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Marilyn - 1995
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HURRICANE MARILYN

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Hurricane Marilyn

A tropical wave moved off the coast of Africa into the eastern Atlantic Ocean on September 7. The wave was accompanied by a large area of clouds, but was void of any deep convection. The wave moved rapidly to the west over the next five days with no further development, until deep convection developed and became concentrated near the center on September 12. At that point, the wave became Tropical Depression Fifteen while located about 500 miles east of the Lesser Antilles. The depression was able to continue strengthening, and became Tropical Storm Marilyn hours later on the 12th, and by late on the 13 of September, Marilyn was a Category 1 hurricane. Marilyn turned more to the northwest after this period of strengthening, and further strengthening was much slower. The hurricane passed 45 miles north of Barbados on September 14, before crossing over the islands of Dominica and Guadeloupe before moving into the Caribbean Sea as a Cat 1. The hurricane reached Category 2 status late on September 15, just before striking the U.S. Virgin Islands on the borderline of Category 3 status. At this time, Marilyn was a decently large storm, with a 20-mile in diameter eye. The storm then continued northwest and passed offshore on the eastern side of Puerto Rico. Marilyn strengthened and reached its peak intensity after exiting the islands and entering open waters with a pressure of 949 mbar and winds of 115 mph on September 17 as it began to turn northward. A period of rapid weakening began after this peak intensity was obtained, and Marilyn weakened briefly to a Category 1 storm late on the 17th, caused by a combination of increased shearing, and upwelling that had taken place when powerful Hurricane Luis passed over the area days earlier. Strengthening would have likely continued if not for these factors. The hurricane regained Category 2 status for a short time late on the 17th and early on the 18th of September as it moved out of these upwelled areas, but other factors came into play as it moved into cooler waters in the north Atlantic. Over the next few days, after weakening back to a Category 1 storm, Marilyn accelerated at a moderate pace to the NNE, and passed about 150 miles west of Bermuda during this time. The hurricane weakened to a tropical storm after turning to the east on September 21, and then became extratropical days later. The extratropical remnant then took a long ten-day trek through the North-Central Atlantic Ocean before finally becoming absorbed into a frontal system on October 1. Hurricane Marilyn pounded an area that had already been affected by Hurricane Luis. Eight people died as a result of the storm; five in St. Thomas, 1 in St. John, 1 in St. Croix, and 1 in Puerto Rico. In the U.S. Virgin Islands, severe damage was reported, particularly to St. Thomas, having been hit directly by the powerful northern eyewall of the hurricane. An estimated 80 percent of the homes and business in St. Thomas were destroyed, and over 10,000 people became homeless. In addition, in St. John, FEMA reported that 30 percent of the homes there were destroyed, and 60 percent of homes were left roofless. Flash floods due to large waves, storm surge, and heavy rains occurred in many areas, including Puerto Rico where the La Plata and Manati rivers overflowed their banks. A total loss estimate from the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico is estimated at 1.5 Billion, with an additional 3 Billion in damages to the economy. Due to the severe extent of the damages, the name Marilyn was retired in the spring of 1996 and was replaced with Michelle in 2001.

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