Hurricane Ivan was the 10th most intense Atlantic hurricane ever recorded.
The cyclone was also the sixth hurricane and the fourth major hurricane of the active 2004 Atlantic hurricane season. Ivan formed as a Cape Verde-type hurricane in early September and became the ninth named storm, the sixth hurricane, and the fourth major hurricane of the year. It had reached Category 5 strength on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale, the strongest possible category. At its peak in the Gulf of Mexico, Ivan was the size of the state of Texas. It also spawned 117 tornadoes across the eastern United States.
Hurricane Ivan generated a 27 m high storm wave considered to be the highest and most intense ever registered in history, according to scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) who conducted an aerial photographic survey on the path and impact of the destructive hurricane.
Ivan's strongest winds and surge lifted up a huge mass of ocean water from the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico in September, 2004.The Gulf spilled across the Caribbean islands in a strong current capable of transporting massive amounts of sand landward, undermining buildings and roads, and opening new island breaches. On top of the surge, breaking waves nearly as tall as the water was deep, eroded dunes and battered structures.
A strengthened Hurricane Ivan headed toward the tip of western Cuba with 160 mph winds Monday after pummeling the Cayman Islands with flooding that swamped homes and fierce winds that ripped off roofs.
The slow-moving, extremely dangerous Category 5 storm, one of the strongest on record to hit the region, killed at least 68 people across the Caribbean before reaching the Caymans, and threatens millions more in its projected path.
Parts of low-lying Grand Cayman, the largest island in the territory of 45,000 people, were swamped under up to 8 feet of water Monday and residents stood on rooftops of flooded homes. A car floated by the second story of one building, and a resident called Radio Cayman to report seeing two bodies floating off the beach. Police said they could not confirm the report.
Tropical Depression Ivan developed late in the afternoon on Thursday, September 2, 2004, 550 miles southwest of the Cape Verde Islands. Ivan became a Tropical Storm early on Saturday, September 4, 2004, approximately 1600 miles east-southeast of the Lesser Antilles. Ivan was moving west at 18 MPH. Ivan became the 5th Hurricane of the 2004 Atlantic season at around 500 AM, Sunday, September 5, 2004, 1200 miles east-southeast of the Lesser Antilles. Ivan's maximum sustained winds had increased to 75 MPH, with a minimum pressure of 987 MB.
Ivan strengthened into the fourth major Hurricane of the 2004 Atlantic at 100 PM, Sunday, September 5, 2004. Ivan had maximum sustained winds of 115 MPH, while located 995 miles east of the Windward Islands. From September 7 through September 13, Hurricane Ivan maintained at least category 4 intensity during its journey across the central Atlantic into the Caribbean. Ivan reached Category 5 intensity on several occasions during this period. Along its general west-northwest course, Ivan affected Grenada, the Windward Islands, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, and the western part of Cuba before moving turning to the north and reaching the Gulf of Mexico late on September 13, 2004.