NHC Tropical Cyclone Report: Hurricane Gonzalo

Bermuda Weather Service Radar image of Hurricane Gonzalo near the time of landfall. 9:33pm, October 17th 2014.
Bermuda Weather Service Radar image of Hurricane Gonzalo near the time of landfall. 9:33pm, October 17th 2014.

The National Hurricane Center released its routine report on Hurricane Gonzalo. After making several landfalls on islands in the Leeward Islands (Antigua, St. Martin, and Anguilla) the Hurricane made landfall in Bermuda. This was just 6 days after Hurricane Fay struck the island as a category one hurricane. At landfall, Gonzalo was a high-end category two hurricane with 110mph 1-minute sustained winds and a minimum pressure near 952mb. Note: Category three hurricane classification starts at 111mph.

[See: Hurricane Gonzalo TC Report]

Gonzalo resulted in widespread minor property damage with isolated cases of moderate damage. The hurricane force winds of Gonzalo added significantly to the tree damage that resulted from Hurricane Fay and left much of the island without electricity for an extended period of time. While nobody lost their life or was seriously injured in Bermuda, it is believed that 3 people were killed by the hurricane and its remnants in the Leeward Islands and Europe.

The National Hurricane Center reports that, at its peak, Gonzalo was the strongest October or November hurricane to exist so far north and east with maximum winds near 145mph (1-minute sustained) and minimum central pressure near 940mb. Further, Gonzalo’s landfall on Bermuda 6 days after Fay was the first time two hurricanes made landfall in Bermuda within a week in their current “Best Track” records that include known hurricanes since 1851. However, the NHC mentions that it is not unheard of for multiple hurricanes to impact the island within compromising time-frames citing two hurricanes making at least direct hits within ten days in September 1899. Gonzalo was the strongest hurricane to impact the island since Hurricane Fabian in September 2003 and the strongest October hurricane to impact the island since the Havanna-Bermuda hurricane in 1926.

Wind Reports from around the island in mph from Gonzalo as noted in the NHC's Tropical Cyclone Report.
Wind Reports from around the island in mph from Gonzalo as noted in the NHC’s Tropical Cyclone Report. Map generated in Google Earth

A summary of peak island-wide observed conditions; peak 10-minute sustained wind of 94kts measured at Commissioner’s Point, a peak wind gust of 125kts measured at St. David’s lighthouse, a peak storm surge of 2.54ft at low tide resulting in a storm tide of 3.25ft at Bermuda Esso Pier on the north side of St. George’s Island, and rainfall observed at the Bermuda Weather Service totaled 2.85inches. It should be noted that all of the below locations observed strongest winds during the southern eyewall’s westerly and northwesterly winds.

[Compare: Storm Surge and Storm Tide]

Bermuda Observations (organized by peak wind gust):

Location (elevation (m)) Peak Wind (kts(mph)) Peak Gust (kts(mph)) Min Pressure (mb)
St. David’s Lighthouse (15) 78(90) 10-min 125(144) N/A
Commissioner’s Point (46) 94(108) 10-min 113(130) N/A
RCC Maritime Operations Center (88) N/A 109(125) N/A
Causeway (12) 81(93) 10-min 98(113) N/A
Magnolia Hall, Smith’s (43) 60(69) 1-min 92(106) N/A
Chaingate Hill, Devonshire (35) 61(70) 1-min 89(103) 952.9
Bermuda Esso Pier [BEPB6 – NOAA NOS] 58(67) 1-min 78(90) 952.3
L.F. Wade International Airport (TXKF) 54(62) 10-min 73(84) 953.0
Gilbert Hill, Smith’s (59) N/A N/A 951.9
Bermuda Weather Service N/A N/A 952.3
Grotto Bay, Hamilton (ExtremeStorms) N/A N/A 952.8

Note: The L.F. Wade sensors failed during Gonzalo and so these values are not representative of the peak conditions during the storm.


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