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Lili - 2002
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HURRICANE LILI

lili.jpg
Hurricane Lili Making Landfall in Louisiana

A tropical wave moved off the coast of Africa on September 16. The wave developed a circulation center on September 20, and began to organize in deep convection on September 21, when it became Tropical Depression Thirteen about 900 miles east of the Lesser Antilles. The depression moved westbound and remained a depression through the day on September 22, before finally becoming Tropical Storm Lili early on September 23. Lili continued the westward movement and strengthened, reaching an intensity of 70 mph winds on September 24 as it crossed the Windward Islands, before beginning to rapidly deteriorate due to wind shear. The windshear brought the once strong tropical storm Lili to a minimal tropical wave on September 25.

Lili managed to regain a tropical circulation on September 27, and became a tropical depression all over again. Lili became a tropical storm later on the 27th, and continued a strengthening trend that would last through October 3. The strengthening was slow at first, as the storm looped around the north side of Jamaica. Lili became a hurricane on September 30, just after steering to the WNW away from the island. The WNW path brought the storm to the western tip of Cuba as a powerful Category 2 hurricane on October 1. Crossing the western tip of Cuba barely disrupted the storm at all, as it began a rapid intensification after the landfall.

The rapid intensification made Lili into a powerful Category 4 storm as it churned NW through the Gulf of Mexico, reaching a peak intensity with winds of 145 mph and a pressure of 940 mbar. Lili then did something unexpected, and rapidly weakened to a Category 1 storm just before landfall, this surprised forecasters who had predicted the storm to make landfall as a strong Category 3 or 4. Hurricane Lili made landfall near Intracostal City, Louisisana on October 3 packing winds of 90 mph.

Lili killed a total of thirteen people. Four each in St. Vincent, Jamaica, and Haiti. The swipe on Jamaica worsened damage already caused by Hurricane Isidore earlier that month. Large amounts of property damage were reported in Cuba, but only one death. Lili caused $860 million in property damage to the United States, but was responsible for no direct fatalities. The name Lili was retired in the Spring of 2003 by the World Meteorological Association and will be replaced by Laura when the list is used again in 2008.

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