|Powerful Hurricane Isidore North of the Yucatan
A tropical wave moved off the coast of Africa on September 9, complete with a large area of thunderstorms. As the wave moved
closer to the Lesser Antilles, convection increased and it became Tropical Depression Ten on September 14. The depression
moved west and approached the northern coast of Venezuela, and further development was halted as the storm made landfall.
The depression degenerated into an open tropical wave late on September 14. The wave was tracked into the western Caribbean
where it restrengthened into a depression on September 17. The depression became Tropical Storm Isidore just 120 miles south
of Jamaica, and under weak steering flow, Isidore drifted to the west of the island. Isidore then slowly strengthened and
moved WNW over the Cayman Islands and became a hurricane on September 19.
The winds reached 105 mph on September 20, making it a Category 2 storm before it made landfall on the western tip of
Cuba as a Category 1 storm with winds of 85 mph. Isidore turned to the west after pounding Cuba and reached a peak intensity
of 934 mbar with winds of 125 mph. The powerful Category 3 storm continued slowlyi to the west, grazing the northern Yucatan
Peninsula. Isidore was expected to make a turn to the north and retain its intensity, but a high pressure system forced it
southward into the Yucatan, making a landfall near Puerto Telchac as a powerful Category 3 storm on September 22.
The hurricane slowly sagged southward over the peninsula, weakening to a minimal tropical storm before finally turning
to the north and emerging in the Gulf of Mexico on September 24. Despite attempts to restrengthen, Isidore never regained
hurricane status as it moved north to a landfall near Grand Isle, LA with 65 mph winds and a pressure of 984 mbar. Isidore
was quick to weaken to a depression after moving inland, and became extratropical over Pennsylvenia on September 27 before
being absorbed into a frontal zone.
Despite Isidore making landfall on the Yucatan as a strong and large Category 3 storm, only two deaths were reported there,
one from electrocution, and another in a weather related car crash. Damages in western Cuba and the Yucatan Peninsula were
severe, especially to the cattle and agriculture industry. Damages in Jamaica were limited to heavy downpours and street flooding.
In the the United States, five total deaths were reported, and damages totaled around 360 million dollars. The name Isidore
was retired in the Spring of 2003 and will be replaced by Ike when the list is used again in 2008.