KYLE – The eleventh tropical storm and sixth hurricane of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season

Hurricane Kyle

Hurricane Kyle was the eleventh tropical storm and sixth hurricane of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season. It formed from a strong tropical disturbance that tracked across the northeastern Caribbean Sea in the third week of September.

As a low pressure area, it moved slowly across Puerto Rico and Hispaniola, dumping torrential rains across those islands. By September 24, it began to track northward away from the islands, and developed enough strong thunderstorm activity near its center and a well-defined enough circulation to be deemed a tropical storm on September 25. It strengthened to a hurricane on September 27 west of Bermuda. It made landfall in Nova Scotia as a Category 1 hurricane late on September 28, then became extratropical shortly afterward.

Meteorological history

The tropical wave which eventually formed Hurricane Kyle had travelled across the Atlantic ocean after forming over Africa. On September 18 the wave had reached the Lesser Antilles area where it stalled for several days. Drifting westward over the Dominican Republic[6] and then Haiti. On September 25, after seven days interacting with the Carribean islands, the system gained enough organization to be classified a Tropical Storm, and was given the name Kyle. Kyle headed northward after becoming a tropical storm, and picked up speed on the way. Due to its rapid motion of up to 25 mph (40 km/h), wind shear lessened over the storm, and it became a hurricane the next day with 75 mph (120 km/h) winds. It then intensified slightly on the 28th to 80 mph (130 km/h) winds. It weakened slightly before making its first landfall near Yarmouth, Nova Scotia that evening, still as a hurricane, but losing tropical characteristics. Kyle made its North American land fall as a minor Category 1 hurricane when it hit southern Nova Scotia, Canada at Digby Neck late on September 28, 2008. Before hitting Canada, Kyle affected Maine as it passed by in the Atlantic Ocean.

Preparations

Puerto Rico and Haiti

On September 22, about 3 days before the system had formed into a tropical storm, its significant rainfall in the eastern Caribbean prompted flash flood warnings in Puerto Rico and the British Virgin Islands. In the Dominican Republic a green alert was issued for provinces in the eastern part of the nation. The next day yellow alerts were issued for eight provinces and red alerts in eight more. Evacuations began in vulnerable San Pedro de Macoris, La Romana, and Barahona and San Jose de Ocoa. The system moved westward on September 23, threatening Haiti with its rains which prompted the issuance of heavy rain warnings by the nation’s government. Haiti had already been drenched with rain earlier in the season, from Fay, Gustav, Hanna, and Ike.

Bermuda

Early on September 26, Tropical Storm Kyle was deemed to be a threat to Bermuda, and a tropical storm watch was issued for the islands. Later that day the watch was upgraded to a tropical storm warning. High surf warnings were issued for all beaches on the south shore.

United States

On September 27, the state of Maine issued their first hurricane watch in seventeen years with the predict path to approach the eastern part of the state. The last hurricane watch issued for Maine was with Hurricane Bob in 1991. Eastern Maine’s power company, Bangor Hydro-Electric, said it prepared for potential outages and planned to have additional crews on duty.

Canada

The Canadian Hurricane Centre issued watches and warnings for parts of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick on September 27, concurrent with the Maine warnings. New Brunswick Power indicated that repair crews were on standby and neighbouring utilities have been called to assist if needed. The Red Cross in New Brunswick also were checking equipment and supplies to meet any need that might arise. Hours before landfall, a hurricane warning was issued for portions of Nova Scotia. This was the first hurricane warning ever in Canada (tropical storm and hurricane advisories were not issued in Canada prior to 2004, a policy changed due to Hurricane Juan in 2003).

Impact

Puerto-Rico and Hispaniola

Even before the system was designated a tropical storm, it was bringing deadly rains to Puerto Rico. With isolated maximums in excess of 30 inches (760 mm), rivers breached their flood walls and flooded low-lying areas. At least four people were killed by the flood waters. Mudslides, triggered by the torrential rain, closed highways and schools. Damage to agriculture on the islands was estimated to be US $14 million. In addition to the system’s rainfall, its winds whipped up 10 ft (3 m) waves along the island’s southern coast.

Canada

In southwestern Nova Scotia, many reports of downed trees and power lines were reported. A ship reported a wind gust of 96 mph (154 km/h) near Shelburne and a boat was reported to have been swamped nearby. According to Nova Scotia Power Corporation at the height of the storm, winds knocked out power to more than 40,000 customers. While in New Brunswick, stiff winds and heavy rainfall were strong enough to knock power out for approximately 2,300 customers across the province. Gusting winds resulted in the Confederation Bridge, linking New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, being closed to high-sided vehicles for 7 1/2 hours.

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