Hurricanes and Tropical Storms - September 2018


Note: This report catalogs recent tropical cyclones across the North Atlantic and East Pacific and places each basin's tropical cyclone activity in a climate-scale context. It is not updated in real time. Users seeking real time status and forecasts of tropical cyclones should visit The National Hurricane Center.

North Atlantic

September 2018 Tropical Cyclone Counts
Storm Type September 2018 September 1981-2010 Average Record Most for September
Period of Record: 1851-2018
Tropical Storm
(Winds > 39 mph)
7 4.0 8
(2002, 2007, 2010)
Hurricane
(Winds > 74 mph)
4 2.6
5
(1955, 1969, 1981, 1998, 2000, 2005, 2017)
Major Hurricane
(Winds > 111 mph)
1 1.3 4
(1953, 1961, 2017)
September 2018 Individual Tropical Cyclones
Name Dates of winds
>39 mph
Maximum
Sustained Winds
Minimum
Central Pressure
Landfall
Hurricane Florence (Cat. 4) August 31st–September 17th 140 mph 939 mb Wrightsville Beach, NC
Tropical Storm Gordon September 3rd–8th 70 mph 997 mb Near Alabama/Mississippi border
Hurricane Helene (Cat. 2) September 7th–16th 110 mph 966 mb N/A — impacted parts of the British Isles
Hurricane Isaac (Cat. 1) September 7th–15th 75 mph 993 mb N/A — impacted Windward Islands
Tropical Storm Joyce September 12th–19th 50 mph 997 mb N/A
Tropical Storm Kirk September 22nd–29th 60 mph 998 mb N/A
Hurricane Leslie (Cat. 1) September 25th– on-going at time of publication 90 mph 969 mb N/A

Significant Events

Hurricane Florence was a long-lived tropical cyclone that brought devastating flooding to the Carolinas in September 2018. The storm became a tropical depression on August 31st off the African Coast. The storm moved slowly to the West and strengthened along its route, reaching Cat. 4 hurricane strength on September 4th. Florence encountered high wind shear and weakened back to tropical storm status. The storm eventually entered a favorable environment with warm sea surface temperatures and low wind shear and re-strengthened into a Cat. 4 hurricane, reaching its peak intensity with winds of 138 mph. As the storm slowly drifted to towards the Carolina Coast it underwent and Eye Wall Replacement Cycle and entrained dry air into the circulation, causing it to weaken to a Cat. 1 hurricane before making landfall on September 14th with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.

Florence moved extremely slowly after making landfall, with a forward motion between 3 and 5 mph, and at points moving nearly parallel to the coast. This caused a prolonged surge event along the Carolina coast and extremely high rainfall totals. Numerous locations observed over 30 inches of precipitation from the storm with rivers across the eastern Carolinas cresting at new record high levels. The highest rainfall total was reported near Elizabethtown, NC with a total of 35.93 inches. Many locations in the region were already on track to have their wettest year on record before Florence, so the precipitation fell on saturated soils. Some locations observed flooding that was classified as a 1-in 1,000 year flood event. Wind gusts over 105 mph were also observed along the coast adding to the devastation. The flood event was prolonged and lasted several weeks as the copious amounts of water that fell across inland areas made their way through the rivers to the ocean. One of the hardest hit communities was New Bern, North Carolina where the heavy rains and prolonged storm surge caused water to rise and inundate large parts of the city. Over 800,000 customers lost power during the event. At least 34 tornadoes were also spawned by the storm as it moved inland and eventually into the Mid-Atlantic with several tornadoes across the Richmond, Virginia metro area. There were at least 51 fatalities blamed on the storm and damages are expected to easily exceed $1 billion.


East Pacific

September 2018 Tropical Cyclone Counts
Storm Type September 2018 September 1981-2010 Average Record Most for September
Period of Record: 1949-2018
Tropical Storm
(Winds >39 mph)
4 3.6 7
(2016)
Hurricane
(Winds >74 mph)
3 2.2
6
(1992 and 2016)
Major Hurricane
(Winds >111 mph)
3 1.1 4
(1972, 1993)
September 2018 Individual Tropical Cyclones
Name Dates of winds
>39 mph
Maximum
Sustained Winds
Minimum
Central Pressure
Landfall
Hurricane Norman (Cat. 4) August 28th– September 9th 150 mph 937 mb N/A
Hurricane Olivia (Cat. 4) September 1st–14th 130 mph 948 mb Maui and Lanai, Hawaii
Tropical Storm Paul September 8th– 12th 45 mph 1002 mb N/A
Hurricane Rosa (Cat. 4) September 25th – October 2nd 145 mph 940 mb Along Baja California, Mexico

Citing This Report

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, State of the Climate: Hurricanes and Tropical Storms for September 2018, published online October 2018, retrieved on October 22, 2018 from https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/tropical-cyclones/201809.

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