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Hurricane Jeanne

Updated on August 21, 2015

Hurricane Jeanne Aftermath

Number 7 of the World's Worst Hurricanes

Hurricane Jeanne was the fifth major hurricane of the active 2004 Atlantic hurricane season, and the third hurricane to make landfall in Florida that year. Most of the hurricane damage done was suffered in the Bahamas, New Jersey, West Virginia, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Florida, and the Dominican Republic.

While not as intense as Hurricane Wilma or Katrina, Hurricane Jeanne broke several records for total fatalities.

Hurricane Preparation for Hurricane Jeanne

While all of the affected areas issued some form of warning or watch, preparations were otherwise lacking, with no extensive, organized evacuations taking place.

In Florida, the hurricane storm was not expected to hit the state until the last second, therefore, any preparations were made “on the fly” as it were, just before the hurricane storm made a direct hit on the 23rd of September.

Interestingly, evacuations were actually made towards the Florida Keys in these preparations. While this would be literally unheard of in nearly any hurricane, tracking showed the Keys to be the only definitely-safe portion of the state, and thousands of residents were voluntarily moved to the Keys on the eve of the storm’s Florida landfall.

Haiti is an interesting story altogether. The country had just experienced a coup, and the new regime in charge of the country put the basic survival needs of the Haitian people very low on their list of priorities. As a result, Hurricane Jeanne would wind up doing more damage than it should have under almost any other circumstance.

Hurricane Track for Hurricane Jeanne

Hurricane Tracking for Hurricane Jeanne

Hurricane Jeanne started as Tropical Depression Eleven, forming after a tropical wave some seventy miles east by southeast off the coast of Guadeloupe late on September 13th. The depression was upgraded to Tropical Storm Jeanne early the next day.

Tropical Storm Jeanne passed just south of the US Virgin Islands on the fifteenth of September, and then made landfall in Puerto Rico, near Yabucoa, that same day.

Jeanne crossed Puerto Rico and reached hurricane strength the next day on Hispaniola off the eastern tip of the Dominican Republic. The hurricane storm then weakened a bit to tropical depression strength on September 17th, and, moving near Haiti, caused flooding and mudslides.

On the eighteenth, the system moved near Great Inagua and by Haiti, restrengthening to a hurricane on September 20th. Jeanne stalled for a number of days and then moved westwards towards the Bahamas and Florida.

Hurricane Jeanne continued to strengthen while moving to the west, crossing Great Abaco on September 25th, and reaching category 3 strength shortly thereafter, maintaining its intensity while passing over Grand Bahama. Jeanne then made landfall on HutchinsonIsland, moving through Florida.

While losing strength, the storm continued through Georgia, eventually reaching Virginia on the 28th as it began dissipating into an extratropical cyclone, and finally moving back into the Atlantic ocean off the coast of New Jersey on the 29th.

Flooding after Hurricane Jeanne

Hurricane Damage for Hurricane Jeanne

The US saw five casualties total, with three in Florida, and one each in South Carolina and Virginia. Total hurricane damages for the hurricane storm amounted to nearly seven billion dollars.

Puerto Rico suffered four direct deaths, eight total, while the Dominican Republic suffered eighteen casualties. Total costs of hurricane damages were estimated near five hundred million in both countries combined.

In Haiti, over three thousand people were reported dead, with another two and a half thousand suffering minor or major injuries. This, despite the storm never having struck Haiti at full strength.

How Hurricane Jeanne Compares to Other Hurricanes

The damage suffered by Haiti is worth consideration here. While Haiti did not receive the full brunt of the storm, they did experience the worst in terms of injuries and casualties, simply because there was no governmental infrastructure in place to properly respond to the storm.

Were an elected government in place at the time that Hurricane Jeanne struck, Haiti may have seen much less in the way of hurricane damages, as in Hurricane Dennis, where, while some residents were unwilling to evacuate, an evacuation order was in place, nonetheless, and the country only suffered fifty six casualties.

In any event, this only goes to prove further the importance of preparations in a hurricane situation. When there is no consistent leadership, no government to respond to a storm, the residents are literally left to their own devices in order to try to weather the storm.

Hurricane Jeanne in Haiti

Hurricane Jeanne Aftermath and Hurricane Recovery

The World Meteorological Organization retired the name Jeanne out of respect for the thousands of victims of the storm, with the name Julia taking place for ‘J’ in 2010.

Haiti is still, to this day, recovering from the immense impact the storm made on the island of Hispaniola. The mudslides destroyed several homes and did millions in damages to crops. While the revolutionaries who briefly seized control have all been captured or killed, the hurricane damage done by Hurricane Jeanne under the rebel leadership was beyond anything the country had been capable of handling.

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