User:TheNobleSith/Hurricane Lili

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Hurricane Lili
Category 4 major hurricane (SSHWS/NWS)
Hurricane Lili 02 oct 2002 1645Z.jpg
Hurricane Lili at peak intensity
Formed September 21, 2002
Dissipated October 6, 2002
Highest winds 1-minute sustained: 145 mph (230 km/h)
Lowest pressure 938 mbar (hPa); 27.7 inHg
Fatalities 14 direct, 2 indirect
Damage $882 million (2002 USD)
Areas affected Windward Islands, Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, Louisiana
Part of the 2002 Atlantic hurricane season

Hurricane Lili was the twelfth named storm, fourth hurricane, and second major hurricane of the 2002 Atlantic hurricane season. The storm developed from a tropical disturbance in the open Atlantic on September 21. It continued westward, affecting the Lesser Antilles as a tropical storm, then entered the Carribean Sea. As it moved west, the storm dissipated and then regenerated while being impacted by wind shear south of Cuba. It turned to the northwest and strengthened up to Category Two strength on October 1. Lili made two landfalls in Western Cuba later that day, and then entered the Gulf of Mexico. The hurricane rapidly strengthened on October 2, reaching Category Four strength that afternoon. It weakened rapidly thereafter, and hit Louisiana as a Category One hurricane on October 3. It moved inland and dissipated on October 6.[1]

Lili caused extensive damage through the Carribean, particuarly to crops and poorly built homes.[2] Mudslides were common on the more mountainous islands.[3] In the United States, the storm cut off production of oil in the Gulf of Mexico, and caused severe damage in parts of Louisiana. was also responsible for severe damage to the barrier islands and marshes in the southern portion of the state. Total damage amounted to $860 million (2002 USD; $1.1 billion 2007 USD), and the storm killed 16 people during its lifetime.[1]

Storm History[edit]

Map plotting the track and intensity of the storm according to the Saffir–Simpson scale

The hurricane originated with a tropical wave that moved off the west coast of Africa on September 16. A low level center of circulation developed in the disturbance midway between the African coast and the Carribean Sea on September 20. The next day, the system gained sufficient organization to become a tropical depression.[1][4] The depression moved westward in excess of 20 miles per hour (32 km/h), and reached tropical storm strength as it passed through the Windward Islands.[5] The cyclone continued to intensify as it moved west through the Carribean Sea, reaching a peak strength of 70 miles per hour (110 km/h) on the morning of September 24.[6] This was immediately followed by an abrupt weakening, and the storm's maximum sustained winds dropped to 40 miles per hour (64 km/h) in just 12 hours.[7] The sudden weakening was attributed to strong southerly shear.[8] The system suffered under the effects of this shear for the next two days while continuing westward, until it was officially declared a remnant low on the morning of September 26.[9]

The storm then regenerated near Jamaica twelve hours later, and gradually turned more to the west-northwest while strengthening slowly.[1] The system became a hurricane on September 30, just after passing through the Cayman Islands.[10] The storm continued on its course, still intensifying, and made landfall twice the next day, on the Isle of Youth and near Pinar Del Rio, as a Category 2 hurricane.[11] Lili emerged over the Gulf of Mexico later that day, having lost little strength during its overland passage.[12][1]

The system turned to the northwest and sped up, becoming a major hurricane on October 2 while 365 miles (587 km) south-southeast of New Orleans.[13] This intensification continued, aided by warm sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico and good outflow.[14] The system reached its peak strength of Category Four intensity, with winds of 145 miles per hour (233 km/h), during the afternoon later that day.[15]

This strength was not maintained for long. The storm began weakening quickly in the early morning hours of October 3,[16] and this rapid weakening continued until the hurricane's final landfall near Intracoastal City, Louisiana. By this time maximum sustained winds had dropped to 90 miles per hour (140 km/h).[17]. The weakening was accompanied by, and possibly a result of, a collapse of the inner eyewall before landfall.[1] The system continued inland, curving to the northeast, and dissipated when absorbed by an extratropical low near the Arkansas/Tennessee border on October 6.[1]


Tropical storm watches were issued in parts of the Lesser Antilles on September 22. These were upgraded to warnings the next afternoon, and all advisories were dropped later that night once the storm had passed.[1] Over the next week, the islands of Hispaniola, Jamaica, Cuba, the Caymans, and the Yucatan Peninsula were all under advisories of some kind at different times.[1] Hurricane and tropical storm watches were issued for the Gulf Coast on October 1, and were upgraded to warnings the next morning.[1] They were discontinued after the storm moved past the following day.[18]

Because the cyclone affected the islands as a weak tropical storm, preparations were lax. 200 people evacuated their homes in advance of the storm on the islands of St. Vincent and Grenadine.[19]In Jamaica, all schools and universities were closed in advance of the storm, and 17 public shelters were opened on the island.[20]

Preparations were extensive in Cuba. Military officials at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba prepared for the possibility of evacuating their Al Qaida and Taliban prisoners.[21] 130,000 Cuban citizens, mainly in western portions of the island, evacuated their homes prior to the storm.[22]

Significant action was taken along the Gulf Coast as the threat the storm posed became clearer. Over a half million people evacuated their homes in Texas and Louisiana, including everyone in Iberia Parish.[23] 200,000 people evacuated in Louisiana, significantly less than those actually advised to do so.[24][23] 2,000 volunteers staffed 115 Red Cross shelters in Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, and Alabama.[25] More than 20,000 people stayed in those shelters.[24] The Red Cross also sent over 160,000 meals to the area.[25] 3,000 prison inmates in Texas were evacuated to safer inland locations.[23] The launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis was delayed for 5 days when the Kennedy Space Center was threatened by the storm, the first time a launch in Florida had been delayed because of weather in Houston, Texas.[26] Stores across the area were very busy in advance of the storm. In New Iberia, Louisiana, hardware stores ran out of stock,[27] and businesses in Lafayette, Louisiana reported similar shortages.[28]

Collegiate activities were also affected by the storm. Southern University cancelled four days of classes because of Lili,[29] and 20 Texas A&M University Galveston, Texas students evacuated to the school's College Station location.[30] The University of South Alabama cancelled two athletic events in advance of the storm.[31]


Death toll by area
State/country Deaths
St. Vincent 4
Jamaica 4
Haiti 4
Cuba 1
United States 2
Total 15

Hurricane Lili was easily both the deadliest and most devastating hurricane of the season.[32] 13 people died in the Carribean Islands, and 2 more were killed in the United States.[1] Severe damage to crops and livestock occured through the Lesser Antilles, and damage to buildings and other infrastructure was reported in other Carribean nations and the United States. [1]

Lesser Antilles[edit]

Lili affected the islands as a budding tropical storm. Winds in the area were generally below hurricane force, although some gusts exceeded 74 miles per hour (119 km/h).[1] Rainfall of up to 4 inches (100 mm) caused deadly mudslides.[19] The winds, exacerbated by shoddy construction, ripped the roofs off of many homes and buildings, but the majority of the damage was dealt to crops, particuarly bananas.[33]

St. Lucia lost at least 75% of its banana crop, and hundreds of homes were damaged by the strong winds.[19] Near total loss of electricity, water, and telephone services occured, and utility systems were heavily damaged.[33] Four people were killed on the island, and total damage was estimated at $20 million (2002 USD, $23.5 million 2007 USD)[33][1]

Over 400 homes were damaged in Barbados, and nearly 50 trees were knocked down in the wind. As in St. Lucia, there was significant damage to the island nation's banana crop.[33] Extensive loss of electricity and telephone service also occured. Damage totaled at nearly $200,000 (2002 USD, $235,000 2007 USD)

Grenada also experienced moderate damage. 14 homes' roofs were damaged, and one was completely destroyed. The island's Medical Centre's roof was also damaged, and 12 landslides were reported.[33] There was also mild damage to infrastructure, particuarly in St. Patrick's Parish. Three bridges were damaged or destroyed, along with seven utility poles and a water main. All of the island was without power at some point, but it was quickly restored in the southern part of the island, where damage to the poles themselves was less significant.[33]

St. Vincent and the Grenadines were heavily impacted, especially compared other islands in the area. Several hundred homes and two schools were damaged, and the Rose Hall Police Station's roof was lost.[33] Still, the majority of damage was dealt to the agricultural industry. The banana crop was decimated, although some plantations suffered worse than others.[33] Combined, damage to the islands totaled $40 million (2002 USD, $47 million 2007 USD).[33]


Lili passed offshore of Haiti as a dissipating tropical storm.[1] As such, the storm's major impact was extremely heavy rainfall, in excess of 16 inches (410 mm) near the town of Camp-Perrin, Haiti.[34] This caused the Ravine du Sud River to overflow, and submerge buildings in the town. Two people died in the mudslides these rains triggered, and two more drowned in the flooding around Camp-Perrin.[35] The floods also seriously damaged crops and infrastructure; over 1700 homes were damaged and 240 were destroyed.[35]


Lili affected Jamaica as a strengthening tropical storm. Wind gusts in excess of 70 miles per hour (110 km/h) and rainfall over 2 feet (0.61 m) resulted in damage to homes, crops, and utility systems.[1][20]

Extremely heavy rainfall inundated the island. Cedar Valley recorded the most rainfall, 23.1 inches (590 mm). This led to prolific flooding that triggered mudslides across the island and killed four people. These floods decimated the island's sugar cane crop, one of the island's principal exports.[20] The prolific rainfall caused widespread problems with the infrastructure of the island. All of the island's hospitals had flood damage, and three were also dealt structural damage by the strong winds.[36] The flooding caused latrines and other sewage sources to overflow into the intake sources for the water supply, leading to fear of disease.[36]


Lili made landfall as a Category Two hurricane twice in Cuba, on the Isle of Youth and in the Pinar Del Rio Province, on October 1. Wind gusts up to 112 miles per hour (180 km/h) and rainfall amounts reaching 6 inches (150 mm) in some places caused damage to homes, businesses and crops. One person was killed.[1][37]

Damage to buildings and other infrastructure was particuarly bad. By far the most severely impacted provinces were Pinar Del Rio and La Habana. 48,000 homes were damaged, 16,000 of them lost their roofs. The province Sancti Spiritus was not affected nearly as bad, only 945 homes were damaged, and 500 lost their roofs. The provinces in Eastern Cuba, including Guantanamo, suffered similar damage.[38] Electricity outages for whole towns lasted weeks in parts of the western provinces. This also led to loss of running water due to unpowered pumps, and deliveries of fresh water had to be made to remote villages.[37] The tobacco and rice crops were badly depleted, but it was difficult to differentiate which damage was caused by Lili and which had been caused by Isidore just a week earlier.[37][39]


Lili made landfall on the morning of October 3 near Intracoastal City, as a weakening Category One hurricane.[1] Wind gusts reaching 120 miles per hour (190 km/h), coupled with over 6 inches (150 mm) of rainfall and a storm surge of 12 feet (3.7 m) caused over $860 million (2002 USD; $1 billion 2007 USD) in damage. 237,000 people lost power, and oil rigs offshore were shut down for up to a week.[40] Crops were badly affected, particuarly the sugar cane, damage totaled nearly $175 million (2002 USD; $205 million 2007 USD). No direct deaths were reported; early warnings and the compact nature of the storm were credited with circumventing major loss of life.[41]

Vermillion Parish, the landfall point, was hardest hit. Wind gusts in excess of 120 miles per hour (190 km/h), along with a storm surge of 12 feet (3.7 m) dealt major damage to nearly 4000 homes.[40] The worst storm surge flooding occured in Intracoastal City, destroying 20 buildings owned by a helicopter company. One person died after the storm, and 20 were hospitalized for carbon monoxide poisoning.[40]

Acadia Parish was also hard hit, recording wind gusts exceeding 110 miles per hour (180 km/h), and 5 tornadoes touched down in the parish.[40] Thousands of homes were damaged, over 2,500 severely. Power across the parish was knocked out, 2 people were injured and one was killed after the storm. Schools in the parish also sustained $1.6 million (2002 USD; $1.9 million 2007 USD) in damage.[40]


President Bush declared Louisiana a federal disaster area after the storm, making it eligible for assistance.[42] FEMA set up three locations to apply in Mississippi and Louisiana. Applications began pouring in, 153,000 by the time of the deadline.[43][44] Over $311 million in aid was granted to Louisiana.[45] $50 million of that money was in the form of low interest loans, and not actual grants.

Over 1,000 power workers from eight different states went to the worst hit areas to help restore power.[46][47] Seven states sent tree trimmers to help clear debris off of power lines and roads to speed the process.[48] In addition, FEMA gave SLEMCO, the state's power company, an $8.6 million grant, which paid for 75% of the damage to the electrical grid there.[49] It took up to four weeks to restore power to all costumers.[50]

Hurricane Lili caused great environmental damage to the marshes and barrier islands in Louisiana. Huge fish kills were observed in marshes near the landfall point, and in the Atchafalaya Swamp. The barrier islands to the east of the landfall point, those subjected to the highest surge, were severely eroded. Sand was also depositied behind them into the brackish marshes, burying vegetation. The freshwater marshes were severely damaged by the wind and surge, some of them completely destroyed. The severe erosion created new waterways connecting inland bodies of water with the Gulf of Mexico, which eventually led to further erosion of inland lagoons.[51]


The name Lili was retired in the spring of 2003 and will never again be used in the Atlantic basin. It was replaced with Laura for the 2008 season.[52]


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  31. ^ Jeff Roper (2002). "Hurricane Lili cancels two games". The Vanguard. Retrieved 2008-03-27. 
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  34. ^ ORE (2002). "Hurricane Lili Was Accompanied by Torrential Rains As it Passed Over Haiti". ORE. Retrieved 2008-04-05. 
  35. ^ a b AP (2002). "Lili killed 4 in Haiti; deaths unreported for a week". USA Today. Retrieved 2008-04-05. 
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  39. ^ OCHA (2002). "Caribbean - Tropical Storm Lili OCHA Situation Report No. 8". Retrieved 2008-04-06.  Unknown parameter |publsher= ignored (|publisher= suggested) (help)
  40. ^ a b c d e NWS Lake Charles (2002). "LILI". NWS. Retrieved 2008-04-8.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  41. ^ Kent Kuyper, Marty Mayeaux, Montra Lockwood, Donovan Landreneau, Joe Rua, Lance Escud and Roger Erickson (2002). "Lili '02". NWS WFO Lake Charles, Louisiana. Retrieved 2008-04-08. 
  42. ^ Mike Brassfield (2002). "Hurricane Lili Runs Out of Steam". Retrieved 2008-04-09.  Unknown parameter |publiser= ignored (|publisher= suggested) (help)
  43. ^ {{Cite web|author=FEMA|title=Louisiana Aid Deadline Looms, 153,000 Have Applied|publisher=FEMA|year=2002|accessdate=2008-04-10|url=
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  51. ^ Gaye Farris (2002). "USGS scientists monitor coastal damage from Hurricane Lili". USGS. Retrieved 2008-04-10. 
  52. ^ World Meteorological Organization (2004). "Final Report of the 2003 Hurricane Season" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-02-11.