Hurricane Season: Water Vapor and SST - 2005

Hurricane Season: Water Vapor and SST - 2005 thumbnail


"This hurricane season shattered records that have stood for decades - most named storms, most hurricanes and most category five storms. Arguably, it was the most devastating hurricane season the country has experienced in modern times," said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr., Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator.

With 28 named storms, 15 hurricanes, seven major hurricanes, and four category 5 hurricanes, the 2005 hurricane season certainly blew the records away. It was also the first season in which four major hurricanes hit the U.S.. The season started early and ended late with two tropical storms in June (which hadn’t happened since 1986) and three tropical storms in November with one that formed in December and dissipated in January. The season also included the most rapid intensification of a hurricane in 24 hours in the Atlantic Ocean, a record held by Wilma. The third and fourth most intense hurricanes ever recorded in the Atlantic basin were Rita and Wilma.

Even with all these records, the 2005 hurricane season will arguably be most remembered for Hurricane Katrina, which devastated parts of Mississippi, Louisiana and in particular, New Orleans. Over 1600 people died during the storm and an estimated cost for all the damage, $75 billion, makes Katrina the costliest hurricane ever.

This dataset is a water vapor satellite image with sea surface temperatures below it available from June 30, 2005 through October 31, 2005. Because water vapor emits radiation, satellites can be set to detect water vapor in the atmosphere. All clouds contain water vapor, so when the satellite detects an area with a high concentration of water vapor, it is detecting a cloud. The clouds in hurricanes are easy to detect because they are well formed and contain an excess of water vapor. The shading of the ocean indicates the temperature; the orange and red areas are the warmest, and the blue areas are the coolest. One reason the unusually powerful hurricane season of 2005 was the above average temperature of the oceans.

Notable Features

Name Date Peak Strength Landfall Location Damage Cost
Arlene June 8-13 Trop. Storm Cuba
Pensacola, FL
$ 11.8 mil
Bret June 28-29 Trop. Storm Mexico $ 9 mil
CindyJuly 3-7 Cat. 1 Yucatan Peninsula
Grand Isle, LA
$ 320 mil
Dennis July 4-13 Cat. 4 Cuba
Pensacola, FL
$ 4 bil
EmilyJuly 10-21 Cat. 5 Yucatan Peninsula
$ 550 mil
FranklinJuly 21-29 Trop. StormNo Landfall N/A
Gert July 23-25 Trop. Storm Mexico$ 5 mil
HarveyAug. 2-8 Trop. StormNo Landfall N/A
Irene Aug. 4-18 Cat. 2No Landfall N/A
Jose Aug. 22-23 Trop. StormMexico $ 45 mil
Katrina Aug. 23-31 Cat. 5 South Florida
Louisiana Coast
Pearlington, MS
$ 75 bil
Lee Aug. 28-Sept. 2Trop. Storm No LandfallN/A
Maria Sept. 1-14Cat. 3 No Landfall N/A
Nate Sept. 5-10Cat. 1 No Landfall N/A
OpheliaSept. 6-23 Cat. 1 Brushed Outer Banks, NC$ 70 mil
PhillippeSept. 17-24 Cat. 1 No Landfall N/A
Rita Sept. 17-26Cat. 5 Cameron Parish, LA $ 10 bil
StanOct. 1-5 Cat. 1 Yucatan Peninsula
$ 1-2 bil
Tammy Oct. 5-6 Trop. Storm Jacksonville, FL$ 30 mil
Vince Oct. 8-11 Cat. 1 Huelva, Spain N/A
Wilma Oct. 15-25 Cat. 5 Yucatan Peninsula
South Florida
$ 16-20 bil
Alpha Oct. 22-24 Trop. Storm Dominican Republic N/A
Beta Oct. 26-31Cat. 3 Columbia N/A
Gamma Nov. 14-21 Trop. Storm Honduras N/A
DeltaNov. 23-28 Trop. StormN/A N/A
EpsilonNov. 29-Dec. 8 Cat. 1N/A N/A
Zeta Dec. 30-Jan. 6 Trop. Storm N/A N/A

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