Hurricanes & Tropical Storms - September 2008


NCDC transitioned to the nClimDiv dataset on Thursday, March 13, 2014. This was coincident with the release of the February 2014 monthly monitoring report. For details on this transition, please visit our public FTP site and our U.S. Climate Divisional Database site.


Atlantic Basin

Hurricane Hanna
Hurricane Hanna Satellite Image

(high resolution - 7.8 mb)
Hurricane Hanna Track
Hurricane Hanna Track

Safir Simpson Color Legend for Track Map from Unisys
Saffir-Simpson Scale Color Legend

Hanna was officially the eighth named tropical cyclone of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season on August 28. Influenced by Hurricane Gustav's circulation, Hanna drifted to the south from September 1-September 3. Conditions were favorable enough for the convection around the center to increase and the National Hurricane Center (NHC) upgraded Hanna to a hurricane on the afternoon of September 1, but just two days later the NHC downgraded the storm. After making a counter clockwise loop between the Turks and Caicos Islands, the storm moved from the west-northwest to the north for the next 3 days, and on September 6, Hanna made landfall near the border of the Carolinas as a tropical storm with a pressure of 983 mb and winds 102-111 km/h (55-60 kt or 63-69 mph). After turning northwestward, Hanna moved along the Atlantic Coast states and on September 7, made a 2nd landfall over Long Island. The storm's lowest measured pressure was 978 mb and highest winds were measured at 129 km/h (70 knots or 80 mph). Despite the storm's minimal hurricane status it still caused 536 deaths across Haiti and the U.S. Flooding in northern Haiti was the major cause of deaths and only minor damage was reported in the U.S. More information on the storm's impact on Haiti can be found on the Global Hazards page. More information on Hanna is available from the NOAA National Hurricane Center.


Hurricane Ike
Hurricane Ike Satellite Image

(high resolution - 5.6 mb)
Tropical Storm Ike Track
Hurricane Ike Track

Safir Simpson Color Legend for Track Map from Unisys
Saffir-Simpson Scale Color Legend

In late August, a well defined tropical disturbance off the coast of Africa slowly tracked westward and eventually became Tropical Storm Ike on September 1. By the afternoon of September 3, Ike had intensified to hurricane status. With the aid of nearly zero vertical wind sheer, a strong low over the northwestern Atlantic and an upper-level trough in control over the eastern Atlantic, Hurricane Ike was able to intensify quickly into a Category 4 storm with a peak intensity of 233 km/h (126 knots or 145 mph) and a pressure of 935 mb. Ike's minimum central pressure of 935 mb, recorded on September 4, is the lowest pressure for the 2008 season. Strong northwesterly sheer on September 5 weakened Ike to a Category 3 storm as it moved westward towards Cuba, but as conditions improved, Ike strengthened back to a Category 4 Hurricane on September 6. Hurricane Ike made landfall in Cuba near Cabo Lucrecia on September 7 with winds estimated at 203-213 km/h (110-115 knots or 127-132 mph). More information on the effects of Ike on Cuba can be found on the Global Hazards page.

By September 9, Ike emerged into the southern Gulf of Mexico as a Category 1 hurricane. Unlike Ike's history in the Atlantic, the Hurricane was not as quick to re-intensify in the Gulf, however, it was able to grow in diameter encompassing nearly the entire Gulf of Mexico. The unusually large storm produced hurricane force winds as far as 193 km (120 miles) from the center and tropical storm force winds extending 445 km (275 miles). The large wind field caused tides around Galveston Island to rise as much as nine feet 24 hours before the storm made landfall. When Hurricane Ike made landfall at Galveston Island during the early morning hours of September 13, its winds were sustained at 176 km/h (95 knots or 109 mph) and the pressure was at 952 mb, enough to be a strong Category 2 hurricane. At the time of landfall, aircraft dropsondes and land-based Doppler radar measured wind speeds approximately 91 meters (300 feet) above the surface at 209 km/h (115 knots or 130 mph). These strong winds caused major damage to the high rise buildings in the downtown Houston area as well as some of the oil refineries in Texas City. Already suffering from the destruction that Hurricane Gustav created, the Gulf Coast oil companies had nearly 100% of its crude oil production, as well as 98% of all natural gas production disrupted from Ike (Associated Press). Storm surge was the major cause of damage associated with Ike as tidal gauges in the northwestern Gulf registered well above normal during a 3-day period. Some of the hardest hit areas were just north of Galveston on the Bolivar Peninsula where the towns of Crystal Beach, Caplen, and Gilchrist were destroyed. The storm surge in Louisiana was 5-13 feet. Terrebonne Parrish, which was not flooded from a direct hit by Hurricane Gustav, lost approximately 13,000 homes. By the afternoon on September 13, Ike barely maintained tropical storm status as it moved across eastern Texas and north-western Arkansas. After weather patternmerging with a cold front on the morning of September 14, Ike weakened to a tropical storm, but not before causing major flooding and wind damage to the Ohio Valley region. Record daily rainfall totals were broken as Wichita, KS set a new 24-hour rainfall record of 10.31 inches and Helena, OK set a daily record of 8.74 inches on the 12th. On the 13th, Chicago O'Hare AP set a daily record of 6.64 inches and Laporte, IN set a daily record of 6.73 inches. Preliminary reports indicate that there were 8 deaths in the U.S., but there are about 130 missing persons from the Houston/Galveston area. More information on Ike is available from the NOAA National Hurricane Center.


Tropical Storm Josephine
Tropical Storm Josephine Satellite Image

Tropical Storm Josephine Track
Tropical Storm Josephine Track

Safir Simpson Color Legend for Track Map from Unisys
Saffir-Simpson Scale Color Legend

On September 2, Tropical Depression Josephine formed to the south-southeast of the Cape Verde Islands. Later the same day, Josephine was upgraded to a tropical storm. Conditions were not favorable for strengthening during the next few days, as strong upper level wind shear and dry air dominated the region. Josephine weakened into a depression on September 5 and by the next morning it had deteriorated into a remnant low. Josephine's highest winds were measured at 100 km/h (56 knots or 65 mph) and the storm's lowest pressure was measured at 994 mb. More information on Josephine is available from the NOAA National Hurricane Center.


Hurricane Kyle
Hurricane Kyle Satellite Image

Hurricane Kyle Track
Hurricane Kyle Track

Safir Simpson Color Legend for Track Map from Unisys
Saffir-Simpson Scale Color Legend

A low pressure system that plagued Hispaniola and Puerto Rico during the third week of September developed into Tropical Storm Kyle on the 25th. Influenced by a ridge over the central Atlantic and a low pressure area over the eastern U.S., Kyle maintained a swift northerly motion. Despite the strong southwesterly upper level shear, Kyle was able to gain hurricane status on the afternoon of the 27th. As Kyle moved over the cool waters of the North Atlantic, it barely maintained its hurricane intensity. With very little of its convection remaining, Kyle was downgraded to a tropical storm on the evening of September 28, but not before making landfall near Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. Hurricane Kyle's maximum intensity was 129 km/h (70 knots or 80 mph) and 984 mb. More information on Kyle is available from the NOAA National Hurricane Center.


Tropical Storm Laura
Tropical Storm Laura Image

Tropical Storm Laura Track
Tropical Storm Laura Track

Safir Simpson Color Legend for Track Map from Unisys
Saffir-Simpson Scale Color Legend

Tropical Storm Laura was the twelfth named storm of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season. It formed west of the Azores on September 29 and due to its non-tropical characteristics, was initially declared a subtropical storm. On the afternoon of the 30th, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) determined that the radius of the strongest winds had contracted to 111 km (69 miles), the cloud tops had become colder and it had separated itself from an upper-level low. These factors attributed to the storm's re-classification as a tropical storm. However, by October 1, the NHC determined that Laura's convection had diminished and the cloud pattern was not distinct—reasons enough to downgrade the storm to a remnant low. The extratropical system then traveled to the east eventually bringing heavy wind and rains to the British Isles on October 5. Tropical Storm Laura had a peak sustained wind of 95 km/h (52 knots or 60 mph) and its lowest recorded pressure was 993 mb. More information on Laura is available from the NOAA National Hurricane Center.



Pacific Basin

Tropical Storm Lowell
Tropical Storm Lowell Satellite Image

(high resolution)
Tropical Storm Lowell Track
Tropical Storm Lowell Track


Safir Simpson Color Legend for Track Map from Unisys
Saffir-Simpson Scale Color Legend

Tropical Storm Lowell developed from a large system of thunderstorms southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico on September 6. The storm impacted the southern tip of Baja, California as it moved to the northeast. By September 10, the storm had weakened to a tropical depression and dissipated on September 11. Although the storm did not result in any deaths, it did produce copious amounts of rainfall in the central northern U.S., causing significant flooding and minor damage. The lowest observed pressure was 996 mb and the highest wind speed was 97 km/hr (52 knots or 60 mph). More information on Tropical Storm Lowell is available from the NOAA National Hurricane Center.



Tropical Storm Karina
Tropical Storm Karina Satellite Image
Tropical Storm Karina Track
Tropical Storm Karina Track


Safir Simpson Color Legend for Track Map from Unisys
Saffir-Simpson Scale Color Legend

Tropical Storm Karina was a short-lived Pacific storm that organized on September 2. It traveled to the northwest, but due to persistent easterly shear the storm could not remain organized. The National Hurricane Center issued the last advisory on Karina on September 3. Its lowest pressure was measured to be 1000 mb and its highest winds were 65 km/hr (35 knots or 40 mph). More information on Tropical Storm Karina is available from the NOAA National Hurricane Center.


Citing This Report

NOAA National Climatic Data Center, State of the Climate: Hurricanes & Tropical Storms for September 2008, published online October 2008, retrieved on September 19, 2014 from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/tropical-cyclones/2008/9.