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Hurricane Gert
Category 5 major hurricane (SSHWS/NWS)
Gert sim 2023
Hurricane Gert at peak intensity nearing Florida on August 30
FormedAugust 22, 2023
DissipatedSeptember 3, 2023
Highest winds1-minute sustained:
165 mph (270 km/h)
Lowest pressure917 mbar (hPa); 27.08 inHg
Fatalities280 total
Damage$36.1 billion (2023 USD)
Areas affectedBahamas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina
Part of the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season

Hurricane Gert was a powerful, devastating, and deadly hurricane that made landfall on Florida twice at Category 5 intensity. Gert was tied with Katrina as the fourth-most intense hurricane on record to make landfall in the contiguous United States, behind only the 1935 Labor Day hurricane, Camille in 1969, and Michael in 2018. The seventh tropical storm, fourth hurricane, third major hurricane, and first Category 5 hurricane in the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season, Gert was first originated by a tropical low in the middle of August.

Meteorological history

Gert track 2023

Map plotting the track and the intensity of the storm, according to the Saffir–Simpson scale

In mid-August, a tropical low was first noted in the open Atlantic Ocean. The NHC then indicated that development into a tropical cyclone was possible in the next 10 days. For the next few days, the tropical low gradually moved west-northwest with no change of organization due to the low interacting with dry air. On August 20, the low gradually organized and started to get a consolidated convection near the center of the low and had defined a center of circulation. On August 22 at 0600 UTC, the well-organized storm led the development of Tropical Depression Eight. The depression influenced bursts of deep convection for the next 12 hours, which further prompted NHC to upgrade it to a tropical storm, and earning the name Gert.

The storm steadily strengthened over warm waters up to 80F (27 Centigrade) degrees and low wind shear of 10 knots. It then took a turn to the north-northwest the middle of the next day while still intensifying. A few hours later, it was starting to develop an eye feature. On August 24 at 1200 UTC, it was upgraded to a hurricane. Earlier the next day, it abruptly ran into increasing wind shear up to 25 kn from the west, which slowed down the intensification for the hurricane. Despite the wind shear, it intensified into a Category 2 hurricane on August 25 at 0600 UTC with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph (160 km/h) and a minimum central pressure of 978 mbar (hPa) at its initial peak intensity before encountering stronger wind shear that weakened the storm to a Category 1 hurricane twelve hours later. It took another turn to the west-southwest and then futher weakened to a tropical storm early on August 27.

A sudden change of increasing water temperatures plus wind shear lowering while the storm is over the Bahamas, made way for the storm to rapidly intensify. It strengthened back into a hurricane later that day and then went from a minimal hurricane to a Category 4 hurricane in roughly 18 hours, while making some kind of a cyclone loop at that time. Then on August 29 at 0000 UTC, it strengthened into a Category 5 hurricane, the first one since Hurricane Kyle 3 years prior. It then reached its peak intensity a few hours later, with maximum sustained wind speeds of 160 mph (260 km/h) and a minimum central pressure of 920 mbar (hPa) before striking the county of Broward in Florida.

Gert rapidly weakened during its landfall, going to a Category 3 hurricane just 12 hours after landfall. It emerged from Florida into the Gulf of Mexico on August 30, where it continued its intensification there. It strengthened into a Category 4 hurricane at 0600 UTC that day, and then back to a Category 5 hurricane early the next day, before striking Florida a second time, near Shired Island. It rapidly weakening over land again, diminishing below major hurricane strength when it emerged from Florida again at 1800 UTC that day. It became way less organized than before, and was weakening due to high wind shear ahead of the storm. Its structure started to collapse when it weakened to a tropical storm on September 2 at 1800 UTC. It turned to the north-northwest to make one last landfall in North Carolina and as tropical depression on September 3 before dissipating shortly after landfall.

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