Hurricane Frances, September 2004|
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...Hurricane Frances was the 6th named storm of the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season...
...Four of the first six named storms have affected North Carolina...
...Hurricane Frances first made landfall near Sewall’s Point, FL, then moved west across the central Florida peninsula while weakening to a Tropical Storm. The Tropical Storm then reemerged into the northeast Gulf of Mexico just north of Tampa, FL, then made a second landfall at Saint Mark’s, FL, in the Florida Panhandle region. The Tropical Storm weakened to a Depression near Albany, GA, then moved slowly north across central and northeast Georgia, the mountains of extreme western North Carolina and southwest Virginia, West Virginia, western Pennsylvania, and New York...
...Rain bands associated with Frances produced several tornadoes over the Piedmont and Sandhills of North Carolina...
...A swath of 5 to 15 inches of rain fell across the North Carolina Mountains and Foothills. There were reports of 12 to 15 inches of rain along the higher terrain with isolated reports in excess of 18 inches...
...Severe flooding and damage resulted in many Mountain counties...
...Several fatalities in North Carolina were directly related to the storm...
Frances developed into a Tropical Depression over the eastern Atlantic Ocean, 800 miles
west-southwest of the Cape Verde Islands on Tuesday morning, August 24, 2004. The system was
moving west at 17 MPH and had maximum sustained winds of 30 MPH.
Frances became a Tropical Storm late on Wednesday, August 25, 2004, approximately 1400 miles
east of the Lesser Antilles. Frances was moving west at 17 MPH with maximum sustained
winds of 40 MPH.
Frances became the 4th Hurricane of the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season at 500 PM, Thursday,
August 26, 2004, 1000 miles east-southeast of the Lesser Antilles. Maximum sustained
winds had increased to 75 MPH, with a minimum pressure of 983 MB.
Frances strengthened into the third major Hurricane in the Atlantic basin this year
at 500 PM, Friday, August 27, 2004. Frances reached this Category 3 status on the Saffir-Simpson
Hurricane Scale with maximum winds of 115 MPH, while located 800 miles east of the Leeward Islands.
Frances became the second Category 4 Hurricane in the Atlantic Basin at 500 PM, Saturday,
August 28, 2004, 700 miles east of the Leeward Islands. The pressure had fallen to 948 MB,
and maximum sustained winds increased to 135 MPH.
Frances weakened slightly to a Category 3 Hurricane on Sunday, August 29, 2004. The Hurricane
tracked within 150 miles of the northern Leeward Islands late on August 30, 2004, packing
winds of 125 MPH.
Frances regained Category 4 status by late afternoon on August 31, 2004, 145 miles north
of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Frances made a direct hit on the Turks and Caicos Islands
as a category 4 hurricane on September 1, 2004. The hurricane passed 35 miles north
of Grand Turk, with maximum sustained winds of 125 MPH and a minimum pressure of 938 MB.
The southeast, central, and northwestern Bahamas felt the full brunt of Frances as the
storm slowly moved across the Bahamas between Thursday, September 2 and Saturday, September
4, 2004. Frances weakened from a Category 4 to a Category 3 storm as the hurricane
passed over San Salvador, Eleuthra Island, and very close to Freeport, Grand
Frances finally made landfall near Sewall’s Point, FL, around 100 AM, on Sunday, September 5, 2004
as a Category 2 storm. The winds were sustained at 105 MPH at landfall with a minimum central
pressure of 960 MB. Frances moved west-northwest across east-central Florida early Sunday morning.
Frances was downgraded to a Tropical Storm at 500 PM, September 5, 2004, 20 miles east of Tampa.
Frances emerged into the northeastern Gulf of Mexico at around 1100 PM, just north of
Tampa, on September 5, 2004. Frances regained Tropical Storm status as it moved
across the northeast Gulf of Mexico on September 6, 2004. The storm made a second
landfall at Saint Mark’s, FL, at 200 PM, September 6, 2004, with maximum
sustained winds of 65 MPH.
Frances weakened rapidly and was downgraded to a depression as it moved north-northwest across
southwestern Georgia on Monday evening, September 6, 2004. The system remained at tropical
depression status as it moved slowly across Georgia on Tuesday, September 7, 2004.
The remnants of Frances moved into the southwestern Mountains of North Carolina during the
early morning hours of Wednesday, September 8, 2004. The storm center then tracked
north along the spine of the Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina,
northeastern Tennessee, and southwestern Virginia during the remainder of September 8, 2004.
Strong gusty winds between 40 and 60 MPH buffeted the Appalachian Mountains. Numerous
trees were downed and flooding was widespread. Rainfall amounts
reached as much as 10 to 15 inches in portions of the higher mountains from Transylvania and
Macon Counties northeast to Yancey and Mitchell Counties. Severe flooding occurred along several
creeks in the city of Asheville where numerous streets, several businesses, and houses were
As the depression moved across Georgia and western North Carolina Tuesday and Wednesday, the
Piedmont and Sandhills of North Carolina remained in the warm sector of the storm. Several
rain bands produced torrential rainfall, local damaging winds, and several tornadoes. Several
weak tornadoes produced minor damage to trees and buildings over Anson, Hoke, Moore, Lee,
Orange, and Harnett Counties. The strongest tornado in central North Carolina damaged a home on Rye
Road in Hoke County, downed numerous trees, destroyed a car, and damaged the roof of a house.
Additional details may become available at the NWS offices directly affected by the storm...
The National Weather Service Wilmington
The National Weather Service Greenville/Spartanburg
The National Weather Service Blacksburg