Thanksgiving Day Storm

While a Nor’easter is bringing high winds and heavy rain to the Mid-Atlantic States today, a much stronger storm impacted the east coast back in 1984. On Thanksgiving of 1984, the east coast of Florida was dealing with high winds from a strong area of low pressure. Even though hurricane season runs through November 30th, this system was not tropical in nature. The storm occurred between the November 21st and 26th time frame. It was at its peak intensity during the November 23rd and 24th time frame. Over the six day period, rainfall amounts in Palm Beach County, FL were measured up to 9 inches. Winds with the storm were up to 57 miles per hour and the seas were up to 20 feet. Coastal erosion was very bad between St. Augustine and Palm Beach. Erosion from this storm was the worst experienced in southern Brevard County until Hurricane Frances in 2004. The storm also dragged a 197-foot Venezuelan freighter “The Mercedes I” ashore on the coast of Palm Beach and pushed it through a seawall where it remained until early 1985. Once hauled out to sea, the ship was sunk and became an artificial coral reef off the coast of Fort Lauderdale on March 30, 1985. A second freighter ran aground south of Jacksonville. Damage from Vero Beach in 1984 alone totaled $3.4 million. Also in Martin County the total amount of losses reached $4 million. One person also died in this storm.


Steven Ray
WVUA-TV Weather