Hurricane Klaus was the eleventh named storm and sixth hurricane of the 1990 Atlantic hurricane season. Klaus developed on October 3 to the east of Dominica. Klaus moved northwestward throughout its entire lifetime, and was never terribly well organized due to strong vertical wind shear. Despite the disorganization of the hurricane, Klaus produced significant flooding across portions of the Lesser Antilles, particularly on the island of Martinique, where flooding was widespread. Klaus dissipated on October 9 to the east of the Bahamas, and its remnants combined with Tropical Storm Marco and a frontal zone to produce copious rainfall totals across the southeast United States.

Klaus caused at least $1,000,000 (1990 USD) in damage and killed 11 people, all directly.

Hurricane Klaus at its peak intensity
FormationOctober 3, 1990
Dissipation October 9, 1990
Highest winds 80 mph
Lowest pressure 985 mbar
Deaths 11 direct
Damages $1,000,000 (1990 USD)
Areas affectedLesser Antilles
Part of the 1990 Atlantic hurricane season

Meteorological History

Klaus developed from a tropical wave that moved off Africa on September 27. As the wave propagated westward across the tropical Atlantic, it generated deep convection. As early as September 28, a circulation was detected in METEOSAT satellite imagery when the wave was located about 350 miles south of the Cape Verde Islands. Over the next several days, the wave continued across the Atlantic Ocean, at times nearly becoming a tropical depression. On October 3, while located just east of the Lesser Antilles, the wave began to organize, in spite of a shearing environment. At 1200 UTC October 3, the wave organized into a tropical depression while located about 100 miles east of Dominica. Over the next three days, the cyclone drifted slowly to the northwest. At 1800 UTC October 3, the depression strengthened into a tropical storm, and by 1200 UTC October 5, Klaus became a hurricane. During this time, Klaus was at its point of closest approach to the Lesser Antilles, being about 25 miles east of Antigua and shortly thereafter about 10 miles east of Barbuda. Klaus attained its peak intensity of 80 mph with a pressure of 985 mb on October 5, and was only a hurricane for 15 hours due to the unfavorable shearing environment. Although Klaus moved dangerously close to the Lesser Antilles, it did not produce sustained tropical storm force winds across any of the islands, due to shearing, which kept most of the deep convection, and thus strongest winds, removed north and east of the circulation center. Klaus weakened to a tropical storm on October 6 and turned slightly to the west-northwest, with its center remaining dangerously close to the Leeward Islands and the U.S. and British Virgin Islands. By 0000 UTC October 8, while north of the Mona Passage, Klaus weakened further, to a tropical depression due to strong vertical shear.

Deep convection reestablished itself over the cyclone, and consequently, Klaus regained tropical storm status at 1200 UTC October 8. Late on October 9 and early on October 9, Klaus reached a secondary peak of 50 mph. By as early as October 6, a mid-level low-pressure area was noted over eastern Cuba. This low drifted westward and gradually developed down to the surface near western Cuba. By late on October 9, this low became the dominant feature and absorbed the now rapidly weakening Klaus. The aforementioned low ultimately became Tropical Storm Marco in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. The remnants of Klaus interacted with a frontal zone as well as Marco, helping to produce heavy rainfall across areas of the southeastern United States.


Shortly after becoming a tropical storm, a Tropical Storm Warning was issued for the northern portion of the Lesser Antilles from Antigua to St. Martin; this warning was later upgraded to a Hurricane Warning when it became evident that Klaus was going to strengthen to a hurricane. A Tropical Storm Warning was also posted for Guadeloupe. A Hurricane Watch was posted for the Virgin Islands, but was later canceled as Klaus began to weaken. Officials on Guadeloupe advised residents to move livestock to safer areas, and also to avoid potentially flooded areas. Prior to the arrival of Klaus, schools were closed on Martinique, Saint Marteen, and Antigua. Also, the VC Bird International Airport was closed during the storm.

As it approached the Bahamas, the government of the Bahamas posted a Tropical Storm Warning for the central and northern Bahamas. As Klaus began dissipating, it was later canceled.


Lesser Antilles and Turks and Caicos

Klaus produced heavy rainfall throughout the Lesser Antilles, as high as 15 inches in some locations. In addition to this, Klaus affected many locations that were affected by Hurricane Hugo a year earlier. On Barbados, flooding caused by the cyclone's heavy rains blocked roadways and forced a few families to move to higher ground. In addition, lightning from the cyclone left a portion of the island without electricity. Klaus also produced strong winds and heavy rains on the island of Saint Lucia, which destroyed about 15% of the island's banana crop. Total damage on the island from Klaus reached around $1,000,000 (1990 USD).

Klaus produced extensive flooding across Martinique, reaching almost 10 feet in some areas; two sisters drowned near Saint Joseph after the cyclone washed away a bridge. Klaus also produced several landslides across the island due to its heavy rains. Klaus caused damage to power lines as well as telephone poles. Due to the flooding, a total of 750 people evacuated their homes in Le Lamentin, and a total of 1,500 people on the island were left homeless by Hurricane Klaus. Offshore, rough ocean conditions damaged a fishing vessel, leaving its two passengers drifting on the boat for around 25 days before being rescued about 640 miles north-northwest of Martinique. Klaus killed a total of seven people on Martinique.

On Dominica, Klaus's strong winds downed trees and power lines along the northern portion of the island. Strong winds on Antigua caused damage to some roofs, and also downed communication from two radio networks. Klaus produced light rainfall on the U.S. Virgin Islands, reaching around 1.25 inches on Saint Thomas. Klaus produced a wind gust of 33 mph on Saint Croix. Klaus also produced moderate rainfall across the Turks and Caicos Islands, with Grand Turk receiving around 4 inches within 36 hours.

United States

The cyclone produced 15 foot waves along the east coast of Florida, along with tides that were three feet above normal. In addition, beach erosion occurred along the coast, due to persistent westerly winds. As Klaus's remnant moisture combined with a cold front, it produced heavy rainfall across the southeastern United States, reaching 10 to 15 inches across portions of South Carolina, with slightly lower totals in North Carolina. The heavy rainfall caused a dam to burst in South Carolina, which killed four people. Around two days after Klaus's remnants moved across the southeastern United States, Tropical Storm Marco struck northwestern Florida, producing more heavy rainfall and associated damage across regions already damaged by Klaus.


Due to the extensive flooding produced by the storm, the name Klaus was retired in the Spring of 1991 by the World Meteorological Organization. It was replaced with Kyle for the 1996 season. The name Kyle is on the list of names to be used for the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season.

See also


External links

1990 Atlantic hurricane season

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