Mid-November marks anniversary of 'Wrong Way' Lenny in the Atlantic
By Kristina Pydynowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
November 17, 2018, 8:30:18 AM EST
While there are currently no tropical threats in the Atlantic Ocean, Hurricane Lenny was tracking the "wrong way" through the basin during mid-November 1999.
Lenny spent its entire lifespan (Nov. 13-23) traveling in a west-to-east fashion from the central Caribbean to the Atlantic, which is unprecedented in the history of tropical record keeping.
Tropical systems are typically guided westward from the Atlantic to the Caribbean by high pressure anchored over the Atlantic, then may curve to the northeast if they encounter a dip in the jet stream over or emerging from North America.
In Lenny's case, a large dip in the jet stream was in place over the western Atlantic when Lenny formed. That put the storm on its eastward track and on a collision course with the northern Leeward Islands.
Lenny reached its peak intensity on Nov. 17 as it slammed into St. Croix of the U.S. Virgin Islands with maximum-sustained winds of 155 mph (250 km/h). Lenny was not only a powerful Category 4 hurricane at that time, but also became the strongest November hurricane on record.
Why you won’t hear certain names during Atlantic hurricane season
How is the intensity of hurricane season measured?
Avoid these 5 common, potentially deadly mistakes when a hurricane strikes your area
Lenny was responsible for the deaths of 17 people, while its slow movement led to extremely high rainfall totals.
One observation site (Gendarmerie) on St. Martin reported 34.12 inches (867 mm) of rain--the hurricane's highest rain total. That amount includes a 24-hour record of 18.98 inches (482 mm) that poured down on Nov. 18.
After the 1999 Atlantic hurricane season, the name "Lenny" was officially retired.
Comments that don't add to the conversation may be automatically or manually removed by Facebook or AccuWeather. Profanity, personal attacks, and spam will not be tolerated.
More Weather News
Weather News - March 24, 2019, 1:50:42 PM EDT
Tropical Storm Iba formed off the southeastern coast of Brazil on Sunday afternoon, becoming the first tropical system to be identified in the area since 2010.
Severe Tropical Cyclone Veronica continues to inundate Australia's Pilbara Coast with life-threatening flooding
Weather News - March 24, 2019, 11:59:29 AM EDT
Lives and property will remain in severe peril through early this week along the northwestern coastline of Western Australia as Severe Tropical Cyclone Veronica slows down and unloads extreme rainfall.
Weather News - March 24, 2019, 11:14:34 AM EDT
As Veronica threatens to cause a flood disaster in northwestern Australia, the dangers to lives and property are expected to expand well inland from where Trevor made landfall on Australia's Northern Territory.
Weather News - March 24, 2019, 3:44:40 PM EDT
Another round of soaking winter weather is on the horizon for the West Coast, with a series of storms expected to impact the region through midweek.
Weather News - March 24, 2019, 3:43:39 PM EDT
Violent thunderstorms will break out over a portion of the central United States as the weekend comes to a close.
Weather News - March 24, 2019, 12:26:34 PM EDT
The cruise ship that became stranded after experiencing engine problems amid strong winds and heavy seas off the coast of Norway on Saturday finally reached the port of Molde on Sunday afternoon.
Weather News - March 23, 2019, 4:19:04 PM EDT
Satellite imagery captured a view of sediment flowing into the Gulf of Mexico from the floodwaters in the Midwest.
Weather News - March 24, 2019, 12:35:07 PM EDT
The chill that descended upon the northeastern U.S. this weekend will be reinforced early this week, but relief is on the horizon.