- This article deals with the 2004 Hurricane Jeanne. For information on other storms of the same name, see Hurricane Jeanne (disambiguation).
Hurricane Jeanne was the tenth named storm, the seventh hurricane, and the fifth major hurricane of the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season. It was also the fourth hurricane and fifth named storm of the season to landfall in Florida. Jeanne affected the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, the north-eastern Bahamas, and the U.S. state of Florida. The worst damage occurred in Haiti, where over 3,000 people died as a result of flooding and mudslides caused by the storm.
Tropical Depression Eleven formed from a tropical wave 70 miles (110 km) east-southeast of Guadeloupe in the evening of September 13, and was upgraded to Tropical Storm Jeanne the next day. Jeanne passed south of the U.S. Virgin Islands on September 15 and made landfall near Yabucoa, Puerto Rico later the same day. After crossing Puerto Rico it reached hurricane strength on September 16 near the eastern tip of the Dominican Republic on the island of Hispaniola, but fell back to tropical storm strength later that day as it moved inland across the Dominican Republic. Jeanne continued to move slowly over the Dominican Republic on September 17 before finally leaving the island late that afternoon. By that time, Jeanne had declined one more level, to tropical depression strength. Even though it did not strike Haiti directly, the storm was large enough to cause flooding and mudslides, particularly in the northwestern part of the country.
On September 18, while the system was being tracked near Great Inagua and Haiti, a new center formed well to the north-east and the previous circulation dissipated. The new center strengthened again, becoming a hurricane on September 20. Jeanne continued to meander for several days before beginning a steady westward motion toward the Bahamas and Florida.
Jeanne continued strengthening as it headed west, passing over Great Abaco in the Bahamas on the morning of September 25. Shortly thereafter, it reached Category 3 strength. It maintained this intensity as it passed Grand Bahama during the remainder of the day. At 11:50 pm EDT September 25 (0350 UTC September 26), Jeanne made landfall on Hutchinson Island , just east of Stuart, Florida, at Category 3 strength. This is only about two miles (3 km) from Sewall's Point, where Hurricane Frances struck Florida three weeks earlier.
Jeanne is the first major (Category 3 or higher) storm to make landfall on the east coast north of Palm Beach, Florida and south of the mouth of the Savannah River since at least 1899.
Jeanne's track continued to follow within 20 miles of that of Frances until it reached Pasco County. It then swung more rapidly to the north, and the center remained over land all the way to the Georgia state line, unlike Frances which exited into the Gulf of Mexico. It became extratropical over Virginia on September 28 and the remnant returned to sea off the New Jersey coast the next day. The last advisory was issued when it was 200 miles (320 km) east of New York City and heading east-northeast over the Atlantic.
The entire power grid of Puerto Rico was shut down by the government as the storm approached to prevent electrocutions and infrastructure damage. This power outage has been credited with indirectly causing three deaths and US$200 million in economic losses (). 600,000 were left without running water. Landslides caused a large amount of damage to the exotic vegetation in the Caribbean National Forest. U.S. President George W. Bush declared the territory a federal disaster area and sent over $2 million in relief. A total of seven people are reported dead in Puerto Rico as a result of Jeanne.
During its slow progress over the northern Dominican Republic, the storm damaged many homes in the town of SamanŠ. At least 18 deaths were attributed to Jeanne in this country.
Heavy rains totaling about 13 inches (33 cm) in the northern mountains of Haiti caused severe flooding and mudslides in the Artibonite region of the country, causing particular damage in the coastal city of GonaÔves, where it affected about 80,000 of the city's 100,000 residents. As of October 6, the official report counted 3,006 people dead, with 2,826 of those in GonaÔves alone (). Another 2,601 people were injured (). Many of the dead remained unburied for days and relief workers had to bury bodies in mass graves in an attempt to avoid the spread of disease. Some bodies washed out to sea and may never be recovered. The flooding occurred well after the center of the storm had left Haiti, and outside the areas covered by storm warnings. Widespread looting was reported in the hardest hit areas and UN peacekeepers sometimes had to fight off armed crowds at relief distribution points.
Millions in Florida were left without electricity, some for the third time in a month. There were only four direct deaths in the mainland United States, three in Florida, one in South Carolina and one in Virginia, plus one death in Puerto Rico. The final US damage was determined to be around US$6,900,000,000, making it the eighth costliest hurricane in United States history. It was difficult to isolate this from damage caused by Hurricane Frances (and, around Polk County, Hurricane Charley as well).
As the storm moved northward east of the Appalachian Mountains, it continued producing heavy rains and flash flooding. Rainfall exceeded 6.00 inches as far north as Trenton, New Jersey, resulting in severe flash flooding in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and its Pennsylvania and New Jersey suburbs on September 28. Tornadoes also touched down in Wilmington, Delaware and Cherry Hill, New Jersey.
Last updated: 05-21-2005 15:12:33