Hurricane Dean 1989

Hurricane Dean was the fourth named storm and second hurricane of the 1989 Atlantic hurricane season. Dean formed on July 31 and reached tropical storm status the following day east of the Leeward Islands. Dean brushed the Leeward Islands as a category 1 hurricane before turning northward and striking Bermuda as a category 2 hurricane. Dean continued northward before making landfall in southeastern Newfoundland.

Dean skirted the northern Leeward Islands, brining light rain but produced no damage. The storm later brushed past Bermuda as a category 2 hurricane. The storm left $9 million dollars (1989 USD, $14 million 2005 USD) and sixteen injuries across Bermuda but no fatalies were reported. In Atlantic Canada, Dean dropped light rain across Nova Scotia and Sable Island.

Storm History

A tropical wave moved off the coast of Africa on July 27 and by July 31, the system organized enough to become Tropical Depression Five halfway between Africa and the Lesser Antilles. The depression drifted westward where it reached tropical storm status on August 1 based on satellite estimates and was given the name Dean by the National Hurricane Center. Continuing its west-northwest movement, Dean reached hurricane status on August 2. The following day, a decreasing ridge of high pressure to the north and a trough of low pressure forming of the East Coast of the United States caused Dean to slow in its forward motion and turn north.

Dean’s forward speed increased to 17 mph (28 km/h) as the trough to the west of the storm deepened. As Dean moved northward, the eastern half of the eyewall brushed Bermuda while Dean reached category 2 status. After reaching a peak intensity of 105 mph and a minimum low pressure of 968 millibars. Dean drifted northeast and continued to accelerate due another trough passing over the Northeastern United States. After brushing Nova Scotia, the storm began to lose tropical characteristics. On August 8, Dean’s center passed over Newfoundland as a tropical storm before becoming extratropical.


Hurricane Dean was very difficult to forecast in its early stages as the storm approached the eastern Caribbean. Even though most forecast models predicted that Dean would skirt the Leeward Islands, the track prediction models were not consistent and as a result, uncertainty existed in justifying the posting of watches and warnings for the Leeward Islands and Puetro Rico. One track, predicted Dean to threaten South Florida within 3-4 days.

Regardless, the National Hurricane Center issued hurricane warnings for Guadeloupe and the rest of the Leeward Islands extending to the Virgin Islands. The uncertainty of the hurricanes forecast track forced residents and tourists in the Lesser Antilles to evacuate. In the British Virgin Islands, 80 American and Canadian tourists evacuated to hotels. In Puerto Rico, residents were advised to secure or stow away loose objects and stock up on emergency supplies. 1.1 million residents in the city of San Juan went to supermarkets to get much needed supplies in anticipation that the storm might hit Puetro Rico. In Humacaco, the National Guard evacuated 1,966 people living along a coastal highway.

The islands of Martinique and Dominica were placed under a hurricane watch. The warning for Guadeloupe was discontinued at 220 UTC when the hurricane posed no threat to the island. The watches for Martinique and Dominica were discontinued for the same reason. As Dean continued westward, the National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane watch for the Turks and Caicos Islands. The watch was soon cancelled as Dean made its northward turn towards Bermuda.

In Bermuda, the National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane watch on September 5. The hurricane watch was later changed to a hurricane warning the following day. Dean’s approach to Bermuda cancelled numerous flights coming in and out of Bermuda. In Atlantic Canada, the National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane warning for Nova Scotia and Cape Sable, while the Canadian forecasters issued a high wind advisory


The outer bands of Hurricane Dean produced heavy rainfall and winds up to 75 mph (121 km/h) across Antigua and Barbuda. There were no reported damage in the Leeward Islands or the Virgin Islands since the hurricane turned northward. In the Atlantic, a sailboat bound for Bermuda was caught off guard by the hurricane. The boat, which carried no radio equipment, was spotted by a hurricane hunter plane. The occupants of the boat suffered no injuries.

In Bermuda, the hurricanes eastern eyewall produced 81 mph (130 km/h) sustained winds, with gusts up to 113 mph (182 km/h). Bermuda highest rainfall total from Dean was 2.45 inches (50.8 mm) while parts of the island received 3-5 inches (76.2-127 mm) of rain.

Strong winds from Hurricane Dean caused considerable power line damage, leaving 65,000 residents without electricity. The winds also caused minor roof damage. In Hamilton Harbor, 20 pleasure boats were damaged or sent adrift due to the rough seas. Flooding from the hurricane damaged fifteen houses. Sixteen people were injured by the hurricane, five of the injuries were considered serious. However, there were no reports of fatalities from Dean’s impact on Bermuda. Damage in Bermuda amounted up to $9 million dollars (1989 USD, $14 million 2005).

Although, Dean remained away from the United States coastline, it produced storm tides of 1.7 feet to North Carolina. In Atlantic Canada, hurricane force winds were reported in Nova Scotia and Sable Island. Newfoundland reported only tropical storm force winds. Offshore, waves up to 26 feet were reported and Sable Island reported rainfall of 15 millimeters (0.59 inches). Although there were no reports of damage in Atlantic Canada from Hurricane Dean, three sailors had to be rescued by the Canadian Coast Guard when their boat got dismasted during the storm.

Because overall damage was minimal, the name Dean was not retired in the spring of 1990. As a result, it was re-used again in 1995 and 2001.

The most notable storm of 1989 was Hurricane Hugo, which tracked across the Lesser Antilles and into South Carolina; Hugo killed 49 and caused $10 billion ($15.6 billion in 2005 US dollars) in damage, becoming the most expensive Atlantic hurricane until Hurricane Andrew in the 1992 season.