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Today in Weather History: Hurricane Dennis Makes Landfall

In 2005 a major hurricane hit the Florida coast, causing millions in damage and moving quickly. Dennis is considered to be responsible for 88 total deaths across Cuba and the US, and the Air Force Base at Eglin and Hurlburt reported a staggering half a billion dollars in total damage.

All in all, it was a rough week to be in Florida, in 2005.

When Dennis Formed?

Dennis was the fourth storm big enough to be named that year, and only the second hurricane. It does win the classification of the first “major” hurricane, as Dennis was a category 4 at the time of landfall in Cuba, and a category 3 when it slammed into Florida just days later.

Dennis was classified as a tropical depression on July 4th, 2005, though early signs of the storm were initially spotted on the 26th of June by the National Hurricane Center. By the 5th Dennis had been reclassified as a tropical storm, and it hit hurricane status on the 6th of July.

By the 7th, the overachieving mass of anger had been upped again and made its distinction as the first ‘major’ hurricane. To earn this title, a hurricane has to be a category 3 or higher, which means that the sustained winds are between 111-129 MPH.

When Did Dennis First Hit Land?

Dennis rammed into Cuba as a category 4 storm before it ever made it to the US, making landfall early on the 8th of July. Crossing over Cuba slowed it down only slightly, and as soon as it hit the other side, the storm picked up intensity again and was reclassified as a category 4.

Dennis finally hit the US on the 10th of July, ramming into Florida and weakening as it moved further inland. The storm was fast-moving which meant it didn’t linger in one place – if Dennis had been this strong, but slow, it is possible that even more damage and flooding would have occurred.

Dennis followed the Mississippi River Valley and the Ohio River Valley for eight days until it finally dissipated over Ontario, Canada on the 18th.

What Damage Did Dennis Do?

Dennis was not a kind hurricane to those in its path.

16 people died in Cuba, completely flattening houses and taking out power lines. Some areas saw over 40 inches of rain, making it one of the wettest storms Cuba has ever seen. Over 100,000 homes were damaged, with 15,000 of those completely destroyed.

It’s estimated that Dennis did roughly $1.4 billion worth of damage to Cuba in the brief time it was over the country. Many still consider it to be the worst hurricane to hit Cuba since Hurricane Flora in the 1960s.

Florida had suffered a major hurricane just ten months prior to Dennis’ arrival when Ivan hit only 30 miles away from Dennis’ landfall. Dennis caused less damage due to the fast-moving nature of the storm but still packed quite a punch.

Over half a million people were left without power in Florida alone, and several people died indirectly from the storm, either due to stepping on a downed electrical wire or improper use of a generator after the storm had passed.

The National Hurricane Center reported that Dennis caused approximately $2.5 billion worth of damages as it traveled up north up the US.

Dennis wasn’t the worst hurricane Florida has ever seen, but it was intense, and so close following Hurricane Ivan made it even harder for residents to handle.

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