Hurricane Donna was the strongest hurricane of the 1960 Atlantic
hurricane season, and caused severe damage to the Lesser Antilles, the
Greater Antilles, and the East Coast of the United States, especially
Florida, in August–September. The fifth tropical cyclone, third
hurricane, and first major hurricane of the season, Donna developed
Cape Verde on August 29, spawned by a tropical wave to
which 63 deaths from a plane crash in
Senegal were attributed.
The depression strengthened into Tropical Storm Donna by the following
day. Donna moved west-northwestward at roughly 20 mph
(32 km/h) and by August 31, it reached hurricane status.
Donna deepened significantly and reached its peak intensity early on
September 4, with maximum sustained winds of 145 mph
(233 km/h). Thereafter, it weakened slightly as it brushed the
Lesser Antilles later that day. On Sint Maarten, the storm left a
quarter of the island's population homeless and killed seven people.
An additional five deaths were reported in Anguilla, and there were
seven other fatalities throughout the Virgin Islands. In Puerto Rico,
severe flash flooding led to 107 fatalities, 85 of them in
Humacao alone. Donna further weakened to a Category 3 hurricane
late on September 5, but eventually became a Category 4
hurricane again. While passing through The Bahamas, several small
island communities in the central regions of the country were leveled,
but no damage total or fatalities were reported.
Early on September 10, Donna made landfall near Marathon, Florida
with winds of 140 mph (230 km/h), hours before another
landfall south of Naples at the same intensity.
Florida bore the brunt
of Hurricane Donna. In the
Florida Keys, coastal flooding severely
damaged 75% of buildings, destroyed several subdivisions in Marathon.
On the mainland, 5,200 houses were damaged, which does not
include the 75% of homes damaged at Fort Myers Beach; 50% of buildings
were also destroyed in the city of Everglades. Crop losses were also
extensive. A total of 50% of grapefruit crop was lost, 10% of the
orange and tangerine crop was lost, and the avocado crop was almost
destroyed. In the state of
Florida alone, there were 13 deaths
and $300 million in losses. Donna weakened over
Florida and was a
Category 1 hurricane when it re-emerged into the Atlantic from
North Florida. By early on September 12, the storm made landfall
Topsail Beach, North Carolina
Topsail Beach, North Carolina as a strong Category 2
hurricane with 110 mph (165 km/h) winds. Donna brought tornadoes
and wind gusts up to 100 mph (155 km/h), damaging or
destroying several buildings in Eastern North Carolina, while crops
were damaged as far as 50 miles (80 km) inland. Additionally,
storm surge caused significant beach erosion and structural damage at
Wilmington and Nags Head. Eight people were killed and there were over
100 injuries. Later on September 12, Donna reemerged into
the Atlantic Ocean and continued to move northeastward. The storm
struck Long Island, New York late on September 12 and rapidly
weakened inland. On the following day, Donna became extratropical over
1 Meteorological history
3.1 West Africa and Caribbean
Turks and Caicos
Turks and Caicos and Bahamas
3.3 United States
3.3.2 Southeastern United States and Mid-Atlantic
3.4 Elsewhere in North America
4 Depictions in popular culture
5 Aftermath, records and retirement
6 See also
8 External links
Map plotting the track and intensity of the storm, according to the
On August 29, a tropical wave exited the west coast of Africa near
Dakar. That day, it is estimated a tropical depression developed along
the wave southeast of Cape Verde. There was a lack of data for several
days, but it is estimated that the system gradually intensified. On
September 2, ships in the region suggested there was a tropical
storm after reporting winds of over 50 mph (80 km/h). That
Hurricane Hunters flew into the system and observed a
well-defined eye, along with winds of 140 mph (230 km/h).
Based on the data, the
United States Weather Bureau
United States Weather Bureau office in San
Puerto Rico initiated advisories on
Hurricane Donna at
2200 UTC on September 2, about 700 miles (1,100 km)
east of the Lesser Antilles. It is estimated that the storm
attained hurricane status a day prior. The
Azores High to the north
was unusually powerful, which caused Donna to move to the
west-northwest. When advisories began, Donna was a major hurricane,
which is the equivalent of a Category 3 or higher on the
Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale; it would ultimately maintain this
status for nine days.
Continuing to the west-northwest, Donna strengthened further, and on
September 4, Donna reached its peak intensity, with maximum
sustained winds of 145 mph (233 km/h) (It was thought to be
Category 5)  . After maintaining peak winds for about
12 hours, the hurricane weakened slightly as it approached the
Lesser Antilles. Late on September 4, the eye of Donna moved
over Barbuda, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin, and Anguilla, and
passed just south of Anegada. Despite having weakened, Donna remained
well-organized, described in the
Monthly Weather Review as akin to "an
intense, idealized hurricane." A weakening trough to the north turned
the hurricane more northwesterly, bringing it within 85 miles
(137 km) of the north coast of Puerto Rico. By September 7,
Donna had turned more to the west after the ridge built to the north.
Over the next few days, the intense hurricane moved slowly through the
Bahamas without defined steering currents, and the eye passed
near or over Mayaguana, Acklins, Fortune Island, and Ragged Island.
While passing through the Straits of Florida, Donna brushed the
northern coast of
Cuba on September 9 with gale-force winds.
Subsequently, a cold front moved eastward through the United States
and weakened the ridge, causing the hurricane to turn more to the
northwest. It re-intensified over warm sea surface temperatures,
and the hurricane's minimum barometric pressure dropped to
932 mbar (27.5 inHg) on September 10. Between 0200
and 0300 UTC that day, the 21-mile-wide (34 km) eye of Donna
crossed through the
Florida Keys just northeast of Marathon, with
sustained winds of 140 mph (230 km/h) and gusts to
178 mph (286 km/h). The hurricane continued to the northwest
along the southwest coast of Florida, passing over Naples and Fort
Myers before turning inland to the northeast. At 0800 UTC on
September 11, Donna exited Daytona Beach into the western
Atlantic with winds of about 85 mph (165 km/h), still as an
organized hurricane. Accelerating to the northeast due to an
approaching trough, the hurricane re-intensified slightly before
making landfall near Wilmington, North Carolina, early on
September 12. At 0900 UTC that day, Donna again emerged over
open waters near Virginia, although it had weakened, and the eye
expanded to over 50 miles (80 km) in diameter. Late on
September 12, the hurricane made landfall in Westhampton, New
York as a
Category 2 Hurricane crossed Long Island, later moving into
New England. On September 13, Donna became extratropical over
Maine before entering eastern Canada, having become
associated with the approaching cold front. After moving across Quebec
and Labrador, Donna reached the
Labrador Sea and dissipated early on
At noon on September 3, a hurricane watch was issued for the Leeward
Islands, which at 6 p.m. was upgraded to a warning. Also at 6 p.m.,
hurricane watches were raised for
Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands,
which at 6 a.m. on September 4, were upgraded to warnings. By 6 a.m.
on September 5, hurricane warnings were dropped for the Leeward
Islands, and at 9 a.m., southwest
Puerto Rico and the Virgin Island's
hurricane warnings were downgraded to gale warnings. By noon, all
remaining hurricane warnings for
Puerto Rico were changed to gale
warnings. In Puerto Rico, flood warnings were issued on
September 5, although some residents in the region did not heed
the notice; many returned to their homes after the hurricane passed to
the north. On Vieques Island, about 1,700 United States
Marines evacuated to naval ships. Officials advised small boats to
remain at port, and thousands of residents evacuated to schools set up
as Red Cross shelters. Along the Cuban coast, about
3,000 people evacuated inland or to churches and schools;
while in the Bahamas, stores closed and boats were sent to port.
Radar animation of
Hurricane Donna approaching the
Beginning on September 7, hurricane watches were put in place for
Florida coast from Key West to Melbourne. The next day, the
watches were upgraded to hurricane warnings from Key West to Key
Largo, with hurricane watches raised on the west coast northward to
Fort Myers, and gale warnings issued from
Key Largo to Vero Beach. By
September 11, hurricane warnings were in effect for southern
Florida from Daytona Beach on the east coast to Cedar Key on the west
coast, including Lake Okeechobee.
Gale warnings were in place
northward from Cedar Key to St. Marks, as well as from Daytona Beach
northward to Savannah, Georgia. Evacuations in the
disrupted traffic along the Overseas Highway. The Air Force
evacuated 90 Boeing B-47 Stratojets from Homestead Air Reserve
Base. At Cape Canaveral, the threat of the storm caused the launching
of two missiles to be postponed. Most flights out of Miami
International Airport were canceled during the storm's approach.
Officials closed schools in Miami and the
Florida Keys, and
recommended residents in low-lying areas of the
Florida Keys and
Florida to evacuate. Ultimately, about 12,000 people
Florida sought refuge in storm shelters, two of which were
damaged during the storm. In Miami-Dade County alone, there were
77 storm shelters housing 10,000 people.
At 5 p.m. on September 10, gale warnings were extended northward to
Myrtle Beach. At 11 p.m., hurricane warnings were lowered in the
Florida Keys but extended northward from Daytona Beach to Savannah,
Georgia. At 11 a.m. on September 11, all warnings were lowered
south of Vero Beach and along the
Florida west coast, while hurricane
warnings were extended northward from Savannah to Myrtle Beach. At 5
p.m., hurricane warnings were lowered south of Fernandina Beach, while
they were extended northward to include the entire North Carolina
Gale warnings were issued northward to Cape May. At 9 p.m.,
hurricane warnings were extended northward to Portsmouth, New
Hampshire, while gale warnings and a hurricane watch were issued
northward to Eastport, Maine. Ships at dock in Newport, Rhode
Island were towed out into the bay to weather the storm. On
September 12 at 5 a.m., hurricane warnings were extended northward to
Eastport, and dropped south of Cape Hatteras. At 7 a.m., hurricane
warnings were lowered south of Cape Charles. At 2 p.m., hurricane
warnings were dropped south of Cape May. At 5 p.m., hurricane warnings
were discontinued south of Manasquan, New Jersey. At 8 p.m., hurricane
warnings expired south of Block Island. By 11 p.m. on September 12,
all hurricane warnings had been lowered.
Donna's Rainfall around Puerto Rico
Hurricane Donna was a very destructive hurricane that caused extensive
damage from the
Lesser Antilles to New England. At least 364 people
were killed by the hurricane and property damage was estimated at $900
million (1960 USD).
West Africa and Caribbean
The precursor to
Hurricane Donna brought severe weather to the Dakar
area of Senegal.
Air France Flight AF343, which was flying from
France to Abidjan, Ivory Coast, attempted to land at the
Léopold Sédar Senghor International Airport
Léopold Sédar Senghor International Airport as a layover. However,
due to squally weather, the plane instead crashed into the Atlantic
Ocean, killing all 63 people on board. Heavy rainfall was
also reported in
Cape Verde on August 30.
Hurricane Donna caused very extensive damage on Saint-Martin, killed 7
and left at least a quarter of the island's population homeless. A
weather station in
Sint Maarten reported sustained wind gusts of
120 mph (195 km/h) and a 952 mbar (28.1 inHg)
pressure reading in the main airport. Donna killed two people on
Antigua. During the passing of Hurricane Donna,
five deaths, including a woman who died when the roof of her house
Despite passing only 35 mi (56 km) north of the island,
Donna caused only minor damage on St. Thomas in the United States
Virgin Islands. A station there reported a wind gust of 60 mph
(97 km/h). Some fences were toppled, while several houses were
reported to have been damaged or destroyed. Electrical and telephone
services were also disrupted. The highest daily rainfall total on the
island was 8.78 inches (223 mm), causing minor local flooding. On
Saint John, several small boats capsized.
While passing to the north of Puerto Rico, Donna produced winds of
38 mph (61 km/h) in San Juan. Along the north coast of the
island, high tides of around 6 ft (1.8 m) and strong waves
caused coastal flooding. The hurricane dropped torrential rainfall,
peaking at 16.23 in (412 mm) at Naguabo in the central
portion of the island. Large areas of eastern
Puerto Rico received
over 10 in (250 mm) of precipitation. The hurricane left
about 2,500 people homeless on the island. Despite advanced
warning of the floods, the hurricane killed 107 people on the
island, of which 84 were in Humacao.
In Haiti, the southern periphery of the hurricane killed three people
in Port au Prince. Later, Donna brushed the north coast of Cuba
with strong winds and heavy rainfall, causing damage along much of
the coast. In Gibara, the storm wrecked 80 houses.
Turks and Caicos
Turks and Caicos and Bahamas
On Grand Turk in the Turks and Caicos, Donna produced winds of
58 mph (93 km/h), as the strongest winds remained north of
the island. However, the storm dropped heavy rainfall of over
20 in (510 mm), much of which fell in a 12‑hour period.
Despite the rains, damage there was minor.
In the Bahamas, the anemometer at Ragged Island blew away after
registering a 150 mph (240 km/h) wind gust. At Mayaguana,
where residents evacuated to a missile tracking base, hurricane-force
winds raged for 13 hours. The winds largely destroyed the
Abraham's Bay on the island. Andros experienced
hurricane-force winds for a few hours, and winds on Fortune Island
were estimated at 173 mph (278 km/h) before the anemometer
blew away. The strongest winds remained south of the northwestern
Bahamas, which limited damage there. Donna cut communications
between several islands.
Several small island communities in the central
Bahamas were leveled.
North Caicos reported 20 inches (510 mm) of rainfall in 24
Fifty people were reported dead in the United States, with damages
totaling to $3.35 billion. Donna crossed directly over Texas
Tower 4, causing severe damage to the structure and leading to its
eventual loss in January 1961.
Donna was the only hurricane to affect every state along the East
Coast with hurricane-force winds.
Flooding along Biscayne Boulevard in Miami, Florida
The U.S. state of
Florida received the most damage from Hurricane
Donna. Portions of southern and western
Florida received over
10 in (250 mm) of rainfall from the hurricane, peaking at
13.24 in (336 mm). Strong winds were observed in the
state, with a sustained wind speed of 120 mph (190 km/h) in
Tavernier and a gusts up to 150 mph (240 km/h) at Sombrero
Key Light. In Miami, winds reached 97 mph (156 km/h).
Southeast of the city, high waves washed a 104-foot (32 m)
freighter onshore an island. The highest observed storm surge of
13 ft (4.0 m) was reported at Marathon. The hurricane also
lashed Southwest Florida, where tides were 4 to 7 feet (1.2 to
2.1 m) above normal.
In Miami-Dade County, thousands of low-lying homes in the Homestead
area were flooded. Overall, 857 houses in the county were
destroyed, while about 2,317 others suffered damage. Significant
agricultural losses were also reported. Donna was the first hurricane
to affect Miami, Florida, since
Hurricane King in October 1950.
Florida Keys, some areas experienced "almost complete
destruction". Further north between Marathon and Tavernier, an
estimated 75% of buildings were extensively damaged. In the former,
tides inundated the city and destroyed several subdivisions. In
Key West, one death was confirmed, and 71 people were injured.
About 564 homes were demolished, and an additional 1,382 were
damaged, 583 of them severely.
Storm surge inundated parts of the
Overseas Highway and washed out several portions near bridges. Many
boats and docks were severely damaged or destroyed. Additionally, the
pipeline supplying water to the
Florida Keys was wrecked in three
Large tracts of mangrove forest were lost in the western portion of
Everglades National Park, while at least 35% of the white heron
population in the park were killed. In Everglades, FL, about 50%
of buildings were destroyed due to strong winds and coastal flooding.
Late on September 11, 2 to 3 feet (0.61 to 0.91 m) of water
was reported throughout the area. The city briefly became inaccessible
due to inundated roads. Many small buildings were destroyed, and roofs
were blown off or damaged. Thousands of trees were toppled,
blocking portions of the Tamiami Trail. Throughout Collier County,
strong winds and coastal flooding combined destroyed 153 homes,
inflicted major impact on an additional 409, and 1,049 others suffered
minor damage. The turn into southern
Florida lessened damage in
the Tampa area.
Throughout the state of Florida, the storm destroyed 2,156 homes
and trailers, severely damaged 3,903, and inflicted minor impact on
30,524 others. Approximately 391 farm buildings were destroyed,
an additional 989 suffered extensive impact, and 2,499 others
received minor damage. Roughly 174 buildings were demolished,
1,029 received major impact, and 4,254 suffered minor damage.
Additionally, 281 boats were destroyed or severely damaged. A
total of 50% of grapefruit crop was lost, 10% of the orange and
tangerine crops were ruined, and the avocado crop was almost
destroyed. With at least $350 million in damage in
Donna was the costliest hurricane to impact the state, at the time.
Additionally, there were 14 confirmed fatalities: six from
drowning, four from heart attacks, two from automobile accidents, and
two from electrocution. About 1,188 others were injured.
Southeastern United States and Mid-Atlantic
The facade of the 1840s-era Bennett's Rice Mill in Charleston, South
Carolina; much of the structure was destroyed by a tornado.
The storm brought minor impact to Georgia. Wind gusts of 50 mph
(80 km/h) along the coast felled trees and tree limbs, resulting
in electrical and telephone-service outages. In Brunswick, GA, a power
outage at the power plant caused a minor explosion. Heavy rainfall
temporarily flooded some streets in the city. Further north in South
Carolina, gale-force winds were reported along the coast, but caused
little damage. A tornado spawned in the Charleston area destroyed
several houses and severely damaged a number of others, and injured a
few people by flying glass. Damage from this tornado was over
$500,000. Another tornado touched down in Garden City, SC and
destroyed or extensively damaged six buildings. In Beaufort
County, SC, many trees were uprooted, power lines were downed, homes
were unroofed, piers were destroyed, and there was significant damage
to corn and soybean crops.
In North Carolina, Donna brought two tornadoes to the state. The first
of which damaged several small buildings in Bladen County. The second
tornado was spawned in Sampson County, where it destroyed a dwelling
with eight occupants, all of whom were hospitalized. Along the coast,
wind gusts as high as 100 mph (155 km/h) damaged or
destroyed several buildings. Additionally crops were damaged as far as
50 miles (80 km) inland. Storm tides ranging from 4 to 8 feet
(1.2 to 2.4 m) above normal caused significant beach erosion and
structural damage at Wilmington and Nags Head. Additionally,
Topsail Beach was reported to have been 50% destroyed. In Southport,
the town docks were almost completely demolished. There were eight
deaths, including three from drowning, two from falling trees, two
from weather-related traffic accidents, and one from electrocution. At
least 100 people were injured enough to require
hospitalization. Damage in
North Carolina exceeded
$5 million, with the worst impact occurring in New Hanover
Costliest U.S. Atlantic hurricanes 1900–2010
Total estimated property damage, adjusted for wealth
Cost (2016 USD)
Main article: List of costliest Atlantic hurricanes
In Virginia, the east coast of the state reported hurricane-force
winds, while gusts reached up to 89 mph (143 km/h) in
Virginia Beach. Strong winds toppled trees and electrical wires,
which blocked streets. Additionally, buildings suffered roof damage
and broken windows; some structures were completely destroyed.
Offshore, rough seas sunk or destroyed numerous small crafts, while a
12,000 tonnes (26,000,000 lb) vessel was driven aground. The
storm killed three people in Virginia; two of the deaths occurred when
a barge collided with a freighter and later sank, and another after a
man attempted to safeguard his boat. Strong winds and heavy rains were
observed in eastern Maryland. Ocean City suffered the worst impact,
with over $300,000 in property damage. The storm also damaged crops in
the area, especially corn and apples. Effects from the storm in
Delaware were similar, with property damage and considerable losses to
corn and apple crops. In Pennsylvania, wind gusts up to 59 mph
(95 km/h) in the southeastern portions of the state toppled many
trees and utility wires. Heavy rains and poor drainage in some areas
flooded basements, lawns, and streets. Low-lying areas in Bucks and
Montgomery counties were inundated with up to 3 feet (0.91 m) of
water after many streams and creeks nearby overflowed. One death in
the state was reported after a boy was swept into a swollen creek
behind his home in Sharon Hill.
Winds as strong as 100 mph (160 km/h) were observed along
the coast of New Jersey. Rainfall in the state was generally between 5
and 6 inches (130 and 150 mm), with a peak of 8.99 inches
(228 mm) near Hammonton. Damage from the storm was most
severe in Atlantic, Cape May, Monmouth, and Ocean counties, where
numerous boats, docks, boardwalks, and cottages were damaged or
destroyed. A resort area in
Cliffwood Beach, New Jersey
Cliffwood Beach, New Jersey saw its
boardwalk and tourist attractions destroyed by the hurricane, and the
area has never recovered. Losses to agriculture were significant, with
damage to apple and peach trees "considerable", the former of which
lost about one-third of its crops. Wind damage to corn, Sudan grass,
and sorgham resulted in a delay in their harvest. Nine deaths were
reported in the state of New Jersey. In southeastern New York, heavy
rains, hurricane-force winds, and "unprecedented" high tides were
observed. Severe small stream flooding caused significant damage,
especially on Long Island, the waterfront of New York City, and
further north in Greene County. The storm caused three fatalities in
the state, two from drowning and another from a person crushed by a
Elsewhere in North America
In Connecticut, strong winds left 15,000 people without telephone
service, while 88,000 homes lost electricity. Along the coast,
tides caused beach erosion, inundated streets, and weakened
foundations. Four seaside cottages were destroyed. Crop damage was
isolated and mainly limited to apples and corn. In Rhode Island, the
storm brought a wind gust as strong as 130 mph (210 km/h) to
Block Island. Telephone and electrical services were severely
disrupted. Along the coast, high tides significantly damaged or
destroyed about 200 homes at
Narragansett Bay and Warwick cove.
Damage to these vessels collectively totaled to over $2 million.
Agriculture also suffered impact, particularly to fruit, timber, and
poultry, especially in Newport and Portsmouth.
Strong winds were also observed in Massachusetts, with a wind gust of
145 mph (233 km/h) at the Blue Hill Observatory.
Extensive losses to apple orchards occurred, as the fruit was blown
out of trees. Widespread telephone and power outages were
reported. The strong southwest winds associated with Donna, in
combination with very little rainfall, led to a significant deposit of
salt spray, which whitewashed southwest-facing windows. Many trees and
shrubs saw their leaves brown due to the salt. However, in other
areas, 4 to 6 inches (100 to 150 mm) of precipitation fell,
causing some washouts and local flooding. Waves along the coast ripped
small boats and pleasure craft from their moorings and subsequently
smashed them against rocks or seawalls.
In Vermont, winds damaged trees, tree branches, and power lines,
causing telephone and electrical service outages in a few communities.
Rainfall totals ranged 2–5 inches (51–127 mm), resulting in
washouts in some areas. Damage to apple orchards totaled $50,000.
Along the coast of New Hampshire, many boats were smashed or damaged
in some way. Strong winds felled trees and power lines, causing
residents in the southern portions of the state to lose telephone
service and electricity. Additionally, apple orchards suffered
$200,000 in damage. Rainfall in the state peaked at 7.25 inches
(184 mm) near Peterborough, resulting in local flooding and
Along the coast, large waves damaged 15 to 20 boats in Falmouth,
Maine harbor. Total boat damage was estimated at $250,000. Coastal
residents in low-lying beach areas of Cumberland and York counties
were evacuated in Maine. Several counties lost power during the storm.
In Southwest Harbor, lightning struck the Dirigo Hotel, causing a fire
that resulted in $100,000 in damages. Winds caused a lost of telephone
and electrical services in the Auburn-Lewiston area due to falling
trees or tree branches. Television antennas were damaged, as were
several signs, including a
Sears sign. In addition, 25% to 40% of the
apple crop was destroyed.
After becoming extratropical, the remnants of Donna continued
northeastward into New Brunswick, Quebec, and then Labrador. Wind
gusts of 53 mph (85 km/h) in
Quebec snapped electrical poles
and trees. One death occurred when a man suffered a heart attack when
his home was threatened by a fire. Additionally, weather-related
traffic accidents in the province resulted in two injuries.
Depictions in popular culture
John Steinbeck wrote about
Hurricane Donna in his
1962 non-fiction memoir Travels with Charley: In Search of America.
Steinbeck had had a truck fitted with a custom camper-shell for a
journey he intended to take across the United States, accompanied by
his poodle Charley. He planned on leaving after Labor Day from his
home in Sag Harbor, Long Island, New York. Steinbeck delayed his trip
slightly due to Donna, which made a direct hit on Long Island.
Steinbeck wrote of saving his boat during the middle of the hurricane,
during which he jumped into the water and was blown to shore clinging
to a fallen branch driven by the high winds. It was an exploit which
foreshadowed his fearless, or even reckless, state of mind to dive
into the unknown.
The winds of Donna can be seen in the feature film Blast of Silence
(1961); a fist fight scene on
Long Island had been previously
scheduled, and the filmmakers decided to go ahead and shoot the
exterior scene despite the hurricane.
Aftermath, records and retirement
See also: List of retired Atlantic hurricane names
Following the storm,
President of the United States
President of the United States Dwight D.
Eisenhower issued a disaster declaration for
Florida and North
Carolina, allowing residents of those states to be eligible for public
The United States military sent a plane carrying doctors and food from
Patrick Air Force Base
Patrick Air Force Base to
Mayaguana in the Bahamas. Crews of
doctors and workers with food and supplies left from Key West and
Miami to traverse the
Florida Keys, bringing aid to affected
residents. In Marathon, a large reconstruction program
rehabilitated the key by Christmas.
Coral reefs were damaged in the
Key Largo National Marine Sanctuary by
the hurricane. Donna caused a significant negative impact on
aquatic life in north
Florida Bay. Marine life was either stranded by
retreating salt water which had been driven inland or killed by
muddied waters in its wake. Oxygen depletion due to animals perishing
in the hurricane caused additional mortality. Although salinity levels
returned to normal within six weeks, dissolved oxygen concentrations
remained quite low for a longer time frame. Marine life was scarce for
several months in areas of greatest oxygen depletion. Sports fishing
in the area took a few months to recover. Juvenile pink shrimp moved
from their estuarine nursery grounds into deeper water about 60 miles
(97 km) offshore, where they were subsequently captured by
Caspian tern was swept up the North American coast
well to the north of its traditional breeding grounds, to Nova Scotia,
which was witnessed four hours after the storm went by Digby Neck.
Because of its devastating impacts and the high mortality associated
with the hurricane, the name "Donna" was retired, and will never again
be used for an Atlantic hurricane; the name was replaced by "Dora" in
Tropical cyclones portal
Hurricane Irma– Another intense hurricane with a similar track in
Hurricane Charley – similar track across I-4 corridor
Hurricane Luis – similarly strong hurricane in 1995 that struck the
northeastern Caribbean Sea, but subsequently turned out to sea
Category 4 Atlantic hurricanes
List of Delaware hurricanes
Florida hurricanes (1950–74)
New England hurricanes
List of New York hurricanes
North Carolina hurricanes (1950–79)
List of wettest tropical cyclones in Massachusetts
^ NOAA. "Hurricane and Tropical Cyclones: Major Hurricane Donna". The
Weather Underground. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Gordon E. Dunn (March 1961). "The
Hurricane Season of 1960" (PDF). Monthly Weather Review. United States
Weather Bureau. 89: 99; 104–107.
^ Ralph Higgs (1960-09-02). Hurricane Advisory Number 1 Donna (GIF)
(Report). San Juan Weather Bureau. Retrieved 2013-09-03.
^ Tropical Storm "Donna" September 2-13, 1960 Preliminary Report (GIF)
(Report). United States Weather Bureau. Retrieved 2013-09-03.
^ a b c d "Atlantic hurricane best track (HURDAT version 2)".
Hurricane Research Division (Database). Miami, FL: National Hurricane
Center. April 11, 2017. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
^ Ralph Higgs (1960-09-04). Hurricane Advisory Number 8 Donna (GIF)
(Report). San Juan Weather Bureau. Retrieved 2013-09-03.
^ a b c Hurricane "Donna" Chronology, September 2-13, 1960 (Report).
United States Weather Bureau
United States Weather Bureau Office of Climatology. 1960. Retrieved
Puerto Rico Braces for Hurricane". The Victoria Advocate.
Associated Press. 1960-09-05. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
^ "Hurricane Howls Towards Mainland". The Gadsden Times. Associated
Press. 1960-09-05. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
^ a b c "Deadly 'Donna' Seems Sure to Slam into Florida". The
Times-News. United Press International. 1960-09-09. Retrieved
^ a b c "Storm Nears
Florida Coast". The Windsor Star. 1960-09-09.
^ a b c d e "Savage Hurricane 'Donna' Aims for Florida; Winds 150
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Hurricane Donna.
Images from the Naples Daily News of Donna
Historic Images of
Florida Hurricanes (
Florida State Archives)
NOAA Hurricane Research Division Donna page
HPC Rainfall Page on Donna
Retired Atlantic hurricane names
Tropical cyclones of the 1960 Atlantic hurricane season
Costliest Atlantic hurricanes on Record