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Canadian Tropical Cyclone Season Summary for 1988

1988 Storm Tracks Image
1988 Storm Tracks Image

Tropical Storm Alberto (August 5 to August 8, 1988)

The 1988 season’s first named storm formed on August 5 off the coast of South Carolina. Alberto moved northeastward off the coast as a tropical depression until it reached Nantucket, Massachusetts where it became Tropical Storm Alberto. Alberto reached a maximum wind speed of 64 kilometres per hour (34 knots).

Alberto moved over Nova Scotia with trivial effect. However, Yarmouth, Nova Scotia recorded gusts of 78 kilometres per hour (42 knots). Saint John, New Brunswick received 45.1 millimetres of rain during Alberto’s passage. Alberto became extratropical near Newfoundland and brought cloud and showers to western areas. There were also winds of 40-50 kilometres per hour in marine areas with no significant precipitation. There was no notable damage associated with Alberto.

Tropical Storm Chris (August 21 to August 30, 1988)

Chris formed as a tropical depression on August 21, 1988, while halfway in between Africa and the Lesser Antilles. The depression moved westward over the islands in the northeast Caribbean. On the 24th, over 100 millimetres of rain fell in Puerto Rico. Chris continued northward just offshore of southeast Florida. During this time, the depression was updated to Tropical Storm Chris, reaching maximum wind speeds of 81 kilometres per hour (44 knots).

Chris crossed the coast of Georgia and continued over South Carolina through Pennsylvania, into Vermont and then continued through Nova Scotia. Maximum winds were 50 kilometres per hour (27 knots) and diminishing as the storm approached the Maritimes and Chris was extratropical by the time it actually passed over Nova Scotia. Locally, the Maritimes provinces experienced heavy rains as result of Chris.

Tropical Storm Chris was responsible for 4 deaths. One resulted from a tornado in South Carolina and 3 resulted from heavy rain in Puerto Rico. This tropical storm also caused $500 000 in damages.

Hurricane Gilbert (September 8 to September 20, 1988)

Hurricane Gilbert formed into a tropical depression on September 8, 1988, while just east of the Lesser Antilles and was upgraded to a tropical storm late on the 9th. Over the next week, Gilbert intensified and moved across the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. It is estimated that Gilbert became a hurricane on the 10th, while centered to the south of Puerto Rico. Gilbert reached maximum wind speeds of 299 kilometres per hour (161 knots). Hurricane Gilbert made landfall on the Yucatan Peninsula on September 14. Gilbert weakened over land and then moved across the Gulf of Mexico for two days. The final landfall occurred late on the 16th as the centre moved inland near LaPesca, Mexico. Gilbert weakened after moving inland and re-curved across Texas and Oklahoma where it merged with a frontal low pressure system.

Hurricane Gilbert was responsible for approximately 318 deaths and a total of $5 billion in damages. Gilbert, however, had no direct impact on Canada.

Tropical Storm Helene (September 19 to September 30, 1988)

Helene developed into a depression on September 19, 1988, off the African coast. The depression increased to tropical storm intensity on the 20th and became Hurricane Helene on the 21st, while located over the mid-tropical Atlantic. Helene remained at sea throughout its life and then became an extratropical system on the 30th in the far north of the Atlantic. During its life, Helene reached a maximum wind speed 233 kilometres per hour (126 knots). Helene was estimated to be a hurricane for 9 days, making it the longest hurricane of the 1988 season.

Helene was not responsible for any damages and had no direct impact on Canada.

Tropical Storm Keith (November 17 to November 26, 1988)

Tropical Storm Keith was the last storm of the 1988 hurricane season. Keith developed into a tropical depression on November 17, while located in the western central Caribbean. Keith moved south of the islands in the Caribbean, then through the Gulf of Mexico, before crossing central Florida. It finally headed northeastward through the Atlantic.

Keith reached a maximum wind speed of 112.5 kilometres per hour (61 knots) and was responsible for $3 million in damages. Tropical Storm Keith had no direct impact on Canada.

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