Today in History: Remembering Hurricane Jeanne

A bus filled with Haitian people after Hurricane Jeanne devastates the area
A bus filled with Haitian people after Hurricane Jeanne devastates the area



On this day in 2004, Hurricane Jeanne crashed into Haiti. The deadliest storm of the devastating 2004 season, Hurricane Jeanne is responsible for over 3,035 deaths.

The storm originated near Africa but didn't generate any attention until it was upgraded to Tropical Storm Jeanne on Sept. 14. The storm grew in intensity as it made a loop around the Atlantic Ocean, becoming a fully-functioning Category 2 hurricane on Sept. 20 and reached Haiti three days later.

The most severe impact wasn't due to the storm's winds but the sheer volume of rainfall it produced. The amount of rain caused extreme flooding, which in turn led to costly damages in the areas it struck.

In Puerto Rico, 24 inches of rainfall in Vieques caused $1.6 million worth of repairs, but only claimed eight lives.

Although only 13 inches of rain fell over Haiti's northern mountains, the rainfall caused catastrophic mudslides. The mudslides took the lives of 3,000 Haitians, the majority of which were in the coastal city of Gonaïves. People drowned when the cities were flooded by the torrential rains and overtook the cities.

Many of the dead were left unburied for days afterwards. Emergency relief workers had to quickly build mass graves to prevent the spread of disease. Jeanne also left an estimated 250,000 Haitians without homes.

Widespread looting occurred in the cities in the wake of the storm as citizens left homeless became increasingly desperate. Along with emergency rations of food and water, the United Nations sent peacekeeping units from neighboring countries to help restore order to the country.

After striking Haiti, Jeanne continued on her path of destruction through the Bahamas, where residents were able to evacuate and avoid disaster. Hurricane Jeanne ended her reign in Florida, where residents were much more prepared for the storm after a series of intense hurricanes during the 2004 season and only three people died. Jeanne was the fourth hurricane to slam the panhandle state after Charley, Frances and Ivan had already wreaked havoc there.

See more photos of Hurricane Jeanne's devastation in Haiti below:

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