Hurricane Georges

September 28, 1998

Overview:

Hurricane George formed on September 15, 1998 as a tropical depression 300 miles south southwest of the Cape Verde Islands in the far eastern Atlantic. Georges strengthened to a hurricane on September 17th and reached Category 4 intensity on September 19th. Georges tracked across Puerto Rico, the island of Hispaniola, and eastern Cuba from the evening of the 21st through the 24th. The track over the mountainous terrain weakened Georges to a Category 1 hurricane. However, Georges began to intensify as it moved north of the Cuban coast and tracked west northwest toward the Gulf of Mexico.

Hurricane Georges made landfall in Key West, FL on the morning of the 25th as a Category 2 hurricane. The hurricane maintained Category 2 intensity as it tracked through the Gulf of Mexico, making landfall near Biloxi, MS on the morning of September 28th with maximum winds of 110 mph and a minimum pressure of 964 mb. After landfall, Georges moved very slowly across southern Mississippi and weakened to a tropical depression by the morning of the 29th when the center was about 30 miles north northeast of Mobile, AL. The storm dissipated near the northeast Florida/southeast Georgia coast by the morning of October 1, 1998.

There was only one fatality reported in the mainland United States. That lone fatality occurred in Mobile, AL due to freshwater flooding. Insured property damage was estimated to have cost 2.955 billion dollars in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

 

Georges Track

Track of Hurricane Georges

 

Georges trajectory Sep 17-27

GOES-8 Satellite montage from September 17th through the 27th (1998)

 

Georges Radar Image

Radar Image Near Landfall In Biloxi, MS From the Mobile, AL Doppler Radar

 

Georges Satellite Image

Infrared Satellite Image of Hurricane Georges Near Landfall on the Mississippi Coast

 

Storm Surge:

Hurricane Georges produced a 5-10 ft storm surge across the extreme western Florida Panhandle and coastal Alabama which caused extensive damage across coastal areas. The tidal gage at the Mobile State Dock reported a peak surge of 8.94 ft above MSL which is slightly higher than the 8.05 ft recorded during Hurricane Frederic in 1979.

Dauphin Island before Georges
Dauphin Island after Georges

Before and After Picture of the West End of Dauphin Island, AL (Courtesy: United States Geological Service)

 

Surge Inundates Mobile Bay Causeway

Surge Inundates Mobile Bay Causeway (Courtesy: University of South Alabama. Photo by Kiichiro Sato, Mobile Register)

 

Rainfall:

The slow movement of Hurricane Georges as it made landfall resulted in excessive rainfall and significant flooding across the region. Munson, FL (located in northeast Santa Rosa County) reported the highest storm total of 38.46 inches. Numerous other locations received between one and two feet of rain. Here is a table of some of the highest rainfall totals recorded:

 

City

Storm Total Rainfall

Munson, FL

38.46”

Bay Minette, AL

29.66”

Andalusia, AL

26.90”

Pensacola, FL

26.83”

Gulf Breeze, FL

26.87”

Milton, FL

25.06”

Eglin AFB, FL

24.24”

Crestview, FL

19.98”

Spanish Fort, AL

19.86”

Georgiana, AL

19.15”

Mobile Regional Airport

15.02”

 

Hurricane Georges Rainfall Accumulation Map

Hurricane Georges Rainfall Accumulation Map (Courtesy: National Climate Data Center)

 

Home Flooded In Seminole, AL

Home Flooded In Seminole, AL (Courtesy: University of South Alabama. Photo by John David Mercer, Mobile Register)

 

Wind and Pressure:

Surface observations indicate sustained hurricane force winds were confined to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The highest sustained winds recorded in Mobile were between 50-55 mph with gusts near 65 mph. The Pensacola area saw similar sustained winds. However, peak gusts of 79 and 91 mph were recorded at Eglin AFB and Hurlburt Field. These higher gusts likely occurred in a strong convective outer band of the hurricane. A C-MAN station at Dauphin Island, AL reported a maximum sustained wind of 68 mph with a peak gust of 82 mph.

Georges made landfall near Biloxi with a minimum pressure of 964 mb. The lowest pressure recorded in the NWS Mobile County Warning Area was 987 mb at Dauphin Island. Mobile Regional Airport recorded a minimum pressure of 989.9 mb.

 

 


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