Hurricane Ivan 2004
One of the worst storms in US History

Ivan developed from a large tropical wave that crossed the west coast of Africa on August 31, and spawned a tropical depression two days later. The depression reached storm strength on September 3rd (one of only a dozen on record to do so south of 10EN) and continued to strengthen. By the 5th , Ivan had become a hurricane about 1150 miles east of the southern Windward Islands. Eighteen hours later Ivan became the southernmost storm to reach major hurricane status, at 10.2EN. Ivan was a category 3 hurricane when the center passed about 7 miles south of Grenada, a path that took the northern eyewall of Ivan directly over the island. In the Caribbean, Ivan became a category 5 hurricane, with winds of 160 m.p.h., on the 9th when it was south of the Dominican Republic, and on two occasions the minimum pressure fell to 910 mb. The center of Ivan passed within about 20 miles of Jamaica on the 11th and a similar distance from Grand Cayman on the 12th , with Grand Cayman likely experiencing sustained winds of category 4 strength. Ivan then turned to the northwest and passed through the Yucatan channel on the 14th , bringing hurricane conditions to extreme western Cuba. Ivan moved across the east-central Gulf of Mexico, making landfall as a major hurricane with sustained winds of near 120 m.p.h. on the 16th just west of Gulf Shores, Alabama.

Ivan's path of destruction

Ivan's Radar Image

Ivan weakened as it moved inland, producing over 100 tornadoes and heavy rains across much of the southeastern United States, before merging with a frontal system over the Delmarva Peninsula on the 18th. While this would normally be the end of the story, the extratropical remnant low of Ivan split off from the frontal system and drifted southward in the western Atlantic for several days, crossed southern Florida, and re-entered the Gulf of Mexico on the 21st. The low re-acquired tropical characteristics, becoming a tropical storm for the second time on the 22nd in the central Gulf. Ivan weakened before it made its final landfall in southwestern Louisiana as a tropical depression on the 24th.

Ivan's storm surge completely over-washed the island of Grand Cayman, where an estimated 95% of the buildings were damaged or destroyed. Surge heights of 10-15 feet occurred along the Gulf coast during Ivan's first U.S. landfall. Peak rainfall amounts in the Caribbean and United States were generally 10-15 inches. The death toll from Ivan stands at 92 - 39 in Grenada, 25 in the United States, 17 in Jamaica, 4 in Dominican Republic, 3 in Venezuela, 2 in the Cayman Islands, and 1 each in Tobago and Barbados. U.S. damage is estimated to be near $14.2 billion, the third largest total on record.

Ivan's Track satellite