Hurricane Humberto formed on September 13, 2019 and then dispersed on the 26th. It was the first to hit the Bermuda area since Nicole in 2016. It was the third hurricane total of the Atlantic Hurricane season. It started to move through the southern Bahamas on September 12th and also posed an imminent threat to Florida. It also created a lot of large swells across the east coast. Only one fatality was reported when a man was found to have drowned on a current in North Carolina. Another man in St. Augustine was reported missing after Humberto swept through there. Another man in Bridge City was killed when his house’s carport crashed on him.
Humberto was a slow hurricane and made a gradual move northwestward. As long as it hung in the upper level trough, it showed signs of being a subtropical cyclone. A subtropical cyclone is a cyclone located near the subtropical belt of the horse latitudes. An extratropical cyclone is one that hangs mid-latitude. It is also the majority of where weather as we know it, from clouds to tornadoes comes from. It was predicted that Humberto could become both subtropical and extratropical.
On September 14th, Humberto relaxed enough for its center to be convected. Convection is the movement of heat from the earth’s surface occurs by air. This causes the air to stretch and become less thickened. However, in spite of the dry air, Humberto’s core was able to take a more defined form and start moving up northeastward by September 16th.
It intensified just shy of Category Two by September 16th. Hurricanes are measured on a scale called the Saffir-Simpson scale. It’s like the Fujita scale for hurricanes and has Categories between One and Five. One is the mildest with winds up to approximately 75 mph and Five has up to 156 mph. Just like the Fujita scale measures the damage that a tornado causes, the Saffir-Simpson does the same for a hurricane’s potential to flood and cause damage. However, with hurricanes, that’s a little more difficult to predict. The scale is also based on the highest average over a one-minute wind span.
Hurricane Humberto’s strengthening Category Two was stopped on the 17th by the hurricane becoming increasingly wide and imbalanced. While the cloud tops cooled, however, Humberto was upgraded to a Category Three as it started to increase as an extratropical storm and approach the Bermuda area. Its winds were measured at 125 mph by mid-morning the 19th. However it was starting to weaken as its front started to drop and dry air swallowed its western and southern semicircles. It was a full extratropical cyclone by the 20th but slowly weakened over the next few days and then merged with another storm on the 26th.
Hurricane Humberto Statistics
-When Humberto passed over the Bermuda, it left 80 percent of the island’s population without electricity. This was due to both tree falls and wire damage. Several highways were closed, and dozens of homes were destroyed. In Galveston County, Humberto left about 10 homes destroyed with another 19 with severe damage. Necessary road closures resulted in approximately 5,000 more homes being completely empty. A lot of trees were pulled up from their roots and phone lines were down.
-The Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service reported a combination of 17 minor incidents, including medical. Thankfully, none of them were serious.
-Humberto was predicted to bring between two and six inches of rain to the Bermuda. It produced a total of just over 14 inches of precipitation. Precipitation in Texas also peaked at just over 14 inches. The flooding was the worst in Orange and Jefferson Counties in Texas.
-Humberto caused about $50 million in damage.
-In Louisiana, Humberto peaked at 43 mph in wind gusts and left over eight inches of precipitation. 13,000 customers lost power and an F1 tornado briefly touched down in Vermilion Parish mostly doing further damage to the trees there and power lines. Damage in Louisiana was estimated to be at $525,000.
What Preparation Was Done
In the U.S., warnings were issued from Texas to Louisiana. Residents in flood-prone areas in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana were given a warning to move someplace safer until the storm passed. The Lake Charles shelter ended up hosting almost 30 people at that time. Texas governor, Rick Perry deployed 200 Texan military forces, six Black Hawk helicopters plus two water teams for the rescue mission of the aftermath. They were all activated shortly before the cyclone passed through the area.
Oil production was slowed and at least four refineries, including Exxon, shut down their operations until further notice. This caused oil prices to rise above $80 per barrel. They tried to raise it eight percent ahead of the storm. Unfortunately, however, most of those gains were lost completely by the storm.
Some Weird Facts About Hurricane Humberto
On September 12th, Humberto started out as a Potential Cyclone Nine. With hurricanes, a potential cyclone is basically the Tornado Watch of the hurricanes. It means that conditions are right for a hurricane to form but it’s not yet certain whether one will. If one does, it’s usually expected to do so within the next two days. Hurricane Humberto took about another day to start forming into a hurricane. It then proceeded to make its journey over the Bahamas and gradually weakened as it moved near the east coast.
Then it passed over the British Isles and then merged with another storm. It basically acted as if it couldn’t make up its mind as to whether or where it wanted to dissipate or merge.
It caused the most damage in the Bermuda, Texas, and Louisiana. As it started to weaken as it was moving up the east coast, it caused heavy flooding as well as road damage both Mississippi and in the Carolinas. Several F0 tornadoes were confirmed in the Carolinas.
Is It Common For Hurricanes to Produce Tornadoes?
Yes. They produce the rotating supercells along with the moist warm air. As a result, they go together much more than most people think.