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1943 Mazatlán hurricane

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1943 Mazatlán hurricane
1943 Mazatlán hurricane analysis 9 Oct 1943.png
Surface analysis of the hurricane near landfall
Formed≤8 October 1943
Dissipated9 October 1943
Lowest pressure≤ 958.6 mbar (hPa); 28.31 inHg
Fatalitiesat least 106
Damage$4.5 million (1943 USD)
Areas affectedsouthern coastal Sinaloa
Part of the 1940–48 Pacific hurricane seasons

The 1943 Mazatlán hurricane was a powerful tropical cyclone (at least Category 4) that lashed the southern coast of Sinaloa on the morning of 9 October 1943. The hurricane went essentially undetected before it made landfall just south of Mazatlán on 9 October with a pressure below 958.6 millibars (28.31 inHg) and maximum sustained winds of at least 136 miles per hour (219 km/h). The hurricane destroyed two small towns and half of Mazatlán, killing at least 106 persons, injuring 102, and leaving over 1,000 homeless. Total damage was estimated at $4.5 million (1943 USD, $56 million 2008 USD). The hurricane was the strongest on record to strike Mazatlán.

Meteorological history[edit]

Location of Mazatlán within Mexico

Sources do not reveal the exact origin of this tropical cyclone. On 8 October, a developing tropical cyclone passed between the Revillagigedo Islands and Islas Marías. It moved rapidly northeastward and arrived on the coast of Sinaloa as an intense hurricane.

Mazatlán Observatory reported that the atmospheric pressure began dropping at 1:30 am on 9 October and fell 0.827 inches of mercury (28.0 hPa) in 8 hours, and reached a minimum of 958.6 millibars (28.31 inHg). At 1530 UTC 9 October, the hurricane made landfall just south of Mazatlán. At 9:30 am, the observatory reported winds of 134 miles per hour (216 km/h) for a period of 15 minutes, which period ended when the wind blew the anemometer loose.[1] The hurricane ranks as the strongest on record to strike the city.

The storm dropped little precipitation as it passed Mazatlán, but 2 inches (51 mm) fell on the afternoon of 9 October.

As the storm continued inland, it rapidly weakened and apparently dissipated over the Sierra Madre Occidental.[1] The storm apparently passed into Chihuahua and was predicted to continue into the southern United States,[2] though the remainder of its path is unknown.[1]

The cyclone was dissipated over the state of Durango within a day after landfall.[3] Heavy rain developed across parts of Texas on 12/13 October 1943.

Effects and aftermath[edit]

Known Pacific hurricanes that have killed at least 100 people
Hurricane Season Fatalities Ref.
"Mexico" 1959 1,800 [4]
Paul 1982 1,625 [5][6][7][8]
Liza 1976 1,263 [9][10][11]
Tara 1961 436 [12]
Aletta 1982 308 [13][14]
Pauline 1997 230–400 [15]
Agatha 2010 190 [16][17]
Manuel 2013 169 [18]
Tico 1983 141 [19][20]
Ismael 1995 116 [21]
"Baja California" 1931 110 [22][23]
"Mazatlán" 1943 100 [24]
Lidia 1981 100 [17]

Moving ashore as a powerful hurricane, the storm destroyed the small towns of El Roble, now in Mazatlán Municipality, and Palmillas. The storm partially destroyed Villa Unión (a town now in Mazatlán Municipality) and severely damaged the port at Mazatlán. In these towns, approximately 100 persons lost their lives.[1] Though the storm was reported to have struck "without warning",[25] most residents in the destroyed cities ably reached safety in higher ground.[26] The hurricane destroyed about half of the buildings in Mazatlán, and near the ocean, the combination of strong waves, high winds, and rainfall heavily damaged many hotels and houses.[25] The storm damaged water systems, leaving people without potable water or sewage systems.[27] In a 50 miles (80 km) portion of the coastline, the storm severely impacted the communication and transportation infrastructure. The airport at Mazatlán sustained damage to its radio tower, and for at least 18 hours, the only communication between the city and the rest of Mexico was through the radio of a plane in the airport.[25] Total damage was estimated at $4.5 million (1943 USD, $56 million 2008 USD).[1]

Of several fishing boats and a small Mexican Navy vessel caught in the storm, no trace reportedly was found; all persons aboard these vessels apparently died. A small coastal boat arrived in the port of Mazatlán after the storm and reported six crew members missing.[1]

Within two days after the storm, the death toll rose to 18;[28] the next day, the Associated Press reported 52 deaths and 102 injuries.[29] Ten days after the storm, military officials reported the death toll rose to 57,[30] and the number of people left homeless by the storm reached over 1,000.[31]

By 24 hours after the storm, President Manuel Ávila Camacho ordered nurses and doctors on standby, and for military workers in the area to prepare to assist in the aftermath.[25] By five days after the storm, officials had restored power and communications in the area. Around the same time, the president issued an appeal for public donations for storm victims.[32] Within a week, citizens sent large quantities of food, clothing, and medicine to the worst affected areas.[27] The President of Mexico personally visited Mazatlán with other officials, bringing aid in the form of medicine and clothing.[31]

Famous people who witnessed it[edit]


Only two other intense hurricanes struck Mazatlan during the period of record: Hurricane Olivia (1975), which hit the city with winds of 115 miles per hour (185 km/h), and a storm in 1957.[34] However, Hurricane Tico (1983) moved ashore very near the city as a major hurricane.[35]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Sumner, Howard C. (1943). "North Atlantic hurricanes and tropical disturbances of 1943" (PDF). Monthly Weather Review. U.S. Weather Bureau. pp. 179–183. Bibcode:1943MWRv...71..179S. doi:10.1175/1520-0493(1943)71<179:NAHATD>2.0.CO;2. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 September 2008.
  2. ^ New York Times (1943-10-13). "Hurricane Heads for U.S.; Reports Indicate New Mexico or Texas Lies in Its Path". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-09-07.
  3. ^ Mexican daily weather maps
  4. ^ Natural Hazards of North America. Supplement to National Geographic magazine (Map). National Geographic Society. April 1998.
  5. ^ "More Flood Victims found". The Spokesman-Review. September 28, 1982. Retrieved August 5, 2011.
  6. ^ "More flood victims found". The Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. September 28, 1982. p. 12. Retrieved August 18, 2011.
  7. ^ "Mexico - Disaster Statistics". Prevention Web. 2008. Archived from the original on July 22, 2011. Retrieved April 12, 2010.
  8. ^ "24 killed from hurricane". The Hour. October 1, 1982. Retrieved August 6, 2011.
  9. ^ "Mexico gives up to try and find storm victims". Bangor Daily News. United Press International. October 6, 1976. p. 8. Retrieved March 2, 2013.
  10. ^ "Hurricane Liza rips Mexico". Beaver County Times. United Press International. October 2, 1976. p. 18. Retrieved March 3, 2013.
  11. ^ "Historias y Anecdotas de Yavaros" (in Spanish). Ecos del mayo. June 14, 2010. Retrieved June 11, 2013.
  12. ^ Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (August 1993). "Significant Data on Major Disasters Worldwide 1900-present" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-03-25.
  13. ^ "Nicaragua seeks aid as flood victims kill 108". The Montreal Gazette. May 28, 1982. Retrieved September 18, 2011.
  14. ^ "Canada Aids Victims". The Leader-Post. June 10, 1982. Retrieved September 17, 2011.
  15. ^ Miles B. Lawrence (1997). "Hurricane Pauline Tropical Cyclone Report". National Hurricane Center. Retrieved 2007-01-02.
  16. ^ Jack L. Beven (January 10, 2011). "Tropical Storm Agatha Tropical Cyclone Report" (PDF). National Hurricane Center. Retrieved January 14, 2011.
  17. ^ a b Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters; Guha-Sapir, D. "EM-DAT: The Emergency Events Database". Université catholique de Louvain. Retrieved May 17, 2019.
  18. ^ Steve Jakubowski; Adityam Krovvidi; Adam Podlaha; Steve Bowen. "September 2013 Global Catasrophe Recap" (PDF). Impact Forecasting. AON Benefield. Retrieved October 25, 2013.
  19. ^ Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, U.S. Agency for International Development (1989). "Disaster History: Significant Data on Major Disasters Worldwide, 1900-Present". Retrieved 2008-11-14.
  20. ^ "Oklahoma residents clean up in Hurricane's wake". The Evening independent. October 22, 1983. Retrieved September 11, 2011.
  21. ^ Centro Nacional de Prevención de Desastres (2006). "Impacto Socioeconómico de los Ciclones Tropicales 2005" (PDF) (in Spanish). Retrieved 2006-11-09.
  22. ^ Associated Press (1931-11-17). "Hurricane Toll Reaches 100 in Mexico Blow". The Evening Independent. Retrieved 2011-01-18.
  23. ^ "World News". The Virgin Islands Daily News. 1931-09-18. Retrieved 2011-01-18.
  24. ^ Howard C. Sumner (1944-01-04). "1943 Monthly Weather Review" (PDF). U.S. Weather Bureau. Archived (PDF) from the original on 23 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-07.
  25. ^ a b c d United Press International (1943-10-10). "Hurricane Hits Mexico Port of Mazatlán; Damage Heavy". Retrieved 2008-09-07.[dead link]
  26. ^ Associated Press (1943-10-14). "Two Towns Reported Destroyed by Storm". Retrieved 2008-09-07.[dead link]
  27. ^ a b United Press International (1943-10-20). "Rush Aid to Victims of Hurricane at Mazatlan, Mexico". Retrieved 2008-09-07.[dead link]
  28. ^ Associated Press (1943-10-11). "Mexican Hurricane Claims 18 Victims". Retrieved 2008-09-07.[dead link]
  29. ^ Associated Press (1943-10-12). "Hurricane Whips into Southwest". Retrieved 2008-09-07.[dead link]
  30. ^ Associated Press (1943-10-19). "Auto Crushed by Falling Wall in Hurricane". Retrieved 2008-09-07.[dead link]
  31. ^ a b United Press International (1943-10-21). "President Inspects Storm Destruction". Retrieved 2008-09-07.[dead link]
  32. ^ United Press International (1943-10-14). "Mexico Seeks Storm Relief". Retrieved 2008-09-07.[dead link]
  33. ^ Walt Disney aterriza en Mazatlán
  34. ^ R. G. Handlers and S. Brand (June 2001). "Tropical Cyclones Affecting Mazatlan". NRL Monterrey. Retrieved 2009-03-24.
  35. ^ Gunther, E. B.; Cross, R. L. (July 1984). "Eastern North Pacific Tropical Cyclones of 1983" (PDF). Monthly Weather Review. American Meteorological Society. 112 (7): 1419–20, 1436–37. Bibcode:1984MWRv..112.1419G. doi:10.1175/1520-0493(1984)112<1419:ENPTCO>2.0.CO;2. Retrieved 2009-04-05.