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Claudette - 2003
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HURRICANE CLAUDETTE

claudette.jpg
Hurricane Claudette After Landfall

A tropical wave that moved off the coast of Africa on July 1 began to organize convection on July 6. The wave continued westward gradually becoming more organized, and became Tropical Depression Four on July 7, and Tropical Storm Claudette on July 8. Claudette continued west through the Caribbean Sea, and strengthened to just under hurricane status. As the storm approached Nicaragua it began to take a curve to the north and it briefly became a hurricane at this time with 80 mph winds.

Hurricane Claudette was not a hurricane for long, it weakened to a tropical storm at the next advisory as the winds dropped about 20 mph as the center collapsed. The storm weakened further as it crossed the tip of the Yucatan and entered the Gulf of Mexico. The storm gradually became better organized on July 13 as it moved erratically in the central Gulf before taking a turn further to the north. The shear began to relax on July 14 and Claudette became a hurricane once again as the storm curved west. Claudette remained a strong category 1 until landfall at Port O'Connor, Texas on July 15. The storm was at its peak intensity at landfall and had a pressure of 979 mbar and winds of 90 mph.

As the storm moved inland, it was rather slow to weaken. It maintained at least tropical storm intensity for 24 hours after landfall, which is unusual for a rather weak hurricane. This is shown in the picture above, with the eye of Claudette still well defined after landfall. Most storms weaken rapidly after landfall, losing the warm water that powers them. The storm finally dissipated on July 17. Claudette was responsible for a total of three deaths. Total damage estimates were at 180 million US Dollars.

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