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Hurricane Gert
Category 5 hurricane (SSHS)
Hurricane Ike approaching Cuba

Hurricane Gert, as a weak Category four hurricane.
Formed June 20
Dissipated July 5
Accumulated Cyclone Energy 45
Highest winds 200 mph
(1-min sustained)
Lowest pressure 876 (mbar)
Damages $300 billion (2020 USD)
Direct Fatalities 4,100
Indirect Fatalities 50
Missing 350
Areas affected Bahamas, Florida, Texas
Part of the
2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season

Hurricane Gert was, at the time, the strongest and most intense storm in Atlantic Hurricane history. The storm became the strongest hurricane in June and in July, and the storm system was the most destructive in US history.

Meteorological History

Hurricane Gert began as a minor tropical depression 100 miles (160 km) off the coast of the Cape Verde Islands, on June 20. The storm intensified into a major tropical storm over a period of 12 hours, and the storm then continued to intensify. On June 22, the storm intensified into a Category 1 hurricane, and in another 6 hours, the storm intensified into a high-end Category 2 storm, and stayed that way for two days. As the storm continued to intensify, the storm also grew in size, to a width of 600 miles (960 km). By June 26, at 0600 hours UTC, Gert had wind speeds of 125 mph (210 km/h) and a pressure of 957 millibars (28.26 inHg).

On June 27, the storm quickly intensified into a high-end Category 4 hurricane (with a pressure of 920 millibars) over a period of 12 hours, and by the morning of June 28 (after another 12 hours of intensification), it was a high-end Category 5 hurricane, with wind speeds of 200 mph, and a pressure of 876 millibars. It also shrunk to a diameter of 500 miles (800 km). The storm hit the Bahamas full force, not even weakening at all. The storm then hit Miami, Florida at peak strength as well.

At 2:36 AM Eastern Standard Time, on June 28, the storm exited Florida, with winds of 140 mph and a pressure of 925 millibars. The storm then stayed as a Category 4 hurricane, eventually reaching Category 5 force on June 29, with winds of 165 mph. The storm then continued to intensify, eventually reaching winds of 190 mph and a pressure of 880 millibars. The storm system was estimated to be 500 miles across, eventually hitting Corpus Christi at peak strength. The storm's size meant that areas as far north as Port Lavaca were exposed to winds exceeding hurricane force and a storm surge of 10 feet, with rain bands extending as far northeast as Houston. The storm then hit San Antonio, Texas as a Category 2 hurricane.

The storm then swung toward the northeast, skyrocketing at a speed of 30 mph and climbing, finally dissipating over Canada on July 5.

Impact

The storm system left a total of $300 billion in damage. Over 4,500 were dead in Texas, Florida, and the Bahamas. It is expected to take years for many of the affected regions to return to normal.

Bahamas

Hurricane Gert was a monstrous storm when it the capital of the Bahamas (Nassau, Bahamas), with wind speeds of 200 mph (320 km/h) and a pressure of 876 millibars. The storm's enormous size meant that the city was exposed to gusts in excess of 150 mph (240 km/h) for up to four hours. The fast-moving storm produced a storm surge exceeding 25 feet (7.6 meters), which flooded the whole island. A total of 500 died in and around the region, half of which in the city of Nassau. A total of $12 billion in damage occurred.

United States of America

The United States of America was particularly affected by Gert, especially Florida and Texas.

Florida

Hurricane Gert hit Miami, Florida with the same force that it hit the Bahamas. In its 25-mile-wide radius of maximum winds, sustained winds reached 200 mph (320 km/h).

The storm's forward speed, which was estimated to have been 15 mph (24 km/h), left many towns and cities near Miami exposed to gusts exceeding 155 mph (250 km/h) for over four hours. Combined with a 26-foot (8-meter) storm surge, much of Southern Florida was devastated, and the storm surge flooded up to 10 miles inland. Over 1,850 perished in Miami and the surrounding areas, which was a surprising amount, considering the evacuation orders placed in the areas.

At 2:36 AM Eastern Standard Time, on June 28, the storm exited Florida, with winds of 140 mph and a pressure of 925 millibars, after killing over 150 more in Cape Coral and Fort Myers.

Texas

Corpus Christi, Texas was directly hit by Hurricane Gert, which by this time was packing winds of up to 190 mph (305 km/h). The storm system was estimated to be 500 miles across, eventually hitting Corpus Christi at peak strength. The storm's size meant that areas as far north as Port Lavaca were exposed to winds exceeding hurricane force and a storm surge of 10 feet, with rain bands extending as far northeast as Houston, and as far south as Brownsville, Texas. In Corpus Christi, a 25-foot (7.6-meter) storm surge flooded into the city, and the high winds caused major damage to even the skyscrapers. The storm killed a total of 1,900 people in the city and surrounding regions. It then swung north, eventually hitting San Antonio as a high-end Category 2 hurricane, with a forward speed of 25 mph, killing over 100 there.

Aftermath

The President of the United States considered Florida and Texas disaster areas, although the catastrophes with Aaron and Eduardo were straining the economy. The cities are expected to take months, perhaps years, to recover.

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