Hurricane Kate
Category 5 hurricane (SSHS)
Formed September 5, 2009
Dissipated September 22, 2009
Highest winds 180 mph
(1-minute sustained winds)
Lowest pressure 896 mb
Damages 21.4 billion
Fatalities 2500
Areas affected Lesser Antilles, Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Greenland
Part of the
2009 Atlantic hurricane season

Storm History

Kate was a nightmarish Cape Verde storm. Kate ravaged the Caribbean islands and South Florida. Kate formed as Tropical Depression thirteen just off of the Cape Verde Islands. The depression slowly organized and became a tropical storm on the 6th. Kate continued to slowly organize and nearly dissipated twice. Kate was upgraded to a hurricane on the 9th on the sole reason. Bands of 80 mph winds were found near the center. Kate continued to move west with barely any change in intensity. Kate became better organized on the 11th, and was upgraded to a Category 2 hurricane. Kate continued to move on a northwest track and was upgraded to a Category 3 hurricane as it neared Jamaica. Kate became a Category 4 on the 13th and struck Grand Cayman that night. Kate continued to intensify and neared Category 5 intensity before making landfall on the Isle of Youth. Kate's passage over the island significantly weakened the hurricane and by the time it emerged into the Gulf of Mexico, Kate was barely a Category 2 hurricane. On the 15th, Kate began to rapidly intensify over the loop current, and was a powerful 180-mph Category 5 by evening. Kate continued northeast and on the 16th, Kate made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane near Tampa, Florida. Kate moved northeast through the state, and amazingly maintained Category 4 status. Kate moved toward the North Carolina coast, and struck on the 18th with winds of 120-mph; making it the strongest hurricane to strike the state since Hazel in 1954. Kate began to slowly weaken and remained a hurricane until reaching 50.0 N. On the 22nd, Kate became the first tropical cyclone to strike Greenland. Kate became extratropical shortly thereafter.

Impacts and Records

Due to a long-time fear of the devastating effects of a major hurricane striking Tampa, a mandatory evacuation was ordered on the 13th, a full three days before the storm made landfall. The evacuation was the largest evacuation in U.S. history. Kate also produced the largest storm surge in recorded history upon it's landfall, with a surge of 50 ft being recorded. Kate was also the second most intense hurricane to strike the United States with a pressure of 904 mb at the time of landfall.

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