Hurricane Gladys (1968)

"For the 1975 storm of the same name, see here"Infobox Hurricane
Name=Hurricane Gladys
Image location=Hurricane Gladys 1968.jpg

Apollo 7
Formed=October 13, 1968
Dissipated=October 21, 1968
1-min winds=75

Fatalities=10 direct
Areas=Cuba, Florida, Nova Scotia
Hurricane season=1968 Atlantic hurricane season

Hurricane Gladys was the most destructive hurricane in the 1968 Atlantic hurricane season, causing over $100 million (2005 US dollars) in damage and ten deaths. The last storm of the season, it caused heavy rainfall along its path through the Western Caribbean Sea, Florida, and up through Atlantic Canada. When paralleling just off the coast of North Carolina Gladys was responsible for breaking the state's worst drought since 1932.

Meteorological history

A tropical wave moved through the Lesser Antilles on October 11. When it reached the western Caribbean Sea, upper level conditions became favorable for continued organization, and it was upgraded to a tropical depression on October 13. Two other systems in the western Caribbean, one of which was a tropical depression, prevented significant of the depression which was to become Gladys. As it moved north-northwestward though, it became the dominant system, and became Tropical Storm Gladys on the 15th.

Warm water temperatures and a developing anticyclone allowed Gladys to continue strengthening, and on October 16 while south of Cuba the storm was upgraded to a hurricane. Gladys crossed the narrow, western part of the island just hours later, and emerged into the Gulf of Mexico without weakening. The hurricane crossed the Florida keys and turned to the north-northwest in response to the development of a low over Alabama. The low degraded to the trough, and allowed Gladys to turn to the northeast. Much of its circulation was over Florida, inhibiting strengthening, though upper level winds remained very favorable during its northward trek through the gulf. Thus, Gladys hit Homosassa, Florida, north of Tampa Bay, as an 80 mph Category 1 hurricane on the 19th.

In response to an approaching trough, Gladys accelerated to the northeast, and crossed Florida in around 6 hours. Upon reaching the western Atlantic Ocean, it paralleled the Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina coastlines, reaching peak winds of 85 mph while offshore. On October 20, it passed near Cape Hatteras, and continued northeastward, weakening slightly over the cool waters of the north Atlantic. On October 21, became extratropical as it merged with a cold front while south of Nova Scotia, and crossed the province later that day as an extratropical storm.


Strong wind gusts and flash flooding was experienced in western Cuba as Gladys crossed. There, heavy damage to the tobacco crop was seen. [] Throughout Cuba, Gladys caused $12 million in damage (1968 USD) and six deaths. []

Little damage was seen in southern Florida, where the center remained far enough offshore to avoid damage. This was not the case in the northern portion of the state, where a direct hit resulted in moderate damage. Tides ran 6½ feet above normal, causing considerable beach erosion and flooding of coastal areas. 85% of Florida's citrus crop was effected to some degree, though overall crop damage was fairly minimal. Because of its winds and rain, Gladys caused $6.7 million in damage, nearly all structural with motor homes taking a major hit. Rainfall amounts varied from a trace to 6 inches; rains caused the death of one motorist. Two other Floridians died from heart attacks while escaping the storm. In addition, the hurricane produced two small tornadoes.

In North Carolina, tides ranged from 2 to 4 feet above normal, and rainfall was moderate. However, the rain was badly needed, and helped break the worst drought since 1932 in the state. The rest of the state, as well as South Carolina, received little damage. Had Gladys come closer while paralleling the coastline, its effects would have likely been much greater.

Minor damage was experienced when Gladys passed over Nova Scotia, though like in North Carolina, the rainfall it received was beneficial, with 1 to 2 inches being produced. However, one person died from the storm.

Lack of retirement

The name "Gladys" was not retired after this season. However, the hurricane naming lists were changed in 1979, and thus a replacement name was not given. However, Gladys was used in the 1975 season, but was not retired there, either.

ee also

*List of Atlantic hurricanes

External links

* [ 1968 Monthly Weather Review]
* [ Gladys Best Track]
* [ Canada Effects]

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