pacific Ocean, Joan was
reborn in the warm Pacific waters as Tropical Storm Miriam. Miriam
managed to maintain tropical storm strength for almost two weeks, but
eventually dissipated. Joan-Miriam is one of only seven storms on record
as having made the transition from an Atlantic to a Pacific hurricane.
The name Joan was retired in 1989 and was replaced by Joyce in the 1994