Hurricane Claudette was the third named storm, second hurricane, and second major hurricane of the 1991 Atlantic hurricane season. Claudette was the final major hurricane of the season, as well as the strongest, reaching Category 4 status on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale while in the open Atlantic Ocean. Claudette developed on September 4 while located southeast of the island of Bermuda. Claudette became extratropical on September 12, and its remnants dissipated near the Azores on September 14, having never directly affected land, in spite of its intensity.
The storm caused no damage and no deaths.
|Formation||September 4, 1991|
|Dissipation||September 12, 1991|
|Highest winds||135 mph|
|Lowest pressure||946 mbar|
|Part of the||1991 Atlantic hurricane season|
Claudette developed from an upper-level trough with an associated area of scattered convection that was located several hundred miles east of the northeastern Florida coast on September 1. The system moved generally eastward and passed near Bermuda on September 2. A low-level circulation, which was apparently caused by the aforementioned upper trough, became quasi-stationary about 500 miles southeast of Bermuda on September 3 while the upper trough continued moving eastward, away from the low-level circulation. That same day, a cold front moved southward over the western Atlantic Ocean and approached the low-level circulation, but did not absorb it. Convection associated with the low-level center began to increase and organize by 0000 UTC September 4. As the aforementioned cold front was dissipating, convection continued to increase around the low, with two curved convective bands forming within the disturbance at around 1200 UTC September 4. The low continued to organize, and it is estimated that the low developed into Tropical Depression Six at around 1800 UTC September 4. By 1200 UTC September 5, the slow-moving depression strengthened into Tropical Storm Claudette. During this time, Claudette was moving slowly southwestward. Due to an upper-level anticyclone atop the cyclone, in addition to a digging trough to the east, the upper-level environment was quite favorable for intensification. Claudette became a hurricane shortly after 0600 UTC September 6. At this point, Claudette was moving westward, and began to undergo rapid intensification. Shortly after 1800 UTC September 6, when the first reconnaissance flight reached the hurricane, Claudette was found to have a minimum central pressure of 965 mb along with maximum sustained winds in excess of at least 115 mph -- this made Claudette a Category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. Claudette attained its peak intensity of 135 mph near 1000 UTC September 7.
The hurricane began to weaken after 1600 UTC September 7, albeit gradually. Claudette turned northwest, and then northward by 1200 UTC September 8. During this time, a mid-level trough was moving eastward off the East Coast of the United States. As a result of the approaching trough, Claudette began to move off to the northeast with an increase in forward speed by 0600 UTC September 9. On the evening of September 8, the hurricane passed about 110 miles east-southeast of Bermuda, which was its closest approach to that island, as well as any land areas. Later on September 9, the hurricane turned to the east-northeast. The following night, Claudette began to move east-southeastward, weakening to a tropical storm as it did so. This unusual east-southeast motion was likely in part due to Tropical Storm Erika, which was located a few hundred miles east-southeast of Claudette at that time. Claudette continued to gradually spin down as it accelerated eastward, and by 1800 UTC September 11, the cyclone weakened to a tropical depression. Claudette then decelerated, but made the transition into an extratropical cyclone while located a few hundred miles west-southwest of the Azores on September 12. Claudette's extratropical remnants moved in the general direction of the Azores, and dissipated near the islands at around 1800 UTC September 14.
Lack of Retirement
Due to the lack of any land effects from the storm, the name Claudette was not retired during the Spring of 1992 by the World Meteorological Organization. It is currently on the list of names to be used for the 2009 season.