Hurricane Erika (1997)

Hurricane Erika (1997)

Hurricane Erika was the strongest and longest-lasting tropical cyclone in the 1997 Atlantic hurricane season. Erika developed from a tropical wave on September 3 and moved west-northwestward across the tropical Atlantic Ocean; it steadily intensified until it attained hurricane status on September 4, becoming the fifth named storm, third hurricane, and only major hurricane of the season. Erika passed a short distance to the north of the Lesser Antilles, and later turned to the north in response to an approaching trough. The hurricane quickly strengthened to reach maximum sustained winds of 125 mph (205 km/h) on September 8; after maintaining its peak strength for 24 hours, Erika began to weaken as it passed over cooler waters. It turned to the east, weakened to a tropical storm, and became extratropical after passing near the Azores archipelago.

The hurricane produced light rainfall and winds throughout the northern Lesser Antilles. The passage of Erika carried a cloud of volcanic ash to Antigua from the eruption of the Soufrière Hills Volcano on Montserrat, a rare occurrence. Strong waves from the hurricane produced beach erosion and coastal flooding in northern Puerto Rico, and caused the death of two surfers. Moderate wind gusts in northern Leeward Islands and Puerto Rico left thousands of residents without power, and resulted in $10 million (1997 USD, $12.6 million 2006 USD) in damage in the Caribbean territory of the United States. Erika also produced gusty winds and light rain in the Azores. Erika was the only tropical cyclone in the Atlantic Ocean in the months of August and September, the first occurrence of such event in an Atlantic hurricane season since 1929.

Read more about Hurricane Erika (1997):  Meteorological History, Preparations, Impact

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