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Hurricane Iris was the ninth named storm and fifth hurricane of the 1995 Atlantic hurricane season. Iris formed on August 22 to the east of the Lesser Antilles. Iris ultimately recurved out to sea, peaking as a Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. Iris formed just 12 hours after Humberto did, and was one of four tropical cyclones that coexisted in the Atlantic Ocean during late August of 1995. Iris became an extratropical cyclone on September 4. Iris made two Fujiwhara interactions throughout its lifetime; one with Humberto, and the other with Karen.

Iris is not reported to have caused any damage, but Iris killed 5 people in the Leeward Islands due to landslides.

Iris as a Category 2 hurricane
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FormationAugust 22, 1995
Dissipation September 4, 1995
Highest winds 110 mph
Lowest pressure 965 mbar
Deaths 5 direct
Damages Unknown
Areas affectedLeeward Islands, Europe
Part of the 1995 Atlantic hurricane season

Meteorological History

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Iris originated from one of four consecutive tropical waves to generate tropical cyclones in the Atlantic Ocean during August of 1995. The other storms generated by these waves were Humberto, Karen, and Luis. Iris's evolution was greatly influenced by Humberto and Karen. The precursor wave to Iris moved off the coast of Africa on August 16. Surface observations showed a closed circulation around a 1009 mb low pressure center just to the south of Dakar. On August 17, the circulation was evident in surface observations as well as satellite imagery near the Cape Verde Islands. On August 18 and August 19, the deep convection associated with the wave decreased, but gradually redeveloped over the circulation center. On August 21, the first Dvorak classifications were taken on the wave. On August 22, based on satellite imagery, it is estimated that the wave developed into Tropical Depression Ten at 1200 UTC while located about 600 miles east of the Lesser Antilles. Six hours later, the depression strengthened into Tropical Storm Iris. On August 23, Iris took a jog to the northwest, quickly intensifying as it did so. The first reconnaissance aircraft flight into Iris took place on the evening of August 23. The plane found Iris was stronger than satellite estimates concluded. At flight level, the hurricane hunters experienced sustained 10-second winds of 92 knots, and a pressure of 991 mb. Based on this, it is estimated that Iris became a hurricane at 1800 UTC August 23. On August 24 and August 25, Iris moved west-southwest at about 10 knots. The change in motion was probably due to the Fujiwhara interaction between Iris and Humberto, located about 750 miles to the east of Iris -- Humberto had become a 110 mph Category 2 hurricane late on August 24 from a tropical depression on August 22. On August 25, Iris neared the Lesser Antilles. At this time, an upper-level low was located north of Puerto Rico. As a result, westerly wind shear became established over the cyclone, removing the deep convection from the circulation center, disrupting the circulation, as well as slowing the westward progress of the cyclone. Because of the shear, Iris weakened back to a tropical storm. Data from a reconnaissance aircraft as well as radar data indicate Iris had a center reformation east of the former position while it meandered for about a day before moving into the vicinity of the Leeward Islands.

On August 27, steering currents ahead of a trough to the northwest turned Iris generally towards the north-northwest. On this track, Iris moved up the chain of the Leeward Islands, and strengthened as wind shear decreased. Late on August 28, Iris regained hurricane status over the south-central Atlantic Ocean. On August 30, Iris began a Fujiwhara interaction with Karen, located to the southeast. The interaction swept Karen on a spiral path around, and into Iris's circulation center, where it was absorbed on September 3. The interaction may have been what caused Iris's erratic motion during this period. An eye appeared intermittently in satellite imagery and the cyclone's intensity fluctuated from August 29 through September 2. On September 1, Iris reached its peak intensity of 110 mph while located several hundred miles southeast of Bermuda. Iris then weakened temporarily in an environment over cooler waters as well as increasing vertical wind shear. Iris weakened to a tropical storm and then became extratropical while accelerating northeastward well to the southeast of Newfoundland on September 4. Iris then turned to the east in the North Atlantic Ocean, strengthening as it did so. The pressure fell from about 1000 mb to near 957 mb in about 48 hours. On September 7, Iris battered western Europe as an extratropical cyclone with winds of 75 mph.

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Satellite image on August 24 of Humberto, Iris, Jerry, as well as two tropical waves
that would ultimately become Karen and Luis.

Preparations

The National Hurricane Center issued a Tropical Storm Watch for the Leeward Islands due to Iris. Also, the French government issued Tropical Storm Watches for Martinique and Guadeloupe. The following day, the watches were changed to warnings as Iris came closer to the island chain. The British Virgin Islands were placed under a Tropical Storm Watch, which was upgraded to a Tropical Storm Warning on August 26.

Impact

In Trinidad and Tobago, a feeder band from Iris produced 37 mph southerly winds, with the winds producing high seas and causing minor damage to small boats. A weather station east of Guadeluope reported sustained winds of 52 mph with gusts to 62 mph. Throughout the Leeward Islands, sustained winds ranging from 41 to 56 mph were reported. In addition to the tropical storm force winds, Iris produced heavy rainfall in the Leeward Islands, with rains as high as 17.2 inches being reported in Martinique. In Antigua, Iris produced 6 inches of rain. The heavy rains caused numerous landslides that killed four people in Martinique and one in Guadeloupe. In addition, the rains caused flooding in Antigua as well as the rest of the Leeward Islands. fag bag

Lack of Retirement

Because Iris caused only minimal damage, the name was not retired in the Spring of 1996 by the World Meteorological Organization. It was used again during the 2001 Atlantic hurricane season, and was retired and replaced with Ingrid for the 2007 Atlantic Hurricane Season. Ingrid was used during the 2007 season and is on the list of names to be used for the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season.

See Also

1995 Atlantic hurricane season

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