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Hurricane Mitch

Introduction

Mitch formed as just another tropical storm south of Jamica on October 22, 1998. By October 26 it had exploded into a category 5 hurricane with sustained winds reaching 180mph and powerful gusts blasting the earth at over 200mph. Only 3 other hurricanes had reached this magnitude in over a century. While ranked fourth in raw power, the death and destruction caused by Mitch was massive and will never be fully known. While not at it's peak fury, Mitch pounded into Honduras and Nicaragua with torrents of rain and waves. Unable to endure the beating, mountains crumbled causing mud slides that buried entire towns killing over 11,000 people and devastating over 80% of agricultural land and transportation systems. It has been estimated that more than 8,000 people are still missing from this one event in Honduras alone. With over 11,000 confirmed dead and thousands missing, hurricane Mitch will be remembered as the deadliest storm of it's century and the century before. In fact it will be remembered as the second deadliest storm ever recorded, leaving only the "Great Hurricane" of 1780, which killed over 20,000 people on Martinique, as a more deadly peer. Mitch was a category 5 storm for over 33 contiguous hours - longer than any other recorded Atlantic hurricane.

Hurricane Mitch at 10-22 20:45

Mitch In Pictures

Hurricane Mitch at 10-25 21:15
1998-10-22 1998-10-25

Hurricane Mitch at 10-26 12:25 Hurricane Mitch at 10-26 12:45 Hurricane Mitch at 10-26 13:45 Hurricane Mitch at 10-26 13:45 Hurricane Mitch at 10-26 21:45 Hurricane Mitch at 10-26 21:45
1998-10-26 1998-10-26 1998-10-26 1998-10-26 1998-10-26 1998-10-26

Hurricane Mitch at 10-27 13:00 Hurricane Mitch at 10-28 11:48 Hurricane Mitch at 10-29 20:15 Hurricane Mitch at 10-30 13:45 Hurricane Mitch at 11-03 20:44 Hurricane Mitch at 11-04 20:32
1998-10-27 1998-10-28 1998-10-29 1998-10-30 1998-11-03 1998-11-04

Mitch's Track

The following is the track information for Mitch given by the National Hurricane Center.

          ADV     DATE/TIME     LAT    LON    WIND   PRES   STATUS
          ___     _________     ___    ___    ____   ____   ______
          1       10/22/03Z    12.8N   77.9W  35MPH  1001   Tropical depression 13
          2       10/22/09Z    12.7N   78.5W  35MPH  1001   Tropical depression
          3       10/22/15Z    12.0N   78.0W  35MPH  1001   Tropical depression
          4       10/22/21Z    11.5N   77.6W  45MPH  1000   Tropical storm (named mitch)
          5       10/23/03Z    12.3N   77.6W  50MPH   999   Tropical storm
          6       10/23/09Z    13.0N   77.5W  60MPH   997   Tropical storm
          7       10/23/15Z    12.7N   77.9W  60MPH   999   Tropical storm
          8       10/23/21Z    13.0N   78.1W  60MPH   997   Tropical storm
          9       10/24/03Z    13.5N   78.2W  60MPH   997   Tropical storm
          10      10/24/09Z    14.3N   77.7W  90MPH   988   Hurricane - Cat. 1
          11      10/24/15Z    14.9N   77.9W 100MPH   987   Hurricane - Cat. 2
          11A     10/24/18Z    15.1N   78.0W 100MPH   979   Hurricane
          12      10/24/21Z    15.3N   78.2W 105MPH   976   Hurricane
          12A     10/25/00Z    15.4N   78.3W 110MPH   973   Hurricane
          13      10/25/03Z    15.7N   78.4W 120MPH   965   Hurricane - Cat. 3
          13A     10/25/06Z    15.9N   78.9W 125MPH   953   Hurricane
          14      10/25/09Z    16.0N   79.2W 125MPH   949   Hurricane
          15S     10/25/12Z    16.2N   79.5W 125MPH   945   Hurricane
          16      10/25/15Z    16.3N   79.8W 130MPH   942   Hurricane
          16A     10/25/18Z    16.4N   80.3W 145MPH   929   Hurricane
          17      10/25/21Z    16.6N   80.7W 150MPH   924   Hurricane
          17A     10/26/00Z    15.5N   81.4W 150MPH   924   Hurricane
          18      10/26/03Z    16.4N   81.7W 150MPH   924   Hurricane
          18A     10/26/06Z    16.3N   82.0W 150MPH   922   Hurricane
          19      10/26/09Z    16.5N   82.3W 150MPH   923   Hurricane
          19A     10/26/12Z    16.6N   82.6W 155MPH   923   Hurricane
          20      10/26/15Z    16.7N   82.9W 155MPH   923   Hurricane
          20A     10/26/18Z    17.0N   83.2W 170MPH   906   Hurricane - Cat. 5
          21      10/26/21Z    17.2N   83.6W 180MPH   905   Hurricane (lowest pressure)
          21A     10/27/00Z    17.3N   83.8W 180MPH   906   Hurricane
          22      10/27/03Z    17.4N   84.1W 180MPH   906   Hurricane
          22A     10/27/06Z    17.4N   84.5W 180MPH   918   Hurricane
          23      10/27/09Z    17.4N   84.8W 180MPH   917   Hurricane
          23A     10/27/12Z    17.4N   85.2W 180MPH   917   Hurricane
          24      10/27/15Z    17.3N   85.0W 165MPH   917   Hurricane
          24A     10/27/18Z    16.9N   85.4W 155MPH   928   Hurricane - Cat. 4
          25      10/27/21Z    16.8N   85.8W 155MPH   929   Hurricane
          25A     10/28/00Z    16.6N   85.6W 150MPH   932   Hurricane
          26      10/28/03Z    16.5N   85.6W 140MPH   933   Hurricane
          26A     10/28/06Z    16.5N   85.6W 140MPH   933   Hurricane
          27      10/28/09Z    16.3N   85.6W 135MPH   942   Hurricane
          27A     10/28/12Z    16.4N   85.6W 120MPH   949   Hurricane - Cat. 3
          27A     10/28/12Z    16.4N   85.6W 120MPH   949   Hurricane - Cat. 3
          28      10/28/15Z    16.4N   85.6W 120MPH   948   Hurricane
          28A     10/28/18Z    16.4N   85.6W 120MPH   948   Hurricane
          29      10/28/21Z    16.4N   85.9W 115MPH   960   Hurricane
          29A     10/29/00Z    16.3N   86.0W 105MPH   966   Hurricane - Cat. 2
          30      10/29/03Z    16.3N   86.0W 100MPH   970   Hurricane
          30A     10/29/06Z    16.3N   86.0W 100MPH   970   Hurricane
          31      10/29/09Z    16.0N   85.9W  85MPH   979   Hurricane - Cat. 1
          31A     10/29/12Z    16.0N   85.7W  80MPH   987   Hurricane
          32      10/29/15Z    16.0N   85.6W  75MPH   987   Hurricane
          32A     10/29/18Z    15.9N   85.6W  75MPH   990   Hurricane
          33      10/29/21Z    15.9N   85.8W  60MPH   994   Tropical storm
          33A     10/30/00Z    15.5N   85.8W  60MPH   995   Tropical storm
          34      10/30/03Z    15.5N   85.5W  50MPH   995   Tropical storm
          34A     10/30/06Z    15.4N   85.7W  50MPH   995   Tropical storm
          35      10/30/09Z    15.4N   86.1W  40MPH   996   Tropical storm
          35A     10/30/12Z    15.4N   86.1W  40MPH   997   Tropical storm
          36      10/30/15Z    15.3N   86.2W  40MPH   997   Tropical storm
          36A     10/30/18Z    15.3N   86.5W  40MPH   997   Tropical storm
          37      10/30/21Z    15.1N   86.8W  60MPH   998   Tropical storm
          37A     10/31/00Z    14.5N   87.0W  50MPH  1000   Tropical storm
          38      10/31/03Z    14.4N   87.3W  50MPH  1000   Tropical storm
          38A     10/31/06Z    14.0N   87.0W  50MPH  1000   Tropical storm
          39      10/31/09Z    14.2N   87.9W  40MPH  1000   Tropical storm
          39A     10/31/12Z    14.0N   88.0W  40MPH  1000   Tropical storm
          40      10/31/15Z    14.5N   88.7W  35MPH  1001   Tropical depression
          41      10/31/21Z    14.5N   89.9W  35MPH  1001   Tropical depression
          42      11/01/03Z    14.6N   90.5W  35MPH  1002   Tropical depression
          43      11/01/09Z    15.0N   91.4W  35MPH  1002   Tropical depression
          44      11/01/15Z    14.9N   91.6W  30MPH  1005   Tropical depression
          45      11/01/21Z    15.0N   92.3W  30MPH  1005   Tropical depression (dissipating)
          46      11/03/21Z    19.4N   91.3W  45MPH   997   Tropical storm (regenerates)
          46A     11/04/00Z    20.0N   90.6W  45MPH   997   Tropical storm
          47      11/04/03Z    20.2N   90.2W  40MPH   997   Tropical storm
          47A     11/04/06Z    20.3N   89.9W  40MPH   997   Tropical storm
          48      11/04/09Z    20.8N   89.4W  35MPH   998   Tropical depression
          49      11/04/15Z    21.8N   88.3W  45MPH   998   Tropical storm
          49A     11/04/18Z    23.0N   86.0W  45MPH   993   Tropical storm
          50      11/04/21Z    23.5N   85.8W  45MPH   993   Tropical storm
          50A     11/05/00Z    23.8N   85.4W  45MPH   993   Tropical storm
          51      11/05/03Z    25.3N   84.0W  50MPH   993   Tropical storm
          51A     11/05/06Z    25.4N   83.0W  55MPH   994   Tropical storm
          52      11/05/09Z    25.7N   82.3W  55MPH   993   Tropical storm
          52A     11/05/12Z    26.2N   81.7W  55MPH   993   Tropical storm
          53      11/05/15Z    27.1N   80.2W  65MPH   990   Tropical storm
          53A     11/05/18Z    27.9N   78.8W  65MPH   992   Tropical storm
          54      11/05/21Z    28.2N   76.9W  60MPH   992   Extratropical               
        

Most Deadly Western Hemisphere Hurricanes on Record

Name Date Where it hit Deaths
"The Great Hurricane" 1780-10-10 -> 1780-10-16 Martinique & St. Eustatius 22,000
Hurricane Mitch 1998-10-22 -> 1998-11-04 Honduras & Nicaragua >11,000
Not Named 1900-09-08 Galveston Island 8,000
Hurricane Fifi 1974-09-14 -> 1974-09-19 Honduras 8,000
Not Named 1930-09-1 -> 1930-09-6 Dominican Republic 8,000
Hurricane Flora 1963-09-30 -> 1963-10-08 Haiti & Cuba 7,200
Not Named 1776-09-06 Point Petre Bay >6,000

The Most Powerful Atlantic Hurricanes on Record

Name Date Pressure (inHg) Peak Winds (knots) Time it was a Cat 5 (hours)
Gilbert 1988-09-13 26.22 160 18
Florida Keys 1935-09-03 26.34 140 3
Allen 1980-08-07 26.55 165 24+24+12=60
Mitch 1998-10-26 26.73 155 33
Camille 1969-08-17 26.73 165 24

Other Category 5 Hurricanes

Storm Name Maximum Wind Speed Date Attained (UTC) Category 4 strike
Not Named 160 mph 1928-09-13 Puerto Rico
Not Named 160 mph 1932-09-05 Bahamas
Not Named 160 mph 1935-09-03 US/FL Keys
Not Named 160 mph 1938-09-19 No Land Fall
Not Named 160 mph 1947-09-16 Bahamas
Dog 185 mph 1950-09-06 No Land Fall
Easy 160 mph 1951-09-07 No Land Fall
Janet 175 mph 1955-09-28 Mexico
Cleo 160 mph 1958-08-16 No Land Fall
Donna 160 mph 1960-09-04 No Land Fall
Ethel 160 mph 1960-09-15 No Land Fall
Carla 175 mph 1961-09-11 No Land Fall
Hattie 160 mph 1961-10-30 No Land Fall
Beulah 160 mph 1967-09-20 No Land Fall
Camille 190 mph 1969-08-17 US/MS
Edith 160 mph 1971-09-09 Nicaragua
Anita 175 mph 1977-09-02 No Land Fall
David 175 mph 1979-08-30 No Land Fall
Allen 190 mph 1980-08-07 No Land Fall
Gilbert 185 mph 1988-09-14 Mexico
Hugo 160 mph 1989-09-15 No Land Fall
Mitch 180 mph 1998-10-26 No Land Fall

What is a "Category 5 Hurricane"?

Type Category Damage Pressure (inHg) Winds (mph) Storm Surge (ft)
Depression - - - >30 -
Tropical Storm - - - 39-73 -
Hurricane 1 minimal >28.94 74-95 4-5 ft
Hurricane 2 moderate 28.50-28.91 96-110 6-8 ft
Hurricane 3 extensive 27.91-28.47 111-130 9-12 ft
Hurricane 4 extreme 27.17-27.88 131-155 13-18 ft
Hurricane 5 catastrophic <27.17 >155 >18 ft

© 2009 Mitch Richling