125th Anniversary of the Martinique hurricane

Track of the Martinique hurricane 1891 (Unisys)
Track of the Martinique hurricane 1891

On August 18, 1891, a major hurricane struck the island of Martinique, killing a large number of people.  It went on to ravage the northern Caribbean, Bahamas, and Florida.

The storm was first detected on the morning of Aug. 18th as a full-blown hurricane 100 miles (160 km) east of Barbados.  The storm moved northwestward and hit Martinique that evening with wind near 125 miles per hour (201 km/hr). Although the fast moving storm only lasted four hours, from 700 to 1000 people perished on the island.

The storm center passed south of Puerto Rico as it weakened, then swerved north through the Mona Passage and onto the eastern tip of the Dominican Republic.  It brought winds of 95 mph (158 km/hr) to the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Bahamas.  It eventually made landfall in the Homestead area of Florida, at that time largely unpopulated. The heaviest damage done by the hurricane was in Martinique and amounted to US$10 million.