Hurricane Noel 1995

Preliminary Report
Hurricane Noel
26 September - 07 October 1995


Hurricane Allison (1)
Tropical Storm Barry (TS)
Tropical Storm Chantal (TS)
Tropical Storm Dean (TS)
Hurricane Erin (2)
Hurricane Felix (4)
Tropical Storm Gabrielle (TS)
Hurricane Humberto (2)
Hurricane Iris (2)
Tropical Storm Jerry (TS)
Tropical Storm Karen (TS)
Hurricane Luis (4)
Hurricane Marilyn (3)

Hurricane Noel (1)

Hurricane Opal (4)
Tropical Storm Pablo (TS)
Hurricane Roxanne (3)
Tropical Storm Sebastien (TS)
Hurricane Tanya (1)

Noel was a 75-mph hurricane that remained at sea over the eastern Atlantic.


a. Synoptic History

Satellite pictures and rawinsonde data show that a tropical wave emerged from western Africa on 22 September. Three days later, as the wave neared 30W longitude, bands of deep convection associated with the system began to acquire some cyclonic shape and the NHC's Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch (TAFB) meteorologist gave the first location estimate at 0600 UTC 26 September, remarking "potential surface low looking like it's getting more organized". Twenty-four hours later, TAFB and the Synoptic Analysis Branch (SAB) gave the initial Dvorak classifications. By 1800 UTC on the 26th, the cloud structure was strongly indicative of a low-level circulation and the post-analysis "best track" of Tropical Depression Sixteen begins at this time over the eastern tropical Atlantic.

A mid- to upper-tropospheric trough lay in the path of the developing tropical cyclone. Southwesterly shearing due to the upper-level winds ahead of this trough started to affect the depression as early as 27 September. However, these winds were not strong enough to totally offset the development trend and the depression strengthened into Tropical Storm Noel around 1200 UTC on the 27th.

As the cyclone strengthened into a storm, its motion turned from west-northwestward to northwestward, due the influence of the above trough and an accompanying mid- to upper-level low near 28N 44W. A northwestward movement continued until about 1800 UTC on the 28th, when Noel began to take a more northerly heading. Even though upper-level outflow was being impeded to the northwest, satellite intensity estimates indicate that Noel strengthened to a hurricane near 1800 UTC 28 September. Development was halted after that juncture by increasing upper-level southwesterly flow. Moving northward to northeastward, Noel maintained minimal hurricane strength until 30 September, when the center became exposed to the southwest of the cluster of convection associated with the cyclone. Gradual weakening took place, and the forward speed slowed to a crawl on 30 September and 1 October. On 2 October, with its maximum winds reduced to 52 mph, Noel moved generally northward at a faster speed. On the 3rd, the steering of Noel was influenced by a mid- to upper-level cyclone centered just to the west, and the storm moved north-northwestward for a while.

Shearing diminished as Noel came into the area of lighter upper-level winds near the center of the mid- to upper-level cyclone, and this allowed the storm to re-strengthen on the 3rd and 4th. By 0000 UTC 5 October, Noel was again a 75-mph hurricane. The system maintained this intensity for about 24 hours while moving slowly northeastward to eastward. The final weakening commenced at 0000 UTC on the 6th, when Noel's winds dropped to just below hurricane strength. A midlatitude trough approached the area, causing Noel to move more rapidly, toward the east-northeast and northeast. Gradually weakening and losing its tropical character as it approached the Azores, the cyclone was absorbed into a cold front near 0000 UTC 8 October.

b. Meteorological Statistics

An observation of 75-mph winds from the ship FNOU was instrumental in re-upgrading Noel to a hurricane at 0000 UTC 5 October.

c. Casualty and Damage Statistics

Noel did not significantly affect any land areas, and there are no reports of casualties or damage.

Maximum Intensity For Hurricane Noel
26 September - 07 October, 1995

Position Pressure
Wind Speed
Lat. (°N) Lon. (°W)
28/1800 15.2 42.6 987 75 Category 1 Hurricane