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NOAA's 2005 Storm Events


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Hurricane Katrina water and wastewater contracts: Army Corps of Engineers

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Satellite images of Hurricane Katrina damage. GlobalSecurity.org_ 9/4/05


2005 Hurricane News

Note: The 2005 Atlantic hurricane season began June 1 and officially ended November 30.

Tropical Storm Zeta - and 2005 hurricane season - finally draw their last breath

Tropical Storm Zeta fell apart Friday in the open Atlantic, finally bringing the record-breaking 2005 Atlantic hurricane season to an end. Zeta, which was never a threat to land, set one last record before strong wind shear and dry air robbed it of its wind speed and other characteristics of a tropical system: No named storm ever endured so long into January. Hurricane Alice in 1955 was the only other Atlantic storm to greet a new year at all. The 2006 season officially begins June 1, but any tropical storms that form early would be part of its tally. The first name on the list is Alberto. AP/ABC News_  1/6/06

Tropical Storm Zeta drifts in open Atlantic

The 27th and last named storm of the record-breaking 2005 hurricane season, Zeta had top sustained winds near 50 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. Forecasters said Zeta was not expected to become a hurricane or threaten land. The storm developed Friday, nearly a month after the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season officially ended. It tied a record for the latest-developing storm since record-keeping began in 1851. AP/Houston Chronicle_ 1/2/06

FEMA dumped leftover drinking water after hurricane response

One million cans of leftover drinking water were dumped because the water was not used at Texas and Louisiana hurricane shelters, a spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency said. FEMA transported the 400,000 liters of water, or 18 truckloads, to a scrap metal business in the Dallas area last month. The water was drained into the sewer and the cans sent for recycling. FEMA spokesman Don Jacks said the cans were donated to hurricane shelters by Coca-Cola and other donors. Jacks said donors often contribute more supplies than are needed in response to disasters. Coca-Cola donated about 40 million drinks during the relief effort - mostly packaged water - and some of the containers had expiration dates, said Ray Crockett, a spokesman for Coca-Cola. Crockett said Coca-Cola was pleased that most of the products it donated reached the people who needed them. AP/Star-Telegram_ 12/31/05

Straggler storm Zeta churns in open Atlantic

A strengthened Tropical Storm Zeta churned in the open Atlantic on Saturday, a month after the end of the official Atlantic and Caribbean hurricane season, without posing any threat to land. The 27th named storm of a season that has broken a slew of weather records. Six tropical storms have strengthened into hurricanes in December since record-keeping began in 1851, including Epsilon earlier this month. The previous record for most tropical storms was 21, set in 1933. Fourteen of this year's storms strengthened into hurricanes, breaking the old record of 12 set in 1969. The year also saw the costliest hurricane on record when Hurricane Katrina swamped New Orleans and the U.S. Gulf Coast in August, killing at least 1,300 people and causing more than $80 billion of damage. Reuters_ 12/31/05

Epsilon finally weakens into a tropical storm

Hurricane Epsilon finally weakened into a tropical storm on Wednesday, several days after forecasters had expected the stubborn 26th tropical cyclone of a record-breaking Atlantic hurricane season to fade away. Epsilon was the 14th hurricane, beating a record of 12 set in 1969. Reuters_ 12/7/05

Storm Epsilon again regains hurricane strength

Tropical Storm Epsilon strengthened into a hurricane for the second time in two days on Sunday, perplexing U.S. hurricane researchers who had expected it to steadily weaken over cool Atlantic waters. The 14th hurricane of a record-breaking 2005 Atlantic hurricane season had earlier weakened back into a tropical storm, with winds below the 74-mph (119-kph) threshold that categorizes a tropical storm as a hurricane. The storm posed no threat to land and was expected to loop back to the southwest after a couple of days and dissipate. Epsilon, the sixth hurricane to occur in December since records began in 1851, was named like its four predecessors for a letter in the Greek alphabet after the official list of storm names for 2005 was exhausted. This season saw the most tropical storms on record -- 26 -- and the most hurricanes, with 14. The highest number of hurricanes previously on record was 12, in 1969, and the highest number of named storms was 21, in 1933. The long-term average is 10 storms per season, six of which become hurricanes. This year also set a record of three Category 5 storms -- the most powerful on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane intensity -- including Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans and killed more than 1,200 in Louisiana and Mississippi. Hurricane Wilma in October became the strongest hurricane ever observed in the Atlantic, and Vince in October the first tropical storm known to have come ashore in southern Spain. Reuters_ 12/4/05

November, 2005

Tropical Storm Epsilon, 26th named storm of record storm season, forms in Central Atlantic

But it was not expected to hit land, according to forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami. The six-month Atlantic hurricane season ends Wednesday. AP/ABC News_ 11/29/05

Tropical Storm Delta weakens in Central Atlantic

Tropical Storm Delta, the 25th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, lost more strength on Saturday as it threatened only shipping interests in the central Atlantic. Last year, Tropical Storm Otto formed on the last day of the season, Nov. 30, and lasted until Dec. 3. The hurricane center says the latest hurricane to strike the United States was on Nov. 30, 1925, near Tampa. The only months on record not to have an Atlantic hurricane are February and April. AP/Guardian Unlimited_ 11/26/05

Tropical Storm Gamma killed at least 32 in Honduras

Many more are feared dead in mudslides in two remote villages, an emergency official said on Monday. Officials had earlier put the death toll in Honduras from Gamma, which pushed through Central America last weekend, at 11 people, but it rose on Monday as reports came in from areas that were cut off. Gamma, the 24th major storm in a record-breaking hurricane season, weakened to a tropical depression on Sunday. Reuters_ 11/22/05

Gamma weakens after killing 14 in Central America

Gamma slowed to a tropical depression and meandered off the Honduran coast with maximum sustained winds of 35 miles per hour (55 kph). It was expected to dissipate by early Monday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said. The storm swiped Central America on Saturday and killed at least 14 people, three in a plane crash on its way to a luxury jungle lodge owned by film director Francis Ford Coppola. In Honduras, 11 people died, seven in raging river waters and four in mudslides. Another 13 people were missing and about 12,000 evacuees remained in shelters. Forecasters said Gamma would not directly hit southern Florida, where Wilma also wreaked havoc. Earlier in October, Hurricane Stan killed up to 2,000 people in Central America as flash floods and mudslides washed away whole villages. Reuters_ 11/20/05

Tropical Storm Gamma kills 3 in Honduras, threatens Belize, Yucatan

Forecasters said Gamma, the 24th named storm of an already record-breaking Atlantic hurricane season, is likely to skirt Belize and the Yucatan this weekend before heading toward Cuba's western tip and then reaching storm-weary southern Florida by Monday afternoon. The previous record of 21 named storms had stood since 1933. AP/CBC_ 11/19/05

South Florida monitors Tropical Storm Gamma

Preliminary and unusually uncertain predictions carried Gamma to the Naples area Monday and then diagonally across South Florida as a strong tropical storm -- but with winds below the 74-mph threshold of a hurricane. The storm was not well organized and it could fall apart or dramatically shift direction before it reaches Florida. Gamma formed Friday afternoon in the Caribbean, growing out of the remnants of a tropical depression that deteriorated earlier in the week. Warnings and watches were posted in Belize, Honduras and along Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. Gamma is the 24th named storm of this record-setting season. Eight hurricanes and three tropical storm have struck or brushed Florida during the past two years. Miami Herald_ 11/18/05 (logon required)

10 days after Hurricane Wilma, Coral Springs, Florida lifts boil water order; restrictions remain in 10 other Broward County communities
The precautionary boil water alert has been lifted for the City of Coral Springs Water District. All running water in the City of Coral Springs is currently potable/drinkable, the city said around noon Wednesday. The Florida Department of Health announced Wednesday that boil water orders are still in effect for the following areas of Broward County: Fort Lauderdale; Hillsboro Beach; Lauderdale-by-the-Sea; North Lauderdale; Oakland Park; Sea Ranch Lakes; Tamarac – east of 31st Avenue only; Wilton Manors; Port Everglades; and the community of Hacienda Village in Davie. Sun-Sentinel_ 11/2/05

October, 2005

Hurricane Beta belts Nicaragua, threatens mudslides; emergency water and food enroute

Hurricane Beta barreled into Nicaragua's Caribbean coast on Sunday and once inland lost steam to be downgraded to a tropical storm but its torrential rains still threatened mudslides and floods. In neighboring Honduras, communications went down as isolated coastal villages flooded, authorities said. About 8,000 were evacuated as rivers broke their banks. The government flew in food, water and blankets to the Caribbean region. Both countries were ravaged in 1998 by Hurricane Mitch, whose heavy rains killed about 10,000 people across Central America. This month, Hurricane Stan killed up to 2,000 people in Central America, most of them Maya Indians in Guatemala whose homes were swallowed in landslides. Beta is the 13th hurricane and 23rd named storm of the relentless, record-breaking Atlantic storm season. Reuters_ 10/30/05

Nicaragua evacuates coast as Tropical Storm Beta looms

Beta whipped up winds of 65 mph (100 kph) and was expected to charge up to hurricane strength and make landfall on Nicaragua's border with Honduras on Sunday morning. Another hurricane, Stan, killed as many as 2,000 people, mostly Guatemalan highland villagers, by deluging large areas of Central America with heavy rain early in October. The eye of Tropical Storm Beta was set to pass near Colombia's San Andres and Providencia islands on Friday. The islands, near Nicaragua, were once favored hideaways of famous 17th century Welsh pirate Henry Morgan. Reuters_ 10/28/05

Gov. Jeb Bush: 'Blame me' for ice, water shortcomings

Gov. Jeb Bush accepted responsibility Wenesday for the first day's chaotic response but stopped short of apologizing to Floridians who waited fruitlessly in long lines for ice, water and food and instead went home empty-handed. "We didn't meet our expectation and I accept responsibility for that," Bush said. He said the centers should have been up and running 24 hours after Hurricane Wilma passed through South Florida. But he defended both the state and federal response saying that people should have heeded local officials' warnings and readied themselves for the storm with a three-day cache of food and water. Accompanied by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and acting director of FEMA David Paulison, Bush bristled at the suggestion that FEMA did not respond quickly enough to the catastrophe. "If anybody wants to blame anybody, let them blame me. Don't blame FEMA," he said. Even Wednesday, distribution sites were staffed hours before the FEMA supplies arrived. Palm Beach Post_ 10/26/05

Florida lifts boil-water order for 6 Broward County cities

The Florida Department of Health has lifted the boil-water order for customers that are serviced by the following water systems: City of Coral Springs, Coral Springs Water Improvement District and North Springs Water Improvement District ( service area map ), City of Hallandale Beach, City of Margate ( water ), City of Pompano Beach ( water ), City of Pembroke Pines ( water ), Town of Davie ( water ). Lauderhill is not under a boil water order, except for the recently annexed communities of West Ken Lark and St. George's. All other communities in Broward County remain under a boil water order. Miami Herald_ 10/26/05

South Florida residents scavenge for water, food, gas

South Floridians began to comprehend the long-term effects of Hurricane Wilma on Tuesday, as it became increasingly clear that residents could spend the next few days, if not weeks, waiting in lines for basic supplies, coveting working showers and toilets, and in many cases, kicking themselves for underestimating the damage a Category 2 storm could bring. Although state officials had bragged about their readiness for Wilma, as of late Tuesday afternoon no water or ice had arrived at any of the Broward County distribution centers, where state aide had been promised by noon. Palm Beach County and Miami-Dade County centers also reported problems. As a result, tensions ran high and some fights broke out as residents complained help was not coming quickly enough. Water was restored in several cities but residents were cautioned to boil it before drinking. South Florida Sun-Sentinel/KRT/Kansas City Star_ 10/25/05 (logon required)

FEMA: An orderly storm response this time

As Hurricane Wilma lashed Florida, federal authorities rushed water, communications equipment and emergency personnel into stricken areas with few signs of the tragic disorder that plagued the government response to Hurricane Katrina. R. David Paulison, acting director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said FEMA, using lessons learned from Katrina and taking advantage of the relatively long advance warning Wilma provided, was working closely with state officials to achieve what he called "total situation awareness" — that is, to make sure everyone knew what was happening and what everyone else was doing. FEMA's robust response to Wilma was aided by the fact that the agency has a permanent presence in Florida, where hurricanes are a fact of life. Since the National Weather Service began keeping records in 1851, seven of the nine major hurricanes that have hammered the U.S. during the month of October have struck Florida. Florida has an infrastructure, leadership and a population used to coping with the battering storms and the damage they leave behind. The Pentagon and FEMA deployed extra communications equipment, the Pentagon stationed emergency response planners at FEMA headquarters in Washington, and FEMA delivered increased amounts of food, water and ice to the region. The agency also pre-positioned natural disaster medical teams and urban search-and-rescue teams. Los Angeles Times_ 10/25/05 (logon required)

Wilma pummels Florida

Hurricane Wilma crashed into Florida on Monday, swamping the popular tourist island Key West and hammering the densely populated Miami-Fort Lauderdale area after killing 17 people in a rampage through the Caribbean. Wilma hit the state as surprisingly strong Category 3 hurricane after feeding for days over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. It weakened to a Category 2 as it raced across the state in about four hours, but dealt a harsh blow.The eighth storm to hit Florida in the last 15 months, Wilma struck the mainland before dawn on the west coast near Naples, a fast-growing retiree city, and sped across the Everglades to the populous east coast, pounding Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, an area of 5 million people. Forecasters said Wilma, at one point the strongest Atlantic hurricane on record, could prove to be the strongest storm in Miami since August, 1992, when Hurricane Andrew caused more than $25 billion in damage. The 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, which ends on November 30, became the busiest since records began 150 years ago with the formation on Saturday of the 22nd named tropical storm, Alpha. The unprecedented season spawned three of the most-intense Atlantic storms on record, with Katrina, which devastated New Orleans in August and killed 1,200 people, Rita, which hit the Texas-Louisiana border a few weeks later, and now Wilma, the storm with the lowest barometric pressure reading ever observed in the Atlantic basin. Reuters_ 10/24/05

Tropical Storm Alpha drenches Haiti and Dominican Republic

Alpha, which formed south of the Dominican Republic on Saturday, became the record-breaking 22nd named storm of the 2005 Atlantic season. The storm was later downgraded to a tropical depression after passing over the mountainous zone near the Dominican border with Haiti. Forecasters warned it could regain strength as it moves over open water toward the southeastern Bahamas. The system was not considered a threat to the United States, forecasters said. AP/ABC News_ 10/23/05

Stronger Wilma menaces Florida after bashing Mexico

Hurricane Wilma strengthened as it raced toward Florida on Sunday after devastating Mexico's Caribbean resorts with floods and wild winds that smashed thousands of homes and killed seven people. At one point the most intense hurricane recorded in the Atlantic basin, Wilma weakened as it hammered Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula for days, but then strengthened again to carry 105 mph (165 kph) winds toward the Florida Keys, where storm-weary residents largely ignored evacuation orders. It was expected to hit southwest Florida by daybreak on Monday, and then "take off like a rocket headed out over the Atlantic," hurricane center Director Max Mayfield said. Wilma was a Category 2 hurricane on the five-stage Saffir-Simpson scale. Reuters_ 10/23/05

Hurricane Wilma inflicts massive damage in Mexico; Tropical Storm Alpha breaks record

Hurricane Wilma clobbered the tourist havens of Playa del Carmen, Cancun and Cozumel. Thousands of people trembled through a second day of misery as the powerful storm slowly crawled through the region. Felix Gonzalez Cantu, the governor of Quintana Roo state, said that schools, hospitals, hotels and highways were substantially damaged. He called it "a level of destruction without precedent." Unbelievably, Tropical Storm Alpha - the 22nd named storm of this record-breaking season - developed in the Caribbean. Alpha broke the Atlantic hurricane season activity record set in 1933 and marked the first time that forecasters have run out of names and had to resort to the Greek alphabet for additional names. Knight Ridder/San Jose Mercury_ 10/22/05 (logon required)

Wilma, a Category 4 storm, lashes Mexico's beaches

Hurricane Wilma's ferocious winds battered Mexico's famed Caribbean beach resorts on Friday, knocking over trees and signposts and trapping thousands of nervous tourists in cramped shelters. Powerful waves swallowed up white sand beaches in the popular resort of Cancun and howling winds tore across the island of Cozumel, a favorite of scuba divers and cruise ship passengers. The hurricane season has six weeks left and has already spawned three of the most-intense storms on record. Hurricane experts say the Atlantic has entered a period of heightened storm activity that could last 20 more years. Reuters_ 10/21/05

Wilma may hit Florida by Sunday night; Storm off Mexico's Yucatan could intensify

Hurricane Wilma was bearing down on Mexico as forecasters Thursday put the Category 4 storm on track to hit Florida on Sunday. "Believe me, this is still a very, very powerful hurricane," said Max Mayfield, director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami. "Don't minimize this just because it's no longer a Category 5."  CNN_10/20/05

Wilma now a Category 4 hurricane with 150 mph winds

An Air Force plane has measured maximum sustained winds of near 150 mph from Hurricane Wilma, the National Hurricane Center reported early on Wednesday, making it an extremely dangerous Category 4 storm. A hurricane watch was in effect for the east coast of Mexico's Yucatan peninsula from Cabo Catoche to Punta Gruesa and for the provinces of Matanzas westward through Pinar del Rio in Cuba, the hurricane center reported. Reuters_ 10/19/05

Wilma, now a hurricane, gains strength and heads for Florida

All seven major weather models predicted Hurricane Wilma, the 12th hurricane of the season, could strengthen into a Category 3 storm before entering the Gulf of Mexico and heading for Florida's Gulf Coast later this week. In an advisory at 11 a.m. EDT, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said the storm's maximum sustained winds were 75 miles per hour, with higher gusts, making Wilma a Category 1 storm (74-95 mph winds) on the Saffir-Simpson scale. The NHC predicted the storm would become a major hurricane over the next day or two and could strengthen into a Category 3 storm with winds from 111-130 mph before entering the Gulf of Mexico. Reuters_ 10/18/05

Wilma ties record set in 1933 for most named tropical storms

Wilma, the record-tying 21st tropical storm of the season, formed in the Caribbean on Monday, and forecasters warned it could become a powerful hurricane and hit somewhere along the U.S. Gulf Coast as early as the weekend. By Tuesday, it could become the season's 12th hurricane, which would match another record: There were 12 hurricanes in 1969, the highest number since Atlantic record-keeping started in 1851. There have been 10 late-season hurricanes of Category 3 or higher since 1995. Wilma is the last on the list of storm names for 2005; there are 21 names on the yearly list because the letters Q, U, X, Y and Z are skipped. If any other storms form this season, the Greek alphabet will be used, starting with Alpha. AP/ABC News_ 10/17/05

Florida hit by tropical storm as new one forms

As Tropical Storm Tammy made landfall in Florida yesterday, forecasters turned their attention to another tropical system formed off the Yucatan Peninsula that could threaten the western side of the state. State meteorologist Ben Nelson said the system could soon strengthen into a depression or tropical storm that would be named Vince. The new system is emerging out of thunderstorms left in the wake of Hurricane Stan, which struck southern Mexico earlier this week. Orlando Sentinel/AP/Seattle Times_ 10/6/05

DHH: Orleans water safe to drink
With the power coming back on gradually and services returning, residents waiting to move back into their homes got more good news Thursday — the water in the majority of New Orleans is safe to use again.  The Department of Health and Hospitals Office of Public Health declared the water in most of New Orleans safe to drink, bathe and cook with Thursday, citing tests done throughout the city that were repeatedly negative for potentially unsafe bacteria.  The tests mean a boil order that had been in effect for the city will be lifted for all points west of the Industrial Canal. In areas hardest hit by Katrina — the lower Ninth Ward and New Orleans East — the water is still unsafe to drink, the department cautioned and a boil water advisory will remain in effect.  Residents returning to their homes should run their taps for 10 to 15 minutes to flush the plumbing of their homes and businesses.  Nola.com_10/6/05

Water in Beaumont, Texas now safe to drink, but discolored, nine days after Hurricane Rita

Residents of Beaumont can return to the city to check the damage on their homes, but the city wants residents out of town by 7 p.m. because water, sewer and electrical services may not be on. Residents in Nederland, Port Neches, Groves and Port Arthur are still required to boil their water because of water systems that remain on emergency generator power. AP/Times-Picayune/NOLA.com_ 10/3/05

September, 2005

Houston, Texas narrowly avoids a drinking water crisis
In what officials called Houston's own "Apollo 13" brush with disaster, hundreds of thousands of area residents and area oil refineries and chemical plants came within two days of running out of water after Hurricane Rita disrupted power to a pumping plant. A rushed repair - described as the equivalent of running a giant extension cord to the plant - restored the flow of water on Tuesday to a municipal reservoir that was down to half its normal 1.5 billion-gallon capacity by midday. The reservoir was being drained at the rate of up to 400 million gallons a day and so would have gone dry by Thursday, Mayor Bill White said at a news briefing at City Hall. How vulnerable the region was to losing its main water supply had been largely overlooked and highlighted a danger that will now become part of future emergency planning, Mr. White said. New York Times_ 9/28/05 (logon required)

Galveston, Texas issues boil water notice in aftermath of Hurricane Rita

The notices are a result of the disruption of water service from Hurricane Rita.
Once repairs are complete and water is flowing through the line, the county health district's Kurt Koopman said the water should still be considered not safe to drink until laboratory tests confirm its purity. The boil water notices will remain in effect until officials have declared the water safe for use said Koopman. Galveston County Daily News_ 9/25/05

Rita crashes into U.S. Gulf Coast, spares Houston

Hurricane Rita slammed into evacuated towns and oil refineries in the swamplands of the Texas-Louisiana border on Saturday, stripping roofs off buildings, cutting power to more than a million homes and flooding New Orleans once again. The storm crashed into the U.S. Gulf Coast with 120 mph (193 kph) winds and punishing rains, then weakened from Category 3 to Category 1, with 75 mph (122 kph) winds as it moved inland. However, it threatened to stall over Texas and could dump up to 2 feet (0.6 metres) of rain over the coming days, raising the prospect of more flooding. Authorities urged the more than 2 million people who fled Rita not to return home yet. When Rita was over the Gulf of Mexico earlier in the week, it was a roaring Category 5 storm with 175 mph (281 kph) winds and ranked as the third most-powerful Atlantic hurricane on record. Reuters_ 9/24/05

Texas awaits Rita catastrophe at Port Arthur, New Orleans floods

Texas officials warned of catastrophe and an already devastated New Orleans suffered renewed flooding as weakened levees gave way on Friday and the edges of Hurricane Rita began to buffet the U.S. Gulf Coast. Rita was downgraded to a strong Category 3 storm at midafternoon and continued to weaken as its outer edges began to assault the Texas and Louisiana coasts. Maximum winds dropped to about 120 mph (195 kph). Lying in the path of the charging storm was Port Arthur, Texas, which was likely to suffer a "catastrophic flood" from an 18- to 22-foot (6- to 7-meter) storm surge, said Jack Colley, director of the Texas Division of Emergency Management. Reuters_ 9/23/05

Rita roars through Gulf

Evacuees jammed Texas highways and Louisiana braced for its second major hurricane in less than a month as Rita roared through the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday toward the center of the U.S. oil industry.  The path of Rita, downgraded to a Category 4 hurricane when its winds fell to 145 mph, shifted northward and appeared to be headed slightly east of Galveston and Houston, the National Hurricane Center said.  But officials warned the storm remained unpredictable.  Reuters_9/22/05

Texans evacuate as Rita strengthens
Hurricane Rita grew into a monster Category 5 storm and took aim at Texas on Wednesday as authorities began to evacuate more than a million people from most of the coast and parts of Houston. The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Rita's winds increased to 165 mph (265 kph) as it moved over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico after lashing the Florida Keys on Tuesday. Reuters_9/21/05

Rita now a Category 4 hurricane

After lashing the Florida Keys, Hurricane Rita was upgraded on Wednesday into a more powerful Category 4 storm as it headed across the Gulf of Mexico on a course that could take it to Texas and dump more rain on Katrina-battered Louisiana. The upgrade put Rita in the same strength classification as Hurricane Katrina, which devastated parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama last month. Reuters_ 9/21/05

Hurricane Rita develops into Category 3 storm

After lashing the Florida Keys, Hurricane Rita gained power on Wednesday and headed across the Gulf of Mexico on a course that could take it to Texas and dump more rain on Katrina-battered Louisiana. Rita was upgraded to a Category 3 storm and the National Hurricane Center said it probably would develop into a Category 4 on Wednesday, the same classification as Hurricane Katrina, which devastated parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama last month. Reuters_ 9/21/05

Hurricane Rita threatens Florida Keys

Tropical Storm Rita strengthened into a hurricane on Tuesday and lashed the low-lying islands of the Florida Keys with gusty squalls and heavy rain. All 80,000 residents had been ordered out of the Keys on Monday but many stayed behind in boarded-up homes to await Rita's arrival. The hurricane was expected to strengthen further as it moves into the Gulf of Mexico where deadly Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc three weeks ago. Reuters_ 9/20/05

Tropical Storm Rita, 17th named storm of the season, heads for Florida Keys

The storm could become a hurricane by Tuesday, when it was expected to be between the Keys and Cuba, said the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami on its Web site. It was moving on a path that could take it into the Gulf of Mexico by Tuesday or Wednesday. The Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30, produces an average of about 11 tropical storms or hurricanes. But forecasters had predicted an above-average season with as many as 21 storms due to high sea-surface temperatures and other conditions favorable to hurricane formation. Reuters_ 9/19/05

EPA and CDC say tests so far show New Orleans not a toxic gumbo
New Orleans has not became a hazardous waste site coated in a toxic stew as originally feared, although many flooded areas are coated with a smelly sludge, experts said on Friday. They said that while the water in New Orleans was far from pristine, they had not found much evidence of the widespread contamination that had been feared. The water is clearly contaminated with raw sewage because many sewage pumping stations are not working. But if people do not drink or soak in the water, there are few concerns, the Environmental Protection Agency said. There are high levels of E. coli bacteria, which suggest there potentially could be other diarrhea-causing microbes, but there have been no serious outbreaks of disease, the CDC says. There had been fears that other chemicals such as oil, dry-cleaning fluids and solvents such as benzene would be spread widely but the EPA said testing so far had not indicated this had actually happened. Reuters_ 9/16/05

Tropical Storm Ophelia heads north

The storm accelerated away from the U.S. East Coast on Friday and aimed for New England and Canada after hugging the Carolinas for two days, pounding the shore with heavy rains. Ophelia, downgraded from a hurricane on Thursday, was the first tropical cyclone to hit the United States since the far more powerful Katrina killed hundreds on the U.S. Gulf Coast and displaced 1 million people in late August. Reuters_ 9/16/05

Ophelia weakens off North Carolina

Category 1 storm drops 18 inches of rain in some area

After dumping more than a foot of rain in some places, Ophelia sputtered off the North Carolina coast Thursday evening, its winds barely at hurricane speed.  As of 5 p.m. ET, the Category 1 storm had top sustained winds of 75 mph, said the National Hurricane Center, noting it could fluctuate in strength over the next 24 hours.  Parts of the northern eye wall were expected to remain over the Outer Banks -- a chain of barrier islands off the North Carolina mainland -- for 12 to 24 hours.  The 5 p.m. advisory put Ophelia's center about 30 miles south-southwest of Cape Hatteras, and the hurricane center said the storm was "drifting" out to sea at about 3 mph. CNN_9/15/05

Hurricane Ophelia building more muscle

The center of Hurricane Ophelia is expected to hit the southeastern coast of North Carolina Thursday near Cape Lookout. But the National Hurricane Center says the northern eyewall of wind was moving across southeastern North Carolina Wednesday afternoon, including the outer banks, and would continue into the night. Maximum winds were 80 to 85 mph. The center said Wednesday afternoon that Ophelia is continuing to strengthen as the center moves closer to the coast. A hurricane warning was in effect from Little River Inlet to the North Carolina-Virginia border, including the Pamlico and Albemarle sounds.  Science Daily_9/14/05

New Orleans water tests results released.

Bacteria, chemical concerns confirmed.

The floodwaters in New Orleans still pose a health risk because of dangerous levels of sewage-related bacteria and toxic chemicals, according to government test results released Wednesday. Federal agencies aren’t predicting when the city will be habitable again. “This is one of the biggest environmental challenges in our agency’s history. Since we haven’t seen anything of this scale before, it’s hard to make specific predictions,” said Eryn Witcher, an EPA spokeswoman. The agency’s top priority is a quick cleanup that is done well and protective of people’s health, she said. The chemical samples were drawn from more than 100 pollutants on Sept. 4 and Sept. 6 by EPA and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality. Like previous tests on Sept. 3, they turned up high levels of chemicals such as hexavalent chromium, arsenic and lead.  MSNBC_9/14/05


Ophelia strengthens into a hurricane off the U.S. Carolina coast

Thousands of people fled their homes in North Carolina's barrier islands on Tuesday as tropical Storm Ophelia strengthened into a hurricane again and wobbled toward the southeast U.S. coast. The storm was creeping north-northwest and was expected to turn north and hit the North Carolina coast on Wednesday night and Thursday, the forecasters said. Along the 100-mile (160-km) chain of barrier islands known as the Outer Banks, mandatory evacuation orders were issued for all 20,000 people on Hatteras Island, a popular vacation spot that includes Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Reuters_ 9/13/05

Medical teams search for water-borne diseases and other signs of epidemics after Katrina

Investigators searching for evidence of epidemics following Hurricane Katrina found plenty of stomach upset but no serious outbreaks. In addition to the widely expected stomach upset caused by dirty water, skin infections appeared frequently, said Dr. Carolyn Tabak, a pediatrician at the National Center for Health Statistics in Hyattsville, Maryland, who is helping lead a team of researchers who will decide if any epidemics have followed the flood and damage caused by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. The Centers for Disease Control says 19 people have become ill from Vibrio bacterial infections and five have died in the region after Katrina. Three have died from Vibrio vulnificus and two from V. parahaemolyticus, the CDC said. Both organisms are common in Gulf waters and usually only sicken people who already have immune weaknesses. Reuters_ 9/13/05

Tropical Storm Ophelia keeps U.S. East Coast guessing

Hurricane Ophelia weakened to a tropical storm off the southeastern U.S. coast on Monday as it drifted in fits and starts towards the North Carolina coast. The storm had barely budged in days and its top sustained winds repeatedly strengthened and weakened just enough to wobble back and forth across the 74 mph (119 kph) threshold that separates a tropical storm from a hurricane. The storm was inching northwest and was expected to turn gradually north and move over or near the North Carolina coast on Wednesday or Thursday, the forecasters said. Reuters_ 9/12/05

FEMA head Brown quits over Katrina

The head of the U.S. disaster agency resigned on Monday after fierce criticism of his handling of Hurricane Katrina and U.S. President George W. Bush rejected charges that racism or the Iraq war slowed the government response to the disaster two weeks ago. Michael Brown, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, quit three days after the Bush administration pulled him out of the disaster area and recalled him to Washington, replacing him on the ground with Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad Allen. The White House announced that Brown would be replaced as FEMA head on an interim basis by David Paulison, a veteran firefighter who runs the agency's preparedness division. Reuters_ 9/12/05

Hurricane Ophelia looms off U.S. East Coast

Hurricane Ophelia parked off the coast of the southeastern United States on Sunday and could hit North Carolina later in the week, forecasters said. The center of Ophelia, the first hurricane to threaten the United States since Katrina devastated the Louisiana-Mississippi coast two weeks ago, was about 255 miles south of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina at 5 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT). It had top sustained winds of 75 mph (120 kph), down from 85 mph (136 kph) earlier in the day. Ophelia was not expected to strengthen in the next day but could grow stronger after that, forecasters at the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. Reuters_ 9/11/05

Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality takes water samples near treatment plants

Environmental officials have taken water samples near water intake plants along the lower Mississippi River for communities in Jefferson and Orleans parishes that depend on the river as a drinking water source. Kirk Manuel, manager of the state Department of Environmental Quality's water quality survey section, said that although a few water plants are back on line, others will start to operate as parishes and cities get electricity and can get their equipment running. Tests results will be available in about a week. Manuel said he expects the water quality will be pretty good, but does expect the tests will show elevated levels of bacteria as a result of sewer systems overflowing during Hurricane Katrina. AP/Times-Picayune_ 9/10/05

Ophelia regains hurricane force off Carolinas coast

The Atlantic storm Ophelia regained hurricane force on Saturday as U.S. forecasters placed coastal North and South Carolina under a hurricane watch. The watch issued by the National Hurricane Centre in Miami cautioned that fierce winds and other hurricane conditions were possible within 36 hours in an area along the southeastern U.S. coast from the Savannah River in South Carolina to Cape Lookout in North Carolina. The storm, which has repeatedly weakened and regained strength, had parked off the coast of Florida for three days and lashed the state's Atlantic coast with squalls and beach-eating waves. Reuters_ 9/10/05

FEMA  chief Michael Brown recalled to Washington; Cautious hope Katrina death toll may be  less than feared

After days of criticism that President George W. Bush and his team had failed to respond quickly and adequately to the disaster, Federal Emergency Management Agency head Michael Brown was recalled to Washington. His role overseeing recovery efforts on the U.S. Gulf Coast was handed to Vice Admiral Thad Allen, chief of staff of the U.S. Coast Guard. There was some cautious hope that the New Orleans death toll might not be as big as feared, even as turgid water polluted with bacteria, sewage and chemicals gradually receded in the near-empty city, once home to 450,000. Reuters_ 9/9/05

Flood infections kill four
Four persons have died in what federal health officials think was likely a bacterial infection circulating in Hurricane Katrina's contaminated floodwaters in New Orleans, and new EPA tests show the water is full of sewage and lead. Environmental Protection Agency Director Stephen L. Johnson said yesterday that the amount of E. coli and coliform, a bacterium found in sewage, in the water was at least 10 times EPA's recommended levels. Lead levels in the water also were elevated, he said.   World Peace Herald_9/8/05

Tropical Storm Ophelia meanders off Florida

Tropical Storm Ophelia sat off Florida's Atlantic Coast on Wednesday, barely budging and defying forecasters' attempts to predict where or if it might hit land. Ophelia coalesced overnight from a loose and swirling mass of thunderstorms and had top winds of 50 mph (80 kph). Ophelia was expected to alternately weaken and strengthen as it hugged the Florida coast, but could still grow into a weak hurricane, with winds of at least 74 mph (118 kph). Reuters_ 9/7/05

Water-borne infections kill 3 after Katrina

Three people have died from bacterial infections in Gulf states after Hurricane Katrina, and tests confirm that the water flooding New Orleans is a stew of sewage-borne bacteria, federal officials said on Wednesday. A fourth person in the Gulf region is suspected to be infected with Vibrio vulnificus, a common marine bacteria, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Julie Gerberding told reporters, citing reports from state health officials in Mississippi and Texas. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen Johnson said all the tests of waters in flooded residential areas of New Orleans exceeded by at least 10 times the safe levels of E. coli and other so-called coliform bacteria, found in the human gut and used as an indicator of sewage contamination. They also have high levels of lead. Reuters_ 9/7/05

Few choices to rid New Orleans of poisoned water

The potentially toxic brew of chemicals and human waste in the New Orleans floodwaters will have to be pumped into the Mississippi River or Lake Pontchartrain, raising the specter of an environmental disaster on the heels of Hurricane Katrina, experts say. The dire need to rid the drowned city of water could trigger fish kills and poison the delicate wetlands near New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico at the mouth of the Mississippi. Gasoline, diesel, anti-freeze, bleach, human waste, acids, alcohols and a host of other substances must be washed out of homes, factories, refineries, hospitals and other buildings. Reuters_ 9/6/05

New Orleans levees patched, army starts pumping water

Engineers repaired a ruptured levee in New Orleans and began pumping water from the flooded city as workers intensified the search for survivors and those killed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Rescuers are combing through in the areas hit hardest by Katrina ``to see if we missed anybody and to gather bodies missed previously,'' said Brigadier General Gary Jones of the Louisiana National Guard. Officials estimated that some 10,000 people still need rescuing in the city. Rescuers are confronted with a community awash in filth, as fires broke out around the city, including the historic Garden District. The water in New Orleans is fouled by pesticides, gasoline, metals and fecal waste, said Mike McDaniel, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.  Bloomberg_9/6/05

Task force advice on Mississippi-Missouri River valleys has gone unheeded

For more than a decade, the federal government has ignored much of the flood-protection advice offered by a White House task force following the Midwest's Great Flood of `93. Among other recommendations, no federal administration accepted the advice to have the Army Corps of Engineers give environmental quality equal importance with economic development when considering water projects. In July, the administration finally went on record as saying the corps' guidelines need to be revised, but has done nothing about it. St. Louis Post-Dispatch/KRT/San Jose Mercury-News_ 9/5/05 (logon required)

US asks European Union, NATO for water trucks and other hurricane aid

The United States has asked the European Union and NATO for emergency assistance, requesting blankets, first aid kits, water trucks and food for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, the two organizations said Sunday. AP/USA Today_ 9/4/05

About 466 Mississippi water systems affected by Hurricane Katrina

The update was released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Saturday. The EPA expects a mobile laboratory to be deployed next week to analyze local water. It has deployed 12 environmental emergency response teams to aid in search and recovery efforts and begin initial environmental assessments. KRT/Kansas City Star_ 9/4/05 (logon required)

Transcript of President George W. Bush's weekly address to the nation. The topic is aid to victims of Hurricane Katrina. Federal News Service/AP/New York Times_ 9/3/05 (logon required)

Despite obstacles, water treatment units enroute to US Gulf Coast

In the past, only Third World nations received the portable water treatment units built by the nonprofit Water Missions International. Now, with parts of the Gulf Coast resembling the Third World, several units will be operating in the area ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. More could be shipped, providing much-needed drinking water for thousands, but government red tape and water standards prevents that. Water Missions, created five years ago by Molly Greene and her husband with the dream of bringing clean water to 100 million people worldwide, has had to add reverse osmosis to units destined for the hurricane area. Water treated with reverse osmosis does not require permits but the osmosis units and larger diesel generators needed to run them triples the cost to $30,000, Greene said. AP/Sun News/Myrtle Beach Online_ 9/3/05

Soldiers begin handing out water, food and supplies in New Orleans

To cries of “Thank you Jesus!” and catcalls of “What took you so long?” a National Guard convoy packed with food, water and medicine rolled through axle-deep floodwaters Friday into what remained of New Orleans and descended into a maelstrom of fires and floating corpses. More than four days after the storm hit, the caravan of at least three-dozen camouflage-green troop vehicles and supply trucks arrived along with dozens of air-conditioned buses to take refugees out of the city. President Bush also took an aerial tour of the ruined city, and answered complaints about a sluggish government response by saying, “We’re going to make it right.” AP/Nashua Telegraph_ 9/3/05

Technology may quench thirst for drinking water
A plastic tube and a fluorescent light could turn out to be two crucial components for getting drinking water back in New Orleans. Other ideas include cheaper systems to test water and, further in the future, new styles of chemical purifiers. The UV-Tube--which kills germs in water with an ultraviolet light bulb--costs about $70 to put together, can be assembled from components that are fairly easy to find, and can be run off of a solar panel, key in an area where the electrical grid has crumbled. More importantly, it can process about five liters of water per minute. CNET_ 9/2/05

President Bush's remarks on supplying water and other aid to victims of Hurricane Katrina. His comments were made Thursday after meeting with former Presidents Clinton and Bush. New York Times_ 9/1/05 (logon required)

Mississippi puts 49 counties under boil-water alert

The state Health Department reported Wednesday afternoon that 135 state water systems in 49 counties are under boil-water notices. The notices warn consumers not to drink or use their water for any sterile purpose without first boiling it for at least a minute.
Massive power outages caused by Katrina's strong winds, rain and flooding caused many water systems to lose pressure after power was lost to water system pump motors. The Health Department considers water from systems that lose pressure to be contaminated until testing 48 to 72 hours later to make sure the water is safe to consume. Clarion-Ledger_ 9/1/05

Biggest health worry after Katrina is clean water

A lack of clean water is the most immediate health threat posed by the murky green water flooding Louisiana and Mississippi, health experts warned on Wednesday as authorities declared a public health emergency after Hurricane Katrina's devastation. "This afternoon, I've declared a public health emergency for the entire Gulf region," Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt told a news conference. "We are gravely concerned about the potential for cholera, typhoid and dehydrating diseases that can come as a result of the stagnant water and conditions." The flood destroyed sewage systems, and may have washed toxic chemicals and agricultural products into the mix. "The biggest problem is the sewage contamination of the water," said Dr. Glenn Morris, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Maryland Medical School in Baltimore. Reuters_ 8/31/05

Frustration grows as hurricane survivors await water and other aid

Frustration and anger spread along the U.S. Gulf Coast on Wednesday as survivors of Hurricane Katrina's deadly blow demanded food and water and complained about the slow trickle of relief supplies. On Wednesday, relief workers did set up some emergency camps in and around Biloxi, distributing water, fruit and other supplies to residents left without water, electricity to cook with or even a home. "I haven't had any water since yesterday," said Anthony Tryba, a casino worker who stood in a Salvation Army food line in downtown Biloxi. Reuters_ 8/31/05

New Orleans mayor fears 'thousands' killed by Hurricane Katrina; Entire city to be evacuated

The frightening estimate came as Army engineers struggled to plug New Orleans' breached levees with giant sandbags and concrete barriers, while authorities drew up plans to clear out the tens of thousands of people left in New Orleans and all but abandon the flooded-out city. There will be a "total evacuation of the city. We have to. The city will not be functional for two or three months," Mayor Ray Nagin said. Most of those refugees - 15,000 to 20,000 people - were in the Superdome, which had become hot and stuffy, with broken toilets and nowhere for anyone to bathe. AP/WFSB TV3 Hartford, Connecticut_ 8/31/05

Katrina leaves behind a stricken city
The city that prided itself on letting the good times roll today found itself overwhelmed by the hardships caused by Hurricane Katrina.  Failing levees and pumps allowed the surging waters to flood more than 80% of the city which, in the best of times, lived a charmed existence below sea level and fought off the danger of a deluge from the Mississippi River. City officials declared martial law to deal with the worsening situation. Food and drinkable water were scarce, forcing city officials to order nonessential people to evacuate. By afternoon, officials were also ordering rescue shelters to be evacuated.  Los Angeles Times_8/30/05

Storm's power, rapid growth attributed to depth of warm water in Gulf of Mexico
In the early-morning hours of Friday, Katrina exited the Florida peninsula and entered the Gulf of Mexico as a regular, unleaded tropical storm.  By Friday evening, though, it had blossomed into a potent hurricane, on its way to becoming one of the deepest, most-powerful storms on record. Meteorologists said Katrina was pushed around by large-scale weather systems, triple its size, over the United States and out in the Atlantic Ocean, and drew on some of its own chaotic energy. But it clearly was recharged by a deep, extensive pool of warm water in the Gulf of Mexico, part of the so-called Loop Current associated with the Gulf Stream.  The Seattle Times_8/30/05

Hurricane Katrina kills at least 50 in Mississippi, floods US Gulf Coast

A widespread disaster unfolded on the U.S. Gulf coast on Tuesday as at least 50 people were reported dead in Mississippi and flood waters poured into low-lying New Orleans through levees battered by powerful Hurricane Katrina.The death toll was expected to grow as rescuers struggled through high water and mountains of debris to reach areas devastated by Katrina when it struck the region on Monday. The killer storm inflicted catastrophic damage all along the coast as it slammed into Louisiana with 140 mile per hour (224 kph) winds, then swept across Mississippi, Alabama and western Florida. The storm brought back memories of Hurricane Camille, which hit the region in 1969 with winds up to 200 mph (320 kph) and killed 256 people. Before striking the Gulf coast, Katrina last week hit southern Florida, where it killed seven people. Reuters_ 8/30/05

Jackson, Mississippi water plant loses power; residents asked to curb use

One of Jackson's two water treatment plants late today lost generator power while the second plant remains disabled from a lightning strike last week and high manganese levels. Residents are being asked to stop all unnecessary water use so that remaining supplies can be saved for hospitals and emergency operations. Public Works interim director Thelman Boyd said the J.H. Fewell Plant generator problem wouldn't be difficult to fix, but with Hurricane Katrina in full force, it could be several hours before it's running again. Clarion-Ledger_ 8/29/05

U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency prepared water, ice and other aid for Katrina's aftermath

As the Category 4 the storm surged ashore just east of New Orleans on Monday, FEMA had medical teams, rescue squads and groups prepared to supply food and water poised in a semicircle around the city, said agency Director Michael Brown. Sam Coleman, a regional director for the Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund toxic waste division in Dallas, said an employee standing by in Baton Rouge will oversee the agency's after-storm review of petrochemical, wastewater treatment and drinking water plants. The Agriculture Department said it will provide meals and other commodities, such as infant formula, distilled water for babies and emergency food stamps, through its Food and Nutrition Service. AP/Guardian Unlimited_ 8/29/05

Anheuser-Busch Cos. inc. ships 12,500 cases of canned drinking water to Hurricane Katrina victims

The company will hold the water in Montgomery, Alabama, until the storm passes then ship it to relief agencies in Louisiana and Mississippi. It is also prepared to send more water if necessary. The water was canned at its Cartersville, Ga., brewery. A-B subsidiary Metal Container Corp. in Rome, Ga., contributed the cans. St. Louis Business Journal_ 8/29/05

Hurricane Katrina rips U.S. Gulf Coast with wind, floods

Hurricane Katrina plowed into the Gulf Coast at daybreak Monday with shrieking, 145-mph winds and blinding rain, submerging entire neighborhoods up to the rooflines in New Orleans, hurling boats onto land and sending water pouring into Mississippi's strip of beachfront casinos. Katrina weakened overnight to a Category 4 storm and made a slight turn to the right before coming ashore at 6:10 a.m. CDT near the Louisiana bayou town of Buras. It passed just to the east of New Orleans as it moved inland and later dropped to a 105-mph Category 2 storm, sparing this vulnerable below-sea-level city its full fury. There were no immediate reports of deaths or serious injuries as of midday, but emergency officials had not been able to reach some of the hardest-hit areas. AP/Yahoo_ 8/29/05

Katrina a top-strength hurricane, aims for U.S.

Officials in New Orleans urged residents to evacuate and stranded tourists to shelter on at least the third floor of their hotels as Katrina threatened to make a second and possibly more deadly assault on the U.S. coast after killing seven people in Florida. Katrina grew into a Category 5 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale by 7:05 a.m. EDT (1105 GMT), with winds of 160 mph (260 kph) capable of causing catastrophic damage. The storm was around 250 miles south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River. Residents had to get away from the coast immediately, Ed Rappaport, deputy director of the hurricane center, told CNN. Katrina had begun a turn to the northwest that could see it roaring ashore somewhere between the Florida-Alabama border and Morgan City in Louisiana on Monday, and taking a course through the heart of U.S. Gulf of Mexico oil and gas production. Computer models showed that New Orleans, much of which lies below sea level, could be in the storm's bull's eye. The last Category 5 to strike the area was Hurricane Camille in 1969. Camille just missed New Orleans but devastated large swaths of Louisiana and Alabama, and killed more than 400 people. Hurricane Andrew, which destroyed the city of Homestead south of Miami in 1992 and ranks as the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history, was also a Category 5. Reuters_ 8/28/05

Parts of Louisiana may evacuate as Katrina nears

Low-lying Louisiana parishes called for evacuations Saturday and Mississippi declared an emergency as Hurricane Katrina appeared to be taking aim at the region while gathering strength over the warm water of the Gulf of Mexico. Katrina threatened to strike land again as early as Monday after ripping across southern Florida and killing seven people. The National Hurricane Center posted a hurricane watch for the eastern half of the Louisiana coast, including New Orleans. The watch was likely to be extended to other areas, which could extend from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle. Katrina was a Category 3 storm with 115 mph sustained wind Saturday, but the hurricane center said it was likely to get stronger over the Gulf, where the surface water temperature was as high as 90 degrees. It could become a Category 4 storm, the center said. AP/Yahoo_ 8/27/05

Hurricane Katrina gains power after Florida havoc

Hurricane Katrina killed four people, cut power to 2.4 million and left Florida's densely populated southeast coast littered on Friday with branches and fallen trees. After being downgraded to a tropical storm as it churned across the swampy Everglades, Katrina strengthened rapidly back into a hurricane as it moved over warm water in the Gulf of Mexico. It was projected to become a dangerously powerful storm before smacking into Florida for a second time by Monday. Reuters_ 8/26/05

Hurricane Katrina strengthens into a Category 2 storm

Hurricane Katrina rapidly strengthened into a Category 2 storm as it moved slowly
westward away from South Florida on a path toward the Florida
Panhandle, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said on Friday. On its forecast path, the storm should miss the oil and natural gas rigs off the coasts of Louisiana, Alabama,
Mississippi and Texas, according to an NHC advisory. As of 11:30 a.m. EDT (1530 GMT), the storm's maximum sustained winds increased to near 100 mph, up from 80 mph at 11
a.m., making Katrina a Category 2 storm on the Saffir-Simpson
scale. The NHC forecast more strengthening during the next 24
hours with Katrina possibly becoming a major Category 3 storm
on Saturday. The NHC projected the storm's track would start to curve
north early Saturday and strike the Florida Panhandle on
Monday. Reuters_ 8/26/05

Hurricane Katrina kills two in Florida, collapses overpass
Although sloppy and relatively weak, Hurricane Katrina ravaged South Florida Thursday with driving rains and gusts of more than 90 mph, killing at least two men, collapsing a highway flyover and leaving more than 1 million homes and businesses without power. South Florida Sun-Sentinel_ 8/25/05

Hurricane Katrina drenches Florida, floods feared

Katrina strengthened into a hurricane from a tropical storm on Thursday and deluged Florida's densely populated southeast coast with rain, heightening fears of flooding. The core of the storm was expected to hit the Fort Lauderdale area late on Thursday or early on Friday, dumping up to 10 inches (25 cm) of rain on southern Florida as it moved slowly across the state into the Gulf of Mexico, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. Fueled by warm gulf stream currents, Katrina's top winds strengthened to 75 mph (120), up from 40 mph (65 kph) a day earlier and just over the 74-mph (118 kph) threshold to become a hurricane, said hurricane center director Max Mayfield. Punished last season by four powerful hurricanes in six weeks, Florida residents snapped up drinking water and spare batteries from stores. Some filled sandbags to try and protect their homes from flooding. Reuters_ 8/25/05

Tropical Storm Katrina aims at Florida

Tropical Storm Katrina formed in the central Bahamas on Wednesday and headed toward Florida's southern Atlantic Coast with the potential to become a hurricane. Katrina was expected to hit the Miami area by Friday as a strong tropical storm or a weak hurricane, dumping up to 12 inches (30 cm) of rain on the southern tip of Florida as it moved slowly across the state into the Gulf of Mexico, forecasters at the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. With top winds of 40 mph (65 kph), Katrina was just over the threshold to become the 11th tropical storm of a busy Atlantic hurricane season. It was moving slowly over warm water, conditions that made it likely it could strengthen into a minimal hurricane with winds of at least 74 mph (118 kph). Reuters_ 8/24/05

Irene becomes a hurricane

The National Hurricane Center upgraded Tropical Storm Irene to a hurricane Sunday as it gathered strength in the Atlantic. Related HeadlinesHurricane Irene was about 325 miles east of Cape Hatteras, N.C., moving north-northeast across the Atlantic at 12 miles per hour. Reports from an Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter aircraft indicated that maximum sustained winds had increased to 75 miles per hour.  As of Sunday night, Irene was not expected to make landfall.  Science Daily_ 8/14/05

Irene poised to become hurricane

Tropical Storm Irene -- the ninth named storm of the 2005 hurricane season -- was packing winds just below hurricane strength late Friday, and was expected to become a hurricane Saturday, forecasters said. As of 11 p.m. ET Aug. 12, the storm was about 300 miles (483 kilometers) southwest of Bermuda and about 590 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, N.C., according to the Miami-based National Hurricane Center.  The storm had maximum sustained winds of near 70 mph, with higher gusts, and was moving toward the northwest at about 10 mph, the center said.  CNN_8/13/05

Irene nears hurricane strength

Threat of landfall still uncertain

Tropical Storm Irene continued to strengthen Friday as it approached the East Coast, but its threat to land remained uncertain, forecasters said.  The five-day forecast from the National Hurricane Center indicated that Irene could near the coastline between North Carolina and Massachusetts, or curve out to sea.  CNN_8/12/05

Irene moves closer to East Coast

Strengthening tropical storm likely will spare Bermuda
A renewed Tropical Storm Irene became better organized Thursday and was gradually intensifying as it moved closer to the East Coast, forecasters said.  Irene could become a hurricane by Friday and it was expected to continue over the next five days toward the U.S. coastline somewhere from South Carolina to New Jersey, according to forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami.  CNN _8/11/05

Study: Hurricanes getting stronger

Is global warming making hurricanes more ferocious? New research suggests the answer is yes.

Scientists call the findings both surprising and "alarming" because they suggest global warming is influencing storms now -- rather than in the distant future.  However, the research doesn't suggest global warming is generating more hurricanes and typhoons.  The analysis by climatologist Kerry Emanuel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology shows for the first time that major storms spinning in both the Atlantic and the Pacific since the 1970s have increased in duration and intensity by about 50 percent.  These trends are closely linked to increases in the average temperatures of the ocean surface and also correspond to increases in global average atmospheric temperatures during the same period. CNN 7/31/05


Anheuser-Busch shipping water to hurricane relief efforts
Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. said it will ship 4,400 cases of canned drinking water to aid Red Cross relief efforts in Weslaco, Texas, in response to problems arising from Hurricane Emily.   The water was canned at the Anheuser-Busch Cartersville, Georgia brewery. Metal Container Corp. in Rome, Georgia, a subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch Cos., supplied the cans. Anheuser-Busch donated more than 46 million cans of water to victims of natural disasters during the past five years. St. Louis Business Journal_7/21/05

Hurricane Emily grows, threatens US-Mexico border

Thousands fled the coasts of Mexico and Texas on Tuesday as approaching Hurricane Emily lashed the border region with strong winds and rains after killing at least five people in the Caribbean.  Emily packed winds of 125 mph (200 kph) and strengthened to a Category 3 hurricane, capable of destroying mobile homes and blowing over large trees, as it churned toward northeastern Mexico, where it was expected to make landfall overnight.  "It is passing over warm waters and that increases the chances of it strengthening," said Carmen Segura, the head of Mexico's civil protection agency.  Downpours and whirling winds hit the border city of Matamoros, across from Brownsville, Texas, foreshadowing the arrival of worse weather.  Reuters_7/19/05


Dangerous Hurricane Emily tears toward Mexico

Hurricane Emily howled toward Mexico's Caribbean coast on Sunday bearing 150 mph (240 kph) winds, pounding waves and torrential rain, and causing chaos in Cancun as tourists fled resorts in its path. The second major hurricane of the season, arriving days after Hurricane Dennis ripped through Cuba and Florida, Emily was set to smash into Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula late in the evening after killing four people in Jamaica. Emily was already a Category 4 storm on the five-step scale of hurricane intensity and forecasters feared it could blow into a rare and potentially catastrophic Category 5, capable of levelling buildings. Reuters_ 5/17/05

Hurricane Emily picks up steam in the Caribbean after drenching island of Grenada

At 2 p.m. ET Thursday, the storm had maximum sustained winds near 110 mph (177 kph), just shy of Category 3 status on the Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane strength, said the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida. Further strengthening is expected, forecasters said. With winds from 111 mph to 130 mph (179 kph to 209 kph), a Category 3 hurricane is considered a major storm capable of structural damage to homes and other buildings. A Category 5 storm is the most destructive hurricane class, with winds greater than 155 mph (249 kph). CNN_ 7/14/05

Hurricane Emily batters eastern Caribbean island of Grenada
Nearly 2,500 people fled to shelters, while others stayed at home with stockpiles of canned food and water. Grenada is still recovering from the more powerful Hurricane Ivan last year, which destroyed 90% of homes. BBC News_ 7/14/05

Tropical Storm Emily nears Caribbean islands

Tropical Storm Emily closed in on the Windward Islands of the eastern Caribbean on Wednesday, prompting storm warnings from Barbados to the Netherlands Antilles. But Emily, the fifth storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, failed to grow into a hurricane as predicted, remaining a tropical storm with 60 mph (97 kph) winds. Residents of energy-rich Trinidad and Tobago, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia and Grenada, which was devastated by Hurricane Ivan last year, were told to expect heavy rain and high winds within 24 hours. On its current track, Emily was expected move quickly through the Caribbean Sea and pass south of Jamaica on Saturday. It would reach the coast of Mexico's Yucatan peninsula on Monday. Emily followed Hurricane Dennis, which killed at least 70 people as it ripped past Haiti and Jamaica, roared over Cuba and hit the U.S. Gulf coast near Pensacola, Florida, on Sunday. Authorities say the storm killed 44 people in Haiti, 16 in Cuba and one in Jamaica. U.S. officials say it was responsible for seven deaths in Florida, one in Mississippi and one in Georgia. Reuters_ 7/13/05

Hurricane Dennis may have killed Red Tide

Hurricane Dennis swamped Florida's Tampa Bay with dead fish but may have also destroyed the toxic algae bloom known as Red Tide that killed the marine life.  Dead fish piled up from Shore Acres to Tampa, Fla., in the wake of Sunday's hurricane, sparking numerous calls to state and local officials.  The spokesman said officials should know in a few days if the storm killed the three-week bloom of the algae that can be toxic to fish and cause respiratory irritation in humans.  Science Daily_7/12/05

Amateur radio deals with Dennis; new storm in the wings

Following four days of operation as Hurricane Dennis swept through the Caribbean before making landfall along the US Gulf Coast, the Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) on 14.325 MHz secured operations July 10. HWN Manager Mike Pilgrim, K5MP, said the net worked in concert with WX4NHC at the National Hurricane Center to relay real-time, ground-level weather data from net members to assist NHC forecasters in determining the storm's behavior. He said today, however, that he anticipates it won't be long before the HWN activates once again.  "There is yet another tropical storm on the horizon out in the eastern Caribbean," Pilgrim said. Tropical Depression 5 is still more than 1000 miles east of the Windward Islands, but it's predicted to become a tropical storm this week. "It appears highly probable that the Hurricane Watch Net could be pressed into action again as early as next weekend for what will be called Hurricane Emily," Pilgrim predicted. The net racked up more than 50 hours of activation time for Hurricane Dennis from July 7 until July 10, he said.  ARRLWeb_7/11/05

Dennis hits Alabama, Florida; damage light, many lose power

Hurricane Dennis roared quickly through the Florida Panhandle and Alabama coast yesterday with a 120-mph bluster of blinding squalls and crashing waves, but shellshocked residents emerged to find far less damage than when Ivan took nearly the same path 10 months ago. The tightly wound Dennis, which had been a Category 4, 145-mph monster as it marched up the Gulf of Mexico, weakened just before it struck less than 50 miles east of Ivan's landfall. And despite downed power lines and outages to more than 200,000, early reports indicated no deaths and relatively modest structural damage. But Dennis, which was responsible for at least 20 deaths in the Caribbean, helped those in its path by its relatively small size and fast pace. Ivan, which had identical top winds of 120 mph, killed 29 people in the Panhandle and caused more than $7 billion damage in the Southeast. The biggest problem was power outages, which affected more than 140,000 homes and businesses in Florida, mostly in the Panhandle, and 80,000 in coastal Alabama. Gulf Power Co., the main power utility for the western Panhandle, said that customers should be prepared to do without electricity for three weeks or more. Dennis became the fifth hurricane to strike Florida in less than 11 months, and President Bush declared the state a major federal disaster along with Alabama and Mississippi. AP/Winston-Salem Journal_ 7/11/05

Hurricane Dennis pounds storm-scarred US coast

Hurricane Dennis raced ashore on the U.S. Gulf Coast on Sunday with ferocious 120-mph (195 kph) winds and pounding waves that lashed an area still scarred by last year's storms. Dennis weakened before it made landfall from a powerful Category 4 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale to a Category 3. Officials said the destruction left in the hurricane's wake might be limited somewhat because the storm is moving quickly through the region. Nevertheless, it was as strong as September's Hurricane Ivan, which came ashore near Pensacola and killed 25 people, caused $14 billion in damages and destroyed or damaged 13 oil drilling platforms in the Gulf. Reuters_ 7/10/05

Dennis inland and weakening
At 2:25 p.m. CDT Sunday, Dennis made landfall on Santa Rosa Island between Navarre Beach and Pensacola Beach as a Category 3 hurricane with sustained winds in the eyewall of 115 to 120 mph. The eye of the hurricane is swirling from the western Florida Panhandle into southwest Alabama. Destruction of coastal property in the region east of landfall will prove extensive. The Weather Channel_ 7/10/05

Extremely dangerous category 4 Hurricane Dennis nears Gulf Coast

This is the second time that Dennis has reached Category 4 status. The current central pressure of 930 mb (27.46") is the lowest so far recorded in the hurricane. Dennis continues to swirl toward the north-northwest at 15 mph and seems destined to thunder ashore somewhere between Mobile, Ala. and Ft. Walton Beach, Fla., this afternoon. A jog in Dennis' course over the past few hours suggests a growing likelihood of a strike on the western portion of the Florida Panhandle. Destruction of coastal property in this region will be extensive. The Weather Channel_ 7/10/05

Dennis a strong category 3
As of 11:00 p.m. ET Saturday, Dennis' maximum sustained winds increased to 125 mph making it a strong Category 3 hurricane. Dennis has the potential to strengthen further as heads to the north-northwest through the eastern Gulf of Mexico. Dennis has regained most all of the organization and symmetry that it had before its Cuban landfall. The Weather Channel_ 7/9/05

Dennis now a Category 1 hurricane after landfalls in Cuba; Was strongest July Atlantic Basin hurricane on record
Gusty winds will continue to impact southernmost Florida through the morning hours on Saturday, but the circulation center will stay well to the west of Key West, Fla. where winds have gusted over 70 mph. Although the trek across Cuba has weakened Dennis, it still has the potential to intensify over the eastern Gulf of Mexico as it heads to the NNW towards the east-central Gulf Coast with a landfall expected on Sunday or Sunday evening. Four Atlantic weather systems -- Arlene, Bret, Cindy and Dennis -- reached Tropical Storm status by July 5, the earliest for so many named storms in recorded history. Only three major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher) have hit the U.S. coast in July in the past 100 years. When the maximum sustained winds in Hurricane Dennis peaked at 150 mph on Friday morning, Dennis officially became the strongest July Atlantic Basin hurricane on record and the strongest Atlantic hurricane this early in hurricane season. The Weather Channel_ 7/9/05

Anheuser-Busch donates 43,000 cases of canned water to aid Hurricane Dennis relief efforts

Shipments will be delivered this weekend to Anheuser-Busch wholesalers Eagle Brands in Miami; City Beverage in Orlando; and The Lewis Bear Company in Pensacola, to be ready when it is needed. A shipment of 10,780 cases is scheduled to arrive at Suncoast Beverage in Fort Meyers early next week. If needed, that water will be distributed by the American Red Cross and other relief agencies. The water was canned at the Anheuser-Busch Cartersville, Ga., brewery and Metal Container Corp. in Rome, Ga., a subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch Cos., supplied the cans. The delivery of the water is being made possible by several independent carriers. Press Release_ 7/8/05

Hurricane Dennis strengthens to Category 4, aims for Gulf Coast
Still eyeing the damage caused by two recent tropical storms and last year's Hurricane Ivan, residents of the United States' Gulf Coast are bracing for another pounding, this time from powerful Hurricane Dennis. Dennis has already become one of the most powerful July hurricanes on record, lashing Cuba today with 150-mile-an hour (240-kilometer-an-hour) winds. This makes it a strong Category Four storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale, which ranks hurricanes from one to five according to wind speeds and destructive potential. The hurricane is expected to make landfall in the U.S. on Sunday. Emergency-management and local-government officials from Florida to Louisiana are meeting today to decide whether to order evacuations for coastal residents. Mandatory evacuation orders have already been issued for the lower Florida Keys, which includes Key West. The eye of Hurricane Dennis is expected to pass about 80 miles (130 kilometers) west of Key West in the Gulf of Mexico early Saturday morning. National Geographic News_ 7/8/05

Hurricane Dennis kills in Haiti, aims at Cuba and strengthens to just shy of Category 4

Hurricane Dennis triggered deadly flooding in Haiti, sent mudslides down the mountains of Jamaica and strengthened into a major storm with 130-mph (210-kph) winds as it approached Cuba on Thursday. Forecasters at the U.S. National Hurricane Center said Dennis would hit Cuba on Friday and head into the Gulf of Mexico, where U.S. oil companies prepared for a possible threat to oil and gas rigs. It was expected to brush past the Keys on Saturday and slam ashore on Sunday on the U.S. coast along the Florida Panhandle, which was hammered by Hurricane Ivan in September. Its winds strengthened to 130 mph (210 kph), just shy of becoming a Category 4 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, capable of causing extreme damage. Reuters_ 7/7/05

Caribbean: Hurricane Dennis information bulletin No. 1

Tropical Storm Dennis developed into a category one hurricane this afternoon, 6 July, after winds increased to 130 kph (80 mph). Dennis is currently located south-southwest of Haiti and east-southeast of Jamaica. It has been projected that the storm will pass over the north-eastern part of Jamaica in the next 24 hours, and will continue moving west-northwest in the direction of the Cayman Islands and eastern Cuba. International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies /ReliefWeb_ 7/6/05

Dennis builds toward hurricane strength

Tropical Storm Dennis flooded roads in Haiti and Jamaica and helped push oil prices sharply higher as it became the second storm to threaten petroleum output in the Gulf of Mexico. The storm was headed toward Cuba and then the Alabama-Florida border, forecasters said. Haiti took the deadliest hit of last year's hurricane season when Jeanne, at the time a tropical storm, triggered flooding and mudslides: 1,500 people were killed, 900 missing and presumed dead and 200,000 left homeless. Poverty-stricken Haitians said there was little they could do about the warnings this time. AP/Guardian Unlimited_ 7/6/05

Atlantic hurricane off to a record start as two more named tropical storms form

It seems too early for this - but Tropical Storm Dennis emerged in the Caribbean on Tuesday and could graze South Florida as a hurricane by Friday. Combined with Tropical Storm Cindy, which also formed on Tuesday and was approaching New Orleans on Tuesday night, the Atlantic hurricane season is off to its busiest start. Never in recorded history have four named tropical systems formed by July 5. Normally, the first named storm of the season forms on July 11 and the fourth on Aug. 30, meaning this season is two months ahead of schedule. National forecasters have predicted up to 15 named storms and nine hurricanes this year. South Florida Sun-Sentinel/KRT/Centre Daily Times_ 7/5/05

June, 2005

Mississippi coast returning to normal after Arlene moves east

The tropical storm turned to the east and made landfall just west of Pensacola in the Florida Panhandle. It was the first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season and had sustained winds of 60 mph when it hit land about 3 The storm was expected to dissipate quickly after it moved inland. AP/Clarion-Ledger_ 6/11/05

Tropical Storm Arlene heads for U.S. Gulf Coast

U.S. crude producers evacuated oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico on Friday as the first tropical storm of the season aimed for the Gulf coast, and forecasters said it could be a hurricane by landfall during the weekend. Tropical storms become hurricanes when their sustained winds reach 74 mph (119 kph). While minimal Category 1 hurricanes with winds up to 95 mph (153 kph) do not generally cause damage to buildings, Category 5 storms boasting winds in excess of 155 mph (249 kph) can be catastrophic. Arlene's emergence in the Caribbean got the six-month Atlantic hurricane season off to a rapid start, and underscored predictions that the 2005 storm season could be as busy as 2004's. The season began on June 1 and runs through November. Last season saw 15 tropical storms, of which nine became hurricanes. Four hit Florida in a six-week period, causing $45 billion in damages and killing 57 people directly in the United States. One storm, Jeanne, killed 3,000 in Haiti. Reuters_ 6/10/05

How good are hurricane forecasts?

Not bad at all. In general, the predictions fall within a storm or two of the observed totals. Last season, though, the forecasters had a bad year. 2004's six intense hurricanes doubled most predictions. The seasonal total of nine hurricanes was also significantly higher than expected. Forecasters blamed the poor predictions on a "year [that] did not behave like any other year we have studied." Slate_ 6/9/05

May, 2005

Major hurricane likely to hit U.S. in '05-study

The Atlantic-Caribbean hurricane season opening June 1 promises to be "very active," marked by an above-average number of storms and with high odds of a major hit on the United States, said Colorado State University Professor William Gray. He and his research team expect 15 tropical storms, with eight of those growing to hurricane strength during the six-month storm season that runs to Nov. 30. They expect four storms to strengthen into intense hurricanes with sustained winds of 111 mph (178 kph) or greater, which can cause extensive damage. The revised estimate in Gray's final preseason forecast was up from 13 storms and seven hurricanes initially anticipated in his April forecast. The long-term average is 9.6 named storms, 5.9 hurricanes and 2.3 intense hurricanes per year in the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. Reuters_ 5/31/05

Hurricane season could renew debate among U.S. scientists over global  warming

Last season's $45 billion devastation, when 15 tropical storms spawned nine hurricanes in the Atlantic and Caribbean, prompted climatologists to warn of a link to warming temperatures. But hurricane experts say the unusual series of hurricanes, four of which slammed into Florida in a six-week period, was the result of a natural 15- to 40-year cycle in Atlantic cyclone activity. Reuters_ 5/30/05

Forecasters predict another bad year for hurricanes 
The 2005 Atlantic hurricane season could be just as intense, though probably not as destructive, as last year, government forecasters advise.  They predict 12 to 15 named storms, including seven to nine hurricanes, three to five of them major systems. Two to three hurricanes could strike the U.S. coast, which wouldn't be quite as tumultuous as the four that bashed Florida last year.  Sun Sentinenal_5/17/05

Government researchers expect multiple hurricanes to hit U.S.

With only two weeks remaining before it officially starts, government researchers are predicting six months of hurricane activity nearly equal in scope and danger to last year's busy season.  The forecast by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: 12 to 15 tropical storms that grow into seven to nine hurricanes. Three to five of those hurricanes are likely to become intense, with winds above 110 mph.  Last year, 15 named storms developed in the Atlantic, the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. Nine became hurricanes, and four - Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne - struck Florida. Experts call that clustering of storms an historical oddity that is unlikely to be repeated, but they say Floridians must remain alert and prepared as a new season approaches.  Kansas City Star_5/16/05 logon required

April, 2005

UK scientists devise new U.S. hurricane forecast

The new computer model, developed by climate researchers Mark A. Saunders and Adam S. Lea of the Benfield Hazard Research Centre at University College in London, measures the intensity of the trade winds and the temperature of water in July to predict whether it is going to be a busy Atlantic hurricane season and whether those storms will tend to reach land or stay out at sea. The researchers reported in the current issue of the journal Nature that the model correctly predicted the unusually active 2004 hurricane season, when Florida and other Southern states were pummeled with five hurricanes in a row — Alex, Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 4/20/05

Atlantic hurricane season will be unusually intense in 2005

The Atlantic Ocean hurricane season this year will be more turbulent than usual, continuing a trend that began in 1995 and culminated last year when four hurricanes lashed Florida, a team of scientists said. The June-through-November season will bring 13 named storms, seven of which will develop into hurricanes, 19 percent more than average, Colorado State University scientists William Gray and Philip Klotzbach said in a report. Three of the seven hurricanes will pack sustained winds of 111 miles (179 kilometers) per hour or greater, making them major hurricanes on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, the scientists said. The average season has 10 tropical storms and six hurricanes, Gray said. Two of the hurricanes typically are major storms, meaning they are at least Category 3 hurricanes on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Category 5 storms are the strongest. Bloomberg_ 4/1/05


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