Hurricane Frances was the sixth named storm and fourth hurricane of the 1992 Atlantic hurricane season. Frances was the final storm of the season, developing on October 23 in the open Atlantic Ocean, well away from any land areas. Frances peaked as an 85 mph Category 1 hurricane before becoming extratropical over the far northern Atlantic east of the Canadian Maritimes.
Frances caused no damage and no deaths, although it could've been related to the disappearance of the sailor Mike Plant. In addition, Frances injured a female after she received a broken rib.
|Formation||October 23, 1992|
|Dissipation||October 27, 1992|
|Highest winds||85 mph|
|Lowest pressure||976 mbar|
|Part of the||1992 Atlantic hurricane season|
Frances developed from a broad area of low pressure that developed near the tail of end of a weak, quasi-stationary frontal zone. Due to south-southwesterly vertical wind shear caused by an upper-level trough located over the East Coast of the United States as well as the adjacent southwestern Atlantic Ocean, the western portion of the low was devoid of deep convection from October 18 through October 21. As a sharp contrast, the eastern portion of the low maintained vigorous convection within a 200 mile wide band that extended north-northwest to south-southeast. Apparently, the section of the band that extended south-southeast had its convection enhanced by the northern portions of a few tropical waves passing through the area. On October 22 and 23, water vapor imagery indicated an upper-level low was cutting off to the southwest of the main low, which was embedded within the aforementioned upper-level trough. Thereafter, the shear relaxed, and the low quickly strengthened and became a 1004 mb gale center by 1800 UTC October 22. Thereafter, convection began to wrap cyclonically around the center and shortly after 0600 UTC October 23, the gale center developed into Tropical Storm Frances. Frances continued to strengthen throughout the day, and a ship southwest of the center reported a pressure of 994 mb at 1600 UTC October 23. Six hours later, the ship reported a southwest surface wind of 74 mph. During this period, an eye appeared in the storm, as per satellite imagery. At 2238 UTC October 23, the first reconnaissance flight into the system indicated that Frances had a low pressure of 979 mb. Based on this, it is estimated that the cyclone attained hurricane status at around 1800 UTC October 23.
Frances initially drifted northward towards Bermuda, an approaching mid-latitude trough reinvigorated the trough to the west of Frances, which caused the hurricane to accelerate northeastward at a swift forward speed of about 20 knots on October 24. Later that day, Frances reached its estimated peak intensity of 85 mph, along with a pressure of 976 mb. As Frances accelerated toward cooler water, the eye became less distinct on October 25, although fairly deep convection persisted in association with the hurricane from this time until early on October 27. During this period, surface observations indicate that Frances's wind field began to broaden, indicating that it was losing tropical characteristics. Frances became an extratropical cyclone around 0600 UTC October 27. During the following three days, Frances moved generally eastward as an extratropical gale.
Lack of Retirement
Because Frances did not affect land, it was not retired in the Spring of 1993 by the World Meteorological Organization. It was used during 1998 as well as 2004, but was retired after 2004 and replaced with Fiona for the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season.