Hurricane Chris

At no 20 in the world's worst hurricanes (as at 2009)

We include Hurricane Chris on this list of the world's worst hurricanes not for sheer destructive force, but simply to start off with an example that should help to prove a number of points: First, that a hurricane can strike, even during a season as relatively uneventful as the Atlantic hurricane season of 1994, second, that severity does not always equate to destruction, and third, that hurricane preparation is always important.

Hurricane Chris wound up doing far less damage than expected, thanks to a combination of hurricane tracking and preparedness, and a stroke of luck (which does, in fact, come into play when dealing with hurricanes).

1994 Hurricanes

Hurricane Preparation for Hurricane Chris

Hurricane Chris formed quickly on August 16th and 17th 1994 during an Atlantic hurricane season that had been relatively uneventful until then, with some tropical storms but no real hurricanes prior to Hurricane Chris. As such, the hurricane storm took many by surprise.

Nonetheless, there was time to issue a hurricane watch throughout Bermuda, where Hurricane Chris was expected to strike, allowing Bermudans time to initiate hurricane preparations, from stocking up on food and water to securing their homes with hurricane shutters and hurricane windows.

Hurricane Tracking for Hurricane Chris

Hurricane Chris formed early on the the 17th of August as a tropical depression somewhere between Cape Verde and the Lesser Antilles. The storm quickly built strength, reaching category 1 hurricane strength the next day on August 18th.

The storm traveled in a northwestern direction, quickly building strength but, luckily, losing strength as it approached the Bahamas, where it arrived as a minimal tropical storm on the 21st of August.

Hurricane Chris would then continue north, until finally merging with another low pressure system on the 23rd that same month.

Hurricane Damage for Hurricane Chris

Fortunately, what could have turned out to have been a very destructive hurricane wound up being fairly minimal. The majority of damages done were in Bermuda, where there was heavy rain as Hurricane Chris made a pass just off the east coast. Some homes were damaged by rains and minor flooding, but the total monetary losses were inconsequential, and there were no casualties or major injuries.

One may wonder, then, why we're including Hurricane Chris at all. Again, Hurricane Chris makes an appearance on this list simply as an example of the fact that any hurricane is worth preparing for. Without hurricane shutters and hurricane windows, without a strong sense of preparedness on the part of the Bermudans, Hurricane Chris may well have been one of the more destructive hurricanes of the season.

Much later that season, we would see Hurricane Gordon in early November. Hurricane Chris proved something of a herald for the intensifying hurricane season of 1994, which began with minor storms and ended with a major hurricane claiming more than one thousand casualties.

Hurricane Tracking - Hurricane Chris

How Hurricane Chris Compares to Other Hurricanes

Hurricane Chris struck at a point when the Atlantic hurricane season was only beginning. There had been a number of weak tropical depressions and storms before August 18th, when Hurricane Chris reached category 1, but Chris was the first actual hurricane of the season.

Comparing Hurricane Chris to Hurricane Gordon some months later, Hurricane Gordon was prepared for, there were hurricane warnings in place and people in the affected areas put their preparations in place with hurricane shutters and hurricane windows, but that storm wound up doing millions of dollars in damages and claiming over one thousand casualties. Hurricane Chris saw no more damages than some heavy rains and minor flooding.

It is worth comparing these two storms because the only constant rule of the hurricane season is that every storm might become a major hurricane at any moment. After Hurricane Chris came and went with such minimal effects, many were expecting Hurricane Gordon to be similarly weak, but that was not the case. Hurricane preparedness should always be top priority, whether you're dealing with a category 1 or a category 5 hurricane storm.

Hurricane Relief and Hurricane Response for Hurricane Chris

As Hurricane Chris did so little damage, there wasn't much call for hurricane relief, and even less for any sort of hurricane response from the media. Tracking and preparation minimized any potential damage Hurricane Chris might have done and, despite making a direct hit on Bermuda, the storm actually never made landfall.

By the time Hurricane Gordon struck in November, Hurricane Chris had already been all but forgotten.

Hurricane Chris Aftermath and Hurricane Recovery

While a number of homes suffered moderate damage in the aftermath of Hurricane Chris, no homes were lost or destroyed in the process and there were no reported injuries. As such, hurricane recovery for Hurricane Chris was an easy task, with some minor home repairs being done and no real long term damages dealt. In other words, Bermuda today looks as if Hurricane Chris had never struck in the first place, and the storm is really only remembered as an example of the benefits of hurricane preparedness.  However it does rank still among the world's worst hurricanes.

Hurricane Damage

(c) CST 13 at Flickr.com
(c) CST 13 at Flickr.com

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