Hurricane Lili - October 2-5, 2002

Lili originated from a tropical wave that moved over the tropical Atlantic Ocean from the west coast of Africa on
September 16th. The wave developed a low -level cloud circulation center midway between Africa and the Lesser
Antilles on the 20th. Convective clouds became sufficiently well organized on the 21st to qualify the system as a
tropical depression, centered about 900 n mi east of the Windward Islands.  Lili's track followed the southwestern
periphery of the subtropical ridge. The tropical cyclone moved just north of due westward at near 25 mph, crossed
the Windward Islands as a developing tropical storm on the 23rd and then its winds briefly reached 70 mph on the
24th. The storm weakened to an open tropical wave on the 25th and 26th in the east central Caribbean Sea as its
organization was disrupted by vertical wind shear.

Lili re-acquired a low-level closed circulation on the 27th, then its forward speed slowed towards 6 mph by the
28th while beginning a slow northward jog around the north coast of Jamaica. The storm dumped heavy rain on
Jamaica and also Haiti. Resuming a west-northwestward track, Lili became a hurricane on the 30th, while
passing over Cayman Brac and Little Cayman Islands. The center of the hurricane moved over the southwest
tip of the Isle of Youth on the morning of October 1st , and over western mainland Cuba a few hours later, with
wind speeds as high as 105 mph. Gradually accelerating its forward speed towards 18 mph, Lili turned northward
and made landfall on the Louisiana coast on the 3rd, with an estimated 90 mph maximum wind speed. However,
between Cuba and Louisiana, Lili intensified to 145 mph early on the 3rd over the north-central Gulf of Mexico
and then rapidly weakened to 90 mph during the 13 hours until landfall. Lili was absorbed by an extratropical low
on the 4th while moving northeastward near the Tennessee/Arkansas border. Lili was the first hurricane to make
landfall in the United States since Irene hit Florida in 1999. Below is the track of Lili, furnished by the National
Hurricane Center.

The storm total rainfall maps below were constructed using data from the National Climatic Data Center.

Lili (2002) Rainfall Hurricane Lili (2002) Contour Rainfall on black background
Hurricane Lili (2002) Filled Contour Rainfall on a White Background

Below are the calendar for Daily Precipitation Maps.  Note that the 24-hour periods end at 12z that morning.

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat

3 4 5