2008 Florida Weather Highlights
Here are historical details of severe weather storms and hurricanes throughout 2008. See the sidebar (top right) for details of other years.
Weather forecasters are saying that we can expect more active hurricane seasons for at least the next ten years so there is no reason to suggest that the next few years will be significantly quieter than the last couple of years.
Hurricane predictions for 2008
The team led by Professor William Gray from the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University have already made two early predictions for hurricanes in 2008. In December 2007, they forecast an above average 2008 season with 13 named storms, seven of them hurricanes of which three will become major hurricanes (Category 3 or greater with sustained winds of 111 mph or more).
They are also predicting that there is a 60 percent chance that at least one major hurricane will make landfall on the United States coastline during 2008 (average is 52%) with a 37 percent chance (average is 31%) for the eastern Florida peninsula and a 36 percent chance (average is 30%) for the Gulf Coast.
In April 2008 they then revised their forecast up to 15 named storms, eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes.
Both the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University team have over estimated named storms and hurricanes in the last two years.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) put out their first predictions in May of each year and this year they have predicted 12 to 16 named storms, with six to nine becoming hurricanes, of which two to five could become major hurricanes (Category 3 higher). They are also saying that there is a 60% to 70% chance of their predictions being accurate. The graph below shows the most pessimistic view of their predictions.
In August they revised their forecast up slightly to between 14 and 18 named storms, with seven to 10 hurricanes as many as six major hurricanes with winds above 110 mph.
Storm names for 2008
The names for tropical storms and hurricanes in 2008 were as follows; Arthur, Bertha, Cristobal, Dolly, Edouard, Fay, Gustav, Hanna, Ike, Josephine, Kyle, Laura, Marco, Nana, Omar, Paloma, Rene, Sally, Teddy, Vicky and Wilfred.
Saturday, November 8: Paloma hit Cuba as a category 4 hurricane with 145 mph winds but quickly weakened.
Tropical Storm Paloma formed on Thursday around 250 miles south-southwest of Grand Cayman with 45 mph winds and quickly strengthened to a category 1 hurricane with 75 mph winds. It tracked north-northwest but then turned northwards towards the Cayman Islands and Cuba.
Thursday, October 16: Omar has strengthened to a category 3 hurricane with wind speeds of 125 mph and becomes the seventh hurricane of the season. It is currently tracking Northeast and is about 55 miles Northwest of St. Martin.
Tropical Storm Nana
Monday, October 13: Tropical Storm Nana has formed about 1,000 miles west of the Cape Verde Islands with wind speeds of around 40 mph. It is currently tracking West-Northwest but is expected to veer to the North and weaken over the next couple of days.
Tropical Storm Marco
Tropical Storm Laura
Sunday, September 28: Tropical Storm Laura formed around 1,000 miles West of the Azores but was not expected to make landfall. It headed North but unlike Kyle before it, it never strengthened into a hurricane.
Sunday, September 28: Hurricane Kyle weakened back to a Tropical Storm as it made landfall in Nova Scotia. At one point it was thought that it might hit Maine with hurricane force winds.
Tropical Storm Jospephine
Sunday, September 7: Josephine weakened to a Tropical Depression and stalled about 900 miles West of the Cape Verde Islands with winds of around 30 mph. It had been expected to take a more northerly track than Hanna and Ike before it but in the end it ran it's course in the Atlantic.
Saturday, September 13: Hurricane Ike has left at least 17 people dead in the USA and over 2.5 million people without electricity in Texas after crashing ashore near Galveston, Texas with wind speeds of over 100 mph. Having hit Galveston it headed towards Houston but has now weakened to a Tropical Storm.
Hurricane warnings were issued all the way from the Texas Gulf Coast near Corpus Christi to Morgan City in Louisiana. Though Ike weakened from a category 4 to a category 1 hurricane with wind speeds of around 90 mph having crossed over Cuba it strengthen again to a category 2.
Around 1 million people on Cuba were evacuated to safer areas, but Ike also caused tremendous damage to the Turks and Caicos Islands and over 80 have people died in the Caribbean.
Hurricane Ike is the third major hurricane of the 2008 season. Tourists and residents alike were ordered to evacuate the Lower Florida Keys, Key West, the Upper Keys and mainland Monroe County as a precaution though in the end Ike has stayed further south than originally predicted.
Sunday, September 7: Though Hanna had weakened to a Tropical Storm it still had 70 mph winds when it made landfall near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. States of emergency had been declared in Virginia and North Carolina and evacuations recommended from some coastal regions of South Carolina.
Hanna has moved up the eastern Atlantic coast with dangerous rip currents and surge tides.
Tuesday, September 2: Hurricane Gustav made landfall on Monday on the Lousiana coastline near Cocodrie, 70 miles from New Orleans as a category 2 hurricane and quickly lost some of its energy. It has now dropped to a Tropical Depression.
There was a storm surge of up to 20 feet along the coast and rainfall of up to 15 inches and some overtopping of the levees in New Orleans but they were not breached. Gustav was briefly a category 4 hurricane as it passed Cuba.
The mayor of New Orleans had pleaded with residents to leave ahead of a potential landfall around the Mississippi delta area. It is three years since New Orleans was devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
Tropical Storm Gustav formed south of the island of Haiti and the Dominican Republic with wind speeds of nearly 85 mph. It strengthen to a category 1 Hurricane as it approached Port-au-Prince in Haiti and then reverted back to a Tropical Storm as it tracked towards Jamaica and Cuba. Already nearly 80 people have been killed in the Caribbean.
Tropical Storm Fay
Friday, August 22: After hitting the Florida Keys, Tropical Storm Fay then crossed Central Florida on a north easterly track making landfall for a second time near Naples.
Having headed out into the Atlantic it then veered back westwards making a third landfall as it steered towards the Panhandle.
Tropical Storm Fay has brought heavy rain (up to 24 inches) and flooding to many areas. This is turn has brought alligators and snakes out of their normal habitats.
There have also been a number of tornadoes and two deaths through drowning in heavy seas. In total 11 deaths in Florida have been attributed to Tropical Storm Fay.
Tropical Storm Fay formed in the Caribbean last Friday over the Dominican Republic and brought heavy rain to Hispaniola, Haiti and Cuba leaving at over 20 people dead. It then headed westward with wind speeds of around 40 mph.
Tropical Storm Edouard
Tuesday, August 5: Tropical Storm Edouard has hit the Texas/Louisiana coastline east of Galveston and has been downgraded to a Tropical Depression as it moves inland. Rainfall is expected to be 3 to 5 inches with up to 10 inches in places.
Wednesday, July 23: Hurricane Dolly reached category 2 status with wind speeds of nearly 100 mph before starting to slow down as it came ashore near Brownsville, Texas. Up to 15 inches of rain has been predicted. It formed on Sunday in the Caribbean south of Cuba and headed north west across the Yucatan Peninsula into the Gulf of Mexico.
Tropical Storm Cristobal
Tuesday, July 8: Hurricane Bertha has become the first hurricane of the 2008 season after forming off the Cape Verde Islands in the far eastern Atlantic. It is heading west Northwest towards Bermuda and has strengthened to a category 3 hurricane though it is expected to weaken again.
Tropical Storm Arthur
Saturday, May 31: Tropical Storm Arthur formed off the coast of Belize, one day before the official start of the hurricane season. It headed west towards the Yucatan peninsula bringing heavy rain in its path.
Last year in 2007 NOAA originally predicted that there would be between 13 to 17 named storms, with seven to 10 becoming hurricanes, of which three to five could become major hurricanes.
In August they downgraded their forecast to the number of tropical storms being between 13 to 16 named storms and seven to nine hurricanes but they did not reduce their forecast of major hurricanes.
In the end, there were 16 storms of which five became hurricanes and two became major hurricanes.
In 2006, they had predicted up to 15 named storms but in the end there were only ten named storms of which five became hurricanes.