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Cuba Historic Hurricanes: Hurricane Lili 2002

Hurricane Lili 2002

Track of Hurricane Lili 2002Was a powerful 2002 hurricane that caused damage across the Caribbean and into Louisiana. The storm was initially categorized as a tropical depression on September 21, and made its final landfall on October 4. Lili was responsible for 13 deaths and large amounts of property damage.
Lili formed as a tropical depression on September 21 about 900 nm east of the Windward Islands. The depression moved rapidly westward and developed into a tropical storm. It crossed the Windward Islands on the 24th. Its development was short-lived, and Lili degenerated to a tropical wave the next day.
Lili began to regenerate on September 27. On the 28th Tropical Storm lili began circling around the north side of Jamaica, dumping heavy rain on the island and nearby Haiti. Lili continued strengthening as it approached Cuba. By the time it reached the Isle of Youth, it was a Category 2 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale, and it maintained this strength as it hit the western end of Cuba.
After leaving Cuba on October 1, Lili began to rapidly intensify, and early on October 3 had reached Category 4 strength. The storm was halfway across the Gulf of Mexico and approaching the Louisiana coastline. However, instead of making landfall as an intense hurricane, Lili weakened almost instantly, dropping to a Category 1 storm in the twelve hours before landfall. This drop surprised forecasters at the National Hurricane Center, who had been predicting that Lili would make landfall as a strong Category 3 storm. It crossed the coastline near Intracoastal City, Louisiana, and it caused a storm surge in excess of 10 ft along the coast.
Lili killed four in St. Vincent and caused property damage in Barbados and St. Lucia. When it reached Jamaica, Lili killed another four, and worsened the damage caused by Hurricane Isidore. Another four were killed in Haiti. 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.
Observation

Lili was a well-observed hurricane at its final landfall in Louisiana, as three mobile radars were deployed to the area of predicted landfall, including the National Severe Storms Laboratory's SMART Radar. These high-resolution systems complemented NOAA's fixed NEXRAD radars in Lake Charles and New Orleans. Several instrumented towers were also deployed in the path of the hurricane to provide other measurements.

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