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1978 Hurricane Season

By Wikipedia

The 1978 Atlantic hurricane season was an ongoing event in the annual cycle of tropical cyclone formation. It officially started June 1, 1978, and lasted until November 30, 1978.

Notable storms of 1978 include Tropical Storm Amelia, which killed 30 when it flooded the Guadalupe River in Texas. Hurricane Greta was similar to 1974's Hurricane Fifi in track and was even more intense.

However, Greta did not produce the severe river flooding that Fifi caused, and improved warnings by the governments of Honduras, Belize, and their neighbors reduced the death toll by three orders of magnitude. One person was reported killed in Honduras, and four with three missing in Belize. Belize estimated damage at $25 million (1978 US dollars). No damage estimates were available from Honduras. Also, an unnamed subtropical storm formed in mid-January. This is one of the earliest of such systems to form in the Atlantic.

Atlantic hurricane seasons
1970 1971 1972 1973 1974
1975 1976 1977 1978 1979

1978 storm names

The following names were used for named storms (tropical storms and hurricanes) that formed in the North Atlantic in 1978. Names that were not assigned are marked in gray.

  • Amelia
  • Bess
  • Cora
  • Debra
  • Ella
  • Flossie
  • Greta
  • Hope
  • Irma
  • Juliet
  • Kendra
  • Loise (unused)
  • Martha (unused)
  • Noreen (unused)
  • Ora (unused)
  • Paula (unused)
  • Rosalie (unused)
  • Susan (unused)
  • Tanya (unused)
  • Vanessa (unused)
  • Wanda (unused)

1978 Storms

Subtropical Storm One

Subtropical Storm One was the earliest ever for a storm to form (excluding Hurricane Alice in 1954, which formed in late December and lasted into January) by forming on January 18. It formed 1,500 nautical miles east-northeast of Puerto Rico, moved westward and strengthened to a 45 mph subtropical storm. Climatology prevailed, and the storm dissipated on January 23, 200 miles northeast of Puerto Rico.

Tropical Storm Amelia

Tropical Storm Amelia formed in the western Gulf of Mexico near Brownsville, Texas on July 30. The storm moved over land, but continued to intensify to a 50 mph tropical storm. Land then took its toll, and the storm dissipated over Texas on August 1. Flooding rains led to the deaths of 30 people in Texas.

Tropical Storm Bess

Tropical Storm Bess formed in the central Gulf of Mexico on August 5. Due to a strong high pressure system over Texas, the storm moved southwestward, strengthening to a 50 mph storm. The storm hit Naulta, Mexico on early August 8, and dissipated later that day.

Hurricane Cora

The tropical depression that became Hurricane Cora formed on August 7 in the tropical Atlantic. It gradually strengthened to a 90 mph category 1 hurricane, but weakened to a tropical storm as it moved through the Windward Islands. The storm continued to weaken, and dissipated on August 12 near the island of Aruba.

Tropical Storm Debra

Tropical Storm Debra began its life in the Central Gulf of Mexico, north of the Yucatan Peninsula on August 26. It moved towards the Louisiana coast, steadily intensifying to a 60 mph storm, and made landfall halfway between Lake Charles, Louisiana and Beaumont, Texas.

Hurricane Ella

Hurricane Ella formed from a stationary frontal zone in late August over the central Atlantic. It moved west-northwestward, passing Bermuda far to the south, and intensified to a major hurricane. After a brief stall on September 2, Ella accellerated to the northeast, rapidly strengthening to a 140 mph category 4 hurricane south of Nova Scotia. It brushed the coast of Newfoundland and dissipated out at sea.

Hurricane Flossie

Hurricane Flossie formed in the tropical Atlantic on September 4, midway between Cape Verde and the Lesser Antilles. The system moved to the west-northwest, reaching 45 mph winds before upper level shear ripped apart the system. After two days of moving to the northeast, the storm re-strengthened to a tropical storm, and became a hurricane on the September 12, located about halfway between Bermuda and the Azores Islands. Cool waters eventually led the system to its death.

Hurricane Greta

The tropical depression that became Hurricane Greta formed 75 miles west-northwest of Trinidad on September 13. The storm moved through the Central Caribbean, steadily strengthening. When it neared the coast of Honduras it rapidly intensified to a Category 4 hurricane, bringing winds to the country. It stayed offshore, but came to shore at Stann Creek District, Belize on September 19 as a Category 2 hurricane. The storm dissipated the next day, but went on to redevelop in the Eastern Pacific as Hurricane Olivia. Luckily, death and damage was much lower than Hurricane Fifi, a similar hurricane that came through the same area in 1974. This was likely due to the lack of flooding rains, as well as warnings from the affected countries.

Tropical Storm Hope

Tropical Storm Hope formed just off the northeast coast of Florida on September 12. It remained a tropical depression for 3 days as it moved generally eastward. It ultimately attained 65 mph wind speeds over the open Atlantic, but passed cooler waters before reaching hurricane strength. Still, the storm retained tropical characteristics to nearly 60 north, not far from Iceland.

Tropical Storm Irma

Tropical Storm Irma formed in the northeastern Atlantic ocean, near the Azores, on October 2. The storm moved north-northeastward, attaining a maximum windspeed of 50 mph and passing through the Azores before it dissipated on October 5.

Tropical Storm Juliet

Juliet formed from a tropical wave on October 7 about 600 miles east of Puerto Rico. The storm passed north of the island, attained a wind speed of 50 mph, and headed into the open Atlantic before dissipating on October 11 southwest of Bermuda.

Hurricane Kendra

The final storm of the season formed east of the Bahamas on October 28. The storm strengthened to a category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained windspeeds of 80 mph, and weakened to a tropical depression on November 1, before dissipating on November 3.


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Courtesy of NASA

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