2008 Atlantic Hurricane Season Recap

2008 was the first year since records began being kept in 1851 to feature major hurricanes (111 mph or greater winds) in five consecutive months. The season began with Arthur, a tropical storm that formed even before the  June 1st official start of the season and closed with Paloma, the second-most powerful hurricane ever recorded in November.

Strength and Track of 2008 Atlantic Basin Storms








Tropical Storm Arthur Maximum Strength was Tropical Storm


Hurricane Hanna Maximum Was Catagory 1


Omar's Maximum Strength Was Catagory 3


Hurricane Bertha Was A Major Catagory 3 Storm


Hurricane Ike's Maximun Intnesity Was Catagory 4


Hurricane Paloma Maximum Strength Was Category 4


Christobal's Maximum Strength Was Tropical Storm


Josephine's Maximum Intensity Was Tropical Storm



Hurricane Dolly Maximum Strenght Was Catagory 2


Hurricane Kyle Maximum Strength was Catagory 1



Edouard's Maximum Strength was Tropical Storm


Laura's Maximum Strength Was Tropical Storm



Fay's Maximum Strength was Tropical Storm


 Marco's Maximum Strength Was Tropical Storm



Hurrican Gustav Major Catagory 4 Storm


Nana's Maximum Strength Was Tropical Storm


Tropical Storm Arthur

Arthur was a short-lived tropical cyclone that made landfall in northeastern Belize as a tropical storm. The storm produced devastating floods and killed five people in Belize, causing an estimated 78 million dollars worth of damage in that country.

Tropical Cyclone Report Tropical Storm Arthur (AL012008)
31 May- 1 June 2008

Hurricane Bertha

Bertha was an early season category 3 hurricane (on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale) that brought tropical storm conditions to Bermuda and became the longest-lived Atlantic July tropical cyclone on record.

Tropical Cyclone Report Hurricane Bertha (AL022008)
3-20 July 2008

Tropical Storm Cristobal

Short-lived Tropical Storm Cristobal did not make a landfall and no damage from the storm was reported.

Tropical Cyclone Report Tropical Storm Cristobal (AL032008)
19-23 July 2008

Hurricane Dolly

Dolly made landfall in extreme southern Texas as a category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale and caused some significant wind and flood damage. Dolly caused $525 million in insured losses in the United States. Doubling this figure, as is customarily done, gives a rough estimate of $1.05 billion for the total U.S. damage due to Dolly. Damage estimates from Mexico are not available.

Tropical Cyclone Report Hurricane Dolly (AL042008)
20-25 July 2008

Tropical Storm Edouard

Edouard was a short-lived tropical storm that made landfall along the upper Texas coast. Damage associated with Edouard was relatively light.

Tropical Cyclone Report Tropical Storm Edouard (AL052008)
3-6 August 2008

Tropical Storm Fay

Fay was a long-lived tropical storm that made eight landfalls – including a record four landfalls in Florida - and produced torrential rainfall that caused extensive floods across the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, and Florida.. Thirteen deaths have been attributed directly to Fay: 5 in the Dominican Republic, 5 in Florida, and 3 in Haiti. There were also 8 indirect deaths that were mainly due to auto accidents caused by hydroplaning on wet roads. Fay's damage in the United States is estimated at about $560 million.

Tropical Cyclone Report Tropical Storm Fay (AL062008)
15-26 August 2008

Hurricane Gustav

Gustav moved erratically through the Greater Antilles into the Gulf of Mexico, eventually making landfall on the coast of Louisiana. It briefly became a category 4 hurricane and caused many deaths and considerable damage in Haiti, Cuba, and Louisiana. reports from relief agencies and the media indicate that Gustav was directly responsible for 112 deaths – 77 in Haiti, 15 in Jamaica, 8 in the Dominican Republic, 7 in Louisiana, 4 in Florida, and 1 at sea. Damage in the USA is estimated at $4.3 billion.

Tropical Cyclone Hurricane Gustav (AL072008)
25 August – 4 September 2008

Hurricane Hanna

Hanna was a tropical cyclone that was briefly a hurricane over the Caicos Islands. Hanna also made landfall in the United States as a strong tropical storm near the border between North and South Carolina. Impacts from Hanna were greatest in Haiti, where heavy rainfall and subsequent flooding resulted in a large loss of life.

Reports from the Haitian Red Cross indicate that 793 people perished from the four storms and that about 500 people died in Gonaives, most likely the result of the flooding rains from Hanna. Several hundred people remain missing from the storms and a final death toll will likely never be known.

Tropical Cyclone Report Hurricane Hanna (AL082008)
28 August – 7 September 2008

Hurricane Ike

Ike was a long-lived Cape Verde hurricane that caused extensive damage and many deaths across portions of the Caribbean and along the coasts of Texas and Louisiana. It reached its peak intensity as a Category 4 hurricane over the open waters of the central Atlantic, directly impacting the Turks and Caicos Islands and Great Inagua Island in the southeastern Bahamas before affecting much of the island of Cuba. Ike, with its associated storm surge, then caused extensive damage across parts of the northwestern Gulf Coast when it made landfall along the upper Texas coast at the upper end of Category 2 intensity.

Ike is directly responsible for 103 deaths across Hispaniola, Cuba, and parts of the United States Gulf Coast. Extensive damage from strong winds, storm surge, and rainfall occurred over Hispaniola, the Turks and Caicos Islands, the southern Bahamas, Cuba, and the U.S. Gulf Coast from Florida to Texas. Additional deaths and significant damage occurred across parts of the Ohio Valley and southeastern Canada after Ike lost tropical characteristics.

Tropical Cyclone Report Hurricane Ike (AL092008)
1 - 14 September 2008

Tropical Storm Josephine

Josephine formed in the far eastern Atlantic Ocean and dissipated just a few days later over open waters due to strong vertical wind shear.

Tropical Cyclone Report Tropical Storm Josephine (AL102008)
2-6 September 2008

Hurricane Kyle

Kyle was a category one hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale that made landfall in southwestern Nova Scotia. The low pressure that preceded Kyle produced torrential rains (up to 30 inches) and numerous flash floods and mud slides in Puerto Rico resulting in six deaths. Winds from Kyle caused minor damage over Nova Scotia primarily in the form of some uprooted trees and broken limbs resulting in power outages. Storm surge and waves produced minor street flooding in Shelburne as well.

Tropical Cyclone Report Hurricane Kyle (AL11008)
25-29 September 2008

Tropical Storm Laura

Short-lived Laura remained well out at sea over the North Atlantic.

Tropical Cyclone Report Tropical Storm Laura (AL122008)
1-3 September 2009

Tropical Storm Marco

Marco was an extremely small tropical cyclone that made landfall on the Gulf coast of Mexico between Tuxpan and Veracruz. There were no reports of casualties associated with Marco.

Tropical Cyclone Report Tropical Storm Marco (AL132008)
6-7 October 2008

Tropical Storm Nana

Nana was a short-lived, weak tropical storm that remained over the open tropical Atlantic Ocean throughout its lifetime and threatened no land areas.

Tropical Cyclone Report Tropical Storm Nana (AL142008)
12-14 October 2008

Hurricane Omar

Omar, which directly impacted the Leeward Islands, underwent rapid intensification (up to a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale) and an immediately subsequent rapid weakening. There are no known casualties from Omar.

Tropical Cyclone Report Hurricane Omar (AL152008)
13-18 October 2008

TD Sixteen

Tropical Depression Sixteen was a large and sprawling depression that formed over the northwestern Caribbean Sea and made landfall about 24 h later in northeastern Honduras.

Nine deaths in Central America are directly attributed to the depression. An Agence France-Presse (AFP) media report from 19 October indicates that 16 people lost their lives in Central America due to flooding from heavy rains produced in part by Tropical Depression Sixteen. The media report lists seven deaths in Costa Rica, four in Nicaragua, three in Honduras, and one each in El Salvador and Guatemala. However, the deaths in Costa Rica were likely the result of flooding rainfall that can be attributed to the disturbance from which the depression formed. Therefore, they are not included in the final casualty count attributed to the cyclone. In addition, six people remained missing at the time of the report. A report from the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA) indicates that the heavy rains also produced flooding in throughout Belize; however, no deaths or injuries were noted in that country.

Tropical Cyclone Report Tropical Depression Sixteen (AL162008)
14-15 October 2008

Hurricane Paloma

Hurricane Paloma was a powerful hurricane that formed in the western Caribbean Sea and impacted the Cayman Islands before making landfall in Cuba and rapidly weakening. Paloma reached category 4 intensity (on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale) and became the second-strongest November Atlantic hurricane on record.

Media reports from Cayman Net News suggest damages were between $15 and $20 million (USD). According to the Cuban government, 12,159 homes were impacted by Paloma, with 1,453 homes destroyed. Paloma caused around $300 million (USD) in damage on that island. No direct casualties or fatalities were reported in association with Paloma.

Tropical Cyclone Report Hurricane Paloma (AL172008)
5-9 November 2008

Three major hurricanes, Gustav, Ike and Paloma ravaged Cuba. Haiti was devastated by four storms during August and September, resulting in more than 800 deaths, 530 of those deaths blamed on hurricane Hanna. Preliminary estimated losses around the region resulting from this very active 2008 Hurricane Season is of the order of US $54 billion.

Northern Central America including Belize felt the ravages of both the early-season tropical storm Arthur and late-season Tropical Depression 16. Tropical Storm Arthur evolved from the residual instability associated with the remnant low that was once eastern Pacific Tropical Storm Alma, on May 31, 2008. The center of the disturbance was located just offshore NE Belize and intensified into a tropical storm as it drifted inland over northern Belize and southern Yucatan.

By dawn of June 1, 2008, Arthur was weakening to a remnant low over SE Mexico. However, the system produced torrential rains across Belize during the subsequent three days, which resulted in flooding over the Orange Walk and Corozal districts at first, then the devastating flashfloods in the North Stann Creek and Sittee River watersheds of the Stann Creek Districts during the early morning of June 2, 2008. Five persons lost their lives to the flashfloods in the Middlesex and Hope Creek areas of the lower Stann Creek Valley. The losses were estimated at about BZ $78 million.

Tropical Depression 16 formed from an area of disturbed weather some 60 miles off the NE coast of Nicaragua on October 13, 2008. It drifted WNW just offshore the coast of NE Honduras during the next two days and then inland over the NE coast of Honduras on the morning of October 15, 2008. As the system drifted overland and interacted with the rugged terrain, it weakened to a remnant low and moved on a more westerly direction, reaching the western border between Honduras and Guatemala by October 16, 2008. During its odyssey overland the disturbance produced copious rainfall of the order of 21 inches over Baldy Beacon and 18 inches over Savannah during the period October 13-20, 2008.

Accumulated rainfall in excess of 20 inches was also recorded in many localities over western Honduras, central and northern Guatemala and SE Mexico. This resulted in extreme, widespread floods over the region. In Belize the Mopan, Macal, Belize, Rio Hondo and New Rivers all rose to near the record-setting, hurricane Keith stage. More than 110 communities consisting of over 16,400 persons were directly impacted by the floods in Belize. Five persons are known to have drowned during the floods; two on the Sittee River near the Kendal bridge crossing, and three around the border village of Arenal on the Mopan River.

Notable records for 2008 Atlantic Hurricane Season

  • First tropical storm to form over land (Arthur)
  • Fourth costliest hurricane season on record (a total of $54 basin wide with $21 billion dollars in damage in the USA, according to ISO's Property Claim Services)
  • First time major hurricanes have been observed in five separate months (Bertha, Gustav, Ike, Omar, Paloma occurred in July, August, September, October, and November, respectively)
  • First time six consecutive storms made U.S. landfall (Dolly, Edouard, Fay, Gustav, Hanna, and Ike)
  • First time three major hurricanes have hit Cuba (Gustav, Ike, Paloma)
  • Costliest hurricane in Texas history (Ike, $16.2 billion)
  • Second deadliest U.S. hurricane since 1972, and 26th deadliest in history (Ike, with 82 dead)
  • Highest wind gust ever measured in a hurricane over land (Gustav, 212 mph in Pinar del Rio, Cuba)
  • First storm ever to make four landfalls in one state (Fay, in Florida)
  • Second strongest November hurricane (Paloma, 145 mph winds)
  • Smallest tropical cyclone on record (Marco)
  • Longest-lived July hurricane on record, longest-lived hurricane so early in the season, longest-lived tropical storm in July and so early in the season (Bertha, which was a hurricane 7.75 days, eclipsing the previous record of 7 days held by Hurricane Emily of 2005. Bertha was at tropical storm strength for 17.25 days)
  • Farthest east forming tropical storm and hurricane for so early in the season (Bertha)