1988 Atlantic hurricane season

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1988 Atlantic hurricane season
1988 Atlantic hurricane season summary map.png
Season summary map
Seasonal boundaries
First system formedMay 31, 1988
Last system dissipatedNovember 24, 1988
Strongest storm
Name Gilbert
(Second most intense hurricane in the Atlantic basin)
  Maximum winds185 mph (295 km/h)
(1-minute sustained)
  Lowest pressure888 mbar (hPa; 26.22 inHg)
Seasonal statistics
Total depressions19
Total storms12
Hurricanes5
Major hurricanes
(Cat. 3+)
3
Total fatalities550
Total damage$4.86 billion (1988 USD)
Related articles
Atlantic hurricane seasons
1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990

The 1988 Atlantic hurricane season was a near average season that proved costly and deadly, with 15  tropical cyclones directly affecting land. The season officially began on June 1, 1988, and lasted until November 30, 1988, although activity began on May 30 when a tropical depression developed in the Caribbean. The June through November dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic basin. The first cyclone to attain tropical storm status was Alberto on August 8, nearly a month later than usual. [1] The final storm of the year, Tropical Storm Keith, became extratropical on November 24.

Contents

The season produced 19 tropical depressions of which 12 attained tropical storm status. One tropical storm was operationally classified as a tropical depression but was reclassified in post-analysis. Five tropical cyclones reached hurricane status of which three became major hurricanes reaching Category 3 on the Saffir–Simpson scale.

The most notable cyclone of the season was Hurricane Gilbert, which at the time was the strongest Atlantic hurricane on record. The hurricane tracked through the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico and caused devastation in Mexico and many island nations, particularly Jamaica. Its passage caused $2.98 billion in damage (1988  USD) [nb 1] and more than 300 deaths, mostly in Mexico. Hurricane Joan, striking Nicaragua as a Category 4 hurricane, caused about US$1.87 billion in damage and more than 200 deaths. The hurricane crossed into the eastern Pacific Ocean and was reclassified as Tropical Storm Miriam.

Seasonal forecasts

Predictions of tropical activity in the 1988 season
SourceDateNamed
storms
HurricanesMajor
hurricanes
CSU [2] June117Unknown
Record high activity 30 15 7
Record low activity 1 0 (tie)0
Actual activity1253

Forecasts of hurricane activity are issued before each hurricane season by noted hurricane experts such as Dr. William M. Gray and his associates at Colorado State University. A normal season as defined by NOAA has six to fourteen named storms of which four to eight reach hurricane strength and one to three become major hurricanes. The June 1988 forecast was that eleven storms would form and that seven would reach hurricane status. The forecast did not specify how many hurricanes would reach major hurricane status. [2]

Seasonal summary

Tropical Storm Keith (1988)Hurricane Joan–MiriamHurricane GilbertHurricane Florence (1988)Hurricane Debby (1988)Tropical Storm Chris (1988)Tropical Storm Beryl (1988)Tropical Depression One (1988)Saffir-Simpson scale1988 Atlantic hurricane season

The Atlantic hurricane season officially began on June 1, [1] but activity in 1988 began two days earlier with the formation of Tropical Depression One on May 30. It was an above average season in which 19  tropical depressions formed. [3] Twelve depressions attained tropical storm status, and five of these attained hurricane status, of which three reached major hurricane status. Four hurricanes and three tropical storms made landfall during the season and caused 550 deaths and $4.86 billion in damage. The last storm of the season, Tropical Storm Keith, dissipated on November 24, [4] only 6 days before the official end of the season on November 30. [1]

The activity in the first two months of the season was limited because of strong wind shear from an upper tropospheric flow. Although vigorous tropical waves moved off the coast of Africa, most of them quickly diminished in intensity as they crossed the tropical Atlantic Ocean. As a result, no tropical depressions formed in June or July. Decreased wind shear in August allowed tropical waves to develop into tropical cyclones. [3] The official storm track forecast errors were 30 to 40 percent lower than the average for the previous 10 years. [4] The 24-, 48-, and 72-hour forecasts were the most accurate in more than 18 years and were also more accurate than in each subsequent season until 1996. [5]

The season's activity was reflected with an accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) rating of 103, which is classified as "near normal". [6] [7] ACE is, broadly speaking, a measure of the power of the hurricane multiplied by the length of time it existed, so storms that last a long time, as well as particularly strong hurricanes, have high ACEs. It is only calculated for full advisories on tropical systems at or exceeding 34 knots (39 mph, 63 km/h), which is tropical storm strength. [7]

Systems

Tropical Depression One

Tropical depression (SSHWS)
01L 1988-05-30 1830Z.png   1-L 1988 track.png
DurationMay 31 – June 2
Peak intensity30 mph (45 km/h) (1-min)  1002  mbar  (hPa)

The first tropical depression of the season formed on May 30 in the northwest Caribbean Sea. The system encountered unfavorable conditions as it moved northward toward Cuba, and a reconnaissance airplane sent to investigate it could not find a well-defined center. [8] The depression remained weak and degenerated on June 2 into an open trough of low pressure in the Florida Straits. [3]

Rainfall from the depression and its precursor peaked at 40.35 in (1025 mm), including a daily peak of 34.13 in (867 mm). [9] The rainfall most affected the province of Cienfuegos, though the provinces of Villa Clara, Sancti Spíritus, Ciego de Ávila, and Camagüey were also impacted. [10] A tornado in the city of Camagüey destroyed five Soviet planes and multiple buildings. [11] Flooding prompted officials to use rescue crews, helicopters, and amphibious vehicles to evacuate 65,000 residents in low-lying areas to higher grounds. The storm left many without power and communications, severely damaged the country's transportation infrastructure, and destroyed six bridges. [11] Flooding from the depression damaged 1,000 houses and destroyed 200 homes in Camagüey Province alone. [12] Throughout Cuba, the depression affected about 90,000 people, injuring dozens [13] and killing a total of 37 people, [10] including three who died from electrocution. [11] In Florida, the depression produced light rain, including 3.18 in (81 mm) at Pompano Beach. [14]

Tropical Storm Alberto

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Alberto 1988-08-07 1430Z.png   Alberto 1988 track.png
DurationAugust 5 – August 8
Peak intensity40 mph (65 km/h) (1-min)  1002  mbar  (hPa)

The season's first named storm originated on August 4 within a weak trough of low pressure that formed off the coast of South Carolina. The next day a low level circulation was detected by satellite, indicating that a tropical depression was forming. By August 6 the storm was designated the second tropical depression of the season. [4] An approaching weak frontal trough pushed the depression northeastward and enhanced its upper-level outflow. On August 7 the system was designated Tropical Storm Alberto at 41.5°N, while located just south of Nantucket, Massachusetts, becoming the northernmost system to intensify into a tropical storm on record. [15] [nb 2] The storm accelerated northeastward at 29 mph (47 km/h) and struck western Nova Scotia that evening with little impact. [15] [16] On August 8 Alberto became extratropical over the cold waters of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. Shortly thereafter it dissipated just north of Newfoundland. [15]

The storm produced peak wind gusts of 48 mph (78 km/h) at Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. Rainfall reached 1.78 inches (45.1 mm) in Saint John, New Brunswick, [16] most of which fell in a short amount of time. The rainfall caused localized flooding, which briefly closed some streets. [17] The extratropical remnants of Alberto also produced light rain and some clouds along western Newfoundland. [16]

Tropical Storm Beryl

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Beryl 1988-08-09 1630Z.png   Beryl 1988 track.png
DurationAugust 8 – August 10
Peak intensity50 mph (85 km/h) (1-min)  1001  mbar  (hPa)

The third tropical depression of the season formed on August 7 from a surface low over southeastern Louisiana. The slow moving system organized as it drifted toward the mouth of the Mississippi River. It soon had enough convective organization for the National Hurricane Center (NHC) to issue an initial advisory on Tropical Depression Three. [18] By August 8 surface winds increased enough to issue tropical storm warnings for Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle. [4] Over the open Gulf, Beryl produced sustained winds of minimal tropical storm force and tropical storm force gusts over coastal Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. [19] Excessive rain fell along the central Gulf Coast, including local amounts of 16 in (410 mm) at Dauphin Island, Alabama. [20]

Maintaining a well-structured outflow, Beryl's circulation on August 9 moved over warm water, where conditions were favorable for further intensification. However, a front approached from the northwest and reversed the storm's course into southeastern Louisiana. [20] The next morning Beryl had weakened to a tropical depression as it moved over the Bayou Teche. Heavy downpours from system's remnants brought more than 12 in (300 mm) of rain to parts of eastern Texas. Overall damage from the storm was light, and only one known death was attributed to the storm. [21]

Tropical Depression Four

Tropical depression (SSHWS)
04L 1988-08-13 1630Z.png   4-L 1988 track.png
DurationAugust 13 – August 14
Peak intensity35 mph (55 km/h) (1-min)  1012  mbar  (hPa)

On August 12 a westward-moving tropical wave developed into Tropical Depression Four near the southern Bahamas. The depression tracked north-northwest along Florida's coast and made landfall near Jacksonville, Florida, the next day. [3] [22] The system spawned gusty winds and thunderstorms along the coasts of Florida and Georgia but caused little damage. [22] The storm moved over south Georgia and the central Gulf Coast while dropping up to 7 in (178 mm) of rain on the Southeast. [23] According to the National Weather Service, winds in some squalls to the north and east of the center reached up to 50 mph (80 km/h). [24] The system finally dissipated as it reemerged over water near the mouth of the Mississippi. [23]

Early predictions from hurricane forecasters said that the depression would strengthen into the season's third tropical storm. [25] Because of unfavorable upper-level conditions and interaction with Bahama islands, the system lost its well defined center as it moved towards Florida's east coast. [22]

Tropical Depression Five

Tropical depression (SSHWS)
05L 1988-08-21 1430Z.png   5-L 1988 track.png
DurationAugust 20 – August 31
Peak intensity35 mph (55 km/h) (1-min)  1006  mbar  (hPa)

A tropical wave in the far eastern Atlantic developed into the fifth tropical depression on August 20. The storm drifted north-northwest of the Cape Verde islands for the next three days with little change in strength. [3] Forecasters were concerned because the depression formed in the breeding ground where other powerful East Coast hurricanes have started. Though the storm was still very weak, they initially predicted it would strengthen. [26]

By August 24 the depression's forward speed had increased to 15 mph (24 km/h) as its movement turned west. Cool ocean temperatures weakened the system and diminished its prospects for restrengthening, [27] and on August 26 Tropical Depression Five degenerated into a tropical wave. The remnants redeveloped on August 30 about 180 miles (290 km) southeast of North Carolina, [3] and the Washington office of the National Weather Service continued to track the system as a gale center until it merged with a front off the East Coast on September 1.[ citation needed ]

Tropical Depression Six

Tropical depression (SSHWS)
06L 1988-08-21 1400Z.png   6-L 1988 track.png
DurationAugust 20 – August 24
Peak intensity35 mph (55 km/h) (1-min)  1006  mbar  (hPa)

Tropical Depression Six developed from a tropical wave that moved off the northwest African coast on August 12. The system crossed the tropical Atlantic as a wave until it began organizing near 55° W on August 19. [28] The next day this system was designated a tropical depression while it approached the Windward Islands. After crossing the islands, the depression continued westward into the central Caribbean and encountered less-favorable conditions. [29] Though poorly organized on August 21, the depression was expected to strengthen into a tropical storm over the western Caribbean's warmer waters. Nevertheless, it was downgraded to a tropical wave at 80° W near the island of Jamaica on August 23. [30] The disturbance moved over Central America with minimal convection but redeveloped into Hurricane Kristy once it reached the eastern Pacific. [28] The system's main effect on land was squally weather on the Windward Islands. [3]

Tropical Storm Chris

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Chris 1988-08-28 1331Z.png   Chris 1988 track.png
DurationAugust 21 – August 29
Peak intensity50 mph (85 km/h) (1-min)  1005  mbar  (hPa)

Chris formed from a strong tropical wave that moved off the west coast of Africa on August 15. By August 21 convection in the northern part of the wave detached and organized into Tropical Depression Seven. [31] The storm tracked westward along the southern periphery of a subtropical high pressure ridge over the mid-Atlantic. [4] For the next seven days, surface and reconnaissance observations found little evidence that the storm was strengthening. As a result, it remained a tropical depression as it moved across portions of the Lesser and Greater Antilles as well as the Bahamas.[ citation needed ]

The depression passed south of Puerto Rico on August 24 and dumped more than 14 in (360 mm) of rain on parts of the island. [32] Three deaths in Puerto Rico were attributed to the weather. [33] On August 28 the storm was upgraded to Tropical Storm Chris as it traveled northward just offshore of Florida. It made landfall near Savannah, Georgia, bringing light rain and wind damage to the area. [33] Weakening to a depression, Chris poured heavy rains on South Carolina, where it merged with a cold front and became extratropical. The low accelerated over the Eastern Seaboard through Nova Scotia and finally dissipated on August 30. [32] Heavy thunderstorms spawned a tornado in South Carolina that resulted in another death. [34]

Hurricane Debby

Category 1 hurricane (SSHWS)
Debby 1988-09-02 1846Z.png   Debby 1988 track.png
DurationAugust 31 – September 5 (Exited basin)
Peak intensity75 mph (120 km/h) (1-min)  987  mbar  (hPa)

Debby formed from the southern part of a tropical wave that became Tropical Storm Chris. In the mid-tropical Atlantic, the northern area of convection detached and became Tropical Depression Seven. The southern portion continued moving westward as a disorganized area of showers. [4] The system did not develop until the low-level center emerged from the Yucatán into the Bay of Campeche on August 31. It is estimated that the storm became Tropical Depression Eight just offshore at around 12 p.m. local time. [31]

Drifting west-northwest over the Gulf of Mexico, the depression organized and reached tropical storm-strength early on September 2. Later that day, based on observations from aircraft reconnaissance, Debby was upgraded to a hurricane. [31] At peak intensity, the hurricane's center was just 30 mi (48 km) from the coast. With little change in intensity, Debby made landfall near Tuxpan, Veracruz, six hours later. [31] The storm brought high winds, inland flooding, and mudslides and caused 10 deaths. [35]

Debby weakened considerably over the Sierra Madre Oriental mountains, although the remnants continued moving across Mexico. The tight center tracked towards the Pacific coast and reemerged near Manzanillo on September 5. Upon entering the Eastern Pacific, the system became Tropical Depression Seventeen-E before dissipating in the Gulf of California on September 8.[ citation needed ]

Tropical Storm Ernesto

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Ernesto 1988-09-04 1600Z.png   Ernesto 1988 track.png
DurationSeptember 3 – September 5
Peak intensity65 mph (100 km/h) (1-min)  994  mbar  (hPa)

On September 2 a cluster of thunderstorms associated with a northwestward-moving tropical wave developed a surface low near Bermuda. Though the surface low remained poorly defined and separate from the convection, the system became a tropical depression on September 3. [36] Under the influence of southwesterlies, the depression accelerated northeastward at 50 mph (80 km/h). Late on September 3 it was upgraded to Tropical Storm Ernesto. The storm continued to strengthen as it lost tropical characteristics. [37] A large extratropical storm over the North Atlantic absorbed Ernesto on September 5. The only land area affected by the storm was in the Azores, where it brought near storm-force winds to Flores Island. [4]

Tropical Depression Ten

Tropical depression (SSHWS)
10L 1988-09-03 1630Z.png   10-L 1988 track.png
DurationSeptember 4 – September 4
Peak intensity35 mph (55 km/h) (1-min)  1004  mbar  (hPa)

A broad low-pressure area formed in the western Gulf of Mexico on September 2 and quickly developed through the next day. By September 3 convection was organized enough to declare the system a tropical depression about 160 mi (260 km) west-southwest of Morgan City, Louisiana. [38] Forecasters issued tropical storm warnings for the coast from Cameron, Louisiana, to Apalachicola, Florida, while the storm moved rapidly northeastward at 15 to 20 mph (32 km/h). [3] However, the depression degenerated a few hours later when it merged with the cold front that had caused its acceleration. Oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico reported winds gusts to 40 mph (64 km/h), and moderate to heavy rains drenched large portions of southeast Texas and Louisiana. [3] The wave dampened over the next 24 hours and brought heavy rain to the rest of the southeast, including a maximum of 8.4 in (210 mm) in Biloxi, Mississippi. [39] No major damage was reported.[ citation needed ]

Unnamed Tropical Storm

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Unnamed TS 1988-09-08 1301Z.png   1988 Atlantic tropical storm 6 track.png
DurationSeptember 7 – September 10
Peak intensity60 mph (95 km/h) (1-min)  994  mbar  (hPa)

A well-organized disturbance moved off the African coast on September 6 and rapidly developed into Tropical Depression Eleven. The NHC began issuing advisories on September 8 while it was 350 mi (560 km) northeast of Cape Verde. An after-the-fact review of satellite and ship reports indicated that the depression reached tropical storm-strength on September 7. [40] [41] However, because of its extreme eastern track, the storm's observational track did not include this information.[ citation needed ]

For three days a large trough of low pressure northwest of the system steered it north-northwest towards cooler waters. Moderate to heavy rain was reported along the west coast of Africa, but no damage was reported. [40] The system eventually weakened and merged with the low pressure trough. This unnamed storm was later added to the list of tropical storms in the annual summary for the Atlantic hurricane season. [4]

Hurricane Florence

Category 1 hurricane (SSHWS)
Florence 1988-09-09 2130Z.png   Florence 1988 track.png
DurationSeptember 7 – September 11
Peak intensity80 mph (130 km/h) (1-min)  982  mbar  (hPa)

A cloud band accompanying a cold front exited the coast of Texas into the Gulf of Mexico on September 4. The band split into two over the central Gulf when the southern portion stalled and the northern portion developed into a frontal wave that tracked northeastward. [42] Convection over the southern portion increased and wrapped around the center of the cloud band. On September 7 the system formed a surface circulation, and tropical depression advisories began that day.[ citation needed ]

The depression drifted eastward under the influence of the dissipating frontal trough and intensified into Tropical Storm Florence, as confirmed by hurricane hunters. [42] The storm turned northward on September 9 and accelerated toward the northern Gulf Coast under the influence of a mid- to upper-level trough. Florence became a hurricane just hours before landfall on the western Mississippi Delta. [4] The storm rapidly weakened over southeastern Louisiana and lost all its deep convection as it passed over the New Orleans area. Florence became a depression on September 10 near Baton Rouge and dissipated the next day over northeast Texas. [42]

Early in its duration the system dropped moderate amounts of rainfall across the Yucatán Peninsula. [43] Upon striking Louisiana, storm surge water levels rose moderately above normal just east of where the center moved ashore. [44] Gusty winds caused power outages to more than 100,000 people. In Alabama one man died while trying to secure his boat. Rainfall from the hurricane caused severe river flooding in portions of the Florida Panhandle in an area already severely affected by heavy rainfall, and the flooding damaged or destroyed dozens of houses in Santa Rosa County. [45]

Hurricane Gilbert

Category 5 hurricane (SSHWS)
Gilbert 1988-09-13 2200Z.png   Gilbert 1988 track.png
DurationSeptember 8 – September 19
Peak intensity185 mph (295 km/h) (1-min)  888  mbar  (hPa)

The 13th tropical depression formed just east of the Lesser Antilles on September 8. As it moved west-northwest, it became Tropical Storm Gilbert over the islands on September 9. The tropical storm turned west and rapidly intensified to a major hurricane on September 11. Gilbert continued to strengthen as it brushed the southern coast of Hispaniola. It passed directly over Jamaica as a Category 3 hurricane and brought torrential rains to the island's mountainous areas. When the center reemerged over water, Gilbert rapidly intensified again. On September 13 the central pressure dropped 72 millibars (2.1 inHg), the fastest deepening of an Atlantic hurricane on record until 2005's Hurricane Wilma. [46] Gilbert's pressure of 888 millibars (26.2 inHg) at the time was the lowest sea level pressure ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere. [47]

Gilbert weakened slightly before landfall on the Yucatán Peninsula, although it struck at Category 5 strength. As the eye moved over land, the storm rapidly lost strength, reemerging on September 15 in the Gulf of Mexico as a Category 2 hurricane. Hurricane Gilbert continued its northwest track and restrengthened to a minimal Category 4 hurricane. On September 16, Gilbert made its final landfall in northeast Mexico near the town of La Pesca with maximum sustained winds of 125 mph (201 km/h). The center passed south of Monterrey, Mexico, on September 17 and brought heavy flooding to the city. Gilbert's remnants turned north and eventually merged with a developing frontal low pressure system over Missouri. [47]

Hurricane Gilbert was the most intense hurricane ever observed in the Atlantic basin until Hurricane Wilma broke this record in 2005. [46] The storm caused $2.98 billion in damage across the Caribbean and into Central America. Gilbert was the first hurricane to make landfall in Jamaica since Hurricane Charlie in 1951. Until 2007's Hurricane Dean, it was also the most recent storm to make landfall as a Category 5 hurricane in Mexico. The death toll from Gilbert was reported to be 318 people, mostly from Mexico. [48]

Hurricane Helene

Category 4 hurricane (SSHWS)
Helene 1988-09-23 1230Z.png   Helene 1988 track.png
DurationSeptember 19 – September 30
Peak intensity145 mph (230 km/h) (1-min)  938  mbar  (hPa)

A tropical wave with deeply organized convection crossed the coast of Africa on September 15. The system was forced west due to a strong ridge in the eastern Atlantic. On September 19 at 18:00 UTC, the system was upgraded to Tropical Depression Fourteen. By 06:00 UTC on September 20, the depression was strengthened, and was upgraded to Tropical Storm Helene. Helene began to turn to the northwest on September 21 due to a major trough in the eastern Atlantic. Later on September 21, Helene intensified into a hurricane. Favorable conditions allowed the storm to continue strengthening, and on September 22, Helene became a major hurricane. Late on the following day, Helene attained its peak intensity; maximum sustained winds were at 145 mph (233 km/h) and the minimum pressure of 938 mbar (27.7 inHg). [49]

After reaching peak intensity, Helene weakened as it tracked generally northward through the open Atlantic. By early on September 29, Helene briefly restrengthened into a Category 2 hurricane and reached a secondary peak of 105 mph (169 km/h). However, later that day, Helene weakened back to a Category 1 hurricane while accelerating to the northeast. At 12:00 UTC on September 30, Helene transitioned into an extratropical cyclone while centered well south of Iceland. The precursor tropical wave produced thunderstorms and gusty winds ranging between 23 and 34 mph (37 and 55 km/h) in Cape Verde on September 17. [49]

Tropical Depression Fifteen

Tropical depression (SSHWS)
15L 1988-09-27 1400Z.png   15-L 1988 track.png
DurationSeptember 27 – September 29
Peak intensity30 mph (45 km/h) (1-min)  1009  mbar  (hPa)

While Hurricane Helene was spinning in the central Atlantic, a tropical wave that moved off the coast of Africa in late September rapidly organized. On September 27 the storm became the fifteenth tropical depression of the season while it was about 265 mi (426 km) south-southeast of Cape Verde. [50] The depression tracked westward at 15 to 20 mph (32 km/h) but weakened rapidly. The next day it was downgraded to a tropical wave while still in the far eastern Atlantic, and never reformed in the Atlantic. [3] Aside from a brief threat to the Cape Verde islands, the system remained far from any landmasses throughout its life.[ citation needed ]

Tropical Storm Isaac

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Isaac 1988-09-29 1600Z.png   Isaac 1988 track.png
DurationSeptember 28 – October 1
Peak intensity45 mph (75 km/h) (1-min)  1005  mbar  (hPa)

A tropical wave moved off the coast of Africa on September 23. It traveled westward at a low latitude along the Intertropical Convergence Zone (or ITCZ), and its convection gradually grew more organized. [51] On September 29 it was identified as Tropical Depression Sixteen about 900 mi (1,400 km) southeast of Barbados. The westward path of the storm shifted two degrees northward, possibly as a result of the formation of a new center. On September 30 the depression was upgraded when an Air Force reconnaissance plane discovered tropical storm-force winds. [4] Westerly vertical wind shear prevented deep convection at the center of the storm. As Isaac approached the islands, northern parts of the Lesser Antilles were issued tropical storm warnings. [4] Nevertheless, the storm lasted only a short time in the shearing environment. Isaac was downgraded to a depression on October 1 and completely dissipated shortly thereafter. [51] The remnants of Isaac eventually regenerated in the eastern Pacific Ocean basin as Tropical Depression Twenty-E. [52]

As a tropical cyclone, Isaac did not significantly affect land. [53] However, the remnants dropped heavy rainfall across Trinidad and Tobago, causing flooding and mudslides that injured 20 people [54] and left at least 30 homeless. [55] Flash flooding in Morvant killed two people. [54] Across the country, the storm damaged roads and bridges. [56]

Hurricane Joan

Category 4 hurricane (SSHWS)
Joan 1988-10-21 1930Z.png   Joan 1988 track.png
DurationOctober 10 – October 23 (Exited basin)
Peak intensity145 mph (230 km/h) (1-min)  932  mbar  (hPa)

On October 10 the 17th tropical depression of the season organized from a disturbance in the ITCZ. For the next two days the system traveled northwest while it strengthened into Tropical Storm Joan. [57] After passing through the southern Lesser Antilles, Joan traveled westward along the South American coast as a minimal tropical storm. It crossed the Guajira Peninsula on October 17 and quickly attained hurricane strength just 30 mi (48 km) from the coast. Hurricane Joan strengthened into a major hurricane on October 19 while drifting westward. The hurricane executed a tight cyclonic loop in which it weakened greatly but rapidly strengthened upon resuming its westward track. [58] Joan reached its peak intensity just before making landfall near Bluefields, Nicaragua, on October 22 as a Category 4 hurricane. Joan at the time was the southernmost Category 4 hurricane ever recorded, but this record has since been broken by Hurricane Ivan. [59] Joan remained well organized as it crossed Nicaragua and emerged in the eastern Pacific Ocean basin as Tropical Storm Miriam. Miriam gradually weakened until dissipating on November 2.[ citation needed ]

Hurricane Joan killed 148 people in Nicaragua and 68 others in affected nations. [60] The hurricane damage in Nicaragua amounted to half of the $1.87 billion total. Joan also brought heavy rainfall and mudslides to countries along the extreme southern Caribbean. [58] Its track along the northern coast of South America was very rare; Joan was one of only a few Atlantic tropical cyclones to move in this way. [61] Joan was also the first tropical cyclone to cross from the Atlantic basin since Hurricane Greta of 1978. [62]

Tropical Depression Eighteen

Tropical depression (SSHWS)
18L 1988-10-20 1400Z.png   18-L 1988 track.png
DurationOctober 19 – October 21
Peak intensity35 mph (55 km/h) (1-min)  1006  mbar  (hPa)

A westward-moving tropical wave, that left the coast of Africa in early October, tracked closely behind Hurricane Joan through the southern Caribbean. [63] In an unusual occurrence the disturbance developed into the 18th tropical depression about 500 mi (800 km) behind the powerful hurricane. An Air Force reconnaissance check of tropical weather on October 19 spotted the depression near Colombia's Guajira Peninsula. Hurricane Joan's small size allowed the depression to remain out-of-reach as it developed. However, the outflow of the hurricane sheared the depression and sapped its energy. [64] The system gradually dissipated on October 21 while Joan was experiencing rapid strengthening just before its arrival on the coast of Nicaragua. [58] The depression brought heavy rain to the Netherlands Antilles. [3] News reports blamed Tropical Depression Eighteen and other tropical systems for bringing swarms of pink locusts from Africa to Trinidad and other Caribbean nations. [63]

Tropical Storm Keith

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Keith 1988-11-21 1830Z.png   Keith 1988 track.png
DurationNovember 17 – November 24
Peak intensity70 mph (110 km/h) (1-min)  985  mbar  (hPa)

The last storm of the season formed from a tropical wave on November 17 to the south of Haiti. It moved westward through the Caribbean and became organized enough to attain tropical storm status on November 20. Keith rapidly organized and peaked with winds of 70 mph (110 km/h) before making landfall on the northeastern portion of the Yucatán Peninsula on November 21. An upper-level trough forced it to the northeast, where upper-level shear and cooler drier air weakened it to minimal storm strength in a pattern typical for November. [4] [65] Keith restrengthened over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico and struck near Sarasota, Florida, on November 23. After crossing the state, it became extratropical on November 24 near Bermuda and became an intense extratropical system over the Atlantic with sustained winds of minimal hurricane force. [4] [66]

Early in its duration Keith produced moderate to heavy rainfall in Honduras, Jamaica, and Cuba. [67] [68] [69] Minimal damage was reported in Mexico, still recovering from the devastating effects of Hurricane Gilbert two months earlier. [70] Keith, the last of four named tropical cyclones to hit the United States during the season, produced moderate rainfall, a rough storm surge, and gusty winds across central Florida. [4] Overall damage was widespread but fairly minor, totaling about $7.3 million. [69] [71] Damage near the coast occurred mainly from storm surge and beach erosion, while damage further inland was limited to flooding and downed trees and power lines. No fatalities were reported. [69]

Storm names

The following names were used for named storms that formed in the north Atlantic in 1988. The names not retired from this list were used again in the 1994 season. This is the same list used for the 1982 season. Storms were named Gilbert, Isaac, Joan and Keith for the first (and only, in the cases of Gilbert and Joan) time in 1988. Florence and Helene were not used in 1982 but had been used in previous lists.

  • Helene
  • Isaac
  • Joan
  • Keith
  • Leslie (unused)
  • Michael (unused)
  • Nadine (unused)
  • Oscar (unused)
  • Patty (unused)
  • Rafael (unused)
  • Sandy (unused)
  • Tony (unused)
  • Valerie (unused)
  • William (unused)

Retirement

The World Meteorological Organization retired two names in the spring of 1989: Gilbert and Joan. They were replaced by Gordon and Joyce in the 1994 season.

Season effects

NameDatesPeak intensityAreas affectedDamage
(USD)
DeathsRefs
Category Wind speedPressure
One May 31 – June 2Tropical depression30 mph (45 km/h)1,002 hPa (29.59 inHg)CubaNone37 [10] [72]
AlbertoAugust 5–8Tropical storm40 mph (65 km/h)1,002 hPa (29.59 inHg)United States East Coast, Atlantic CanadaNoneNone
Beryl August 8–10Tropical storm50 mph (80 km/h)1,001 hPa (29.56 inHg)United States Gulf Coast$3 million1
FourAugust 13–14Tropical depression35 mph (56 km/h)1,012 hPa (29.88 inHg) Florida NoneNone
FiveAugust 20–31Tropical depression35 mph (56 km/h)1,006 hPa (29.71 inHg)NoneNoneNone
SixAugust 20–24Tropical depression35 mph (56 km/h)1,006 hPa (29.71 inHg) Windward Islands NoneNone
Chris August 21–29Tropical storm50 mph (80 km/h)1,005 hPa (29.68 inHg) Leeward Islands, Dominican Republic, Bahamas, United States$1.4 million4
Debby August 31 – September 5Category 1 hurricane75 mph (121 km/h)987 hPa (29.15 inHg) Tuxpan, Veracruz Unknown20
ErnestoSeptember 3–5Tropical storm65 mph (105 km/h)994 hPa (29.35 inHg)NoneNoneNone
TenSeptember 4Tropical depression35 mph (56 km/h)1,004 hPa (29.65 inHg) Louisiana NoneNone
UnnamedSeptember 7–10Tropical storm60 mph (97 km/h)994 hPa (29.35 inHg)NoneNoneNone
Florence September 7–11Category 1 hurricane80 mph (130 km/h)982 hPa (29.00 inHg) Mississippi River Delta $2.9 million1
Gilbert September 8–19Category 5 hurricane185 mph (295 km/h)888 hPa (26.22 inHg)Venezuela, Central America, Hispaniola, Mexico$2.98 billion318 [73] [74]
HeleneSeptember 19–30Category 4 hurricane145 mph (233 km/h)938 hPa (27.70 inHg)NoneNoneNone
FifteenSeptember 27–29Tropical depression30 mph (48 km/h)1,009 hPa (29.80 inHg)NoneNoneNone
IsaacSeptember 28 – October 1Tropical storm45 mph (72 km/h)1,005 hPa (29.68 inHg)NoneMinimal2
Joan October 10–23Category 4 hurricane145 mph (230 km/h)932 hPa (27.52 inHg)Lesser Antilles, Colombia, Venezuela, Central America$1.87 billion216 [74]
EighteenOctober 19–21Tropical depression35 mph (56 km/h)1,006 hPa (29.71 inHg)NoneNoneNone
Keith November 17–24Tropical storm70 mph (110 km/h)985 hPa (29.1 inHg)Yucatán Peninsula, Florida$7.3 millionNone
Season aggregates
19 systemsMay 31 – November 24185 mph (298 km/h)888 hPa (26.2 inHg)$4.86 billion550

See also

Notes

  1. All damage figures are in 1988 United States dollars, unless otherwise noted
  2. Although Alberto intensified from a tropical depression to a tropical storm at a higher latitude than any other Atlantic system, it is not the northernmost formation of a tropical cyclone in the Atlantic. That record is held by an unnamed tropical storm in 1952 that formed at 42.0°N, and was not operationally recognized.

Related Research Articles

Hurricane Gilbert Category 5 Atlantic hurricane in 1988

Hurricane Gilbert was the second most intense tropical cyclone on record in the Atlantic basin in terms of barometric pressure, only behind Hurricane Wilma in 2005. An extremely powerful tropical cyclone that formed during the 1988 Atlantic hurricane season, Gilbert peaked as a Category 5 strength hurricane that brought widespread destruction to the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico, and is tied with 1969's Hurricane Camille as the second-most intense tropical cyclone to make landfall in the Atlantic Ocean. Gilbert was also one of the largest tropical cyclones ever observed in the Atlantic basin. At one point, its tropical storm-force winds measured 575 mi (925 km) in diameter. In addition, Gilbert was the most intense tropical cyclone in recorded history to strike Mexico.

1995 Atlantic hurricane season Hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

The 1995 Atlantic hurricane season was an above average Atlantic hurricane season in terms of activity, and is considered to be the start of an ongoing era of high-activity tropical cyclone formation. The season produced twenty-one tropical cyclones, nineteen named storms, as eleven hurricanes and five major hurricanes. The season officially began on June 1 and ended on November 30, dates which conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones develop in the Atlantic basin. The first tropical cyclone, Hurricane Allison, developed on June 2, while the season's final storm, Hurricane Tanya, transitioned into an extratropical cyclone on November 1. The very active Atlantic hurricane activity in 1995 was caused by La Niña conditions, which also influenced a very inactive Pacific hurricane season.

1997 Atlantic hurricane season Hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

The 1997 Atlantic hurricane season was a below-average season and is the most recent season to feature no tropical cyclones in August – typically one of the most active months. The season officially began on June 1, and lasted until November 30. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic basin. The 1997 season was inactive, with only seven named storms forming, with an additional tropical depression and an unnumbered subtropical storm. It was the first time since the 1961 season that there were no active tropical cyclones in the Atlantic basin during the entire month of August. A strong El Niño is credited with reducing the number of storms in the Atlantic, while increasing the number of storms in the Eastern and Western Pacific basin to 19 and 26 storms, respectively. As is common in El Niño years, tropical cyclogenesis was suppressed in the tropical latitudes, with only two becoming tropical storms south of 25°N.

1992 Atlantic hurricane season Hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

The 1992 Atlantic hurricane season was a significantly below average season, but it did feature Hurricane Andrew, the costliest Atlantic hurricane known at the time, surpassing Hugo of 1989 and later surpassed by Katrina of 2005. The season officially began on June 1, 1992, and lasted until November 30, 1992. The first storm, an unnamed subtropical storm, developed in the central Atlantic on April 21, over a month before the official start of hurricane season. On August 16, Hurricane Andrew formed and would later strike the Bahamas, as well U.S. States of Florida and Louisiana, becoming the costliest Atlantic hurricane on record until the record was surpassed just over 13 years later. Andrew caused $27.3 billion in damage, mostly in Florida, as well as 65 fatalities. In addition, Andrew was also the strongest hurricane of the season, reaching winds of 175 mph (282 km/h) while approaching Florida.

1977 Atlantic hurricane season Hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

The 1977 Atlantic hurricane season was a very inactive Atlantic hurricane season, with only six tropical storms. The season officially began on Wednesday, June 1, 1977 and lasted until Wednesday, November 30, 1977. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic basin. The first tropical depression of the season developed over the western Caribbean Sea on June 13, 12 days after the start of the season, with three other tropical depressions following suit in July and early August. Then, on August 29, Hurricane Anita formed and rapidly intensified to a Category 5 hurricane on September 1, before weakening slightly and striking Mexico as a high-end Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale, bringing strong winds and heavy rainfall. At least 25,000 people were left homeless and 11 fatalities were reported, with total damages still yet to be known to date.

1978 Atlantic hurricane season Hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

The 1978 Atlantic hurricane season was the last Atlantic hurricane season to use an all-female naming list. The season officially began on June 1, and ended on November 30. It was an above average season due to a subsiding El Niño. The first storm, a subtropical storm, developed unusually early – on January 18 – and dissipated five days later without causing any damage. At the end of July and early August, short-lived Tropical Storm Amelia caused extensive flooding in Texas after dropping as much as 48 in (1,200 mm) of rain. There were 33 deaths and US$110 million in damage. Tropical Storm Bess and Hurricane Cora resulted in only minor land impacts, while the latter was attributed to one fatality.

1980 Atlantic hurricane season Hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

The 1980 Atlantic hurricane season featured nine hurricanes, the most since 1969. The season officially began on June 1, 1980, and lasted until November 30, 1980. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic Ocean. The season was fairly active, with sixteen tropical cyclones forming, eleven of which intensified into a tropical storm. It was the first time since the 1971 season that there were no active tropical cyclones in the Atlantic basin during the month of June. The season occurred during an ENSO-neutral phase, having neither an El Niño nor a La Niña.

1982 Atlantic hurricane season Hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

The 1982 Atlantic hurricane season was an extremely inactive Atlantic hurricane season with five named tropical storms and one subtropical storm. Two storms became hurricanes, one of which reached major hurricane status. The most recent prior season to have only two hurricanes was 1931. The season officially began on June 1, 1982, and lasted until November 30, 1982. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic basin. Activity started early with Hurricane Alberto forming on the first day of the season. Alberto threatened the Southwestern Florida coast as a tropical storm, meadering offshore in the southeastern Gulf of Mexico and causing twenty-three fatalities in Cuba. The next system, a subtropical storm, formed later in June and affected the same area as Alberto, causing $10 million in damage.

1983 Atlantic hurricane season Hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

The 1983 Atlantic hurricane season was the least active Atlantic hurricane season since 1930. The season officially began on June 1, 1983, and lasted until November 30, 1983. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most storms form in the Atlantic basin. The season had very little activity, with only seven tropical depressions, four of which reached tropical storm strength or higher. This led to the lowest accumulated cyclone energy count since 1977, but not since 1914.

1984 Atlantic hurricane season Hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

The 1984 Atlantic hurricane season was the most active since 1971, though the season was below average in hurricanes and major hurricanes. It officially began on June 1, 1984, and lasted until November 30, 1984. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic basin. The 1984 season was an active one in terms of named storms, but most of them were weak and stayed at sea. Most of the cyclones tracked through the northwest subtropical Atlantic west of the 50th meridian to near the Eastern coast of the United States between mid-August and early October. The most damaging storm was Hurricane Klaus, which caused $152 million (1984 dollars) in damage in Puerto Rico. Hurricane Diana was the first hurricane to strike a nuclear power plant without incident; it was also the first major hurricane to strike the U.S. East Coast in nearly 20 years. Also of note was Hurricane Lili, which lasted well after the official end of the season. It was downgraded from a named storm on December 24. Damage overall from the tropical cyclones in 1984 totaled $228.7 million. Unusually, no hurricanes developed from tropical waves in 1984, which usually are the source of the strongest storms in an Atlantic hurricane season.

1986 Atlantic hurricane season Hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

The 1986 Atlantic hurricane season was a very inactive season that produced 10 depressions, 6 named storms, 4 hurricanes, and no major hurricanes. The season officially began on June 1, 1986, and lasted until November 30, 1986. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic basin. During the 1986 season, the first subtropical depression formed in the first week of June, while the last tropical cyclone dissipated at the end of the third week of November. The 1986 season had lower than average activity because of an ongoing El Niño event, and was the least active season in the North Atlantic since the 1983 Atlantic hurricane season. This was also the first season since 1972 to have no major hurricanes.

1990 Atlantic hurricane season Hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

The 1990 Atlantic hurricane season was the most active Atlantic hurricane season since 1969, with a total of 14 named storms. The season also featured eight hurricanes, one of which intensified into a major hurricane. It officially began on June 1, 1990, and lasted until November 30, 1990. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic basin. However, tropical cyclogenesis can occur prior to the start of the season, as demonstrated with Tropical Depression One, which formed in the Caribbean Sea on May 24.

1998 Pacific hurricane season Hurricane season in the Pacific Ocean

The 1998 Pacific hurricane season was a below average Pacific hurricane season. Despite this, it had nine hurricanes and six major hurricanes, which was well above average. The season officially started on May 15 in the eastern Pacific and on June 1 in the central Pacific, and ended on November 30; these dates conventionally delimit the period during which most tropical cyclones form in that region. The first tropical cyclone developed on June 11, about ten days later than the normal start of the season. The final storm of the year, Hurricane Madeline, dissipated on October 20. Storm activity in the Central Pacific Hurricane Center's warning zone was low, with just one tropical depression observed in the region. Two tropical cyclones from the eastern Pacific also entered the central Pacific; the former did so as a hurricane.

1990 Pacific hurricane season Hurricane season in the Pacific Ocean

The 1990 Pacific hurricane season was a very active season which observed 21 named storms within the basin. The season also produced the fourth highest ACE index value on record. The season was officially started on May 15 in the eastern Pacific, and on June 1 in the central Pacific, and lasted until November 30. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the northeastern Pacific Ocean. However, the formation of tropical cyclones is possible at any time of the year, as illustrated in 1990 by the formation of the season's first named storm, Hurricane Alma, on May 12. At the time, this was the earliest formation of a tropical storm on record in the eastern Pacific

1989 Pacific hurricane season Hurricane season in the Pacific Ocean

The 1989 Pacific hurricane season was the first near normal season since 1981. The season officially started on May 15, 1989, in the eastern Pacific, and June 1, 1989, in the central Pacific, and lasted until November 30, 1989. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the northeastern Pacific Ocean. A total of 18 storms and 9 hurricanes formed, which was near long-term averages. Four hurricanes reached major hurricane status on the Saffir–Simpson scale.

1988 Pacific hurricane season Hurricane season in the Pacific Ocean

The 1988 Pacific hurricane season was the least active Pacific hurricane season since 1981. It officially began May 15, in the eastern Pacific, and June 1, in the central Pacific and lasted until November 30. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the northeastern Pacific Ocean. The first named storm, Tropical Storm Aletta, formed on June 16, and the last-named storm, Tropical Storm Miriam, was previously named Hurricane Joan in the Atlantic Ocean before crossing Central America and re-emerging in the eastern Pacific; Miriam continued westward and dissipated on November 2.

1987 Atlantic hurricane season Hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

The 1987 Atlantic hurricane season was a below-average hurricane season that was limited by an ongoing El Niño. The season officially began on June 1, 1987, and lasted until November 30, 1987, although activity began on May 24 when a tropical depression developed 400 mi (640 km) east of the central Bahamas. The June through November dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic basin. The first cyclone to attain tropical storm status was an unnamed tropical storm which formed on August 9, nearly a month later than usual. The final storm of the year, Tropical Depression Fourteen, merged with a weak extratropical low on November 4. The season marked the first year tropical storm watches and warnings were issued; previously, gale watches and warnings were used for tropical storms, and this season was one of only a few seasons with no deaths in the United States; the last time this happened was in the 1981 season.

1994 Atlantic hurricane season Hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

The 1994 Atlantic hurricane season was the final season in the most recent negative Atlantic multidecadal oscillation period of tropical cyclone formation within the basin. Despite the below average activity, the season was very deadly, with almost 97% of deaths occurring during Hurricane Gordon, a devastating late-season tropical cyclone that severely impacted the Caribbean Sea, the Greater Antilles and the United States, and one of the longest-lived Atlantic hurricanes on record at the time. The season produced seven named tropical cyclones and three hurricanes, a total below the seasonal average. The season officially started on June 1 and ended on November 30, dates which conventionally limit the period during which most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic Ocean. The first tropical cyclone, Tropical Storm Alberto, developed on June 30, while the last storm, Hurricane Gordon, dissipated on November 21. The season was unusual in that it produced no major hurricanes, which are those of Category 3 status or higher on the Saffir–Simpson hurricane scale. The most intense hurricane, Hurricane Florence, peaked as a Category 2 storm with winds of 110 mph (180 km/h). Aside from Chris, Florence, and Gordon, none of the storms exceeded tropical storm intensity.

Timeline of the 1988 Atlantic hurricane season

The 1988 Atlantic hurricane season was an event in the annual Atlantic hurricane season in the north Atlantic Ocean. It was an active season during which twelve tropical cyclones formed. The season officially began on June 1, 1988 and ended November 30, 1988. These dates, adopted by convention, historically describe the period in each year when most systems form.

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