Hurricane Brian
Category 5 hurricane (SSHWS/NWS)
Bret 08-22-1999 1431Z.png
Brian shortly after peak intensity on June 26
FormedJune 13, 2045
DissipatedJune 28, 2045
Highest winds1-minute sustained:
260 km/h (160 mph)
Lowest pressure923 hPa (mbar); 27.26 inHg
Fatalities13 total
Damage$1.4 billion (USD)
Areas affectedLesser Antilles, Jamaica, Yucatan Peninsula, Northern Mexico, Texas, Louisiana
Part of the 2045 Atlantic hurricane season

Hurricane Brian was the first category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic on record for the month of June. It was also one of only a few tropical cyclones to form in the tropical Atlantic east of 50W and south of 20N during the month.

Meteorological History

The track of Brian, according to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

On June 9, a tropical wave exited the coast of Africa. Three days later, the National Hurricane Center issued a tropical weather outlook, noting the possibility of tropical development with the wave. Initially, NHC assessed only a low chance of development with the system due to a very dry and stable environment. However, based on an ASCAT pass showing a well-defined circulation and the system producing persistent, although not very deep, convection near the center, it is estimated that Tropical Depression Two formed at 12:00 UTC on June 13. Global models and the NHC expected a quick dissipation to the depression, which was expected to encounter strong shear upon entry into the Caribbean Sea.

Fast trade winds near the Caribbean allowed the depression to strengthen into Tropical Storm Brian at 18:00 UTC on June 17. Brian strengthened to its initial peak intensity of 50 mph six hours later, but the cyclone's fast movement caused the cyclone to open up into a tropical wave at 12:00 UTC on June 18. Brian regenerated into a tropical storm at 00:00 UTC on June 21 as trade winds relaxed somewhat. Brian then began to strengthen slightly as it moved westward, making landfall in Belize around 19:00 UTC on June 22 with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph. At this point, most models expected Brian would emerge into the Bay of Campeche and make a second landfall in Veracruz, Mexico, as a minimal tropical storm.

Brian weakened to a tropical depression at 18:00 UTC on June 23, around the time it emerged into the Bay of Campeche. The unexpected weakening of a high pressure ridge to Brian's north allowed the cyclone to turn northwestward and strengthen. Brian reacquired tropical storm intensity at 12:00 UTC on June 24, and lessening wind shear allowed the cyclone to become better organized. A pinhole eye became evident by 00:00 UTC on June 25, and Brian began a period of explosive intensification. From 00:00 UTC on June 25 to 00:00 UTC on June 26, Brian's winds increased from 70 mph to 160 mph. The explosive intensification of Brian was not well forecast by global models, most of which predicted a category 1 hurricane at strongest. Brian then made landfall in a sparsely populated area northeast of Corpus Christi, Texas, as a category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph. A steady weakening ensued after landfall, but the cyclone began to undergo the Brown Ocean Effect on June 27 and persisted as a tropical depression until it dissipated over southern Arkansas on June 28.

Impact

Brian was attributed to approximately $1.4 billion in damage and 13 total fatalities. Although such a damage and death toll was typically too low to warrant retirement by the World Meteorological Organization, the name Brian was retired in April 2046 and replaced by the name Ben for the 2051 Atlantic hurricane season.

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