Hurricanes in Georgia
Preparedness/Hurricanes/Hurricanes in Georgia
Many people are surprised to learn that Georgia is an extremely vulnerable state to hurricane-related hazards. The geographic location of Georgia makes it susceptible to impacts from tropical storms and hurricanes from both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Tropical storms and hurricanes have impacted Georgia from both coasts causing widespread damages and coastal evacuations.
Hurricanes in Georgia page
The Gulf Coast
Did you know that the costliest disaster in Georgia’s history was from a tropical storm? In 1994, Tropical Storm Alberto (http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/HAW2/english/history.shtml#alberto) came ashore along the Florida panhandle on July 4th and stalled over western Georgia producing catastrophic flooding. Alberto produced damages exceeding $750 million and over 30 deaths.
Other notable tropical cyclones that have impacted Georgia from the Gulf Coast include Hurricane Opal (http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/HAW2/english/history.shtml#opal) (1995) and Hurricane Ivan (http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/HAW2/english/history.shtml#ivan) (2004).
The Atlantic Coast
Georgia has been extremely fortunate that a hurricane has not made landfall along the coast in recent history. The most recent threat to the Georgia Coast was Hurricane Floyd (http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/HAW2/english/history.shtml#floyd) (1999. In September 1999, Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina experienced the largest evacuation effort in American history in the face of Hurricane Floyd. An estimated 3 million people took to the highways to flee Floyd’s wrath, jamming interstates in search of safety and shelter.
The last hurricane to make landfall on the Georgia Coast was Hurricane David (1979). Hurricane David made landfall on the Georgia Coast south of Savannah as a Category 1 hurricane. In the U.S., Hurricane David caused $320 million in damages and 15 fatalities.
In total, four hurricanes made landfall on the Georgia Coast during the 20th Century: 1911, 1940, 1947, and 1979.
The 19th Century
Georgia’s hurricane history along the coast was much more turbulent in the 19th century. In total, 14 hurricanes made landfall on the Georgia coast, six of which were major hurricanes (Category 3 or greater): 1898, 1893, 1854, 1824, 1813, and 1804 These infamous hurricanes ravaged the coast causing widespread damages and thousands of fatalities.
The major hurricane of 1898 made landfall on the southern Georgia Coast on October 2. The first known pictures of storm surge were taken in Brunswick, GA following the landfall of the storm. The Cumberland Island Pilot Boat Maud Helen was left on 20 feet above sea level on a bluff at High Point and a storm surge of 16 feet was recorded in Brunswick, GA.
The major hurricane of 1893 made landfall on the northern Georgia Coast on August 27. This devastating hurricane is responsible for causing over 2,500 fatalities. This hurricane is one of the worst weather-related natural disasters in Georgia’s history.
There are many additional resources for obtaining historical information about hurricanes that have affected Georgia and the U.S.
The Atlantic and Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) provides a comprehensive listing of tropical cyclones affecting North Florida and Georgia dating back to 1565. The listing of historical hurricanes can be obtained by clicking here (http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/Landsea/history/index.html).
The National Hurricane Center provides a website on hurricane preparedness that contains many notable historical hurricanes. (http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/HAW2/english/history.shtml).
The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coastal Services Center (CSC) provides an online mapping tool that queries and displays historical hurricane tracks. The Historical Hurricane Tracks tool can be accessed by clicking here (http://csc-s-maps-q.csc.noaa.gov/hurricanes/).