Hurricane Iris

Areas affected
Windward Islands, Hispaniola, Jamaica, Honduras, Belize,
Guatemala, eastern Mexico

Hurricane Iris of 2001 was the most destructive hurricane in Belize
since Hurricane Hattie in 1961. Iris was the second-strongest storm
of the 2001 Atlantic hurricane season, behind Hurricane Michelle.[1]
It was the ninth named storm, fifth hurricane, and third major
hurricane[Nb 1] of the year, forming from a tropical wave on October
4 just southeast of Barbados. It moved westward through the
Caribbean, intensifying into a tropical storm on October 5 south of
Puerto Rico and into a hurricane the following day. While passing
south of the Dominican Republic, Iris dropped heavy rainfall that
caused landslides, killing eight people. Later, the hurricane passed
south of Jamaica, where it destroyed two houses. On reaching the
western Caribbean Sea, Iris rapidly intensified into a Category 4 on
the Saffir–Simpson scale. A small hurricane with an eye of only 7 mi
(11 km) in diameter, Iris reached peak winds of 145 mph (230 km/h)
before making landfall in southern Belize near Monkey River Town
on October 9. The hurricane quickly dissipated over Central
America, although its remnants contributed to the formation of
Tropical Storm Manuel in the eastern Pacific Ocean.
Destruction was heaviest in Belize and totaled $250 million (2001
USD). Because Iris was compact, the damage was largely confined
to 72% of the houses in the Toledo district and 50% of the houses in
the Stann Creek district. The hurricane damaged or destroyed 3,718
homes nationwide, and wrecked more than 95% of the homes in 35
villages in the poorest parts of the country. Iris left about 15,000
people homeless, many receiving assistance from the government
and the local Red Cross chapter. High winds also damaged large
swaths of forest and crops, mostly affecting the banana industry. Iris
killed 24 people in Belize, including 20 who died when a scuba
diving boat capsized near Big Creek. The storm also killed eight
people and damaged about 2,500 homes in neighboring Guatemala,
and later dropped heavy rainfall in southern Mexico, where two
people died.
Early on October 8, after turning west-southwestward away from the
Greater Antilles, Iris began strengthening again, with warm waters
and an absence of significant wind shear. The NHC predicted peak
winds of 105 mph (165 km/h) before the storm would hit Belize.[12]
It rapidly intensified with the favorable conditions, intensifying from
95 mph (150 km/h) to 140 mph (225 km/h) in a 12-hour period on
October 8, making Iris a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson
scale; in the same duration, the minimum central pressure dropped
38 mbar (1.12 inHg).[3] While intensifying, the hurricane developed
concentric eyewalls, with an innermost eye having a diameter of 7 mi
(11 km).[13] For comparison, the smallest known eye diameter on
record for an Atlantic hurricane was about 3 mi (5 km), during
Hurricane Wilma in 2005.[14] With such a small eye, a Hurricane
Hunters flight could not deploy a dropsonde into the center of Iris,
[13] and shortly after the flight, the innermost eye collapsed as the
core paralleled the Honduras coastline just offshore. This resulted in
a temporary and slight weakening during an eyewall replacement
cycle, but within a few hours Iris re-intensified to attain peak winds of
145 mph (230 km/h) just off Belize. At 02:00 UTC on October 9, it
made landfall at peak intensity in Monkey River Town in the
southern portion of Belize.[3]

Initially, Hurricane Iris was forecast to remain a tropical cyclone while
crossing Central America and to re-intensify in the eastern Pacific
Ocean; had it done so, it would have retained the name Iris. Instead,
the hurricane rapidly weakened after moving into the mountainous
terrain of Guatemala, and within six hours of landfall the hurricane
weakened to a tropical storm. Late on October 9, within sixteen
hours of landfall, the circulation dissipated over extreme
southeastern Mexico.[3] As the remnants approached the Pacific
Ocean, a new area of convection developed south of the original
circulation of Iris. It gradually organized while continuing westward,
developing into Tropical Storm Manuel; the new storm ultimately
lasted until October 18 before succumbing to cooler waters and
wind shear.

Source Wikipedia
October 4, 2001
October 9, 2001
36 direct
$250 million (2001
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