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Lili - 1996
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HURRICANE LILI

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Hurricane Lili

A tropical wave moved off the west coast of Africa into the eastern Atlantic Ocean on October 4. The wave tracked to the west with little development over the next week, due to strong vertical shear in the area. On October 11, the wave reached the Windward Islands and entered the eastern Caribbean Sea, where it developed a circulation and became Tropical Depression Twelve midday on October 14. The depression moved to the northwestward at a modest pace over the next day, and came within less than 100 miles of the northeastern shore of Nicaragua later on the 14th. The pressure dropped steadily on October 15, and the depression was upgraded to Tropical Storm Lili early on the 16th after turning to the north. Lili stalled briefly later on the 16th, and completed a very minute cyclonic loop just to the north of Swan Island before returning to a NNE motion on October 17. Lili became a hurricane that day, and passed over the Isle of Youth late on the 17th, pounding the island with winds of 85 mph. After striking that area, the storm proceeded north and moved inland over mainland Cuba early in the morning of October 18 with winds of 100 mph. After landfall, Lili accelerated to the east and re-emerged into the Atlantic Ocean on October 19, seemingly unaffected by the interaction with land. The storm pounded through the Bahamas on the 19th as a Category 2 storm, with winds in excess of 105 mph. After moving out of the islands, Lili reached its peak intensity with winds of 115 mph and a pressure of 960 mbar, making the storm a Category 3 for a brief time. The storm continued accelerating to the northeast over the next few days, gradually weakening in the process due to cooler waters. The storm slowed dramatically on October 22, and turned to the east for a brief time; nearly becoming stationary at one point. The ENE motion was regained on October 24, and the storm surprisingly restrengthened to a Category 2 storm on the 25th, with winds of 100 mph. This burst of strength was short-lived, however, and Lili weakened to a tropical storm on October 26, and became extratropical shortly after. The remnant continued in that direction, and moved through Great Britain on October 28 as a powerful extratropical system. In all, the effects of Hurricane Lili killed 14 people. In Central America, heavy rain was reported as during the formative stage of the storm, killing five in Honduras due to drowning, and another three in Costa Rica. In Cuba, thousands of people lost their homes, and extensive damage was reported to the country’s agriculture. In Great Britain, six were killed by the extratropical remnant; four were killed in traffic accidents and two fisherman were swept out to sea. The Bahamas also suffered substantially; many houses were damaged and boats were sunk as a storm surge of 15 feet was reported in some areas. Damage figures are unavailable for the Bahamas, Cuba, and Central America, but an estimated 300 million in losses was reported in Great Britain. For reference, the name Lili was not retired and was used again in 2002; where the name was used for an even more destructive storm and was then retired and replaced with Laura.

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