Hurricane Rudolph was a rare, destructive, long-lived and extremely powerful Cape Verde-type hurricane that caused catastrophic wind damage and flooding to Florida, Texas, Mississippi, and Arkansas.
HistoryHurricane Rudolph started out from a vigorous tropical wave in the eastern Atlantic near the Cape Verde Islands on August 24, 2018. It started moving westward into favorable conditions and quickly devloped into a tropical depression. The NHC gave the first advisories on Tropical Depression 17. It continued to strengthen, transitioning to a tropical storm, earning the name Rudolph and becoming the 18th named storm of the hyperactive 2018 hurricane season. The storm started heading northeast then turned, and entered the warm waters of the Caribbean. Rudolph explosively strengthened to Category 4 status in less than 30 hours. Rudolph then strengthened further to Category 5 status. Rudolph struck Florida head-on as a monstrous Category 5 with 1 min sustained winds of 185 mph, bringing torrential rain, wind, and huge 25 ft storm surges. Orlando was instantly soaked in 10 ft of rain, and Miami nearly disappeared from the map. At least 400 deaths were confirmed, and Disney World was partially destroyed. Rudolph reached a peak intensity of 190 mph and a record minimum pressure of 890 mbar around August 29. Moderate wind shear disrupted the system as it entered the Gulf of Mexico, causing it to weaken a little. It then made the second U.S. landfall in Texas as a strong Category 4 hurricane with winds of 155 mph. Houston received around 8 ft of flooding, and at least 270 people were confirmed dead or missing. Rudolph continued to weaken, and by September 2, it had weakened to a small-sized, high-altitude tropical storm. NHC gave Rudolph it's final advisories on September 3. Rudolph then collided with another weather system in Mississippi on the evening of September 4. The system moved out to sea and dissipated. Damage summed up to a whopping $204 billion, nearly twice the amount of the damage that Hurricane Katrina caused in 2005. It is one of the deadliest, strongest, and the most costliest hurricane to hit the U.S.
Forecasters originally hypothesized that Rudolph's future path was going to affect The Bahamas, and possibly the Carolinas because of the dip in the jet stream and a major cold front situated to the north. However, warm currents steered Rudolph towards warmer waters, with virtually no wind shear, and Rudolph started to intensify rapidly, accelerating towards Florida and the Gulf Coast.
Rudolph was responsible for most the damage it left behind in Florida. Orlando suffered greatly from Rudolph. Nearly all the streets were flooded, up to 10 ft of rain at the most. Some small buildings were destroyed, the airport terminal was partially destroyed. Nearly 3200000 people are left homeless from Rudolph. The Red Cross and the Salvation Army came in to help survivors, and they donated more than 1000000 cans of food to Florida, along with blankets, medicine, and clothing.
Disney World, Orlando, and Miami suffered very heavy damage. Virtually every ride in Disney World was damaged or destroyed, and Orlando was heavily flooded. Miami was basically drowned, with immense damage everywhere. In Miami, The Downtown District recorded up to 12 ft of rain. At Miami Beach, colossal 27 foot waves pounded the shores, sweeping up anything left on the beach and tearing up beach houses like paper. Dangerous rip currents threatened to drown people, but all the people were evacuated from Miami Beach. All 4 cruise ships docked at the Miami Ship Terminal were sunk, with the terminal destroyed. The ships were all vacant. Several high- rise buildings in Miami beach were heavily damaged, and nearly all the low lying buildings on Miami Beach was destroyed. The causeways linking the mainland to the islands were swept away. Fort Lauderdale and Daytona Beach also suffered heavy damage.
Houston was also heavily damaged from Hurricane Rudolph. 7–8 ft of rain was recorded in Houston. The JP Morgan Chase tower partially collapsed, and numerous buildings in the city was swamped, damaged, or destroyed. The whole city lost power during the storm, and aproximately 270 people were dead or missing. The Mayor of Houston declared a state of disaster for the area. All flights were cancelled during the storm. It would take several years to rebuild Houston.
Mississippi & Arkansas
The hurricane spawned several tornadoes over Mississippi and Arkansas, causing 4 deaths. Mississippi recieved 11 inches of rain, and the Mississippi River overflowed its banks, flooding cities along the river. Arkansas recieved 7 inches of rain at the most. 1 person drowned during the flood.
Accoring to the number of confirmed deaths (including 5 in Mississippi) Hurricane Rudolph was considered one of the deadliest hurricanes ever and one of the few Category 5s that made a U.S. landfall at that intensity.
Due to the amount of damage Rudolph left behind, the name was retired in the spring of 2019, never to be used again. it was replaced by Rosanna.