HURRICANE FRANCES


The 2004 hurricane season is one which the residents of Florida
won't soon forget.  Not only did Hurricane Frances, the storm
I'm going to focus on, devastate the state, Hurricanes Charley,
Ivan and Jeanne also produced significant damage. Frances
reached a peak intensity of 145 mph briefly over the central
Atlantic, making it a dangerous Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson
scale. Luckily, Frances weakened somewhat back to Category 2
with 105 mph maximum sustained winds, as it made landfall
along the east coast of Florida during the early morning hours of September 5 near Port Saint Lucie.
                                                                                                                                                                              This is a satellite image of Frances on August 31 at 1945Z when
                                                                                                                                                                               it was at its peak intensity, with 145 mph winds, courtesy of NOAA.

Even though Frances weakened slightly upon landfall, don't think for a minute that the damage was small and localized, rather
it was large and wide-reaching.  High winds certainly are expected with hurricane landfalls, Frances' peak wind gust in the U.S.
was 108 mph at Fort Pierce; however, the impact of this storm included storm surge, flooding rains and tornadoes.  The highest
estimated storm surge from Frances was 8 ft. near Vero Beach, with 6 ft. amounts quite common.  The rainfall was staggering,
also, as amounts ranged from 5-10 inches, with locally higher amounts, along the storm's track from Florida to the Mid-Atlantic         states.  An incredible 101 tornadoes were a result of Frances, many of them occurring in the Carolinas in an outbreak on
September, 7.

You can see that Frances was no storm to mess with, along the east coast; however, it got its genesis many thousands of miles
away.  In this report, I'm going to discuss in much greater detail how Frances formed from an easterly wave off the coast of
Africa and how it was steered toward the United States.  Also, I'll tell you the atmospheric conditions that helped Frances form
into a hurricane, as well as, the effects an eyewall replacement cycle had on this storm.

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