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Preliminary Report
Tropical Storm Harvey
19 - 22 September 1999

John L. Guiney
National Hurricane Center
9 December 1999

Tropical Storm Arlene
Tropical Depression Two
Hurricane Bret
Hurricane Cindy
Hurricane Dennis
Tropical Storm Emily
Tropical Depression Seven
Hurricane Floyd
Hurricane Gert
Tropical Storm Harvey
Tropical Depression Eleven
Tropical Depression Twelve
Hurricane Irene
Hurricane Jose
Tropical Storm Katrina
Hurricane Lenny

[1999 Atlantic Hurricane Season]

Tropical Storm Harvey, which formed in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and moved across southern Florida, produced heavy rainfall over portions of southwest Florida.

a. Synoptic History

The tropical wave that produced Harvey moved off the west coast of Africa late on 4 September with little fanfare. From the 4th through the 14th, the wave's trek across the tropical Atlantic into the eastern Caribbean Sea was uneventful. This was due, in part, to the disruptive effects of the upper-level outflow from Hurricane Floyd. By 16 September, with the influence of Floyd's circulation abating, convective activity in association with the wave began to increase over the western Caribbean Sea and a broad area of low pressure formed. Upper-air observations from the northwest Caribbean showed an associated mid-level circulation near the Cayman Islands. The system drifted northwestward during the next two days and by the morning of the 18th, the broad area of low pressure was over the south central Gulf of Mexico. Early on the 19th, satellite imagery showed increasing deep convection near and east of the broad surface circulation center. This, coupled with a sustained 30 knot wind report from the National Data Buoy Center (NDBC) buoy 42003, located in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, is the basis for initiating Tropical Depression Ten at 0600 UTC 19 September, at which time the circulation center was located about 350 n mi west-southwest of St. Petersburg, Florida as shown in the post-storm "best track" in Table 1 and Figure 1.

Upper-tropospheric outflow improved over the depression throughout the 19th, indicative of gradual strengthening . Surface observations and reconnaissance data from the U.S. Air Force Reserve "Hurricane Hunters" (USAFR) indicated that by 0000 UTC 20 September surface winds were near 40 knots and the system became Tropical Storm Harvey, while located about 300 n mi west-southwest of St. Petersburg, Florida. Over the next 24 hours, Harvey's central pressure dropped a modest 7 mb and the storm is estimated to have reached a peak intensity of 50 knots from 1800 UTC 20 September to 1800 UTC 21 September. Satellite images showed that the system did not become better organized during this period because of westerly vertical wind shear. Data from the NOAA G-IV synoptic flow mission over the Gulf of Mexico on the afternoon of the 20th showed 25 to 35 knot westerly upper-level winds over the cyclone. This resulted in the displacement of Harvey's center to the northwest edge of the deep convection along with restricted outflow over the western semicircle. Satellite imagery also suggested that dry air was being entrained into the circulation from the northwest.

After turning from a north to a northeast heading on the afternoon of the 19th, Harvey moved slowly eastward on the 20th. By early on the 21st, the system turned southeast and the forward speed increased to 9 knots in response to mid-level northwesterly flow depicted in NOAA G-IV synoptic flow data. Harvey's track bent back to the east by mid morning of the 21st and the cyclone accelerated in advance of a mid-latitude trough approaching from the west. Harvey made landfall near Everglades City, Florida around 1700 UTC 21 September with maximum sustained winds of 50 knots and a minimum central pressure of 999 mb. Later that afternoon, the center of Harvey became elongated while becoming absorbed by a developing extratropical cyclone located just off the coast of South Carolina with an associated front extending into south Florida. Harvey lost its identity over the western Atlantic early on the 22nd as it merged with the extratropical cyclone.

b. Meteorological Statistics

The best-track curves of minimum central sea-level pressure and maximum sustained one-minute average "surface" (10 meters above ground level) wind speed are shown in Figure 2a. This figure also contains the data upon which the curves are based: USAFR reconnaissance data, satellite-based Dvorak-technique intensity estimates from the Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch (TAFB), the Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), and the U.S. Air Force Weather Agency (AFGWC in the figures).

1. Wind and Pressure Data

The USAFR Hurricane Hunters flew five reconnaissance missions into Harvey and made 14 center fixes. The highest wind speed reported in Harvey was 58 knots, at 1500 feet, at 1554 UTC 21 September; the lowest central pressure was 994 mb at 0813 UTC 21 September.The maximum sustained wind of 50 knots at 1800 UTC 20 September was based on an observation of 47 knots from ship WCOB; The C-MAN buoy at Molasses Reef (MLRF1) recorded a maximum wind of 47 knots, with a gust to 59 knots, at 1743 UTC 21 September while Fowey Rocks Light (FWYF1) reported 45 knots sustained winds, with a gust to 51 knots at 1800 UTC, and the aircraft data, all support the continuation of the 50-knot maximum sustained wind speed in the best track through 1800 UTC 21 September. These reports, along with other buoys and ship reports of 34 knot winds or higher, are listed in Table 2.

Table 3 lists a selection of surface observations from land stations. The highest official sustained surface wind observed over land was 32 knots at the Key West Airport at 1956 UTC 21 September. The Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant recorded a 10-minute 46 knot wind, at a 9 meter elevation, at 1610 UTC 21 September while the highest gust, 48 knots, was recorded at Tenraw in the Everglades in Dade County (25.6N/81.9W) at 1700 UTC. The lowest pressure observed in south Florida was 999.4 mb at the Fort Lauderdale Airport at 1953 UTC 21 September.

A Carnival Cruise Line vessel provided two observations on 20 September of tropical storm-force winds. These reports were used to help define the tropical storm-force wind and the 12-foot sea radii.

2. Rainfall Data

The highest storm-total rainfall recorded in Harvey was 10.03 inches at the Naples Conservancy in Collier County. Naples Lakewood measured 10 inches of rainfall while Naples/Collier County Emergency Management estimated a similar amount at their operations center. These measurements are consistent with NWS doppler radar estimates. Substantial street flooding was reported in the Naples area. Street flooding was also reported in portions of Lee County, with two homes flooded in Bonita Springs. Rainfall totals of 5.53 and 6.72 inches were observed at Immokalee and Everglades City, respectively. Storm total rainfall across Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties ranged from 0.75 inches (West Palm Beach Airport) to 2.85 inches (Coral Springs).

3. Storm Surge Data

The maximum recorded storm surge was 2.41 feet at Fort Myers with estimates of 2 to 3 feet common elsewhere in Charlotte County. Storm surge values ranged from 1 to 2 feet elsewhere in southwest Florida and in the Florida Keys. Tidal flooding was reported in Everglades City including the county airport where a portion of the runway was flooded resulting in the closure of the airport. Minor coastal flooding was also reported along the south-facing portions of the Florida Keys and the west-facing shores of Florida Bay. Sections of Highway A1A in the Keys were closed due to the flooding. The combined effect of wave action and the storm surge resulted in minor beach erosion in Sarasota County, along the south-facing shores of the Keys, and in the back country of Everglades National Park.

4. Tornadoes

Harvey resulted in two confirmed tornadoes. One tornado, an F0, touched down briefly in Collier County near Paradise Point taking the roof off one house, while the other touched down in Dade County with no reported damage.

c. Casualty and Damage Statistics

No reports of casualties due to Harvey have been received at the National Hurricane Center.

Property damage estimates supplied by the Property Claims Services Division of the American Insurance Services Group indicate that Harvey caused about $7.5 million in insured losses in southern Florida. This estimate excludes storm surge damage. To determine the total estimated damage, a ratio of 2:1 is applied to the insured property damage; this is based on comparisons done in historical hurricanes. Thus, the total estimated damage from Harvey is $15 million.

d. Forecast and Warning Critique

The incipient disturbance that was to become Harvey was first identified as a candidate for development in NHC's Tropical Weather Outlook about two and a half days before it became a tropical depression.

There were only nine forecasts issued while Harvey was a tropical storm with only one verifying at 48 hours and none at 72 hours. This number of cases is too small to obtain a meaningful quantitative evaluation of forecast accuracy. However, Harvey was forecast to move across central Florida by most of the computer guidance as well as the official forecasts, and instead moved through south Florida.

Table 4 lists the various watches and warnings that were issued for Harvey. The formation of Harvey in the eastern Gulf of Mexico prompted the issuance of a tropical storm watch for the west coast of Florida, from the mouth of the Swannee River to Bonita Beach, with the first advisory. A tropical storm warning and a hurricane watch were issued six hours later with the warning extended southward to east Cape Sable at 2100 UTC 20 September. This was 20 hours prior to Harvey's landfall in southwest Florida near Everglades City. By early on the 21st, Harvey turned southeast and the forward speed increased, necessitating the extension of tropical storm warnings at 0900 UTC 21 September from Cape Sable to Boca Raton, including the Florida Keys.


Some of the data in this report was provided by the National Weather Service Forecast Offices in Tampa, Melbourne, Key West, and Miami . James Franklin produced the wind and pressure plots.

Figure 1. Best track positions for Tropical Storm Harvey, 19-21 September 1999.

Figure 2a. Best track minimum central pressure curve for Tropical Storm Harvey, 19-22 September 1999.

Figure 2b. Best track maximum sustained 1-minute 10 meter wind speed curve for Tropical Storm Harvey, 19 - 22 September 1999.

Table 1. Preliminary Best Track - Tropical Storm Harvey, 19 - 21 September 1999.
Position Pressure
Wind Speed
Lat. (°N)Lon. (°W)
19/060025.087.8 1005 30Tropical Depression
19/120025.587.8 1004 30 "
19/180026.087.8 1003 30 "
20/000026.387.4 1002 40 Tropical Storm
20/060026.686.9 1001 40 "
20/120027.086.3 998 40 "
20/180027.085.5 998 50 "
21/000027.184.6 995 50 "
21/060026.583.9 995 50 "
21/120026.082.8 996 50 "
21/180025.981.5 999 50 "
22/000026.978.6 1000 40 "
22/0600 Merged with Low
21/080026.383.7 99450Minimum Pressure
21/170025.981.7 99950Landfall near Everglades City, FL

Table 2. Tropical Storm Harvey selected National Buoy Data Center (NBDC) and ship observations, September 1999.
Maximum surface wind speed
Location Pressure
gust (kts)
Wave Height
CMAN Stations
Lake Worth, FL (LKWF1)1010.0 25/1100303525/1400 
Fowey Rocks, FL (FWYF1)  455121/1800 
Molasses Reef, FL ( MLRF1)1001.5 21/1800475921/1743 
Long Key, FL (LONF1)1003.1 21/1800284021/1200 
Sombrero Key, FL (SMKF1) 21/1600364121/1400 
Sand Key, FL (SANF1)1002.9 21/1700354021/1305 
Dry Tortugas, FL (DRYF1)  253121/1200 
NBDC Buoys
42003 (25.9N / 89.9W) 1001.6 20/2200344220/0400 
42036 (28.5N / 84.5W)1003.5 20/2200263220/1800  
34-Knot Ship Reports
WCPU (25.6N / 86.7W)1004.0 19/230040 19/230023.0
PFFV (25.3N / 85.8W)1003.2 20/120040 20/120016.0
WCHF (25.0N / 84.8W)1004.8 20/150040 20/150015.0
WCOB (25.7N / 85.2W)1003.0 20/180047 20/180018.0
Carnival Cruise Line (26.2N/83.6W) 20/220040  12.0
Carnival Cruise Line (26.0N/83.3W) 21/000035  10.0
ELXB9 (24.3N / 83.2W)1007.0 21/000035   
ELBM9 (25.7N / 83.6W) 21/060040 21/0600 
WCOB (25.5N / 79.7W)1000.5 21/180045 21/180016.4

aStandard NWS C-MAN averaging period is 2 min; buoys are 8 min.
bDate/time is for sustained wind when both sustained and gust are listed.

Table 3. Tropical Storm Harvey selected surface observations, September 1999.
Maximum surface wind speed
Location Pressure
gust (kts)
(storm total)
Key West Airport1004.121/1956323721/1404  0.33
Tavernier       1.13
Marathon       0.04
Key West     0.8  
Vaca Key     1.0  
Homestead       0.96
Turkey Pt. Nuclear Plant   46* 21/1800   
Tamiami Aprt (KTMB)  253621/1909  1.26
Miami Int. Aprt (KMIA)  233621/1925  1.52
NWSFO Miami29.621/1930      
Hollywood       3.29
Ft. Lauderdale       6.62
Ft. Lauderdale Beach       3.88
Ft. Lauderdale (KFLL)999.421/1953233321/1904  1.87
Ft. Lauderdale (KFXE)999.521/1953      
Pompano Beach (KPMP)999.521/1950      
W. Palm Beach (KPBI)       0.73
Tenraw WIMS (Dade)  284821/1700  1.61
Naples/Collier EM 29.621/1445 3421/XXXX  10.00
Immokalee (Collier)       5.53
Everglades City (Collier)       6.72
Naples Conserv (Collier)       10.03
Naples Lkwd (Collier)       10.00
Ochopee WIMS (Collier)       2.06
Coral Springs (Broward)       2.85
Sarsota Aprt (KSRQ)1003.121/1053253121/0410  1.80
Sunshine Skywy (Hillsb)   31 21/0006   
Venice Dardc (Sarsota)  21 21/2000   
St Petersburg (KPIE)1003.121/1053141921/0117   
Tampa Arpt (KTPA)1004.521/0956111720/0320 1.79 
Fort Myers (KFMY)1004.021/1053142021/0853 2.41 
Levy County      1-2 
Citrus County      1-2 
Hernando County      1-2 
Pasco County      1-2 
Pinellas County      1-2 
Hillsborough County      1-2 
Manatee County      1-2 
Sarasota County      1-2 
Charlotte County      2-3 

bDate/time is for sustained wind when both sustained and gust are listed.
cStorm surge is water height above normal astronomical tide level.
dStorm tide is water height above NGVD.
*10 minute/9 meter wind
XXXX - time unknown

Table 4. Watch and warning summary, Tropical Storm Harvey, September 1999.
Action Location
19/0300Tropical Storm Watch IssuedFlorida West Coast: Bonita Beach Florida to the mouth of the Suwannee River
20/1500Tropical Storm Warning and Hurricane Watch IssuedFlorida West Coast: Bonita Beach Florida to the mouth of the Suwannee River
20/1500Tropical Storm Watch IssuedFlorida East Coast: North of Jupiter Inlet to just south of Flagler Beach...including Lake Okeechobee
20/2100Tropical Storm Warning ExtendedFlorida West Coast: East Cape Sable to the mouth of the Suwannee River
20/2100Tropical Storm Watch ExtendedFlorida East Coast: Florida City to just south of Flagler Beach... including Lake Okeechobee
21/0000Tropical Storm Watch IssuedNorthwest Bahamas: Grand Bahama Island and the Abacos
21/0300Tropical Storm Warning ExtendedFlorida East Coast: south of Flagler Beach to Boca Raton... including Lake Okeechobee
21/0900Tropical Storm Warning IssuedNorthwest Bahamas: Grand Bahama Island and the Abacos
21/0900Tropical Storm Warning ExtendedBoca Raton to East Cape Sable including the Florida Keys... the Dry Tortugas... Florida Bay and the Florida Straits
21/0900Tropical Storm Warning DiscontinuedFlorida East Coast: North of Sebastian Inlet
Florida West Coast: North of Longboat Key
21/0900Hurricane Watch DiscontinuedFlorida West Coast: Bonita Beach to the mouth of the Suwannee River
21/1500Tropical Storm Warning DiscontinuedFlorida East Coast: North of Jupiter Inlet to just south of Flagler Beach ...including Lake Okeechobee
Florida West Coast: Bonita Beach to the mouth of the Suwannee River
21/2100Tropical Storm Warning DiscontinuedSouth of Bonita beach southward through the Florida Keys to just west of Craig Key...including the Dry Tortugas
22/0000Tropical Storm Warning DiscontinuedFlorida East Coast: Craig Key to Jupiter Inlet...including Florida bay and the Florida Straits
22/0300Tropical Storm Warning DiscontinuedNorthwest Bahamas: Grand Bahama Island and the Abacos


Last updated January 27, 2000