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Hurricane Ivan Overview

Hurricane Ivan was a long-lived hurricane that made landfall twice along the U.S. coast and reached Category 5 strength three times. Developing from a tropical wave that moved off the west coast of Africa on August 31, 2004, Hurricane Ivan moved west over the next two weeks, passing near Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, and the western tip of Cuba. The storm fluctuated between Category 4 and 5 status during its trek through the Caribbean Sea .

Hurricane Ivan made its first U.S. landfall as a Category 3 hurricane near Gulf Shores , Alabama at approximately 2 A.M. (Eastern Daylight Time). The storm’s arrival was concurrent with high tide, which maximized storm surge flooding that was estimated at 10 to 16 feet above normal tide levels. Large and dangerous battering waves occurred near and to the east of where the center of the storm made landfall. The National Weather Service reports that on September 15-16, Ivan spawned 23 tornados in Florida and produced as much as 10-15 inches of rainfall in some areas.

Widespread damage occurred as a result of Hurricane Ivan, including thousands of destroyed and/or damaged homes, infrastructure, and beach erosion. The Florida Medical Examiner’s Office has confirmed 27 deaths, and the Alabama Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed five deaths .

After landfall, Hurricane Ivan gradually weakened over the next week, moving northeastward over the southeastern U.S. and eventually emerging off of the Delmarva Peninsula as an extratropical low on September 19, 2004. The remnant circulation of Ivan then moved southwestward, passed over south Florida into the Gulf of Mexico, and became a tropical storm again on September 23. As a tropical storm, Ivan made its second landfall over southwestern Louisiana on September 24, and finally dissipated inland over east Texas later that day.

Last Updated: 
08/15/2016 - 14:51