Tropical Storm Fay (2008)

Last updated
Tropical Storm Fay
Tropical Storm (SSHWS/NWS)
Fay 19 aug 2008 1615Z Cropped.jpg
Tropical Storm Fay over Florida at peak strength on August 19
FormedAugust 15, 2008
DissipatedAugust 29, 2008
(Extratropical after August 27)
Highest winds 1-minute sustained: 70 mph (110 km/h)
Lowest pressure986 mbar (hPa); 29.12 inHg
Fatalities13 direct, 23 indirect
Damage$560 million (2008 USD)
Areas affected Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Isle of Youth, Cuba, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia and Ohio
Part of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season

Tropical Storm Fay was a strong and unusual tropical storm that moved erratically across the state of Florida and the Caribbean Sea. The sixth named storm of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season, Fay formed from a vigorous tropical wave on August 15 over the Dominican Republic. It passed over the island of Hispaniola, into the Gulf of Gonâve, across the island of Cuba, and made landfall on the Florida Keys late in the afternoon of August 18 before veering into the Gulf of Mexico. It again made landfall near Naples, Florida, in the early hours of August 19 and progressed northeast through the Florida peninsula, emerging into the Atlantic Ocean near Melbourne on August 20. Extensive flooding took place in parts of Florida as a result of its slow movement. On August 21, it made landfall again near New Smyrna Beach, Florida, moving due west across the Panhandle, crossing Gainesville and Panama City, Florida. As it zigzagged from water to land, it became the first storm in recorded history to make landfall in Florida four times. [1] Thirty-six deaths were blamed on Fay. [2] The storm also resulted in one of the most prolific tropical cyclone related tornado outbreaks on record. A total of 81 tornadoes touched down across five states, three of which were rated as EF2. Damage from Fay was heavy, estimated at $560 million. [3]

Contents

Meteorological history

Map plotting the storm's track and intensity, according to the Saffir-Simpson scale

Map key
Saffir-Simpson scale
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Tropical depression (<=38 mph, <=62 km/h)

Tropical storm (39-73 mph, 63-118 km/h)

Category 1 (74-95 mph, 119-153 km/h)

Category 2 (96-110 mph, 154-177 km/h)

Category 3 (111-129 mph, 178-208 km/h)

Category 4 (130-156 mph, 209-251 km/h)

Category 5 (>=157 mph, >=252 km/h)

Unknown
Storm type
Tropical cyclone
Subtropical cyclone
Extratropical cyclone / Remnant low / Tropical disturbance / Monsoon depression Fay 2008 track.png
Map plotting the storm's track and intensity, according to the Saffir–Simpson scale
Map key
  Tropical depression (≤38 mph, ≤62 km/h)
  Tropical storm (39–73 mph, 63–118 km/h)
  Category 1 (74–95 mph, 119–153 km/h)
  Category 2 (96–110 mph, 154–177 km/h)
  Category 3 (111–129 mph, 178–208 km/h)
  Category 4 (130–156 mph, 209–251 km/h)
  Category 5 (≥157 mph, ≥252 km/h)
  Unknown
Storm type
ArrowUp.svg Extratropical cyclone / Remnant low / Tropical disturbance / Monsoon depression

A tropical wave moved off the coast of Africa on August 7 without any significant convection, with an associated low pressure area moving southwestward away from the coast. It passed just south of the Cape Verde Islands, and tracked generally westward with a subtropical ridge centered to its north over the Azores. [4] Late on August 9, an area of convection developed in association with the wave. [5] With generally favorable conditions for development, the system began slowly organizing, [6] to the extent that on August 10, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) remarked for its potential to become a tropical depression in a few days. [7] By August 11, however, the thunderstorm activity became disorganized and limited, [8] though the next day convection reformed by the time it was located about 650 mi (1050 km) east of the Lesser Antilles. [9] The hurricane hunters first flew into the system on August 12, though the flight only reported a broad area of low pressure. [10]

After the hurricane hunters' flight, the system became disorganized as environmental conditions became less favorable, [11] and by late on August 13 the convection was limited and well-removed from the low center. [12] The next day, thunderstorm activity increased and organized, [13] though another hurricane hunters flight confirmed the system did not develop into a tropical cyclone. [14] After passing over the northern Lesser Antilles, the system moved over the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, maintaining an area of deep convection. [15] It became better defined as it moved through the Mona Passage, and a hurricane hunters flight confirmed the presence of a closed circulation. A reconnaissance flight measured wind gusts of 56 miles per hour (90 km/h) and was designated as Tropical Storm Fay late on August 15 as the cyclone moved ashore along eastern Dominican Republic. [16] Initially, it was forecast to steadily intensify before and after crossing Cuba, later reaching minimal hurricane status in the eastern Gulf of Mexico; the HWRF hurricane model predicted for Fay to become a strong hurricane off the coast of western Florida. [17]

Tropical storm Fay causing heavy rainfall to Hispaniola Fay 15 August 2008 MODIS.jpg
Tropical storm Fay causing heavy rainfall to Hispaniola

Upon first becoming a tropical cyclone, Tropical Storm Fay was moving steadily westward over Hispaniola, influenced by a ridge to its north. [16] At around 1200  UTC on August 16, the storm emerged into the Gulf of Gonâve, [18] with little organized convection near the center. [19] Environmental conditions favored strengthening, and convection quickly developed over the center. [20] By early on August 17, a hurricane hunters flight reported a better organized circulation center, and satellite images displayed well-established outflow within a large convection envelope. [21] After passing near or over southwestern Granma Province in Cuba, upper-level wind shear increased slightly, and the convection diminished near the center. The storm turned more to the northwest, due to a trough weakening the ridge to its north. [22] However, at this time, the ECMWF forecast had Fay making landfall in Southwest Florida, crossing into the Atlantic, then tracking westward across the Florida Panhandle which is exactly what it would end up doing. [23]

Tropical Storm Fay strengthening and then weakening as it passes over south-central Florida, featuring a hurricane-like eye over land Fay Landfall FL up to 0045.gif
Tropical Storm Fay strengthening and then weakening as it passes over south-central Florida, featuring a hurricane-like eye over land

Fay made four Florida landfalls, first at Key West in the late afternoon of August 18, then early the following morning at Cape Romano south of Naples as a 65 mph (100 km/h) tropical storm. [3] Later that day, while crossing central Florida, Fay unexpectedly strengthened over land to just under hurricane intensity with 70 mph (110 km/h) winds and a pressure of 986 mbar, [3] which is a stronger intensity than Fay had ever obtained over open ocean. According to some local meteorologists, Fay actually gained strength over Florida's inland waters, including the vast expanses of the Florida Everglades and Lake Okeechobee [24] The storm developed an eye feature, and continued to hold its strength for the rest of the day. [25] After many hours of land interaction, Fay began to weaken. [26] Fay regained some strength, however, after leaving land at Melbourne and heading northward over the warm Atlantic Ocean waters, only to be deflected westward as it encountered a high pressure ridge. This resulted in another landfall at Flagler Beach in the afternoon of August 21. Fay then emerged into the northeastern Gulf of Mexico and made its fourth landfall on the morning of August 23 near Carrabelle in the Florida Panhandle. Fay narrowly missed making yet another landfall, the center staying barely onshore while passing Panama City and St. Andrews Bay. Fay then weakened to a depression later that day. For the next several days, Fay was a slow moving tropical depression. Fay started moving to the northeast over southern Mississippi, where it moved over Alabama and finally dissipated on August 27 over Georgia.

Preparations

When advisories were first issued on Tropical Storm Fay late on August 15, tropical storm warnings were issued across the entire northern coast of the Hispaniola and Eastern Cuba as well as Southeastern Bahamas with tropical storm watches issued in parts of Northeastern Cuba and the Central Bahamas. [27] [28] The storm tracked far enough south for the Bahamas watches and warnings to be cancelled, but additional tropical storm warnings were issued for all of the coast Haiti. [29] [30] [31] [32] Additional tropical storm watches and warnings were issued in Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Florida, Georgia (U.S. state), Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. [33] [34] [35] [36] [37] [38] With Fay repeatedly being forecasted to become a hurricane, hurricane watches were issued in parts of Central Cuba as well as Southwestern Florida. [33] [29] [35] A hurricane warning was issued for Southwestern Florida on August 18. [39] Fay's unexpected strengthening over land prompted a hurricane watch to briefly be issued for Northeastern Florida and Southeastern Georgia on August 19. [36]

Impact

Caribbean

Deaths by country
Dominican Republic 4
Haiti 10
Jamaica 1
United States 21
Total36
Wettest tropical cyclones and their remnants in the Bahamas
Highest-known totals
PrecipitationStormLocationRef.
Rankmmin
1747.529.43 Noel 2007 Long Island [40]
2580.122.84 Dorian 2019 Hope Town [41]
3500.319.70 Matthew 2016 Matthew Town, Inagua [42]
4436.617.19 Flora 1963 Duncan Town [43]
5390.115.36 Inez 1966 Nassau Airport [43]
6337.113.27 Fox 1952 New Providence [43]
7321.112.64 Michelle 2001 Nassau [44]
8309.412.18 Erin 1995 Church Grove [45]
9260.09.88 Fay 2008 Freeport [46]
10236.79.32 Floyd 1999 Little Harbor Abacos [47]

On August 15, the weather disturbance that would become Fay made landfall on Hispaniola. The system developed into a tropical storm while producing heavy rains on the island, prompting a major flash flood threat. The storm caused minor damage in Dominican Republic including falling trees and flooding, this caused most of the flights into and out of the country to be canceled. [48] At least four people were killed after being swept away by flood waters in the Dominican Republic. [49]

In Haiti, Fay's winds and rainfall damaged the agricultural sector, including rice fields and banana crops. One person died after being swept away by flood-waters while trying to cross a swollen river. [50] Two infants were killed when a bus flipped in Haiti. [51] In total, ten deaths were blamed on Fay in Haiti. [52]

In Jamaica, one person was killed as a result of a vehicle being swept away in flood waters. [49] In total, 15 people died in the Caribbean. [2]

Despite making landfall in central Cuba, exact impact from Fay in that nation is unknown.

United States

Florida

Rainfall produced by Fay in the United States Fay 2008 rainfall.gif
Rainfall produced by Fay in the United States
Tropical Storm Fay approaching Florida Fay 18 aug 2008 1850Z.jpg
Tropical Storm Fay approaching Florida

During seven days in Florida, August 18–24, 2008, eleven people died and thousands of homes plus roads were damaged, from 60 mph (97 km/h) winds and rain waters up to 5 feet (1.5 m) deep, [53] with flooded rivers or tornadoes, as Fay traveled through the entire state. Making initial landfall in the Florida Keys and coming ashore again in the Naples area, Fay then crossed the state and exited near New Smyrna Beach, coming onshore again near St. Augustine and Jacksonville, crossing the Panhandle and finally leaving the Pensacola area into Alabama, early on August 24. Returning from Mississippi towards Tennessee, Fay continued to dump heavy rains around Pensacola, Tallahassee, and Panama City even during August 25.

Flooding in east-central Florida Fay2008Flood 012.jpg
Flooding in east-central Florida

While Fay was moving across South-Central Florida, a tornado, rated EF2 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, [54] took place after landfall in Wellington, Florida, where significant damage was reported including doors and windows blown off houses, many trees knocked down and reports of a weak building destroyed. [55] Another tornado damaged 51 homes with nine of them rendered uninhabitable in Barefoot Bay. [56] According to the St. Lucie County Public Safety Department, about 8,000 homes were damaged from flooding. [57] The city of Melbourne shattered a 50-year-old rainfall record after receiving 11 inches (28 cm) of rain in a 24‑hour period. [58] About 80 neighborhoods in Melbourne were flooded, and a "couple hundred" homes in southeast Melbourne were filled with three to four feet of water, according to a press statement. [59] One neighborhood was particularly hard hit: Lamplighter Village along John Rodes Boulevard in Melbourne, FL. The flooding was so extensive that Governor Charlie Crist personally visited the neighborhood to assess the damage. A tornado touched down in Stuart on U.S. 1 at Monroe Street, flipping a truck and damaging a gas station. [60] A 28-year-old kite surfer was critically injured in Fort Lauderdale when winds associated with a Tropical Storm Fay feeder band slammed him face-first into the ground and then dragged him through streets until he hit a building, which was filmed by a WFOR camera crew. [61]

Flooding on Merritt Island, Florida during Tropical Storm Fay Flood 021 levelled.jpg
Flooding on Merritt Island, Florida during Tropical Storm Fay

Areas of the state received up to 25 inches (64 cm) of rain, causing serious flooding. Native wildlife, including alligators, were seen in flooded neighborhoods after high water forced them from their habitat. Hundreds of homes were flooded in Brevard and St. Lucie counties; some locations were inundated with up to 5 feet (1.5 m) of standing water. [62] Early estimates from Brevard county show $10 to $12 million in damages to homes and infrastructure. [59] Tropical Storm Fay resulted in the drowning of one person swimming off Neptune Beach and another swimmer in Duval County. Meanwhile, another 3 were killed in traffic accidents. [63] On August 21, President George W. Bush declared the entire state of Florida a Federal Disaster Area. [64] Seminole County also got hard hit by floods. Seminole County Public Schools were closed due to many roads being impassable. Many rivers in the county such as the St. Johns River, the Econlockhatchee River, and the Little Econlockhatchee River jumped their banks. Riverside Park in Oviedo was under four feet of flood water due to the Little Econlockhatchee River. On the evening of August 22, a tornado damaged four homes and a bridge in Lake Wales. [65]

After moving into the Florida Panhandle, five more people were killed as a result of Fay in Florida (all indirect), [66] including an electrocution which happened to an electrical worker doing repairs in Gadsden County. [67]

Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi

Heavy rain was also reported in parts of Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi. A young boy was killed in Grady County, Georgia when he was swept away in a drainage ditch by floodwaters. [68] Another drowning death took place in Elmore County, Alabama as a result of the weakening Fay. [69] On August 22, 2008, radio station WNUZ, located in Alabama, "suffered direct lightning strikes" during Fay which resulted in "the complete destruction of the station's transmitter" and caused unspecified damage to other electrical broadcast equipment at the station. [70] The station applied to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for authority to stay silent while their engineers repaired or replaced the damaged gear and evaluated the station's other equipment. On December 24, 2008, WNUZ was granted permission to remain off the air until no later than June 22, 2009. [70] [71]

Fay persisted as a tropical storm from its first landfall until weakening to a tropical depression on August 23. It eventually weakened to a remnant low over Alabama on August 26, from which 8 tornadoes were spawned in Alabama and 6 in Georgia, injuring two in Commerce, Georgia. [72] [73]

High winds damaged the water tower in Midway, Alabama, compounding problems the town was experiencing with its water wells. A loan from the National Rural Water Association and assistance from Alabama Rural Water Association allowed Midway to make repairs and maintain the water supply. [74] The heavy and persistent rains associated with Fay, however, helped to temporarily alleviate extreme drought conditions over northern Georgia, northern Alabama, and eastern Tennessee. [75]

Elsewhere

Heavy rains in Tennessee triggered flash flooding throughout eastern portions of the state. [76] In Shelby County, flooding covered several cars, trapping several people. In all, Fay caused $20,000 in damages in Tennessee. [77] Rains in South Carolina caused a bridge in York County to collapse, leaving $100,000 in damages. [78] Severe flooding in North Carolina, particularly in Mecklenburg County damaged numerous homes. Near Charlotte, 148 buildings sustained major damage from floodwaters and numerous roads were shut down due to high waters. Damage in Mecklenburg alone amounted to $8.5 million. [79] In Cabarrus County, 14 swift water rescues were undertaken due to cars being stranded in flooded roads. About 70 homes were damaged in the county, leaving $1 million in damages. [80] Damages to roads in the county were estimated at $5.5 million. [81] In all, Fay caused roughly $15 million in damage in North Carolina. [79] [80] [81]

Records

Fay was the first storm on record to hit the same U.S. state on four separate occasions, beating a record set by Hurricane Gordon of 1994, and was just the third storm on record to hit the U.S. at least 3 times, the third was Hurricane Juan in 1985, although Juan did not hit the same state three times; one of its landfalls was in Alabama, and the other 2 were in Louisiana. [82] Fay was the first storm to prompt storm warnings for the entire coast of Florida; the four separate landfalls were responsible for every stretch of the Florida coast to receive a Tropical Storm Watch or Warning, or a Hurricane Watch or Warning. [83]

The two highest rainfall amounts recorded were 27.65 inches (702 mm) at Windover Farms, 8 miles (13 km) northwest of Melbourne, Florida, and 27.50 inches (698 mm) at Thomasville, Georgia.

See also

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Hurricane Sally was a destructive and slow-moving Atlantic hurricane, which was the first hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. state of Alabama since Ivan in 2004. The eighteenth named storm, and seventh hurricane of the extremely active 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, Sally developed from an area of disturbed weather which was first monitored over the Bahamas on September 10. The system grew a broad area of low-pressure on September 11, and was designated as a tropical depression late that day. Early the next day, the depression made landfall at Key Biscayne, and subsequently strengthened into Tropical Storm Sally that afternoon. Moderate northwesterly shear prevented significant intensification for the first two days, but convection continued to grow towards the center and Sally slowly intensified. On September 14, a center reformation into the center of the convection occurred, and data from a hurricane hunter reconnaissance aircraft showed that Sally rapidly intensified into a strong Category 1 hurricane. However, an increase in wind shear and upwelling of colder waters halted the intensification and Sally weakened slightly on September 15 before turning slowly northeastward. Despite this increase in wind shear, it unexpectedly re-intensified, reaching Category 2 status early on September 16, before making landfall at peak intensity at 09:45 UTC on September 16, near Gulf Shores, Alabama, with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph (175 km/h) and a minimum central pressure of 965 millibars (28.5 inHg). The storm rapidly weakened after landfall, before transitioning into an extratropical low at 12:00 UTC the next day. Sally's remnants lasted for another day as they moved off the coast of the Southeastern United States, before being absorbed into another extratropical storm on September 18.

Tropical Storm Beta (2020) Atlantic tropical storm in 2020

Tropical Storm Beta was a tropical cyclone that brought heavy rainfall, flooding, and severe weather to the Southeastern United States in September 2020. The twenty-third tropical depression and twenty-third tropical or subtropical storm of the record-breaking 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, Beta originally formed from a trough of low pressure that developed in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico on September 10. The low moved slowly southwestward, with development hampered initially by the development of nearby Hurricane Sally. After Sally moved inland over the Southeastern United States and weakened, the disturbance became nearly stationary in the southwestern Gulf, where it began to organize. By September 16, the storm had gained a low-level circulation center and had enough organization to be designated as Tropical Depression Twenty-Two. The system held its intensity for a day due to the influence of strong wind shear and dry air, before eventually attaining tropical storm strength. It slowly moved northward and intensified to a mid-range tropical storm before dry air and wind shear halted its intensification. Beta then became nearly stationary on September 19, before starting to move west towards the Texas coast the next day, weakening as it approached. On September 21, Beta made landfall near Matagorda Peninsula, Texas as a minimal tropical storm. It subsequently weakened to a tropical depression the next day before becoming post-tropical early on September 23. Its remnants moved northeastward, before the center elongated and merged with a cold front early on September 25.

Hurricane Delta Category 4 Atlantic hurricane in 2020

Hurricane Delta was the record-tying fourth named storm of 2020 to make landfall in Louisiana, as well as the record-breaking tenth named storm to strike the United States in that year. The twenty-sixth tropical cyclone, twenty-fifth named storm, tenth hurricane, and third major hurricane of the record-breaking 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, Delta formed from a tropical wave which was first monitored by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) on October 1. Moving westward, the tropical wave began to quickly organize. Due to its imminent threat to land, it was designated a potential tropical cyclone late on October 4. The next day, the system was sufficiently organized to be designated as Tropical Depression Twenty-six and soon thereafter, Tropical Storm Delta. Extreme rapid intensification ensued throughout October 5 into October 6, with Delta becoming a Category 4 hurricane within 28 hours of attaining tropical storm status. The rate of intensification was the fastest in the Atlantic basin since Hurricane Wilma in 2005. After peaking in intensity however, an unexpected increase in wind shear and dry air quickly weakened the small storm before it made landfall in Puerto Morelos, Mexico as a Category 2 hurricane with 105 mph (165 km/h) winds. It weakened some more over land before emerging into the Gulf of Mexico, where it was downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane. After that, it began to restrengthen, regaining Category 3 status late on October 8. It then turned northward and reached a secondary peak intensity of 953 mb and winds of 120 mph early on October 9. Delta then began to turn more north-northeastward into an area of cooler waters, higher wind shear, and dry air, causing it to weaken back to Category 2 status. Delta then made landfall at 23:00 UTC near Creole, Louisiana with winds of 100 mph (155 km/h) and a pressure of 970 mb (28.64 inHg). The storm began to weaken more rapidly after landfall, becoming post-tropical just 22 hours later.

Tropical Storm Claudette (2021) Atlantic tropical storm in 2021

Tropical Storm Claudette was a weak tropical cyclone that caused heavy rain and tornadoes across the Southeastern United States in June 2021, leading to severe damage. The third named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season, Claudette originated from a broad trough of low pressure over the Bay of Campeche on June 12. The disturbance moved erratically over the region for the next several days, before proceeding northward with little development due to unfavorable upper-level winds and land interaction. Despite this, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) initiated advisories on it as a Potential Tropical Cyclone late on June 17, due to its imminent threat to land. The disturbance finally organized into Tropical Storm Claudette at 00:00 UTC on June 19 just before landfall in southeast Louisiana. Claudette weakened to a depression as it turned east-northeastward before moving through Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. Baroclinic forcing then caused Claudette to reintensify into a tropical storm over North Carolina early on June 21 before it accelerated into the Atlantic Ocean later that day. Soon afterward, it degenerated into a low-pressure trough on the same day, before being absorbed into another extratropical cyclone on the next day.

Hurricane Elsa Category 1 Atlantic hurricane in 2021

Hurricane Elsa was the earliest hurricane in the Caribbean Sea and the earliest-forming fifth named storm on record in the Atlantic Ocean, surpassing Edouard of the previous year. It was the first hurricane of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season.

Tropical Storm Fred (2021) Atlantic tropical storm in 2021

Tropical Storm Fred was a strong tropical storm which affected much of the Greater Antilles and the Southeastern United States in August 2021. The sixth tropical storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season, Fred originated from a tropical wave first noted by the National Hurricane Center on August 4. As the wave drifted westward, advisories were initiated on the wave as a potential tropical cyclone by August 9 as it was approaching the Leeward Islands. Entering the Eastern Caribbean Sea after a close pass to Dominica by the next day, the potential tropical cyclone continued northwestward. By August 11, the disturbance had formed into Tropical Storm Fred just south of Puerto Rico, shortly before hitting the Dominican Republic on the island of Hispaniola later that day. The storm proceeded to weaken to a tropical depression over the highly mountainous island, before emerging north of the Windward Passage on August 12. The disorganized tropical depression turned to the west and made a second landfall in Northern Cuba on August 13. After having its circulation continuously disrupted by land interaction and wind shear, the storm degenerated into a tropical wave as it was turning northward near the western tip of Cuba the following day. Continuing north, the remnants of Fred quickly re-organized over the Gulf of Mexico, regenerating into a tropical storm by August 15. Fred continued towards the Florida Panhandle and swiftly intensified to a strong 65 mph (100 km/h) tropical storm before making landfall late on August 16 and moving into the state of Georgia. Afterward, Fred continued moving north-northeastward, before degenerating into an extratropical low on August 18. Fred's remnants later turned eastward, and the storm's remnants dissipated on August 20, near the coast of Massachusetts.

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