Hurricane Lili

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Hurricane Lili was the deadliest and costliest hurricane of the 2002 Atlantic hurricane season for the United States. 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 Caribbean Sea. As it moved west, the storm dissipated while being affected by wind shear south of Cuba, and regenerated when the vertical wind shear weakened. It turned to the northwest and strengthened up to category 2 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 4 strength that afternoon. It weakened rapidly thereafter, and hit Louisiana as a Category 1 hurricane on October 3. It moved inland and dissipated on October 6.[1]

Lili caused extensive damage through the Caribbean, particularly to crops and poorly built homes.[2] Mudslides were common on the more mountainous islands, particularly Haiti and Jamaica.[3] In the United States, the storm cut off the production of oil within the Gulf of Mexico, and caused severe damage in parts of Louisiana. Lili was also responsible for severe damage to the barrier islands and marshes in the southern portion of the state. Total damage amounted to $882 million (2002 USD; $1.15 billion 2007 USD), and the storm killed 15 people during its existence.[1]


Meteorological history

A tropical wave moved off the west coast of Africa on September 16. A low level center of circulation developed from a tropical disturbance spawned by this tropical wave midway between the African coast and the Caribbean 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 mph (32 km/h), and reached tropical storm strength-becoming Tropical Storm Lili-as it passed through the Windward Islands.[5] The cyclone continued to intensify as it moved west through the Caribbean Sea, reaching a peak strength of 70 mph (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 mph (64 km/h) later that day.[7] The sudden weakening was attributed to strong southerly vertical shear.[8] The system degenerated in to an open tropical wave the next morning, and remained in that state for nearly two days.

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