Hurricane Janet

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Hurricane Janet
Duration Sept. 21 - 30, 1955
Highest winds 175 mph (280 km/h) sustained
Damages $320 million (2005 dollars)
Fatalities 538-681 direct
Areas affected Leeward Islands, Belize, Mexico
Part of the 1955 Atlantic hurricane season

Hurricane Janet was the most powerful hurricane of the 1955 Atlantic hurricane season and the 10th strongest Atlantic hurricane on record. It made landfall as a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale, causing catastrophic damage and up to 681 deaths in the Yucatán Peninsula.

Storm history

A weak tropical wave moved across the Tropical Atlantic in mid-September. It organized into a tropical storm on September 21st east of the Lesser Antilles. A small hurricane, it rapidly organized on the 22nd becoming a Category 3 hurricane just as it hit Barbados with a 20 nautical miles (37 km) wide eye. It continued through the islands, causing heavy damage in Grenada and the Grenadines.

As it moved through the eastern Caribbean Sea, conditions became unfavorable for continued development, and Janet weakened to a minimal hurricane on the 23rd. Over the next few days, Janet steadily intensified with better conditions, reaching a peak of 175 mph (280 km/h) winds in the western Caribbean Sea, making it one of the most intense Atlantic hurricanes on record.

Ten most intense Atlantic hurricanes

Intensity is measured solely by central pressure

Rank Hurricane Year Minimum pressure
1 Wilma 2005 882 mbar (hPa)
2 Gilbert 1988 888 mbar (hPa)
3 Labor Day 1935 892 mbar (hPa)
4 Rita 2005 897 mbar (hPa)
5 Allen 1980 899 mbar (hPa)
6 Katrina 2005 902 mbar (hPa)
7 Camille 1969 905 mbar (hPa)
8 Mitch 1998 905 mbar (hPa)
9 Ivan 2004 910 mbar (hPa)
10 Janet 1955 914 mbar (hPa)
Source: The Weather Channel

Janet remained a Category 5 hurricane, and hit near the city of Chetumal, Mexico on the 28th. It caused heavy flooding and wind damage to the Yucatan Peninsula and Belize (then known as British Honduras). As it crossed the peninsula, the hurricane weakened to a 100 mph (160 km/h) hurricane. Over the Bay of Campeche, it did not have much time to strengthen, and hit between Vera Cruz, Mexico and Naulta, Mexico on the 29th as a 110 mph (175 km/h) hurricane. Janet dissipated the next day over Mexico.


Janet was the only Atlantic hurricane to cause the loss of a Hurricane Hunter aircraft, a P2V Neptune under the command of Navy Lieutenant Commander Grover B. Windham. The aircraft flew from the airfield at Guantanamo Bay, and disappeared after signalling that it was entering the Category 5 hurricane. Janet also destroyed a U.S Weather Post on Swan Island.

Janet added to the flooding caused by Gladys and Hilda, and caused $47,800,000 in damage through its path of destruction. In addition, Janet caused 681 deaths (538 according to some sources) [1].

The name Janet was used on various lists in the 1960s. Once formal list for hurricane naming were created, the name Janet was retired.

See also

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