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Hurricane Hortense was a minimal hurricane which lasted almost two weeks in latter September and early October 1984. The thirteenth tropical cyclone, eight named storm, and the second hurricane of the 1984 Atlantic hurricane season, Hortense developed from a frontal zone on September 23, and initially had subtropical characteristics. Hortense was one of seven tropical cyclones having subtropical characteristics for some of its duration during the 1984 Atlantic hurricane season. The subtropical depression gradually strengthened while acquiring tropical characteristics, intensifying into a subtropical storm later that day, and becoming a fully tropical storm about twenty-four hours later. Intensification persisted, and Hortense briefly strengthened into a hurricane on September 25, weakening back on September 26. Intensity level off steadily, while Tropical Storm Hortense executed a small cyclonic loop. Hortense later nearly made landfall on Bermuda as a minimal tropical storm, before accelerating rapidly eastward into the open Atlantic. Tropical Storm Hortense transitioned into an extratropical cyclone northwest of the Azores on October 2. Hurricane Hortense did not affect land while a tropical cyclone, despite coming very close to Bermuda.

Meteorological history

The origins of Hurricane Hortense can be traced back to the detection of a cloud circulation on satellites 300 miles (483 km) east of Bermuda starting September 20. Formation of the cloud circulation had occurred on the western quadrant of an extensive frontal cloud band, which would be similar to the development stages of Tropical Storm Isidore only a few days later. Ships and satellites data estimates that a subtropical depression formed early on September 23. Later on September 23, intensity reports from ships and satellites indicated gale force winds, and the system had intensified into a subtropical storm, although it had not yet acquired tropical characteristics.[1]

The following morning after development, September 24, a flight into the system by an Air Force reconnaissance aircraft had indicated a closed low-level vortex, meaning there were tropical characteristics, and storm was reclassified as Tropical Storm Hortense at 1800 UTC. The day after acquiring tropical characteristics, Hortense rapidly intensified and was nearly a hurricane less than twenty-four hours later. Later on September 25, other Air Force flights measured winds of 80 mph (130 km/h) at 1,500 feet (457 m). Based on the wind speed measurements, it was estimated that Hortense became a hurricane at 1800 UTC on September 25. Six hours after becoming a hurricane, Hortense attained its peak intensity with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph (120 km/h) and a minimum barometric pressure of 993 mbar (hPa; 29.32 inHg).[1]

Hortense rapidly weakened after attained peak intensity, becoming downgraded back to a tropical storm six hours later, and became a minimal tropical storm on September 27. Several slightly oscillations in intensity occurred over the next few days, whilst Tropical Storm Hortense executed a small cyclonic loop on September 28 and September 29. Tropical Storm Hortense later made a gradually curve northward, and on September 30 at 0600 UTC, it passed very close to Bermuda with winds of 40 mph (65 km/h). After barely bypassing Bermuda on the west side of the island, Tropical Storm Hortense began to accelerate generally eastward across the Atlantic, and no significant change in intensity occurred. Tropical Storm Hortense had been declared extratropical while situated a few hundred miles northwest of the Azores. The remnants of Hortense merged with an extratropical low after being declared extratropical; the extratropical low would later affect Europe.[1]


Although it approached very closely, the National Hurricane Center did not issued any tropical storm watch and warnings, nor would they be necessary. When Tropical Storm Hortense did bypass Bermuda early on September 30, there were no significant weather affects reported. For most of its duration, Hurricane Hortense remained at sea, and no damage or fatalities occurred.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Lawrence, Miles (1984). "Hurricane Hortense Preliminary Report #1". National Hurricane Center. Retrieved 3 October 2010. 

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