2018 Atlantic hurricane season

2018 Atlantic hurricane season
2018 Atlantic hurricane season summary map.png
Season summary map
Seasonal boundaries
First system formedMay 25, 2018
Last system dissipatedOctober 31, 2018
Strongest storm
NameMichael
 • Maximum winds155 mph (250 km/h)
(1-minute sustained)
 • Lowest pressure919 mbar (hPa; 27.14 inHg)
Seasonal statistics
Total depressions16
Total storms15
Hurricanes8
Major hurricanes
(Cat. 3+)
2
Total fatalities154 total
Total damage> $33.27 billion (2018 USD)
Related articles
Atlantic hurricane seasons
2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020

The 2018 Atlantic hurricane season was the third in a consecutive series of above-average and damaging Atlantic hurricane seasons, featuring 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes and 2 major hurricanes and a total of $33.3 billion (2018 USD) in damages. The season officially began on June 1, 2018, and ended on November 30, 2018. These dates historically describe the period each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic basin and are adopted by convention. However, tropical cyclogenesis is possible at any time of the year, as shown by the formation of Tropical Storm Alberto on May 25, marking the fourth consecutive year in which a storm developed before the official start of the season. The next storm, Beryl, became the first hurricane to form in the eastern Atlantic during the month of July since Bertha in 2008. Chris, upgraded to a hurricane on July 10, became the earliest second hurricane in a season since 2005. No hurricanes formed in the Atlantic during the month of August, marking the first season since 2013, and the eighth season on record, to do so. On September 5, Florence became the first major hurricane of the season. On September 12, Joyce formed, making 2018 the first season since 2008 to feature four named storms active simultaneously (Florence, Helene, Isaac, and Joyce). On October 9, Michael became the second major hurricane of the season, and a day later, it became the third-most intense hurricane to make landfall on the United States in terms of pressure, behind the 1935 Labor Day hurricane and Hurricane Camille of 1969. With the formation of Oscar on October 27, the season is the first on record to see seven storms that were subtropical at some point in their lifetimes (Alberto, Beryl, Debby, Ernesto, Joyce, Leslie, and Oscar).

Most forecasting groups called for a below-average season due to cooler than normal sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic and the anticipated development of an El Niño. However, the anticipated El Niño failed to develop in time to suppress activity, and activity exceeded most predictions.

Seasonal forecasts[]

Predictions of tropical activity in the 2018 season
Source Date Named
storms
Hurricanes Major
hurricanes
Average (1981–2010[1]) 12.1 6.4 2.7
Record high activity 28 15 7
Record low activity 4 2 0
–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
TSR[2] December 7, 2017 15 7 3
CSU[3] April 5, 2018 14 7 3
TSR[4] April 5, 2018 12 6 2
NCSU[5] April 16, 2018 14–18 7–11 3–5
TWC[6] April 19, 2018 13 7 2
NOAA[7] May 24, 2018 10–16 5–9 1–4
UKMO[8] May 25, 2018 11* 6* N/A
TSR[9] May 30, 2018 9 4 1
CSU[10] May 31, 2018 14 6 2
CSU[11] July 2, 2018 11 4 1
TSR[12] July 5, 2018 9 4 1
CSU[13] August 2, 2018 12 5 1
TSR[14] August 6, 2018 11 5 1
NOAA[15] August 9, 2018 9–13 4–7 0–2

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Actual activity
15 8 2
* June–November only.
† Most recent of several such occurrences. (See all)

Ahead of and during the season, several national meteorological services and scientific agencies forecast how many named storms, hurricanes, and major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson scale) will form during a season and/or how many tropical cyclones will affect a particular country. These agencies include the Tropical Storm Risk (TSR) Consortium of University College London, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Colorado State University (CSU). The forecasts include weekly and monthly changes in significant factors that help determine the number of tropical storms, hurricanes, and major hurricanes within a particular year. Some of these forecasts also take into consideration what happened in previous seasons and an ongoing La Niña event that had recently formed in November 2017.[16] On average, an Atlantic hurricane season between 1981 and 2010 contained twelve tropical storms, six hurricanes, and three major hurricanes, with an Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) index of between 66 and 103 units.[1]

Pre-season outlooks[]

The first forecast for the year was released by TSR on December 7, 2017, which predicted a slightly above-average season in 2018, with a total of 15 named storms, 7 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes.[2] On April 5, 2018, CSU released its forecast, predicting a slightly above-average season with 14 named storms, 7 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes.[3] TSR released its second forecast on the same day, predicting a slightly-below average hurricane season, with 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 2 major hurricanes, the reduction in both the number and size of storms compared to its first forecast being due to recent anomalous cooling in the far northern and tropical Atlantic.[4] Several days later, on April 16, North Carolina State University released its predictions, forecasting an above-average season, with 14–18 named storms, 7–11 hurricanes, and 3–5 major hurricanes.[5] On April 19, The Weather Company released its first forecasts, predicting 2018 to be a near-average season, with a total of 13 named storms, 7 hurricanes, and 2 major hurricanes.[6] On May 24, NOAA released their first forecasts, calling for a near to above average season in 2018.[7] On May 25, the UK Met Office released their prediction, predicting 11 tropical storms, 6 hurricanes, and an Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) value of approximately 105 units.[8] In contrast, on May 30, TSR released their updated prediction, significantly reducing their numbers to 9 named storms, 4 hurricanes and 1 major hurricane, citing a sea surface temperature setup analogous of those observed during the cool phase of the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation.[9] On May 31, one day before the season officially began, CSU updated their forecast to include Tropical Storm Alberto, also decreasing their numbers due to anomalous cooling in the tropical and far northern Atlantic.[10]

Mid-season outlooks[]

On July 2, CSU updated their forecast once more, lowering their numbers again to 11 named storms, 4 hurricanes, and 1 major hurricane, citing the continued cooling in the Atlantic and an increasing chance of El Niño forming later in the year.[11] TSR released their fourth forecast on July 5, retaining the same numbers as their previous forecast.[12] On August 2, CSU updated their forecast again, increasing their numbers to 12 named storms, 5 hurricanes, and 1 major hurricane, citing the increasing chance of a weak El Niño forming later in the year.[13] Four days later, TSR issued their final forecast for the season, slightly increasing their numbers to 11 named storms, 5 hurricanes and only one major hurricane, with the reason of having two unexpected hurricanes forming by the beginning of July.[14] On August 9, 2018, NOAA revised its predictions, forecasting a below-average season with 9–13 named storms, 4–7 hurricanes, and 0–2 major hurricanes for all of the 2018 season.[15]

Seasonal summary[]

Hurricane MichaelHurricane Leslie (2018)Hurricane Helene (2018)Tropical Storm Gordon (2018)Hurricane FlorenceHurricane BerylTropical Storm Alberto (2018)Saffir–Simpson scale
The 2018 Atlantic hurricane season became the most recent season to feature four simultaneous named storms, after 2008. Visible in the image is Florence (left), Isaac (bottom center), Helene (lower right), and Joyce (upper right) on September 12.

For the fourth consecutive year, activity began early, with the formation of Tropical Storm Alberto on May 25. Alberto went on to attain winds of 65 mph, before making landfall in North Florida with winds of 45 mph. Alberto reached the Great Lakes region as a tropical depression, before dissipating over Lake Michigan on May 31. After a month of inactivity, Beryl formed in the Main Development Region on July 5, attaining hurricane status before dissipating just east of the Caribbean. Beryl redeveloped on July 14 in the Atlantic, before dissipating on July 16. Chris formed a day after Beryl, strengthening to a Category 2 hurricane on July 11, before dissipating over Atlantic Canada on the following day. August featured little activity in the form of Debby and Ernesto, neither of which became a hurricane or affected land.[17] However, Ernesto was the fourth storm of the season that was a subtropical cyclone at some point in its life.

The next tropical cyclone, Hurricane Florence, formed on August 31, and became the first major hurricane of the season on September 5, just one day later than the average of September 4. Florence made landfall in North Carolina on September 14, becoming the wettest tropical cyclone on record there and in neighboring South Carolina. Activity would increase dramatically in September with Tropical Storm Gordon forming on September 3, which would go on to cause minor damage and two deaths after making landfall in Mississippi. Hurricanes Helene and Isaac followed suit on September 7, making 2018 the second consecutive year with three hurricanes simultaneously active. Helene killed three people in West Africa, and caused minor damage in the UK as an extratropical cyclone, while Isaac caused negligible damage in the Caribbean. Florence, Helene, Isaac, and Joyce, which formed on September 13, marked the first time four storms were active simultaneously in the Atlantic since 2008. After a brief period of inactivity, Kirk and a tropical depression formed on September 22, and Subtropical Storm Leslie followed suit the following day, marking the first time on record six storms (Alberto, Beryl, Debby, Ernesto, Joyce and Leslie) were designated a subtropical storm.

Activity picked up once again in October, with Michael forming on October 7 and strengthening into a major hurricane over the Gulf of Mexico, before making landfall in the Florida Panhandle at peak intensity, on October 10. On October 9, Tropical Storm Nadine developed in the eastern tropical Atlantic. After fifteen days as a tropical cyclone, on October 13, Leslie transitioned into a powerful extratropical cyclone approximately 120 miles west of the Iberian Peninsula, before making landfall soon afterward. A two-week period of inactivity ensued as the season began to wind down. On October 27, Oscar, the seventh in a record-breaking number of subtropical storms developed in the central Atlantic Ocean. Oscar intensified into a hurricane the next day, making it the eighth hurricane of the season. Oscar's dissipation ended the season on October 31, a month prior to the season's official end.

The Accumulated Cyclone Energy index for the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season is 126.8325 units.[nb 1]

Systems[]

Tropical Storm Alberto[]

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Alberto 2018-05-27 1621Z.jpg Alberto 2018 track.png
DurationMay 25 – May 31
Peak intensity65 mph (100 km/h) (1-min)  990 mbar (hPa)

A broad area of low pressure formed over the southwestern Caribbean Sea on May 21, as the result of the interaction between an upper-level low and a weak surface trough.[18] The low drifted slowly westward and then northward through the Caribbean Sea as it gradually organized. By 15:00 UTC on May 25, the strongly sheared low had organized sufficiently to be classified as Subtropical Storm Alberto while situated about 55 miles (90 km) south of Cozumel, Quintana Roo,[19] which made this season the fourth-consecutive season in which storms formed earlier than the official start of the season on June 1. After remaining nearly stationary for the next day, Alberto began to move northwards. After entering the Gulf of Mexico, where wind shear lessened and sea surface temperatures were above average, Alberto began to intensify. Early on May 28, Alberto fully transitioned into a tropical storm and reached its peak intensity, with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph (100 km/h). Afterward, due to dry air interaction, Alberto began to weaken as it neared the Gulf Coast, making landfall near Laguna Beach, Florida, at 21:00 UTC with winds of 45 mph (75 km/h).[20] The cyclone weakened to a tropical depression shortly after landfall. On May 31, Alberto finally transitioned to a post-tropical cyclone while over northern Michigan. The remnant low was subsequently absorbed by a frontal system over Ontario on the next day.[21]

Hurricane Beryl[]

Category 1 hurricane (SSHWS)
Beryl 2018-07-06 1350Z.jpg Beryl 2018 track.png
DurationJuly 4 – July 16
Peak intensity80 mph (130 km/h) (1-min)  991 mbar (hPa)

Late on July 3, the NHC began tracking a vigorous tropical wave over the eastern tropical Atlantic for tropical cyclone development. The tropical wave quickly coalesced as it moved westward, and at 15:00 UTC on July 5, it organized into a tropical depression while situated over the central tropical Atlantic Ocean.[22] Favorable environmental conditions allowed the tiny system to strengthen, becoming Tropical Storm Beryl by 18:30 UTC,[23] and further intensifying into a Category 1 hurricane by 06:00 UTC on July 6 as a pinhole eye became evident.[24] Upon designation as a hurricane, it became the second earliest on record in the Main Development Region (south of 20°N and between 60° and 20°W), surpassed only by 1933's Hurricane Two.[25] This intensity was short-lived, as accelerating low-level flow imparted shear on the cyclone and caused it to weaken back to tropical storm strength, by 15:00 UTC on July 7.[26] An Air Force reconnaissance aircraft investigated the system early the next morning, finding that Beryl had degenerated into an open trough; the NHC de-classified Beryl as a tropical cyclone at 21:00 UTC on July 8, accordingly.[27] The remnants were monitored for several days, although little organization occurred during much of that time. However, conditions gradually became more favorable for redevelopment, and on July 14 at 17:00 UTC, Beryl regenerated into a subtropical storm near Bermuda. The rejuvenated storm soon began to lose convection, as dry air infiltrated the system. By 03:00 UTC on July 16, Beryl degenerated into a remnant low once again, after having lacked organized convection for more than twelve hours.[28]

Hurricane Chris[]

Category 2 hurricane (SSHWS)
Chris 2018-07-10 1815Z.jpg Chris 2018 track.png
DurationJuly 6 – July 12
Peak intensity105 mph (165 km/h) (1-min)  970 mbar (hPa)

Late on July 2, the NHC began monitoring the potential for an area of low pressure to form near Bermuda in a low-pressure circulation.[29] A non-tropical low formed a few hundred miles south of Bermuda on July 3.[30] Shower and thunderstorm activity gradually became better defined as the low moved generally northwestward into the Gulf Stream. At 21:00 UTC on July 6, the low organized into Tropical Depression Three, while located off the coast of North Carolina. Strengthening of the depression was slow due to the circulation being elongated.[31] Nevertheless, at 09:00 UTC on July 8, Tropical Depression Three was upgraded into Tropical Storm Chris.[32] Although it was forecast to strengthen into a hurricane the following day, dry air intrusion and upwelling caused by the storm resulted in little strengthening throughout the day. However, Chris was able to mix the dry air out of its circulation as it accelerated northeastward into warmer waters the following day. With a well-defined eye and impressive appearance on satellite imagery, Chris finally strengthened into a hurricane at 21:00 UTC on July 10.[33] At 03:00 UTC on the next morning, Chris rapidly intensified to Category 2 hurricane status, as a convective ring in its core transformed into a full eyewall.[34] However, the hurricane's eye later became ragged and ill-defined, resulting in it weakening to Category 1 intensity at 21:00 UTC on July 11.[35] As the storm continued to cross the Gulf Stream, Chris further weakened below hurricane strength at 09:00 UTC on the following morning.[36] By this time, Chris had begun to undergo an extratropical transition and also experienced an expanding windfield; Chris transitioned to an extratropical cyclone as it merged with a frontal system, about six hours later.[37]

On July 7, a man drowned in rough seas attributed to the storm at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.[38] As an extratropical cyclone, the system brought locally heavy rain and gusty winds to Newfoundland and Labrador. Rainfall accumulations peaked at 3.0 in (76 mm) in Gander, while gusts reached 60 mph (96 km/h) in Ferryland.[39] Rainfall accumulations were highest on Sable Island, at 4.39 in (111.6 mm).[40]

Tropical Storm Debby[]

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Debby 2018-08-08 1430Z.jpg Debby 2018 track.png
DurationAugust 7 – August 9
Peak intensity50 mph (85 km/h) (1-min)  1000 mbar (hPa)

On August 4, the NHC began monitoring a non-tropical low over the northern Atlantic Ocean for tropical or subtropical development.[41] Initially, convection remained very limited, with the system consisting mostly of a convectionless swirl interacting with an upper-level low. However, as the system moved into a more favorable environment it gradually began to acquire subtropical characteristics. At 15:00 UTC on August 7, the low had developed sufficiently organized convection to be classified as Subtropical Storm Debby.[42] The storm slowly gained tropical characteristics as it travelled northwards, and by 09:00 UTC on August 8, Debby became fully tropical, with sustained winds increasing to 45 mph (75 km/h).[43] Despite marginal ocean temperatures, Debby continued to strengthen, peaking with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph (85 km/h).[44] Afterward, Debby began to weaken as it began to lose tropical characteristics. At 21:00 UTC on August 9, Debby degenerated into a post-tropical cyclone, as it accelerated northeastward ahead of a shortwave trough.[45]

Tropical Storm Ernesto[]

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Ernesto 2018-08-16 1340Z.jpg Ernesto 2018 track.png
DurationAugust 15 – August 18
Peak intensity45 mph (75 km/h) (1-min)  999 mbar (hPa)

A complex non-tropical low pressure system formed over the northern Atlantic on August 12.[46] As the low drifted southeastward and slowly weakened, a new low formed to the east of the system on August 14.[47] The new low quickly acquired subtropical characteristics, and by 09:00 UTC on August 15, the low had organized sufficiently to be classified as a subtropical depression.[48] At 15:00 UTC that same day, the depression became Subtropical Storm Ernesto.[49] On August 16, the storm attempted to transition into a fully tropical cyclone—as convection started to form near the center—however, it soon decayed.[50] Nevertheless, another burst of convection formed near the center a few hours later, indicating that Ernesto successfully transitioned into a tropical cyclone.[51] On August 17, Ernesto began accelerating towards the northeast, as the system was caught up in the jet stream. The next day, the storm transitioned into an extratropical cyclone.[52] The remnants of Ernesto impacted Ireland and the United Kingdom on August 19.[53][54]

Hurricane Florence[]

Category 4 hurricane (SSHWS)
Florence 2018-09-10 Suomi NPP.jpg Florence 2018 track.png
DurationAugust 31 – September 17
Peak intensity140 mph (220 km/h) (1-min)  939 mbar (hPa)

On August 28, the NHC first mentioned the possibility of tropical cyclone formation from a tropical wave expected to exit western Africa.[55] Two days later, the tropical wave moved off the coast of Senegal, with disorganized thunderstorms[56] and a well-defined low-pressure area.[57] Due to the system's threat to the Cape Verde islands, the NHC initiated advisories on Potential Tropical Cyclone Six at 15:00 UTC on August 30.[58] The system organized into Tropical Depression Six at 21:00 UTC on August 31.[59] Early on September 1, Tropical Depression Six strengthened into Tropical Storm Florence. Gradual intensification occurred as Florence continued west-northwestward across the central Atlantic, and at 15:00 UTC on September 4, it intensified into the third hurricane of the season.[60] On September 5, Florence unexpectedly underwent rapid intensification into a Category 3 major hurricane.[61] Rapid intensification continued and at 21:00 UTC, Florence intensified into a Category 4 hurricane at 22°24′N 46°12′W / 22.4°N 46.2°W / 22.4; -46.2 (Florence),[62] farther northeast than any previous Category 4 hurricane in the Atlantic during the satellite era.[63] However, rapid intensification caused the now-stronger storm to veer northwards into a zone of greater vertical wind shear.[64] Over the next 30 hours, Florence rapidly weakened into a tropical storm due to the strong wind shear, with the storm's cloud pattern becoming distorted.[65] After entering a zone of less shear and crossing into warmer waters, Florence restrengthened into a hurricane on September 9.[66] On the next day, Florence underwent a second period of rapid intensification and reintensified into a major hurricane.[67] At 16:00 UTC on the same day, Florence reintensified into a Category 4 hurricane.[68] Before impacting the coast however, Florence underwent an eyewall replacement cycle and encountered moderate wind shear, weakening it to a Category 2 hurricane.[69] Florence quickly weakened into a tropical depression inland, and the NHC issued its last advisory at 10:00 UTC on September 16, passing on responsibility to the Weather Prediction Center (WPC). At that point, Florence had also begun to gradually accelerate westward.[70] On September 17, Florence slowly turned to the northeast, while continuing to weaken. Late on the same day, Florence weakened into a remnant low, while situated over West Virginia.[71] Florence still posed a threat inland, as it dumped tremendous amounts of rain on the Eastern Seaboard. The system finally dissipated in the open Atlantic on September 19.[72]

Florence posed a major threat to the East Coast of the United States, especially North Carolina and South Carolina, which declared states of emergency, along with Virginia, Maryland,[73] and Washington, D.C.[74] The NHC issued its first hurricane watches at 9:00 UTC on September 11.[75]

Tropical Storm Gordon[]

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Gordon 2018-09-04 1905Z.jpg Gordon 2018 track.png
DurationSeptember 3 – September 8
Peak intensity70 mph (110 km/h) (1-min)  997 mbar (hPa)

On August 30, the NHC began monitoring a tropical disturbance over the north-central Caribbean, giving it a 30% chance of development within 5 days.[76] Gradual organization occurred as the system moved northwestward toward the Bahamas, and at 18:00 UTC on September 2, it was designated Potential Tropical Cyclone Seven, as it was forecasted to impact land areas as a tropical storm within two days.[77] At 12:05 UTC on the next morning, the system organized into Tropical Storm Gordon while moving over the Florida Keys.[78] Although the storm intensified slightly as it moved over southern Florida, the core became disrupted and the associated convection became disorganized.[79] Emerging over the Gulf of Mexico late on September 3, Gordon began to strengthen further and become more organized, with a band of deep convection developing near the small core of the system. Late on September 4, Gordon reached its peak intensity with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph (110 km/h) shortly before making landfall just west of the Alabama-Mississippi border.[80] After making landfall, Gordon weakened into a tropical depression. The NHC issued its last advisory at 4:00 PM CDT on Wednesday, September 5. Moving further inland and quickly weakening, Gordon lingered over the southeastern United States for the next two days, before finally degenerating into a remnant low on September 8. The remnants of Gordon continued across the northeast, dropping heavy amounts of rain, before being absorbed by another frontal system over New England, on September 12.[81]

Hurricane Helene[]

Category 2 hurricane (SSHWS)
Helene 2018-09-11 1245Z.jpg Helene 2018 track.png
DurationSeptember 7 – September 16
Peak intensity110 mph (175 km/h) (1-min)  966 mbar (hPa)

On September 7, the NHC began monitoring an area of disturbance near Senegal, developing from a tropical wave emerging from the coast of West Africa. The system had been forecast to develop a tropical depression in the previous days.[82] The system rapidly organized near the west coast of Africa and was designated as Potential Tropical Cyclone Eight, at 12:00 UTC on September 7, just off the coast of Africa, as it was threatening to impact the Cape Verde Islands.[83] The system continued to organize, and on the same day, it became Tropical Depression Eight. The system later strengthened into Tropical Storm Helene on the same day. On September 9, Helene strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane, with winds of 85 mph (140 km/h) at 13°54′N 27°12′W / 13.9°N 27.2°W / 13.9; -27.2 (Helene),[84] trailing 2015's Hurricane Fred as the easternmost hurricane to form in the main development region (MDR) during the satellite era.[85] Helene strengthened into a Category 2 hurricane at 15:00 UTC on September 10,[86] but quickly weakened into a tropical storm at 15:00 UTC on September 13. Tropical storm watches were issued for the Azores at 21:00 UTC on September 13, which were upgraded to tropical storm warnings at 09:00 UTC on September 14. From September 13–14, Helene interacted with the smaller Tropical Storm Joyce to the west, due to the Fujiwhara effect, steering Joyce counter-clockwise around the larger system.[87] Afterward, Helene began accelerating toward the northeast, passing over the Azores late on September 15.[88] On September 16, Helene transitioned into an extratropical cyclone while accelerating toward the British Isles,[89] becoming the first named storm of the 2018–19 European windstorm season.[90] On September 18, Helene moved across the northern periphery of Ireland,[91] before drifting into the Norwegian Sea.[92] On September 22, Helene's remnant was absorbed into another extratropical storm approaching from the southwest.[93]

Heavy rainfall from the precursor tropical wave in Guinea triggered flooding, which claimed three lives in Doko on September 6.[94] As a tropical cyclone, Helene passed close to Flores Island in the Azores with winds of up to 62 mph (100 km/h) on September 15. After completing an extratropical transition, Storm Helene continued onwards to impact Ireland and the United Kingdom. Weather warnings forecasting winds of up to 65 mph (105 km/h) were issued for southern and western areas of the United Kingdom;[95] however, Helene weakened considerably as it approached the British Isles, and all weather warnings were discontinued on September 18, as Helene was crossing northern England with only minimal impacts.

Hurricane Isaac[]

Category 1 hurricane (SSHWS)
Isaac 2018-09-10 1625Z.jpg Isaac 2018 track.png
DurationSeptember 7 – September 15
Peak intensity75 mph (120 km/h) (1-min)  993 mbar (hPa)

On September 2, the NHC began monitoring a tropical wave situated over West Africa.[96] On September 7, the tropical wave was forecast to have a 90% chance of developing into a tropical cyclone within the next few days. Later on the same day, the storm developed into Tropical Depression Nine simultaneously with Tropical Depression Eight, which would go on to become Tropical Storm Helene.[97] On September 8, the system intensified into Tropical Storm Isaac.[98] Early on September 10, Isaac strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane, following Helene, and was noted to be quite small.[99] The system weakened into a tropical storm at 03:00 UTC on September 11. At 09:00 UTC on September 14, the system weakened into a tropical depression.[100] However, at 21:00 UTC on the same day, Isaac briefly restrengthened into a tropical storm, although it soon weakened once more, degenerating into an elongated trough at 10:00 UTC on September 15.[101]

Tropical Storm Joyce[]

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Joyce 2018-09-14 1625Z.jpg Joyce Atlantic 2018 track.png
DurationSeptember 12 – September 19
Peak intensity50 mph (85 km/h) (1-min)  997 mbar (hPa)

The NHC began monitoring a non-tropical area of low pressure forming along a trough of low pressure on September 11.[102] Contrary to forecasts of gradual organization, the low quickly acquired subtropical characteristics as it moved southwestward. At 21:00 UTC on September 12, the low strengthened into Subtropical Storm Joyce.[103] From September 13–14, Joyce interacted with the larger Hurricane Helene, due to the Fujiwhara effect, with Joyce being steered counter-clockwise around Helene.[87] At 03:00 UTC on September 14, Joyce transitioned into a tropical storm.[104] Later that day, Joyce began turning eastward.[105] Late on September 14, Joyce reached its peak intensity, with a more organized appearance on satellite.[106] Afterward, Joyce began to weaken, due to the increasing wind shear. At 15:00 UTC on September 16, Joyce weakened into a tropical depression.[107] At 3:00 UTC on September 19, Joyce weakened into a remnant low, and the NHC issued their last advisory on the system.[108]

Tropical Depression Eleven[]

Tropical depression (SSHWS)
11L 2018-09-21 1625Z.jpg Eleven 2018 track.png
DurationSeptember 22 – September 23
Peak intensity35 mph (55 km/h) (1-min)  1007 mbar (hPa)

On September 18, a large area of disturbed weather in association with a tropical wave developed far to the east-southeast of the Lesser Antilles.[109] The system initially lacked a surface circulation, and though a weak one formed on September 21, strong upper-level winds and dry air were expected to limit further development.[110] Deep convection, despite being displaced east of the center, became persistent throughout the day, leading to the formation of a tropical depression by 03:00 UTC on September 22.[111] However, the depression failed to strengthen further within an increasingly hostile environment, eventually degenerating into an elongated trough on the following day.[112]

Tropical Storm Kirk[]

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Kirk 2018-09-26 1635Z.jpg Kirk 2018 track.png
DurationSeptember 22 – September 29
Peak intensity60 mph (95 km/h) (1-min)  998 mbar (hPa)

A tropical wave moved off the west coast of Africa near Sierra Leone early on September 21.[113] Contrary to forecasts of slow organization, the wave quickly organized amidst a favorable environment as it moved swiftly westward across the far eastern Atlantic. By 15:00 UTC on September 22, the wave had organized sufficiently to be classified as Tropical Storm Kirk.[114] Kirk became a named storm at 8.3°N, marking the lowest latitude for a system of tropical storm strength or higher in the north Atlantic since an unnamed hurricane in 1902.[115] For comparison, the lowest-latitude formation for a tropical cyclone of tropical depression strength in the north Atlantic basin was Hurricane Isidore in 1990, which formed at just 7.2°N.[116] Little change in strength occurred as Kirk accelerated across the tropical Atlantic, possibly owing to its high forward speed, and it weakened to a tropical depression early on September 24,[117] before degenerating into an open trough at 15:00 UTC later that day.[118]

The remnant trough continued westward and quickly reorganized, and at 09:00 UTC on September 26, the remnants of Kirk reacquired a well-defined circulation and became a tropical storm once again.[119] Tropical storm watches and warnings were issued at 09:00 UTC on September 26.[120][121] The newly-reformed storm started intensifying, and at 18:00 UTC on the same day, Kirk reached its peak intensity with sustained winds of 60 mph (95 km/h).[122] Strong wind shear would cause the storm to weaken slightly over the next day as it continued its approach toward the Lesser Antilles, and around 00:30 UTC on September 28, the storm made landfall on St. Lucia.[123] Weakening continued as Kirk continued westward through the Caribbean Sea, and the surface circulation became exposed to the west of the main convection.[124] Early on September 29, Kirk degenerated into an open tropical wave over the eastern Caribbean Sea.[125]

Hurricane Leslie[]

Category 1 hurricane (SSHWS)
Leslie 2018-10-11 1515Z.jpg Leslie 2018 track.png
DurationSeptember 23 – October 13
Peak intensity90 mph (150 km/h) (1-min)  969 mbar (hPa)

In the midst of an active September, the NHC began monitoring an area southwest of the Azores for tropical or subtropical development within the next several days on September 19.[126] A non-tropical area of low pressure formed on September 22,[127] quickly transitioning into a subtropical storm by 15:00 UTC on the next day, with the NHC assigning the storm the name Leslie.[128] After little change in strength had occurred in two days, Leslie began to weaken, first into a subtropical depression early on September 25,[129] before becoming post-tropical later that day as the system began to merge with an approaching frontal system.[130] Leslie subsequently merged with the frontal system and began a cyclonic loop to the west, intensifying during this time, and becoming a powerful extratropical cyclone with hurricane-force winds early on September 27.[131]

After reaching its extratropical peak, Post-Tropical Cyclone Leslie gradually weakened, as the storm began to lose its frontal structure. However, Leslie simultaneously began to reacquire subtropical characteristics, and by 21:00 UTC on September 28, Leslie became a subtropical storm once again.[132] A day after regenerating, Leslie became fully tropical.[133] Over the next several days, Leslie slowly drifted to the south-southwest, while gradually intensifying. At 09:00 UTC on October 3, Leslie strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane, the sixth hurricane of the season.[134] However, Leslie weakened back into a tropical storm late on the next day, with satellite data indicating that Leslie may have been trying to undergo an eyewall replacement cycle, albeit with a very large eye.[135] For the next few days, Leslie slowly continued to drift northeastward, without much change in intensity. On October 7, Leslie began turning to the east-southeast.[136] After a period of weakening, Leslie started restrengthening late on October 8.[137] Early on October 10, Leslie intensified into a Category 1 hurricane for the second time and executed a sharp turn to the east-northeast.[138] At 18:00 UTC on October 13, Leslie transitioned into a powerful extratropical cyclone 120 miles west-northwest of Lisbon, before making landfall soon afterward.[139]

On October 11, a tropical storm warning was issued for Madeira for the first time in the island's history, and Leslie became the first tropical cyclone to pass within 100 miles (160 km) of the archipelago since reliable record-keeping began in 1851. Prior to Leslie, Hurricane Vince in 2005 passed closer to the islands than any other tropical cyclone.[140]

Madeira officials closed beaches and parks.[141] The threat of the storm caused eight airlines to cancel flights into Madeira. More than 180 sports matches on the island were canceled, more than half of them affecting the Madeira Football Association.[142]

Hurricane Michael[]

Category 4 hurricane (SSHWS)
Michael 2018-10-10 1840Z.jpg Michael 2018 track.png
DurationOctober 7 – October 12
Peak intensity155 mph (250 km/h) (1-min)  919 mbar (hPa)

Early on October 2, the NHC began monitoring a broad area of low pressure that had developed over the southwestern Caribbean Sea.[143] While strong upper-level winds initially inhibited development, the disturbance gradually became better organized as it drifted generally northward and then eastward toward the Yucatán Peninsula. On October 6, the system became sufficiently organized to be declared a potential tropical cyclone, and the NHC initiated advisories on Potential Tropical Cyclone Fourteen.[144][145] Early on the next morning, the system organized into a tropical depression,[146] before intensifying into Tropical Storm Michael several hours later.[147] Michael quickly became a hurricane around midday on October 8 as a result of rapid intensification.[148] At 21:00 UTC on October 9, while approaching the Gulf Coast, Michael strengthened into a major hurricane with winds reaching 120 mph, making it the second major hurricane of the season.[149] Despite the NHC forecasting the hurricane to make landfall with winds of 125 mph, data from Hurricane Hunters indicated that Michael continued to rapidly intensify, becoming a Category 4 at 6:00 UTC on October 10 with winds of 130 mph.[150] At 18:00 UTC on October 10, Michael made landfall with sustained winds of 155 miles per hour (250 km/h) and a minimum central pressure of 919 millibars (27.1 inHg), becoming the strongest storm of the season and also the third-strongest landfalling hurricane in the U.S. on record, in terms of central pressure.[151] After crossing through the southeastern United States, Michael started restrengthening early on October 12 as a result of baroclinic forcing; however, the system transitioned into an extratropical cyclone soon afterward.[152]

The combined effects of the precursor low to Michael and a disturbance over the Pacific Ocean caused significant flooding across Central America.[153] Nearly 2,000 homes in Nicaragua suffered damage and 1,115 people evacuated. A total of 253 and 180 homes were damaged in El Salvador and Honduras, respectively.[153] More than 22,700 people were directly affected throughout the three countries.[154] Catastrophic damage occurred in Mexico Beach, Florida, where the storm made landfall at peak intensity.[155] Michael killed at least 60 people; at least 15 fatalities occurred across Central America: 8 in Honduras,[156] 4 in Nicaragua, and 3 in El Salvador.[153][154] In the United States, at least 45 were killed across Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia.[157][158] Insured damage estimates in the United States ranged between $8–11 billion (2018 USD), as of October 15.[159]

Tropical Storm Nadine[]

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Nadine 2018-10-10 1520Z.jpg Nadine 2018 track.png
DurationOctober 9 – October 13
Peak intensity65 mph (100 km/h) (1-min)  997 mbar (hPa)

On October 7, the NHC began monitoring an area of low pressure associated with a late-season tropical wave several hundred miles south of the Cape Verde Islands as a candidate for tropical cyclone development.[160] The disturbance steadily organized as it moved generally west-northwestward across the eastern Atlantic Ocean, and by 10:00 UTC on October 9, the system had acquired a well-defined center of circulation to be declared a tropical depression.[161] Five hours later, the tropical depression strengthened into Tropical Storm Nadine.[162] Upon its designation as a tropical storm at the longitude of 30°W, Nadine became the easternmost named storm to develop in the tropical Atlantic so late in the calendar year.[163] Gradual intensification ensued as Nadine moved northwestward, and it reached its peak intensity as a strong tropical storm with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph (100 km/h) on October 10 as a well-defined mid-level eye feature became apparent.[164] However, the small cyclone soon encountered an increasingly unfavorable environment, and it began to weaken as the low-level center became exposed as a result of strong westerly wind shear.[165] At 03:00 UTC on October 13, Nadine degenerated into an open tropical wave, as it continued westward across the tropical Atlantic.[166]

Hurricane Oscar[]

Category 2 hurricane (SSHWS)
Oscar 2018-10-29 1420Z.jpg Oscar 2018 track.png
DurationOctober 27 – October 31
Peak intensity105 mph (165 km/h) (1-min)  970 mbar (hPa)

On October 23, the NHC began forecasting an area with potential for tropical or subtropical development over the central Atlantic.[167] A large area of disturbed weather associated with a surface trough developed later that day.[168] Gradual organization ensued as the low drifted northward, with the shower and thunderstorm activity becoming better defined, although by October 26 it still lacked a well-defined surface circulation.[169] By 03:00 UTC on October 27, however, the circulation of the broad low had become sufficiently defined for it to be classified as Subtropical Storm Oscar.[170] Oscar continued to strengthen as it accelerated southward around the northern side of a mid to upper-level low, transitioning into a tropical storm at 05:00 UTC on October 28.[171] A small eye briefly became evident on satellite imagery in the evening of October 28, and Oscar strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane at 21:00 UTC that day.[172] Continued intensification followed, and Oscar reached its peak intensity as a mid-range Category 2 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph (165 km/h) early on October 30.[173] Soon afterward, the cyclone accelerated northeastward over increasingly colder waters, while a cold front approached the system from the northwest. On October 31, Oscar performed a quick "costume change"[174] as it underwent extratropical transition, a process it completed by 21:00 UTC that day.[175]

Storm names[]

The following list of names was used for named storms that formed in the North Atlantic in 2018. Retired names, if any, will be announced by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) during the 41st session of the Regional Association IV Hurricane Committee, which will be held in Curaçao sometime during the spring of 2019. The names not retired from this list will be used again in the 2024 season. This is the same list used in the 2012 season, with the exception of the name Sara, which replaced Sandy.

  • Oscar
  • Patty (unused)
  • Rafael (unused)
  • Sara (unused)
  • Tony (unused)
  • Valerie (unused)
  • William (unused)

Season effects[]

This is a table of all the storms that have formed in the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season. It includes their duration, names, landfall(s), denoted in parentheses, damages, and death totals. Deaths in parentheses are additional and indirect (an example of an indirect death would be a traffic accident), but were still related to that storm. Damage and deaths include totals while the storm was extratropical, a tropical wave, or a low, and all the damage figures are in USD. Potential tropical cyclones are not included in this table.

Saffir–Simpson scale
TD TS C1 C2 C3 C4 C5
2018 North Atlantic tropical cyclone season statistics
Storm
name
Dates active Storm category

at peak intensity

Max 1-min
wind
mph (km/h)
Min.
press.
(mbar)
Areas affected Damage
(USD)
Deaths Refs


Alberto May 25 – 31 Tropical storm 65 (100) 990 Yucatán Peninsula, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Gulf Coast of the United States, Southeastern United States, Midwestern United States, Ontario $125 million 18 [176][177]
Beryl July 4 – 16 Category 1 hurricane 80 (130) 991 Lesser Antilles, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Cuba, The Bahamas, Bermuda, Atlantic Canada Unknown None
Chris July 6 – 12 Category 2 hurricane 105 (165) 970 Bermuda, East Coast of the United States, Atlantic Canada, Iceland Minimal 1
Debby August 7 – 9 Tropical storm 50 (85) 1000 None None None
Ernesto August 15 – 18 Tropical storm 45 (75) 999 Ireland, United Kingdom None None
Florence August 31 – September 17 Category 4 hurricane 140 (220) 939 West Africa, Cape Verde, Bermuda, Southeastern United States (especially The Carolinas), Mid-Atlantic States, Atlantic Canada >$17.9 billion 30 (23) [178]
Gordon September 3 – 8 Tropical storm 70 (110) 997 Greater Antilles, The Bahamas, Florida, Gulf Coast of the United States, Eastern United States, Ontario >$250 million 2 (1) [179]
Helene September 7 – 16 Category 2 hurricane 110 (175) 966 West Africa, Cape Verde, Azores, Ireland, United Kingdom, Norway Unknown 3
Isaac September 7 – 15 Category 1 hurricane 75 (120) 993 West Africa, Lesser Antilles, Haiti, Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Cuba Minimal None
Joyce September 12 – 19 Tropical storm 50 (85) 997 None None None
Eleven September 22 – 23 Tropical depression 35 (55) 1007 None None None
Kirk September 22 – 29 Tropical storm 60 (95) 998 Lesser Antilles Minimal None
Leslie September 23 – October 13 Category 1 hurricane 90 (150) 969 Azores, Bermuda, East Coast of the United States, Madeira, Iberian Peninsula, France $500 million 2 (14)
Michael October 7 – 12 Category 4 hurricane 155 (250) 919 Central America, Yucatán Peninsula, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Southeastern United States (especially the Florida Panhandle), East Coast of the United States, Atlantic Canada, Iberian Peninsula >$14.6 billion 60 [157][159]
Nadine October 9 – 13 Tropical storm 65 (100) 997 None None None
Oscar October 27 – 31 Category 2 hurricane 105 (165) 970 None None None
Season Aggregates
16 systems May 25 – October 31   155 (250) 919 >$33.3 billion 116 (38)  

See also[]

Notes[]

  1. ^ The totals represent the sum of the squares for every (sub)tropical storm's intensity of over 33 knots (38 mph, 61 km/h), divided by 10,000. Calculations are provided at Talk:2018 Atlantic hurricane season/ACE calcs.

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