How Many People Died in Hurricane Ivan?

March 12, 2024

The loss of life from Hurricane Ivan was minimized due to improved communication among the National Weather Service (NWS), media, emergency management and the American Red Cross. By planning early and conveying a sense of urgency, people took appropriate action.

Across the Panhandle, Ivan's 130-mph winds smashed homes and tore off roofs. Its towering waves swept away beaches, and its torrential rain caused flooding inland. A total of 21 people died in Florida and Alabama, and President Bush declared Florida, Alabama and Mississippi federal disaster areas.

Ivan weakened to a tropical depression after crossing the Gulf of Mexico on September 21, but soon regained strength. The storm made its second landfall over southwestern Louisiana on the 23rd and dissipated over eastern Texas later that day.

NCEI forecasters began tracking Ivan as a depression on the 2nd, and the system quickly organized. It was upgraded to a tropical storm on the 5th, and on the 6th, it became a hurricane. The storm moved westward into the Caribbean Sea, affecting Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and western Cuba as a Category 3 hurricane.

Ivan made landfall at 3 a.m. CDT on the coast of Gulf Shores, Alabama, a town about 40 miles west of Pensacola. Inland southwestern Alabama was devastated, with wind-driven tornadoes, floods and high storm surges. Trees were tossed around, roofs peeled off and walls collapsed. Homes and businesses were completely destroyed, and roads were washed out. Residents sheltered in shelters were left without power, and food and water supplies ran low.

Mission

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