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ATLANTIC BASIN 2004 SEASON SUMMARY

The 2004 season had many unusual occurrences and was a fairly active season, seeing 15 named storms and 1 tropical depression. The season got off to a late start with the first storm, Alex, not forming until August 1 which gave the 2004 season the fifth latest start since 1952. Tropical Storm Bonnie and Hurricane Charley became the first storms to hit the same U.S. state (Florida) in a 24-hour period since 1906. For the remainder of the season, Florida was hit by three more hurricanes, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne. This is the first time four hurricanes have hit one state in one season since four hurricanes hit the Texas coast in 1886.

Some other storms had some unusual characteristics of their own. Hurricane Alex was the strongest hurricane on record to intensify north of 38 degrees latitude. One storm, Tropical Storm Earl, died out, and its remnants crossed over into the Pacific Ocean, where they regenerated and became Hurricane Frank in the eastern Pacific.

August 2004 was unusually active, with eight named storms forming during the month. In an average year, only three or four storms would be named in August. The formation of eight named storms in August breaks the old record of seven for the month, set in the 1933 and 1995 seasons. It also ties with September in the 2002 season for the most Atlantic tropical storms to form in any month.

The most unusual and powerful storm of the season was Hurricane Ivan. Ivan became the first major hurricane (category 3 +) on record to form as low as 10 degrees latitude. Ivan was also recorded as the sixth most intense hurricane on record, with a minimum central pressure of 910 millibars. Perhaps the most unusual part of Ivan was that after landfall in the Gulf Coast, the remnants of the storm moved back over water as it made a full loop through the Southeast United States. Ivan was reclassified as a tropical depression as it moved over the Gulf of Mexico. The system was given the name Ivan and eventually strengthened into a strong tropical storm with winds of 65 mph before making landfall along the coast of Texas, causing minimal flooding and damage.

The 2004 season was also very deadly, with over 3,000 deaths related to the flooding rains or winds caused by the storms. Nearly all of the deaths were reported in Haiti following the floods and mudslides caused by Jeanne.

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The Tracks of 2004 Storms

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