Event Summary
     National Weather Service, Raleigh NC


Hurricane Jeanne, September 2004
Updated 2007/07/26




Satellite Imager of Hurricane Jeanne on 2004/09/25 at 1245Z - Click to enlarge
(Click on the image to enlarge.)


Event Headlines

...Hurricane Jeanne was the 10th named tropical cyclone of the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season...
...7 of the 10 named tropical cyclones have impacted North Carolina...
...Rain bands associated with Jeanne produced several tornadoes over the Sandhills and Piedmont of North Carolina. Tornado touch downs were reported in Moore, Richmond and Wake Counties...
...A swath of 2 to 4 inches of rain with localized amounts in excess of 6 inches fell across the North Carolina Mountains, Foothills and western Piedmont...



Overview

Tropical Depression Jeanne developed late in the afternoon on Monday, September 13, 2004, 70 miles east-southeast of Guadeloupe. Jeanne became a Tropical Storm early on Tuesday, September 14, 2004, about 135 miles southeast of St. Croix.

The tropical storm moved steadily northeast toward Puerto Rico, reaching the southeast coast of Puerto Rico on Wednesday, September 15, 2004, with maximum sustained winds of 70 MPH. Jeanne slowly moved across the island of Puerto Rico dropping extreme amounts of rain. The community of Naguabo, in the eastern portion of the island received more than 24 inches of rain.

Jeanne became the 6th Hurricane of the 2004 Atlantic season at around 800 AM, Thursday, September 16, 2004, while located near the eastern tip of Hispaniola. The hurricane moved slowly northwestern across the northern tier of the Dominican Republic and Haiti on Thursday and Friday, weakening to tropical storm strength. Tropical storm Jeanne moved offshore late on Friday evening after dumping over a foot of rain across portions of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Over two thousand residents of Haiti, primarily in the northern city of Gonaives, died from flooding and mudslides resulting from the heavy rain produced by Jeanne.

Impacted by the terrain and landmass of Hispaniola, Jeanne weakened to tropical depression status at 500 PM, Friday, September 17, 2004. The system became better organized Friday night and was reclassified a tropical storm. The tropical storm remained rather weak and disorganized while moving slowly north on Saturday, September 17, 2004. Gradually Jeanne strengthened on Sunday and into Monday, September 19, 2004.

Jeanne strengthened back into a hurricane at 500 PM, Monday, September 20, 2004 while slowly moving north. Upper level steering winds weakened and Jeanne was blocked from continuing its northward motion by a large ridge of high pressure over the western Atlantic. During the next four days, Jeanne would make a clockwise loop over the Atlantic ocean, northeast of the Bahamas. During this same period, Jeanne strengthened into a formidable hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 100 MPH.

After completing the loop late Thursday, Jeanne developed a steady westward motion toward the Florida peninsula. This motion continued on Friday and into Saturday, September 25, 2004. Jeanne intensified into a category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 115 MPH at 1100 AM Saturday. The hurricane moved onshore around midnight Sunday, September 26, 2004 near Stuart Florida.

Jeanne turned northwest and moved across the central Florida peninsula on Sunday. The hurricane weakened to a tropical storm at 200 PM, Sunday, September 26, 2004 near Brooksville Florida. The tropical storm turned northward and moved into Georgia early Monday morning. At 200 PM, Monday, September 27, 2004, Jeanne weakened to a tropical depression. The remnants of Jeanne turned northeastward, reaching northern Georgia late on Monday.

A southeasterly flow ahead of Jeanne transported warm and moist air into the Coastal Plain of the Carolinas. Meanwhile, cooler and more stable air was located across interior portions of the Carolinas. The interaction of the boundary between these two distinct air masses along with the moisture and circulation associated with Jeanne resulted in the development of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes across the southeast on Monday and Monday night.

The remnants of Jeanne then moved northeast across upstate South Carolina late Monday night producing heavy rain, flooding, and several tornadoes. The system continued to accelerate northeast across North Carolina Monday night and Tuesday morning, September 28, 2004 producing additional heavy rain, flooding, and tornadoes. The remnants of Jeanne moved into Virginia by Tuesday afternoon.


Jeanne's Track


Hurricane Jeanne Track

Hurricane Jeanne followed an unusual and circuitous route before reaching the Florida east coast. The system developed in the northeast Caribbean and then traveled across the island of Puerto Rico. The system then moved across the island of Hispaniola. After moving offshore and away from Hispaniola, Jeanne turned north for a few days before making a 3 day long, clockwise loop. After completing the loop, the hurricane then traveled on a rather direct course for Florida.

After reaching the Florida east coast, Jeanne then turned northwest and moved across the central and northern Florida. The system then turned more northward as it tracked across Georgia and finally turned northeast as it accelerated across the Carolinas and Virginia.

Hurricane Jeanne Track
Hurricane Jeanne Track - Click to enlarge
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Detailed Hurricane Jeanne Track
Hurricane Jeanne Track - Click to enlarge
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Maps of Precipitation Totals and Severe Weather Reports from Hurricane Jeanne


Precipitation Totals from Hurricane Jeanne

A map of precipitation totals during the period in which Jeanne impacted North Carolina (from 800 AM EDT on Sunday, September 26, through 800 AM EDT on Wednesday, September 29) should be available by late Wednesday, September 29, 2004.




Severe Weather reports from Hurricane Jeanne

The map below contains severe weather reports received by the National Weather Service during the period in which Jeanne impacted North Carolina (from 800 AM EDT on Sunday, September 26, through 800 AM EDT on Wednesday, September 29).


Maximum wind gusts from Hurricane Jeanne




Severe Weather Potential


The center of the remnants of Jeanne reached southern Georgia by 12Z (800 AM) Monday. Upper level confluence between a deep trough lifting through Quebec and the mid-upper level high shifting off the Mid-Atlantic coast, reinforced the surface ridge over the Northeast United States. Weak cold-air damming (CAD) was in progress over the western Piedmont and Foothills of North Carolina. Meanwhile, a coastal front was becoming better defined along the coast of the Carolinas and Georgia. Much of North Carolina was shrouded in cloud cover early in the morning.

The core of the strongest low level shear/helicity was still well southwest of North Carolina, closer to Jeanne's circulation center. As a result of the CAD and the presence of the coastal front, neither the 12Z Greensboro (KGSO) or Morehead City (KMHX) soundings displayed both a favorable thermodynamic and kinematic environment for severe weather. The best helicity was located over the southern and western piedmont, where the surface flow was more backed/northeasterly, west of the coastal front. This region was characterized by weak buoyancy in the wedge air mass. The MHX sounding displayed a typical maritime tropical air mass, charactererized by a moist adiabatic profile with "skinny" CAPE, but little helicity.

As the coastal front and maritime tropical air mass advanced further inland, in conjunction with the northeastward advancement of higher momentum associated with Jeanne, the environment over central and southern North Carolina was becoming increasingly favorable for tornadoes. In addition to the favorable instability and shear profiles, LCL heights were around 600 meters. A band of showers and thunderstorms associated with the remnants of Jeanne advanced on the Sandhills and Southern Coastal Plain from South Carolina after midday. The coastal front had moved inland, and was draped across the southern coastal plain of North Carolina by 18Z (200 PM). By early afternoon, some breaks in the overcast had developed across locations to the south and east of the coastal front. Insolation resulting from the breaks in the overcast, enabled temperatures to reach the lower to mid 80s. An upper jet max intensified above the surface front, as a result of the thickness increase on the warm(ing) side of the boundary.

Conditions favorable for the development of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes continued to improve during the afternoon hours. Convection intensified across the Sandhills, Southern Coastal Plain, and Piedmont during the late afternoon and evening hours, as upper divergence and subsequent rising motion increased in the entrance of the strengthening upper jet max. Several discrete cells in the band moving out of South Carolina, began showing signs of weak rotation as they moved north-northwest across the Sandhills. As the storms moved closer to the surface boundary and associated higher helicity across south-central North Carolina, the mesocyclones (rotating updrafts) became more pronounced.



Analyzed mean sea level pressure (black) and surface wind barbs from SPC at 23Z on Monday, September 27, 2004 (7 PM EDT).
The circulation center is located over central Georgia.

SPC Analysis at 18Z on Friday, September 17, 2004.



Analyzed surface temperatures (red), dew points (green), and wind barbs from SPC at 23Z on Monday, September 27, 2004 (7 PM EDT).
Note the coastal front located from near Norfolk, VA southwest to just west of Rocky Mount to just east of Charlotte, NC. To the east of this front winds are from the east and southeast with temperatures in the mid 70s to near 80 and dew points in the lower to mid 70s.

SPC Analysis at 18Z on Friday, September 17, 2004.



Analyzed precipitable water (green) and wind barbs from SPC at 23Z on Monday, September 27, 2004 (7 PM EDT).
Note that much of North Carolina has precipitable water values of 1.8 inches or greater.

SPC Analysis at 18Z on Friday, September 17, 2004.



0-3 Km Storm Relative Helicity (blue) and storm motion (brown) from SPC at 23Z on Monday, September 27, 2004 (7 PM EDT).
Note the maximum of Storm Relative Helicity values greater than 300 across South Carolina as well as southwestern and south-central North Carolina.

SPC Analysis at 18Z on Friday, September 17, 2004.



Surface based CAPE values from SPC at 23Z on Monday, September 27, 2004 (7 PM EDT).
Note that the instability is not extreme and that the area of greatest instability is east of the coastal front.

SPC Analysis at 18Z on Friday, September 17, 2004.




Information on the Tornado in Moore County


In Moore county, a narrow and weak F0 tornado occurred over the Elks Golf Club on the south side of Southern Pines at approximately 541 PM EDT. This storm downed a few mature pine trees on the north side of the course. The tornado continued on a northerly direction, downing trees onto homes in a neighborhood east of Broad Street and south of Morganton Road. The storm briefly intensified to F1 status as it crossed Broad Street near a car dealership. The winds were strong enough to cause partial roof and wall failure on the west end of a small shopping center behind the dealership. The tornado briefly lifted over the remainder of the business district before touching down again near the intersection of U.S. 1 and Morganton Road at the Memorial Park ball diamonds. F0 damage was noted around the ball parks and to a warehouse along the service road.

The tornado continued on a north northwest course through a residential neighborhood north of Morganton Road, west of U.S. 1 and south of Massachusetts Avenue. Partial roof damage was noted with several large tree and tree limbs downed. The worst damage of F1 intensity occurred along Glover and Carlisle Streets between Iowa and Michigan Avenue where large mature pines and hardwoods crashed into several residences. The tornado was at it widest when traveling through this neighborhood with an average width of 200 yards. An eyewitness reported seeing a large funnel approach with a distinct roaring sound.

The tornado weakened to F0 intensity and briefly lifted as it crossed the Plantation Golf Club. The tornado touched down again after crossing Midland Road and did minor property damage and extensive tree damage to the Midland Country Club. The tornado lifted shortly after passing by the clubhouse with just sporadic downing of trees noted northwest of the golf club. The tornado was continuously on the ground for 4 miles across Southern Pines and Pinehurst, then sporadically for another 4 miles into central Moore county.

No injuries were reported in Moore county.

Moore County Tornado Track -
The map below shows the track of the tornado along with roads and communities in southern and central Moore County. - Click on the image to enlarge.

Track map of tornado in Moore County - Click to enlarge


Radar imagery -

KRAX 4-Panel Storm Relative Velocity Imagery from 2145Z (545 PM EDT) Monday, September 27, 2004.
A rotational couplet is visible on the 0.5 degree (upper left) and the 1.5 degree (upper right) Storm Relative Velocity image.

The four panel image contains of 8 bit 0.5 degree Storm Relative Velocity (upper left), 8 bit 1.5 degree Storm Relative Velocity (upper right), 8 bit 2.4 degree Storm Relative Velocity (lower left), and 8 bit 3.4 degree Storm Relative Velocity (lower right).

The green shades are targets moving toward the radar, which is located to the northeast (upper right side of the image). The red shades are targets moving away from the radar. When these colors appear adjacent to each other, rotation can be inferred.

Click on the image to enlarge.

 - Click to enlarge


KRAX 4-Panel Reflectivity Imagery from 2145Z (545 PM EDT) Monday, September 27, 2004.
A weak "hook echo" is visible just north of Southern Pines in the 0.5 degree (upper left) reflectivity image.

The four panel image contains of 8 bit 0.5 degree Reflectivity (upper left), 8 bit 1.5 degree Reflectivity (upper right), 8 bit 2.4 degree Reflectivity (lower left), and 8 bit 3.4 degree Reflectivity (lower right).
Click on the image to enlarge.

 - Click to enlarge




Information on the Tornado in Wake County


In Wake county, based on a ground survey and eyewitness report, a weak F0 tornado occurred near the intersection of Holly Springs Road and Kildaire Farm Road at approximately 730 PM EDT. Minor property damage was done to a few mobile homes along with a few downed tree limbs and power lines. The tornado lifted briefly before touching down again near Apex where several large trees were downed, especially near the intersection of Schiefflin Road and James Street and along Culvert Street in Apex. The tornado lifted near the intersection of Mason Street and Culvert Street at approximately 745 PM EDT.

Several eyewitnesses in Apex reported seeing a funnel and hearing a sound similar to a large truck revving its engine. All eyewitnesses noted how quickly the tornado came and went.

No injuries were reported in Wake county.

Wake County Tornado Track -
The map below shows the two known touchdowns of the tornado along with roads and communities in southwestern Wake County. - Click on the image to enlarge.

Track map of tornado in Wake County - Click to enlarge


Radar imagery -

KRAX 4-Panel Storm Relative Velocity Imagery from 2330Z (730 PM EDT) Monday, September 27, 2004.
A rotational couplet is visible on the 0.5 degree (upper left) and to a lesser extent the 1.5 degree (upper right) and 2.4 degree (lower left) Storm Relative Velocity imagery.

The four panel image contains of 8 bit 0.5 degree Storm Relative Velocity (upper left), 8 bit 1.5 degree Storm Relative Velocity (upper right), 8 bit 2.4 degree Storm Relative Velocity (lower left), and 8 bit 3.4 degree Storm Relative Velocity (lower right).

The green shades are targets moving toward the radar, which is located to the east (right side of the image). The red shades are targets moving away from the radar. When these colors appear adjacent to each other, rotation can be inferred.

Click on the image to enlarge.

 - Click to enlarge


KRAX 4-Panel Reflectivity Imagery from 2330Z (730 PM EDT) Monday, September 27, 2004.
A "hook echo" is visible just south of Apex in the 0.5 degree (upper left) and to a lesser extent on the 1.5 degree (upper right) reflectivity imagery.

The four panel image contains of 8 bit 0.5 degree Reflectivity (upper left), 8 bit 1.5 degree Reflectivity (upper right), 8 bit 2.4 degree Reflectivity (lower left), and 8 bit 3.4 degree Reflectivity (lower right).
Click on the image to enlarge.

 - Click to enlarge






Selected Photographs of the Severe Weather Event

Photos courtesy of Christopher Hunt, Dr. Gary Lackmann, Scott Sharp, and Darin Firgurskey.
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Case Study Team

Michael Strickler
Michael Brennan
Scott Sharp
Darin Figurskey
Jonathan Blaes


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