Hurricane Bonnie
Category 4 hurricane (SSHS)
Formed July 6
Dissipated July 22
Highest winds 145 mph (230 km/h)
(1-min sustained)
Lowest pressure 944 mb
Damages $11.4 billion (2004 USD)
Fatalities 45
Areas affected Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, Turks and Caicos, Bahamas, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania
Part of the
2004 Atlantic hurricane season

Hurricane Bonnie was the first of six tropical cyclones in 2004 to affect the United States. Bonnie developed from a tropical wave that moved off the coast of Africa on July 5. It rapidly intensified into a tropical storm on July 7. Bonnie reached hurricane strength on July 10. The hurricane reached peak intensity on July 14 with winds of 145 mph. On July 21, Bonnie made landfall on North Carolina with winds of 105 mph, causing widespread damage.

Meteorological history

On July 5, a tropical disturbance developed off the west coast of Africa and the NHC gave it a 40% chance of development. Thunderstorm and shower activity increased, and the NHC raised the possibility to 90% on July 6. Later that day, Tropical Depression Two formed. Strengthening continued, and reached tropical storm status at 1200 UTC on July 7. Strong wind shear, at first, prevented strengthening. The shear abated and Bonnie strengthened into a hurricane near 0000 UTC on July 10. While well to the northeast of the Lesser Antilles, the storm strengthened into a major hurricane on July 13. The NHC noted that Bonnie could become a strong Category 4 hurricane. It did so, and reached Category 4 strength at about 0600 UTC on July 14. Fluctuations in intensity occurred throughout the next few days. Bonnie weakened into a Category 2 hurricane late on July 20, but re-strengthened into a major hurricane several hours later. The hurricane weakened slightly before making landfall near Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina with winds of 105 mph at about 2310 UTC on July 21. Rapid weakening occurred over land, and Bonnie unexpectedly dissipated late on July 22.


Widespread flooding hit Haiti, washing out an estimated 113,000 houses. As a result, 25 people died and 400 were injured. As the eyewall struck the Bahamas, strong winds blew roofs of houses, which caused about $700 million in damage.

Storm surge reached 10-15 ft in North Carolina, producing flooding reaching 3 miles inland. 841,000 houses were swept away due to the flooding, which left 410,000 homeless. A state of emergency was declared by George W. Bush in South Carolina and North Carolina.

Two months after the disaster, it was revealed that in the United States alone, Bonnie had caused $10.7 billion in damage.