Tropical Storm Alpha was the twenty-third named storm of the horrific and record-breaking 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, forming from a tropical wave that exited the African coast on October 15. Alpha was the first storm in the Atlantic basin (and worldwide) to be given a name from the Greek Alphabet since naming began in 1950, reflecting the record-breaking activity of the 2005 season. Alpha was a short-lived storm, however, lasting for only two days before being absorbed into the much more enormous and powerful circulation of Hurricane Wilma. Alpha made landfall in the Dominican Republic with 50 mph winds on October 23, then crossed over Haiti, causing flooding in both countries.
After that, a front pulled Alpha northward, and it began to accelerate alongside Hurricane Wilma to the southwest. Soon after degenerating into a trough on October 24, Alpha was absorbed into Wilma's enormous circulation. Damage is unknown, but Alpha caused 26 direct deaths, and 17 indirect deaths.
|Formation||October 22, 2005|
|Dissipation||October 24, 2005|
|Highest winds||50 mph|
|Lowest pressure||998 mbar|
|Deaths||26 direct, 17 indirect|
|Areas affected||Dominican Republic, Haiti|
A tropical wave exited the coast of Africa on October 15, and headed westward across the Atlantic Ocean without any development. On October 22, the wave developed into a tropical depression southwest of San Juan, Puerto Rico on October 22. Later on the 22, the depression strengthened into Tropical Storm Alpha, despite high wind shear from the nearby Hurricane Wilma. After strengthening, Alpha moved west-northwest, and on the morning of October 23, it made landfall near the city of Barahona in the Dominican Republic as a tropical storm with 50 mph winds. After landfall in the Dominican Republic, Alpha made its second and final landfall in Haiti as a tropical storm. After crossing Haiti, Alpha weakened to a tropical depression, due to the mountainous terrain of the country. Afterward, a front pulled Alpha northward, and it began to accelerate alongside Hurricane Wilma to the southwest.
On the afternoon of October 24, Alpha degenerated into a trough, and after that, no more advisories were issued on the system. Soon after degenerating into a trough, Alpha was absorbed by Hurricane Wilma. When Wilma became extratropical on October 25, Alpha's remnants were still discernable on satellite imagery in the core of Wilma.
In Haiti, a river overflowed its banks and flooded a neighborhood in the Port-au-Prince suburb of Carrefour, and killed 17 because of that flooding; two people were electocuted, one was drowned, and five people swept away to their deaths by the floodwater of the river. Also, twenty-three people were reported missing, including nineteen from the town of Leogane. Sixteen were later confirmed to be dead, bringing the death toll of Tropical Storm Alpha in Haiti to 33. This death toll is a much lower one than was initially feared. Usually, tropical systems, such as Hurricane Jeanne and Hurricane Georges kill a lot of people in Haiti, due to almost all of the country's forests being gone, thus there is no protection from mudslides.
Finally, at least 400 homes were damaged by Alpha, and twenty-three houses were washed away in floodwaters.
In the Dominican Republic, authorities ordered the evacuation of at least 30,000 people living in flood-prone areas. Nine deaths occured in the Dominican Republic, including two fisherman who went missing during the storm at sea. Also, a 14 year old boy was swept away by floodwaters in the town of Guaricanos.
In the Bahamas, Alpha's outer effects swept a child to sea.
Naming and Records
Because all 21 names used to name tropical cyclones in the Atlantic basin were used up, the Greek Alphabet had to be used to name the twenty-third storm of the season (if you count the unnamed subtropical storm of 2005). Alpha is the first letter in the Greek Alphabet. Never before in the history of tropical cyclone naming worldwide had the Greek Alphabet been put to use, until 2005. In 1972, there was a subtropical storm named Alpha, but this was the first tropical storm to be named Alpha. Also, in 1973, there was a subtropical storm named Alfa.
Alpha was the first storm to be assigned with a name from the Greek Alphabet (the one in 1972 wasn't from the Greek Alphabet).