Remembering Hurricane Ivan 15 years later

Satellite imagery of a powerful Category 4 Hurricane Ivan approaching Jamaica on September 9, 2004 (Photo: NASA Scientific Visualisation Studio)

On that fateful weekend, between September 10 and 11, 2004, Hurricane Ivan brushed just south of the island – lashing Jamaica with torrential rains, landslides and widespread destruction.

Ivan, a Category 4 storm when it passed 30 kilometres south of Clarendon, resulted in 17 deaths, and caused damage across the island, with southern parishes suffering the greatest toll to infrastructure.

A Jamaican family looks helplessly as a house crumbles following the passage of Hurricane Ivan (Photo: Emma Lewis)

Ivan, officially the ninth-costliest Atlantic hurricane, racked up an eye-watering bill of around US$26.1 billion in damage across the Caribbean, Venezuela, sections of the US and Mexico.

Throughout Jamaica, Hurricane Ivan left US$575 million in damage.

These motor vehicles buried inches in thick mud after a landslide in St. Andrew (Photo:

Hurricane-force winds buffeted the entire island, while heavy rainfall triggered widespread mudslides and flooding. More than 5,600 houses were destroyed by the storm, with another 41,400 suffering varying degrees of damage.  Extensive sections of Jamaica’s major utility networks were damaged.

Overall, Hurricane Ivan left 18,000 people homeless as a result of the floodwaters and high winds.

The southern coastline of Clarendon was hardest hit by Ivan’s near-direct landfall. (Photo:

The powerful system, the fourth major hurricane in the active 2004 season, was described as one of the most devastating in Jamaica’s recorded history, with about 500,000 Jamaicans being told to evacuate from coastal areas.

Then-Prime Minister P.J. Patterson declared a public emergency, saying that the nation had to “prepare for the worst-case scenario”.

In the aftermath of the storm, looters reportedly roamed the streets of Kingston robbing emergency responders at gunpoint.

No one will be hearing the ‘Ivan’ being attached to any other storm, as the name was retired due to the scope of its impact across the Caribbean, and Mexico as well parts of North and South America.

Beachfront damage in Florida after the clouds cleared from ‘Terrible Ivan’ (Photo:

BUZZ fam, where were you when Hurricane Ivan passed by Jamaica? Did your home suffer any damage during the storm?

Where does Hurricane Ivan rank for you, was it the worst storm you’ve experienced?

Sound off in the comments section below!