Global Focus
Radar animation of Hurricane Jeanne making landfall along the east coast of Florida on September 26, 2004
Hurricane Jeanne Makes Landfall In Florida
Global Hazards And Significant Events
September 2004
Hurricanes Frances, Ivan and Jeanne devastated parts of Florida and the Caribbean during the month of September. Additional information can be found below.

Drought conditions
In the United States, severe to exceptional long-term drought continued throughout much of the Intermountain West, with the worst-affected areas in parts of eastern Idaho, northeastern Wyoming and adjacent areas of Montana. the Drought Monitor depiction as of September 14, 2004
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For comprehensive drought analysis, please see the current U.S. drought report.

CAMS precipitation anomalies for the period July-September 2004
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Long-term drought persisted across portions of the Greater Horn of Africa, including sections of Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania. Drought also affected parts of Lesotho, Malawi and Swaziland, where over 1.8 million people were in need of food-aid due to an extremely poor harvest in 2004 (WFP). Recent rains alleviated short-term drought in northern Somalia and eastern Ethiopia, although much of this region has experienced below average rainfall for the last four years.

Heavy rainfall and flooding
Map of flood-affected areas worldwide by mid September from the Dartmouth Flood Observatory
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In eastern Bangladesh, nearly a half a million people were stranded by floodwaters after an earthen embankment along the swollen Gomoti River gave way, sending flood waters surging into 360 nearby villages. The bursting of the embankment was blamed on recent heavy rainfall that caused 19 deaths during the 10th-15th (AFP).

Heavy rainfall in India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh produced flooding that killed 36 people on September 21 (AFP). The majority of the deaths occurred at night when flash floods submerged homes in the Sitapur district near the border with Nepal.

Heavy rainfall during September 3-5 in the northeast region of China's Sichuan province produced severe flooding and landslides that affected more than 1.5 million people. Flooding was blamed for 34 deaths and the destruction of 67,000 houses (OHCA). Wet season rainfall (June through September) in China was blamed for 1,029 deaths, nationwide (Reuters/Xinhua). Map of flood-affected areas in China during early September
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Map of flood-affected areas of Panama around September 17, 2004
Map of Panama Flooding
In Panama, torrential rains that began on the 17th produced flooding and mudslides in the Panama City area. The eastern part of the city was particularly hard-hit, with the Felipillo, Cabra and Chepo rivers rising above flood stage. There were as many as 20 deaths and 281 houses destroyed (IFRC).

For an archive of flood events worldwide, see the Dartmouth Flood Observatory.

Severe Storms
In the United States, preliminary numbers indicated a total of 247 tornadoes were reported during September 2004, breaking the record for the month. The old record was 139 tornadoes set in 1967. The unusually high number of tornadoes was blamed on land-falling hurricanes. Hurricane Frances produced 117 tornadoes, topping Hurricane Beulah's 115 tornadoes in September 1967. Hurricane Ivan produced 104 tornadoes, while Jeanne produced 16. Tornado reports during September 5-8, 2004 (Hurricane Frances) from the Storm Prediction Center
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Tropical Cyclones
Hurricane Frances developed in the central tropical Atlantic Ocean on August 25, attaining hurricane intensity by the 26th. Frances moved into the southeastern Bahamas by September 1st where two fatalities occurred (CNN). Colorized infrared satellite image of Hurricane Frances just off the east coast of Florida on September 5, 2004
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Damage photos from Hurricane Frances along the Florida east coast
Photos Near Jensen Beach, FL
Frances then crossed onto the Florida peninsula near Sewall's Point early on the 5th with maximum sustained winds near 170 km/hr (90 knots or 105 mph). In Florida, more than 1.8 million customers lost power and more than 90,000 people waited out the storm in over 300 storm shelters. The hurricane brought major flooding and some structural damage, and also dealt another significant blow to the citrus crop which had been devastated by Hurricane Charley in August.
Frances re-emerged into the northeast Gulf of Mexico late on the 5th and made a final landfall near St. Marks, Florida as a tropical storm on the 6th. The remnants of the storm then moved northward into the Appalachians, where major flooding resulted from rainfall accumulations of 150-500 mm (~6-20 inches). Frances also spawned 117 tornadoes on its track through the Southeast U.S., and a total of 23 fatalities were also blamed on the storm (Insurance Information Institute). Rainfall totals from Hurricane Frances
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A file containing selected rainfall totals from Hurricane Frances is available.

A large (26MB) colorized infrared satellite animation of Hurricane Frances making landfall along the Florida east coast is available.

Satellite image of Typhoon Songda on August 31, 2004
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Typhoon Songda developed in the western Pacific Ocean on August 27, and made landfall in southern Japan on September 7 with maximum sustained winds near 165 km/hr (90 knots or 105 mph). Heavy rains and flooding accompanied the typhoon as it weakened over the Sea of Japan by the 8th.
Hurricane Ivan developed from a tropical wave that emerged off the African coast at the beginning of the month. Ivan reached hurricane intensity by the 5th and proceeded westward into the Lesser Antilles and the Windward Islands by the 7th as it reached category-three intensity. Satellite image of Hurricane Ivan on September 8, 2004
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Ivan proceeded westward, crossing just south of the island of Jamaica by the 10th-11th, then just south of Grand Cayman Island on the 12th, and then brushing the western tip of Cuba on the 13th. On its trek through the Caribbean, Ivan reached category-five intensity during three separate periods in its life cycle. Considerable destruction was reported throughout the affected region, with 72 fatalities across the Caribbean (CNN/Associated Press). On Grenada, 90 percent of the houses were damaged, while on Grand Cayman, nearly every building had sustained some degree of roof damage (OCHA).

Ivan made landfall along the Gulf Coast of the United States on the morning of the 16th, reaching the coastline near Gulf Shores, Alabama with maximum sustained winds near 210 km/hr (115 knots or 130 mph). Significant damage from winds and storm surge was reported along the coastline of Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida panhandle, as offshore buoys measured wave heights of 15 meters (50 feet). Radar animation of Hurricane Ivan making landfall near Gulf Shores, Alabama on September 16, 2004
Click For Animation

Heavy rainfall and more than 100 tornadoes spread well inland into the interior Southeast, Tennessee Valley and Mid-Atlantic regions. In western North Carolina, around $200 million (USD) in damage was caused in Buncombe County from the combined effects of Frances and Ivan in the span of a two week period (Asheville Citizen-Times). At least 50 deaths in the United States were attributed to Ivan (Associated Press).

The remnants of Ivan exited the Delmarva Peninsula and headed south, crossing Florida and re-emerging in the Gulf of Mexico. Ivan was reclassified as a Tropical Storm by the 23rd and made a final landfall just west of Cameron, Louisiana on the evening of the 23rd with maximum sustained winds near 75 km/hr (40 knots or 45 mph).

A file containing selected rainfall totals from Hurricane Ivan is available.

A large (15MB) colorized infrared satellite animation of Hurricane Ivan making landfall along the U.S. Gulf Coast is available.

Radar image of Tropical Storm Jeanne over Puerto Rico on September 15, 2004
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Hurricane Jeanne developed on the 13th, passing over Puerto Rico on the 15th as a tropical storm. Winds as high as 110 km/hr (60 knots or 70 mph) produced power outages for most of the island's 4 million residents, left 600,000 people without running water, and was responsible for 2 deaths (Associated Press). Jeanne reached hurricane strength by the 16th just off the northeastern tip of the Dominican Republic, with maximum sustained winds near 120 km/hr (65 knots or 75 mph).
Jeanne weakened slightly as it tracked along the northern coast of Haiti, where torrential rainfall produced a flooding disaster that claimed 3,006 lives (Reuters). The severity of the flooding and mudslides in Haiti was exacerbated by the lack of trees, where over 98 percent of the land is deforested (Associated Press). The majority of the fatalities occured in the city of Gonaives. Visible satellite image of Hurricane Jeanne on September 23, 2004
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Colorized infrared satellite image of Hurricane Jeanne near landfall on September 26, 2004
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The hurricane moved through the northwestern Bahamas on the 25th, crossing Abaco and Grand Bahama Islands with winds sustained at 185 km/hr (100 knots or 115 mph). The storm tore off roofs and severely damaged hundreds of houses (Associated Press). Jeanne proceeded westward, making landfall around midnight on the 26th (local time) near Stuart, Florida with maximum sustained winds near 195 km/hr (105 knots or 120 mph). Strong winds and torrential rains from the hurricane caused severe damage as it tracked across Florida. Jeanne weakened but produced heavy rainfall as it moved across Georgia, the Carolinas and into the Mid-Atlantic states. Combined impacts of flooding and severe weather (tornadoes) resulted in at least 10 fatalities in the United States (Associated Press).

In Florida, more than one out of every five houses received damage this season from the unprecedented impacts of four hurricanes (Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne) (Insurance Information Institute).

A large (11MB) colorized infrared satellite animation of Hurricane Jeanne making landfall along the U.S. Gulf Coast is available.

Typhoon Meari formed in the western Pacific Ocean on the 20th, reaching typhoon strength on the 22nd. Meari then moved across Japan, reaching the southern island of Kyushu on the 29th with maximum sustained winds near 130 km/hr (70 knots or 80 mph). The typhoon produced flooding and mudslides that claimed at least 15 lives (AFP). It was the eighth typhoon to directly hit Japan this season. Satellite image of Typhoon Meari on September 25, 2004
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A table containing the Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) index for global tropical cyclones occurring during the month of September 2004 is available.

For additional analysis of Tropical Storms and Hurricanes in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific Oceans, see the 2004 Hurricanes page.

Extratropical Cyclones

No reports of significant extratropical cyclones were received during September 2004.

Severe winter weather
Alaska/Northern Canada snow cover on September 26, 2004
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In Alaska, snowfall totaled 15.2 cm (6 inches) in Anchorage on September 25, 2004. This was the most snow ever recorded so early in the season and the heaviest snowfall for any single day in the month of September. The 16 cm (6.3 inch) snowfall total for the month also made it the snowiest September on record.


Basist, A., N.C. Grody, T.C. Peterson and C.N. Williams, 1998: Using the Special Sensor Microwave/Imager to Monitor Land Surface Temperatures, Wetness, and Snow Cover. Journal of Applied Meteorology, 37, 888-911.

Peterson, Thomas C. and Russell S. Vose, 1997: An overview of the Global Historical Climatology Network temperature data base. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 78, 2837-2849.

Citing This Report

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, Global Hazards for September 2004, published online October 2004, retrieved on June 18, 2024 from