Hurricane Klaus 1990

Preliminary Report
Hurricane Klaus
03 - 09 October 1990


Tropical Storm Arthur (TS)
Hurricane Bertha (1)
Tropical Storm Cesar (TS)
Hurricane Diana (2)
Tropical Storm Edouard (TS)
Tropical Storm Fran (TS)
Hurricane Gustav (3)
Tropical Storm Hortense (TS)
Hurricane Isidore (2)
Hurricane Josephine (1)
Hurricane Klaus (1)
Hurricane Lili (1)
Tropical Storm Marco (TS)
Hurricane Nana (1)

a. Synoptic History

Klaus originated from a tropical wave that moved off the coast of Africa on 27 September. The wave was convectively active as it moved westward across the tropical Atlantic. Evidence of a circulation was detected from METEOSAT imagery as early as the 28th when the system was located 350 nautical miles south of the Cape Verde Islands. The wave moved across the Atlantic for several days, occasionally showing signs of becoming a depression. Finally, on 3 October, when located just east of the Lesser Antilles, the wave began a steady strengthening even though there appeared to be a strong shearing environment.

Klaus' best track starts with a tropical depression centered 100 nautical miles east of Dominica, at 1200 UTC on 3 October.

The system drifted slowly toward the northwest for three days, caught in a weak steering current between high pressure to its east and west and with short wave troughing to the north. It quickly strengthened to a tropical storm at 1800 UTC on the 3rd and reached hurricane strength at 1200 UTC on the 5th. At this time, the center was at its point of closest approach to the Leeward Islands and was only about 25 nautical miles east of Antigua and, shortly thereafter, 10 nautical miles east of Barbuda. Tropical storm and hurricane warnings were issued as appropiate for the islands near Klaus' path.

Klaus reached its peak on the 5th with 81 mph winds and a 985 millibar central pressure and was a hurricane for only 15 hours. Although it moved close to the Leeward Islands as a hurricane, there were no observations of sustained tropical storm force winds at Antigua or other nearby islands. This was due to the frequent shearing conditions that caused most of the deep convection and strong winds to be located north and east of the circulation center.

On the 6th, Klaus weakened to a tropical storm and turned slightly toward the west northwest, its center remaining rather close to the northern Leeward Islands and then the U.S. and British Virgin Islands. By 0000 UTC on the 8th, Klaus was north of the Mona Passage when it weakened to a tropical depression in response to persistent strong shearing.

Klaus regained deep convection near its center and also regained tropical storm status at 1200 UTC on the 8th. With the storm's forward motion toward the northwest at 14 to 17 mph, tropical storm warnings were subsequently issued for the central and northern Bahamas. Klaus peaked, for the second time, late on the 8th and early on the 9th, with 52 mph winds.

A secondary low pressure center was noted at mid-atmospheric levels as early as the 6th near eastern Cuba. This low drifted westward and gradually worked its way to the surface near western Cuba. By late on the 9th, this low became the dominant feature and absorbed the now rapidly weakening Klaus, as the low developed into Tropical Storm Marco. The remnants of Klaus, interacting with Marco and a slow moving cold front, were responsible for some heavy rainfall that spread across portions of the southeastern United States.

b. Meteorological Statistics

There were 13 aircraft reconnaissance missions into Klaus with a total of 40 center fixes during the seven day period from 3 to 9 October. In addition, there were several investigative missions before Klaus became a tropical cyclone. The best track peak wind of 81 mph on the 5th is based on an aircraft measurement of 83 mph at 1500 feet. The highest satellite based intensity estimate during this time was 63 mph.

There were 18 ship reports with sustained wind speeds of tropical storm force. All but a few of these were well removed from the circulation center and were more closely associated with a strong pressure gradient caused by nearby high pressure. The highest wind report from a ship was 54 mph at 1500 UTC on the 8th, located 80 nautical miles northeast of the center.

There were 15 radar center fixes from St. Martin in the Leeward Islands on the 5th and 6th. The accuracy of all of these fixes was given as poor since the center was not well defined.

1. Rainfall Data

Grand Turk in the Bahamas reported 4.00 inches in 36 hours. There may well have been much higher totals recorded in the Leeward Islands since Klaus moved so slowly through this area. The remants of Klaus brought 10 to 15 inches of rain to the South Carolina midlands on the 10th and 11th of October. Ten inches of rain in the southern piedmont section of North Carolina is also attributed to the remnants of Klaus. Georgia also received some rain from the remnants. Details of rainfall totals in the southeastern United Statesare contained in the Marco preliminary report.

c. Casualty and Damage Statistics

There were 4 deaths attributed to Klaus; 4 in South Carolina.

Four drowning deaths were reported from South Carolina when a dam burst and swept away a car and its occupants. dollar damage estimates are contained in the Marco report.

Maximum Intensity For Hurricane Klaus
03 - 09 October, 1990

Position Pressure
Wind Speed
Lat. (°N) Lon. (°W)
05/1200 17.2 61.2 985 80 Category 1 Hurricane