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Hurricane Ivan

Updated on August 21, 2015

No 6 in the world's worst hurricanes...

The sixth most intense Atlantic hurricane ever recorded, Hurricane Ivan earned the nickname “Ivan the Terrible” in the media. While 2005 remains the most active hurricane season in recent memory, the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season was unusually eventful as well, bringing us Hurricane Ivan, as well as Hurricane Frances and Hurricane Charley.

The areas struck the worst included Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana, and Texas, and today remains the sixth costliest hurricane ever to strike the US.

Hurricane Ivan Damage

Hurricane Preparation for Hurricane Ivan

The silver lining of Hurricane Ivan is only that, in the middle of such an eventful hurricane season, most people were willing to take hurricane warnings very seriously, understanding full well the risk one is taking when they choose to ignore such warnings.

In the Caribbean, five hundred thousand residents of Jamaica were ordered to evacuate coastal areas. In typical Jamaican fashion, only five thousand were reported to have actually left their homes for more secure hurricane shelters.

A number of schools and businesses were closed down throughout the Netherlands Antilles, with three hundred people evacuation their homes in Curacao, while twelve thousand were evacuated from Isla Mujeres just off the YucatanPeninsula.

Mandatory evacuations were conducted throughout Louisiana’s more vulnerable areas in Jefferson, Lafourche, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Babptist and Tangipahoa. Voluntary evacuations were then issued to six other parishes, with at least one third of the population of the Greater New Orleans area evacuating voluntarily, including over half of all New Orleans residents. The Louisiana Superdome served as a makeshift shelter for many hospital patients with special needs.

Mississippi saw the evacuation of nearly all mobile homes, as well as vulnerable areas throughout the Hancock, Jackson and Harrison counties, while Alabama evacuated the areas of Mobile and Baldwin counties.

Florida initiated a full evacuation of the Keys on the tenth of September, but lifted this evacuation order on the thirteenth, as Hurricane Ivan tracked further west than had been expected.

Hurricane Ivan Hurricane Track

After Hurricane Ivan

Hurricane Tracking for Hurricane Ivan

Tracking Hurricane Ivan began with a tropical depression nine on the second of September, having been formed from a large tropical wave to the southwest of Cape Verde. The system moved west, gradually strengthening into Tropical Storm Ivan by September 3rd, and reaching hurricane intensity as of September 5th about one thousand one hundred fifty miles east of Tobago. That same day, Hurricane Ivan would intensify into a category 3 hurricane.

From the National Hurricane Center’s further tracking, Hurricane Ivan weakened somewhat while moving west, passing over Grenada on September 7th and battering the Windward Islands while entering the Caribbean Sea. Ivan then rebuilt its strength and became a category 5 hurricane north of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba on September 9th. Ivan then approached Jamaica on September tenth, battering the island with hurricane force winds for several hours.

Ivan then continued north as a category 5 hurricane, turning west on September 13th and affecting the western tip of Cuba and passing through the Gulf of Mexico while weakening to a category 4 hurricane.

Ivan saw considerable weakening before making landfall in the US in Gulf Shores, Alabama on September 16th as a category 3 hurricane, passing through Florida on September 20th, and finally dissolving September 24th over Texas, after a September 23rd landfall in Cameron, Louisiana.

Hurricane Damage for Hurricane Ivan

In total, Hurricane Ivan claimed ninety one direct casualties, with thirty two dying from complications surrounding the hurricane storm. The total estimated property damage comes to sixteen point four billion dollars, US, or, adjusting for 2009, about eighteen point seven billion dollars.

How Hurricane Ivan Compares to Other Hurricanes

2004 saw an incredibly active Atlantic hurricane season, and Hurricane Ivan was one of the worst hurricane storms to strike that summer. Still, Hurricane Katrina would soon overshadow any hurricane damage caused by Hurricane Ivan.

Hurricane Ivan Aftermath and Hurricane Recovery

Grenada wound up experiencing severe, long term economic damages following Hurricane Ivan. The economy of the country, before Hurricane Ivan, had been projected to grow by about four point seven percent, but instead wound up contracting by about three percent that year. The economy had been further projected to grow by five percent through to 2007, but by 2005, this growth had been lowered to around one percent.

Grenada further admitted that their government debt, making up one hundred thirty percent of the island’s GDP, would be unsustainable, and by January of 2005 had appointed a group of professional debt advisors to help arrange some sort of agreement with creditors.

In 2004, more than one hundred fifty million dollars US was sent to Grenada to help reconstruct after the hurricane, but even today, the economic situation in Grenada remains fragile.

In the US, Hurricane Ivan brought spores of soybean rust, making for the first ever occurrence of soybean rust in the entire continent of North America. Economic damages were limited, as the soybean crop in Florida had, luckily, already been harvested at this time.

Ultimately, the name of Ivan would be retired from use. In 2010, we will instead use the name Igor.

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    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you for an interesting read and I am sorry what they must have gone through. One thing I can understand and accept that after spending $150 million and then in Grenada'smoney the island should absolutely in perfect shape in everyway. Either they didn't send that kind of money or it vanished somewhere.