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Preliminary Report
Tropical Storm Kyle
11 - 12 October 1996

Max Mayfield
National Hurricane Center
5 November 1996

Tropical Storm Arthur
Hurricane Bertha
Hurricane Cesar
Hurricane Dolly
Hurricane Edouard
Hurricane Fran
Tropical Storm Gustav
Hurricane Hortense
Hurricane Isidore
Tropical Storm Josephine
Tropical Storm Kyle
Hurricane Lili
Hurricane Marco

[1996 Atlantic Hurricane Season]

Kyle was a small, short-lived tropical storm that formed over the northwestern Caribbean Sea in mid-October. It moved onshore near the border of Guatemala and Honduras as a weakening tropical depression and quickly dissipated. There were no significant effects on land associated with this system.

a. Synoptic History

Satellite imagery and rawinsonde data show that a tropical wave moved off the west coast of Africa on 27 September. The wave was tracked in satellite imagery to the Lesser Antilles on 5 October and to the western Caribbean Sea on the 9th where it interacted with a frontal cloud band. Surface analysis indicated a broad 1010 mb low over the northwest Caribbean Sea at 0000 UTC 11 October. At this time, anticyclonic flow aloft was seen in animation of satellite imagery above disorganized convective activity.

A well-defined convective cloud band developed and post-analysis suggests that a tropical depression formed from the disturbance near 1200 UTC 11 October while centered about midway between Swan Island and the coast of Belize (Fig. 1 (30K GIF) and Table 1). Steering currents were weak and the depression began drifting toward the southwest.

The tropical cyclone quickly intensified and is estimated to have become a tropical storm at 1800 UTC on the 11th. A small central dense overcast was evident in satellite imagery by the time the first reconnaissance aircraft investigated the cyclone during the afternoon. Maximum sustained surface winds of 45 knots are estimated to have occurred from 1800 UTC on the 11th to 0000 UTC on the 12th. The minimum central pressure of 1001 mb occurred near this time.

Upper-level southwesterly shear soon increased, resulting in a decrease of the deep convection. It is estimated that Kyle weakened to a tropical depression by 1200 UTC 12 October. The center of the rapidly dissipating depression moved onshore near the border between Guatemala and Honduras six hours later.

b. Meteorological Statistics

Figures 2 (20K GIF) and 3 (21K GIF) show the curves of minimum central pressure and maximum one-minute wind speed, respectively, versus time, along with the observations on which they are based. The limited aircraft data on 11 October were supplied by the Hurricane Hunters of the U.S. Air Force Reserves. The satellite estimates were provided by the NESDIS Synoptic Analysis Branch, the TPC's Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch and the Air Force Global Weather Center.

The maximum wind speed recorded from aircraft in Kyle was 49 knots from a flight level of 1500 feet at 1908 UTC 11 October. The minimum observed central pressure was 1001 mb at 2145 UTC on the 11th, and was extrapolated from 1500 feet.

Satellite estimates never exceeded T2.5 (35 knots) on the Dvorak scale.

c. Casualty and Damage Statistics

No reports of casualties or damages were received by the NHC.

d. Forecast and Warning Critique

Kyle was a tropical storm for less than 24 hours, so a meaningful quantitative evaluation of forecast accuracy could not be made.

Table 2 lists the watches and warnings issued or "recommended" during Kyle. The word recommended was used in NHC advisories due to the inability to communicate with Guatemala during the event.

Table 1. Best track, Tropical Storm Kyle, 11 - 12 October, 1996.
Position Pressure
Wind Speed
Lat. (°N)Lon. (°W)
11/120017.386.5100630 tropical depression
180016.987.1100245 tropical storm
120016.088.1100830 tropical depression
13/0000     dissipated
11/210016.787.4100145 minimum pressure

Table 2. Watch and warning summary, Tropical Storm Kyle, October 1996
11/2100tropical storm warning Felipe Carrillo Puerto, Mexico to Cabo Camaron, Honduras including Belize and adjacent islands (Guatemala section"recommended")
hurricane watch Felipe Carrillo Puerto, Mexico to the Guatemala/Honduras border (Guatemala section "recommended")
12/1200hurricane watch discontinued Felipe Carrillo Puerto, Mexico to the Guatemala/Honduras border
12/1500tropical storm warning discontinued Felipe Carrillo Puerto, Mexico to Cabo Camaron, Honduras including Belize and adjacent islands

Brian Maher
Jack Beven

Last updated December 29, 1998