Hurricanes and Tropical Storms - September 2002

September 2002 was the most active month of any year on record with the formation of eight named storms. Four of these storms became hurricanes and in addition, there was one tropical depression which did not reach tropical storm strength. Tropical Storm Dolly, which formed in August also persisted into September.

The first hurricane of the 2002 season developed in early September. Hurricane Gustav, shown in the satellite image to the right, was a subtropical storm on September 8th and touched Cape Hatteras, NC on the 10th before turning to the northeast and becoming a category 1 hurricane on the 11th. Maximum sustained winds reached 80 knots (~90 mph), and minimum central pressure was 960mb. This is the latest date that the first hurricane of the season has formed in the Atlantic since 1941.
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Hurricane Isidore was the second hurricane of the season and strengthened to hurricane force on September 19th, quickly intensifying to a category 2 hurricane by the 20th. Maximum sustained winds of 110 kts (127 mph) (a category 3 hurricane) were reached late on Saturday 21st and persisted throughout Sunday 22nd. After pounding western Cuba and causing heavy flooding there, Isidore skirted the Yucatan shore on Sunday and then abrubtly swung inland over the peninsula causing at least 2 deaths and extensive damage and power loss across northern Yucatan. As much as 12-20 inches of rain fell over the northern coastline. Isidore weakened as it remained over the Yucatan Peninsula and then moved northward across the Gulf of Mexico to make landfall on the Louisiana coast, just west of Grand Isle as a 70pmh tropical storm on the 26th. Isidore caused torrential rain to fall across a wide area of the U.S., producing totals of over 6-12 inches from Louisiana to Tennessee and Kentucky.
The most intense hurricane of the 2002 season so far developed in late September, though did not reach peak instensity until early October. Hurricane Lili, shown in the satellite image to the right, began as a tropical depression on September 13th approximately 1,000 miles west of the Lesser Antilles. By the 23rd, Lili had moved across the Windward Islands as a tropical storm. As it moved across the Caribbean, Lili fluctated in intensity and was a category 1 hurricane near western Cuba on October 1st. Continued below in October section.
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Other tropical storms in September included:
  • Tropical Storm Edouard from the 1st-6th of September, which came ashore along the eastern Florida coast on September 4th while at minimal tropical storm strength. The storm quickly weakened further and failed to reintensify after re-emerging over Gulf waters on the 5th;
  • Tropical Storm Fay from the 5th-8th. This storm resulted in heavy rainfall south of Houston and Galveston after making landfall on the 7th of September between Houston and Corpus Christi;
  • and Tropical Storm Hanna came ashore in the northern Gulf near Mobile, Alabama, on the 14th and tracked northeastward across the southeast bringing moderate to heavy rainfall to the Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina region, and led to flooding in the southwest portion of Georgia. According to the National Weather Service, Donalsonville in Seminole County Georgia received 14.59 inches (370mm) of rain in a 24-hour period, most of which fell on the morning of Sunday 15th of September.
  • Josephine never threatened land, was a short-lived system and was a minimal tropical storm at peak intensity. It formed on the 17th and became an extratropical storm on the 19th.
  • Kyle developed from a non-tropical low on the 20th of September and has become one of the top ten longest lived tropical systems on record. Erratically moving around the Atlantic throughout its life, and existing at hurricane strength for several days, it never threatened land during September (see October section for more details).

  • Citing This Report

    NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, State of the Climate: Hurricanes and Tropical Storms for September 2002, published online October 2002, retrieved on January 22, 2018 from