Hurricane Felix 1989

Preliminary Report
Hurricane Felix
25 August - 10 September 1989


Tropical Storm Allison (TS)
Tropical Storm Barry (TS)
Hurricane Chantal (1)
Hurricane Dean (2)
Hurricane Erin (2)
Hurricane Felix (1)
Hurricane Gabrielle (4)
Hurricane Hugo (5)
Tropical Storm Iris (TS)
Hurricane Jerry (1)
Tropical Storm Karen (TS)

a. Synoptic History

The weather system that was to become Hurricane Felix was first noted as a well organized low pressure system associated with a distinct tropical wave over northwest Africa on 24 August. The next day the system moved off the coast near Dakar and immediately began organizing into the eighth tropical depression of the 1989 Atlantic hurricane season. The depression was upgraded to Tropical Storm Felix on 26 August a short distance north of the Cape Verde Islands. The highest winds reported in the northernmost islands were near 35 mph.

From the 27th to the 29th of August, Felix drifted toward the north northwest around 6 mph. This motion was apparently in response to an upper level trough that had persisted over the eastern North Atlantic during the latter half of August. The storm weakened to a tropical depression on the 29th as increasing upper level southwesterly winds sheared away much of the convection. As is typical with a system that has been sheared, it was steered by lower level circulation patterns, which, in this instance, were southeasterly over the area. Felix moved on a northwesterly track near 17 mph until 1 September.

The forward motion of Tropical Depression Felix changed to a northward drift during the 1st and 2nd of September as a weak frontal trough passed just north of the system. A building ridge of high pressure following the trough caused upper level shear to decrease and allowed for an increase in convection around the center. Felix once again attained tropical strom status on 3 September. The storm began moving on a west northwest course between 6 and 12 mph during the 3rd and 4th of september which can be attributed to the building of the ridge north of the storm's circulation.

Felix was a small storm and futher westward motion was halted on the 5th by 2 developments: (1) approach of the much larger circulation of Hurricane Gabrielle, then located between the Lesser Antilles and Bermuda, and (2) a trough located northwest of the storm. As Felix drifted slowly drifted northward during the 5th through 7th of September, a developing outflow pattern aloft contributed to Felix attaining hurricane strength.

A trough in the westerlies approached Felix during 7-8 September and brough increasing southwesterly winds over Felix. As a result, shearing weakened Felix to a tropical storm on the 7th and steered the system on a northeasterly heading with a gradual acceleration to 23 mph during the 8th.

As Felix came under the influence of the westerlies and moved over the cooler waters of the far northern Atlantic, it became extratropical on 9 September. The system turned southeastward on 10 September passing northeast of the Azores Islands as a well developed extratropical storm. A blocking pattern over Europe turned the low southward on 11-12 September and it dissipated southeast of the Azores by 15 September.

b. Meteorological Statistics

Felix was a hurricane for less than 48 hours. Satellite analysts using the Dvorak technique estimated maximum winds of 85 mph and a mimimum pressure of 976 mb during the period 05/1800 - 06/0600 UTC. Ship reports were rather sparse around Felix with the only significant weather observation from the ELDM at 1800 UTC on 8 September. That vessel observed 46 mph easterly winds with heavy rains when located just north of the center. Several ships observed winds near 58 mph around the circulation of the extratropical storm that was once Felix.

c. Casualty and Damage Statistics

There were no reports of casualties or damage from any of the islands that were near the path of Felix.

Maximum Intensity For Hurricane Felix
25 August - 10 September, 1989

Position Pressure
Wind Speed
Lat. (°N) Lon. (°W)
06/0000 36.9 48.2 979 85 Category 1 Hurricane