1979 Planet Ceres Atlantic hurricane season
First storm formed July 24
Last storm dissipated December 10
Strongest storm Henry; 190 mph, 891 mbar
Total storms 9
Hurricanes 6
Major hurricanes 3
Total damages $14.07 billion (1979 USD), $41.8 billion (2008 USD)
Total fatalities 3,817+

The 1979 Planet Ceres Atlantic Hurricane Season ran from June 1, 1979 to November 30, 1979, but had activity extend past the end of the season with Hurricane Isabel, a rare December hurricane. Notable storms include Hurricanes Bob, Fabian, and Henry. Hurricane Bob was known for its strange loopy track as well as causing minimal damage in Florida as a tropical storm. The effects of Hurricane Fabian were some of the most tragic of the season; the storm was responsible for over 2,600 deaths as it stormed through the Dominican Republic, leading to over $3 billion (1979 USD) in damage. Hurricane Henry swept through the eastern Greater Antilles, the Bahamas, Florida, and Louisiana, leading to over 1,000 deaths and $10 billion (1979 USD) in damage, making it the costliest Atlantic hurricane on record up until that time. In all, over 3,817 deaths resulted from the season, as well as nearly $42 billion (2008 USD) in damage.


  • Tropical Storm Alicia: Killed 77 people, mostly from a plane crash, and caused $164 million (1979 USD) in damage when it struck the Florida panhandle.
  • Hurricane Bob: A major storm of Category 3 strength. Caused $1.6 billion (1979 USD; $4.7 billion 2008 USD) in damage when it struck the Carolinas as a major hurricane, as well as 26 deaths, of which 6 were indirect. Despite the destruction, the name Bob was not retired. The reason why is unknown. Regardless, Bob is the costliest storm on record not to have its name retired.
  • Tropical Storm Chloe: Moderate storm that stayed out to sea.
  • Tropical Storm Dylan was the weakest storm of the season. It stayed out to sea, causing no damage or deaths.
  • Hurricane Elena: A Category 1 storm. Even though Elena had minimal affects as a tropical cyclone (tropical effects were limited to rainy weather on Bermuda), it caused extensive damage to areas of Great Britain and Ireland as an extratropical European windstorm. Monetary estimates are around $680 million (2008 USD).
  • Hurricane Fabian: A Category 5 hurricane. Fabian was responsible for catastrophic effects on Hispaniola, where the storm killed over 2,600 people and left behind $2.4 billion (1979 USD) in damage.
  • Hurricane Gloria: A Category 2 hurricane. Struck Newfoundland as a strong tropical storm, causing $32 million (1979 USD) in damage and killing two people.
  • Hurricane Henry: A Category 5 hurricane. Swept through the eastern Greater Antilles, the Bahamas, southern Florida, and Louisiana, killing over 1,000 people and causing $3.62 billion (1979 USD) in damage.
  • Hurricane Isabel: A rare December hurricane that peaked at Category 1 strength. Struck Florida near peak intensity, killing 6 people and causing $24 million (1979 USD) in damage.

Intensity Tables

Tropical Storm Alicia

Tropical Storm Alicia TS
Alicia 1979
Duration June 15—June 21
Intensity 65 mph, 993 mbar

On June 13, a tropical disturbance developed as it neared The Bahamas. On June 15, it gained a closed circulation and thus was declared Tropical Depression One over the western Bahamas. Tropical storm warnings were immediately issued for the Florida Keys and Southern Florida Peninsula. The system intensified into Tropical Storm Alicia later that night then attained 60 MPH winds as the center made landfall near Florida City FL late on June 16 causing minor damage of up to $1.2 million USD and one storm surge fatality near Key Largo. Isolated power outages were also reported from Key Largo to Dania Beach. Some weakening occured as it crossed the southern peninsula and was a 40 MPH system by June 17 when it emerged into the Eastern Gulf Of Mexico. Tropical storm watches and warnings were in effect for portions of the Gulf Coast. The system gradually gathered strength and attained winds of 65 MPH on the morning of June 19 when it made landfall near Dauphin Island AL. The system then slowed in speed and meandered over the area for the next couple of days without serious weakening causing major flooding damage of up to $25 million USD and 8 deaths in Alabama/Florida Panhandle area. Flooding entered homes prompting numerous rescues and some cars were just washed away, the reason that 6 out of the 8 people died. The other 2 were from electrocution by downed power lines. As the system gained more speed it rapidly weakened and some flooding was reported in Tennessee.

Hurricane Bob

Hurricane Bob 3
Bob 1979
Duration July 17—July 30
Intensity 125 mph, 950 mbar

On July 16, a well-defined tropical wave emerged off Western Africa and immediately began to steadily organize. The next day on July 17, it was declared Tropical Depression Two near the Cape Verde Islands then gradual intensification brought it up to Tropical Storm Bob later that night. Bob became a hurricane on July 20, still far from any land masses but the US Virgin Islands were now at risk. Hurricane watches went up as Bob intensified into a major hurricane late on July 21. The system gathered some more strength and peaked out with 125 MPH winds a few hundred miles east of the Northern Lesser Antilles. But just in time on July 22, a ridge of high pressure came in and lifted Bob off to the north sparing the region of any serious impacts other than rough surf which killed one person. Bob gradually moved towards Bermuda and started to slowly weaken on July 23. The projected path at the time took it over Bermuda as a minimal hurricane and towards Nova Scotia, prompting residents in Bermuda to begin making their preparations. As Bob weakened into only a category two late on July 24, hurricane watches went up for the island and the power light agency was prepared to cut off electricity at any time as the system kept barreling in their direction. However that didn't happen since a loop current pushed in and shoved it off to the west by July 25. That was good news for Bermuda but not so much for the Lower 48. Bob digged to the Southwest and began to re-strengthen into a category three as models took it right into the Southeast US Coast. Luckily it hit much cooler SSTs and rapidly weakened into a tropical storm by July 27 when tropical storm watches went up for the Northeast Florida Coast to South Carolina. By July 29, the system made landfall near Saint Augustine Beach FL packing winds of 50 MPH and causing minor damage of $1.2 million USD as well as one drowning death from surf off Cocoa Beach. Due to the tiny circulation, only 2 inches of rainfall fell at peak in the Palatka area. It weakened into a depression over the Lake City area dumping a little over one inch of rainfall in that area as it dissipated on July 30. Bob was known for its extremely odd, loopy and tricky track.

Tropical Storm Chloe

Tropical Storm Chloe TS
Chloe 1979
Duration August 10—August 13
Intensity 60 mph, 1000 mbar

Tropical Storm Dylan

Tropical Storm Dylan TS
Dylan 1979.jpg
Duration August 24—August 25
Intensity 40 mph, 1006 mbar

Hurricane Elena

Hurricane Elena 1
Elena 1979.jpg
Duration September 3—September 9
Intensity 80 mph, 982 mbar

Hurricane Fabian

Hurricane Fabian 5
Fabian 1979.jpg
Duration September 9—September 18
Intensity 160 mph, 922 mbar

Hurricane Gloria

Hurricane Gloria 2
Gloria 1979.jpg
Duration September 29—October 10
Intensity 110 mph, 963 mbar

Hurricane Henry

Hurricane Henry 5
Henry 1979.jpg
Duration November 2—November 15
Intensity 175 mph, 917 mbar

Hurricane Isabel

Hurricane Isabel 1
Isabel 1979.jpg
Duration December 11—December 16
Intensity 75 mph, 996 mbar

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Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) Rating

ACE (104kt²) – Storm: Source
1 53.54 Henry 6 3.65 Alicia
2 34.25 Fabian 7 2.10 Isabel
3 17.17 Bob 8 1.14 Chloe
4 11.25 Gloria 9 0.37 Dylan
5 6.20 Elena
Total: 129.67 (130)

Despite producing nine named storms, which is considered slightly below average, 1979 had an ACE of nearly 130, which is in the above-normal grading. The unseasonably high ACE can be attributed to such storms as Bob, Fabian, Gloria, and Henry, all of which had ACE totals exceeding 10, of which Fabian and Henry exceeded 30, with Henry exceeding 50.

Storm names

The following names were used to name storms that formed in the north Atlantic on Planet Ceres in 1979. The names not retired from this list were used again in the 1985 season. This is the first time this list was used, and therefore the first time these names were used. Names not assigned are marked in gray.

  • Henry
  • Isabel
  • Jerry (unused)
  • Karen (unused)
  • Lazlo (unused)
  • Minerva (unused)
  • Norbert (unused)
  • Olivia (unused)
  • Percy (unused)
  • Rita (unused)
  • Stan (unused)
  • Tina (unused)
  • Victor (unused)
  • Wendy (unused)


The WMO retired two names in the spring of 1980: Fabian and Henry. They were replaced in the 1985 season with Filburt and Heffer (named for the Rocko's Modern Life characters of the same names).

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