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Hurricane Hut

Gert - 1999
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Large and Powerful Hurricane Gert in the Open Atlantic

A highly organized tropical wave moved off the west coast of Africa on September 10. The wave already showed tropical characteristics and it officially became Tropical Depression Nine on September 11 when located about 100 miles south of the Cape Verde Islands. The depression strengthened further as it moved on a swift pace to the west and became Tropical Storm Gert on September 12. Gert was able to strengthen very rapidly under the same prime conditions that developed Hurricane Floyd just days earlier. The storm became a hurricane on September 13 and the strengthening did not stop there, although it did slow in speed. Gert became a Category 2 storm on the 14th, and a Category 4 storm on the 15th when it reached a maximum intensity of 150 mph winds. Gert was a very powerful storm at this time, with a very large and clear eye which resembled that of many Category 5 storms. It was able to maintain this category 4 strength until September 18, when it weakened slightly to a Category 3 due to some increasing wind shear. The storm curved to the northwest at this time due to a weakness in the ridge to its north and strengthened back to a Cat 4 for a 24 hour period. Gert turned straight to the north on September 20 and weakened to a Category 1 storm due to a combination of cooler waters and increasing shear. The storm weakened to a tropical storm on September 23, and became extratropical on that day in the far northern Atlantic Ocean. The extratropical remnant came close to Newfoundland on the 24th, but they did not strike the province. Gert never made landfall, but because it was such a large and powerful storm, swells were felt throughout the Atlantic, and some beach erosion was reported in Bermuda. Reports of 27 foot waves were received in Newfoundland, and three people were swept into the water while trying to secure their boat, but they were rescued. Two people drowned on September 20 in Maine when a large wave swept them out to sea, despite the fact that Gert was 1000 miles south of the area at the time.