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Tropical Cyclone Report

Hurricane Kyle

20 September - 12 October 2002

Stacy R. Stewart
National Hurricane Center
16 November 2002

Hurricane Kyle was a category 1 hurricane (on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale) that lasted for 22 days and became the third longest-lived tropical cyclone in the Atlantic basin. Kyle eventually made landfall along the southeastern United States coast as a weak tropical storm before moving back out to sea.

a. Synoptic History

Kyle formed from a non-tropical low pressure system in the central North Atlantic Ocean. A cold front moved across Bermuda on 13 September and stalled to the southeast of the island by 15 September. The stationary front gradually weakened and became an elongated area of low pressure by 18 September. A sharp mid-level shortwave trough moved off the southeast coast of the United States and likely acted as the triggering mechanism for the development of a stationary low pressure center by 1200 UTC 19 September about 750 n mi east-southeast of Bermuda. Thunderstorms gradually developed into narrow bands a few hundred miles away from the well-defined low-level circulation center. Surface winds gradually increased to 25 kt early on 20 September and the overall satellite cloud pattern became much better organized. At 1800 UTC that day, it is estimated that Subtropical Depression Twelve had developed about 715 n mi east-southeast of Bermuda. Later that day, the system made a clockwise loop as it became embedded in the weak steering flow region(or "col") between its parent upper-level low to the south and a mid-latitude trough to the north. The "best track" chart of the tropical cyclone's path is given in Figure 1, with the wind and pressure histories shown in Figure 2 and Figure 3, respectively. The best track positions and intensities are listed in Table 1.

Based on Dvorak satellite intensity values, it is estimated that the cyclone became Subtropical Storm Kyle at 0600 UTC 21 September when it was about 680 n mi east of Bermuda. While making the loop, thunderstorms developed around the low-level center and Kyle gradually acquired warm-core tropical characteristics. It is estimated that Kyle became a tropical storm at 1800 UTC 22 September about 760 n mi east of Bermuda. Under the influence of weak steering currents, Tropical Storm Kyle drifted erratically toward the southwest for about a week and steadily intensified. Kyle became a hurricane at 1200 UTC 25 September about 550 n mi east-southeast of Bermuda. A peak intensity of 75 kt is estimated to have occurred at 1200 UTC 26 September about 425 n mi east-southeast of Bermuda. Kyle maintained this intensity for the next 24 hours before gradually weakening under the influence of moderate northwesterly to northerly vertical shear.

After Kyle weakened below tropical storm strength at 1800 UTC 30 September, the cyclone made a slow counter-clockwise loop about 300 n mi west of Bermuda from 5-8 October. Afterwards, Kyle moved westward and then northwestward before making landfall along the South Carolina coast late on 11 October. During this period, fluctuations in intensity occurred and Kyle strengthened back into a tropical storm on 1, 6, and 11 October.

After making its first landfall near McClellanville, South Carolina at around 1700 UTC 11 October, Tropical Storm Kyle moved northeastward and skirted the remaining upper coastline of South Carolina. Its center moved inland again a few hours later near Long Beach, North Carolina around 2200 UTC. Kyle weakened to a tropical depression by 0000 UTC 12 October near Surf City, North Carolina and then strengthened back into a tropical storm over Pamlico Sound six hours later. Shortly thereafter, it exited the eastern portion of the state near Nags Head at around 0800 UTC. The cyclone eventually merged with a cold front later that day at 1200 UTC, when it was located about 280 n mi south-southwest of Nantucket, Massachusetts.

Kyle lasted for 22 days making it the third longest-lived Atlantic tropical cyclone, after Ginger of 1971 and Inga of 1969.

b. Meteorological Statistics

Observations in Kyle (Figure 2 and Figure 3) include 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 (AFWA), as well as flight-level observations from flights of the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron of the U. S. Air Force Reserve Command.

Ship reports of tropical storm force winds associated with Kyle are given in Table 2, and selected surface observations from land stations and data buoys are given in Table 3.

Kyle's peak intensity of 75 kt from 1200 UTC 26 September to 1200 UTC 27 September is based on a blend of subjective and 3-h objective Dvorak satellite intensity estimates. The minimum pressure of 980 mb at 0000 UTC 27 September is estimated based Dvorak satellite intensity estimates, and on the best appearance and definition of the eye in both visible and infrared satellite imagery. The 35-kt intensity at landfall along the South and North Carolina coasts was based on a blend of 1500 ft flight-level winds of 38 kt (reduced to 32 kt surface wind estimate) and offshore buoy reports of 10-minute average wind speeds of 35 kt with gusts to 40 kt. However, tropical storm force winds were confined to offshore waters in the eastern semicircle and there were no reports of sustained tropical storm force winds along or inland of the United States coast.

c. Casualty and Damage Statistics

As a result of the relatively weak sustained winds at landfall, Kyle caused no significant structural damage and only minor beach erosion was reported along the North Carolina and South Carolina coastlines. Storm surge values were generally around 1 ft from Florida to North Carolina, with a few isolated occurrences of near 2 ft at Fort Pulaski, Georgia and at Charleston Harbor, South Carolina.

Rainfall totals were generally less than 2 in with a few isolated amounts of 5-6 in reported. Minor urban flooding occurred.

At least 4 tornadoes were reported across eastern South Carolina and southeastern North Carolina during Kyle's passage. In South Carolina, an F2 tornado touched down in Georgetown, and tossed and severely damaged 5 mobile homes and a car. Twenty-five additional structures sustained at least minor damage. Eight people were injured.

In North Carolina, a damaging F1-F2 tornado touched down near Pantego, in Beaufort County. The tornado flipped one mobile home, blew the roof off of one house, and destroyed 7 hog houses on Benson Farms, which resulted in $1.5-2.0 million in damage . Weaker tornadoes touched down in Belvoir and overturned two mobile homes and knocked a house off its foundation. Another weak tornado touched down east of Washington, North Carolina causing no damage. No injuries were reported with any of the North Carolina tornadoes.

The reported insured losses associated with Kyle were approximately $2.5 million. Total damages is estimated at $5.0 million.

No deaths were reported in association with Kyle.

d. Forecast and Warning Critique

Average official track errors (with the number of cases in parentheses) for Kyle were 33 (56), 59 (51), 96 (46), 131 (44), and 190 (45)n mi for the 12, 24, 36, 48, and 72 h forecasts, respectively. These errors are lower than the average official track errors for the 10-yr period 1992-2001: 43, 81, 115, 148, and 222 n mi, respectively (Table 4). The GFDL model (not available at the forecast preparation time) was better than the official forecast (OFCL) at all times, especially at and beyond 36 h. The GUNS and GUNA ensemble models were also better than the OFCL at all times, and much better than the GFDL at 48 and 72 h.

Average official intensity errors were 4, 7, 9, 11, and 14 kt for the 12, 24, 36, 48, and 72 h forecasts, respectively. For comparison, the average official intensity errors over the 10-yr period 1992-2001 are: 7, 11, 14, 16, and 19 kt, respectively. While the official intensity errors were lower than the 10-year average, there was a slight positive bias (over forecast). However, the official intensity errors were lower than the SHIPS, SHIFOR, GFDL, and GFDI intensity forecast model errors.

A total of 89 advisories were written on Kyle and the cyclone weakened below and then strengthened back to tropical storm or subtropical storm status on four separate occasions.

Table 5 lists the watches and warnings associated with Kyle.

Acknowledgments

Some of the data in this report was furnished by National Weather Service Forecast Offices in Jacksonville, FL, Charleston, SC, Wilmington, NC and Newport/Morehead City, NC.



Table 1: Best track for Hurricane Kyle, 20 September - 12 October 2002.
Date/Time
(UTC)
PositionPressure
(mb)
Wind Speed
(kt)
Stage
Lat.
(°N)
Lon.
(°W)
20 / 180028.351.8100725subtropical depression
21 / 000029.351.4100730"
21 / 060030.451.6100735subtropical storm
21 / 120031.051.6100735"
21 / 180031.751.3100640"
22 / 000032.450.9100445"
22 / 060032.850.5100640"
22 / 120033.249.9100640"
22 / 180033.349.5100640"
23 / 000033.249.1100735tropical storm
23 / 060032.749.4100735"
23 / 120032.349.5100535"
23 / 180031.949.6100340"
24 / 000031.450.0100340"
24 / 060031.050.4100045"
24 / 120030.650.799750"
24 / 180030.351.199455"
25 / 000030.052.199455"
25 / 060029.753.799455"
25 / 120029.354.499060"
25 / 180029.055.398765hurricane
26 / 000028.656.698765"
26 / 060028.257.598470"
26 / 120027.958.398275"
26 / 180027.859.098175"
27 / 000027.559.598075"
27 / 060027.160.098275"
27 / 120027.060.498275"
27 / 180026.860.898470"
28 / 000026.561.498470"
28 / 060026.362.398765"
28 / 120026.562.999060tropical storm
28 / 180026.763.299750"
29 / 000027.163.7100045"
29 / 060027.264.4100240"
29 / 120027.764.7100240"
29 / 180028.164.7100240"
30 / 000028.764.6100240"
30 / 060029.164.7100335"
30 / 120029.065.5100435"
30 / 180027.866.7100530tropical depression
01 / 000028.266.8100530"
01 / 060028.566.8100830"
01 / 120028.567.2100535tropical storm
01 / 180028.567.5100240"
02 / 000028.467.7100045"
02 / 060028.567.8100045"
02 / 120028.867.699750"
02 / 180029.066.999455"
03 / 000029.166.799455"
03 / 060029.066.699455"
03 / 120029.067.2100050"
03 / 180029.367.7100045"
04 / 000029.468.0100045"
04 / 060029.668.4100035"
04 / 120030.169.5100435"
04 / 180030.670.2100435"
05 / 000031.170.9100435"
05 / 060031.671.6100630tropical depression
05 / 120032.371.3100530"
05 / 180032.970.8100530"
06 / 000033.270.1100630"
06 / 060033.669.7100830"
06 / 120033.369.7100735tropical storm
06 / 180032.869.7100635"
07 / 000032.669.7100635"
07 / 060032.670.4100635"
07 / 120032.670.8100635"
07 / 180032.770.9100635"
08 / 000032.671.0100635"
08 / 060032.171.2100635"
08 / 120031.471.3100635"
08 / 180030.771.9100930tropical depression
09 / 000029.872.4101030"
09 / 060029.073.3100930"
09 / 120028.774.0101030"
09 / 180028.574.8101125"
10 / 000028.475.8101025"
10 / 060028.377.0101025"
10 / 120028.478.1101025"
10 / 180028.979.5101030"
11 / 000029.880.2100930"
11 / 060030.780.8100835tropical storm
11 / 120031.880.7100835"
11 / 180033.279.3101135"
12 / 000034.278.0101230tropical depression
12 / 060035.475.9100940tropical storm
12 / 120036.774.1100940"
12 / 1800merged with a cold front
27 / 000027.559.598075minimum pressure
11 / 170033.079.51011351st landfall near McClellanville, SC
11 / 220033.978.41011352nd landfall near Long Beach, NC


Table 2: Selected ship reports with winds of at least 34 kt for Hurricane Kyle, 20 September - 12 October 2002. (Note: M = missing data)
Ship Name or Call SignDate/Time (UTC)Lat.
(°N)
Lon.
(°W)
Wind dir/speed (deg/kt)Pressure (mb)
LATU525 / 090033.555.6030 / 40 1019.6 
C6LP426 / 060025.158.2230 / 36 1008.0 
C6LP426 / 180023.961.5270 / 35 1009.5 
ELGJ929 / 000023.565.4270 / 37 1011.0 
ELGJ929 / 030023.366.2270 / 37 1011.5 
ELZA830 / 150033.565.0050 / 42 1017.2 
KGXA02 / 000026.966.5M / 35 1010.0 
SGAK12 / 120037.174.1090 / 35 1012.5 
LMWR312 / 120039.968.7090 / 41 1020.4 


Table 3: Selected surface observations for Hurricane Kyle, 20 September - 12 October 2002.
Minimum
Sea-level
Pressure
Maximum Surface Wind Speed
(kt)
LocationDate/
Time
(UTC)
Press.
(mb)
Date/
Timea
(UTC)
Sust.
Windb
(kts)
Peak
Gust (kts)
Storm
Surgec
(ft)
Storm
Tided
(ft)
Rain
(storm total)
(in)
Florida
Fernandina Beach     1.31  2.05 
Jacksonville Beach       1.19 
Mayport     1.17   
St. Augustine (KSGJ)10/2355 1013.3 10/1615 17 28    
Georgia
Brunswick       0.84 
Eden       1.10 
Fort Pulaski     2.1   
Hunter Field (KSVN)       5.35 
Saint Simons Island     1.07   
Savannah (RAWS)       3.30 
Savannah (KSAV)11/1102 1012.5      2.25 
Woodbine       0.85 
North Carolina
Bald Head Island  11/2130  43 0.5   
Carolina Beach  11/2145  42 0.5   
Cherry Point (KNKT)       1.02 
Frisco (KHSE)12/0200 1010.8 12/0200  32   2.84 
Greenville (PGVN7)       5.60 
Holden Beach  11/2100  37 0.5   
Lumberton       2.00 
Manteo (KMQI)       1.23 
Oak Island  11/2100  38    
WFO Newport (KMHX)       2.99 
WFO Wilmington11/1913 1012.2       
Washington (KOCW)       1.99 
Williamson       5.30 
Williamson 2E       4.73 
South Carolina
Beaufort       2.65 
Charleston (KCHS)11/1540 1011.1 11/1434 20 25   4.91 
Charleston City Office  11/1400  34   1.65 
Charleston Harbor     1.9   
Edisto Beach       6.35 
Georgetown Coast Guard11/1800 1009.1 11/1720  43   1.82 
Jamestown       1.78 
Myrtle Beach (KMYR)11/1900 1011.2       
N. Myrtle Beach (KCRE)11/1913 1011.2      1.10 
Walterboro       3.00 
Wambam (RAWS)       1.67 
Witherbee (RAWS)       5.85 
NOAA National Data Buoy Center buoys
41004 (32.5N 79.1W)  11/1400  34    
41536 (21.8N 67.7W)29/0600 1014.5 29/0600 51     
41652 (28.7N 65.8W)30/0320 1007.7 30/0320 45     
41652 (28.6N 65.6W)01/1420 1013.4       
41652 (28.6N 65.6W)01/1620 1014.4 01/1620 43     
41652 (28.6N 65.6W)01/1720 1012.8 01/1620 35     
41652 (28.6N 65.6W)02/0320 1013.3 02/0320 41     
41652 (28.6N 65.6W)02/0420 1013.0 02/0420 43     
41652 (28.6N 65.6W)02/0520 1012.6 02/0520 41     
41652 (28.6N 65.6W)02/0920 1011.0 02/0920 35     
41652 (28.6N 65.6W)02/1120 1011.7 02/0920 35     
41652 (28.6N 65.6W)02/1220 1011.6 02/1220 41     
41652 (28.6N 65.6W)02/1720 1009.8 02/1720 43     
41652 (28.6N 65.6W)02/1820 1007.8 02/1820 37     
41652 (28.6N 65.4W)03/0220 1009.0 03/0220 35     
41652 (28.6N 65.4W)03/0320 1009.4 03/0720 39     
41652 (28.6N 65.4W)03/0520 1008.4 03/0820 39     
41652 (28.6N 65.4W)03/0620 1008.1 03/0620 41     
41652 (28.6N 65.4W)03/0720 1007.3 03/0720 43     
41652 (28.6N 65.4W)03/0820 1007.5 03/0820 35     
41652 (28.6N 65.4W)03/1120 1010.0 03/1120 37     
NOAA National Data Buoy Center C-MAN stations
FBIS1 (32.7N 79.9W)  11/0307  34    
FPSN7 (33.5N 77.6W)  11/1700 35 38    
FPSN7 (33.5N 77.6W)11/2100 1012.0 11/2100 35e 40    
DSLN7 (35.2N 75.3W)  11/2210 41e 51    
DSLN7 (35.2N 75.3W)12/0300 1010.5 12/0500 40 43    
DSLN7 (35.2N 75.3W)  12/0500 36     
DSLN7 (35.2N 75.3W)12/0700 1010.6 12/0700 38     
CLKN7 (34.6N 76.5W)11/2300 1011.5       
ALSN6 (40.5N 73.8W)  12/1300 36     
aDate/time is for wind gust when both sustained and gust are listed.
bExcept as noted, sustained wind averaging periods for C-MAN and land-based ASOS reports are 2 min; buoy averaging periods are 8 min.
cStorm surge is water height above normal astronomical tide level.
dStorm tide is water height above National Geodetic Vertical Datum (1929 mean sea level).
e10-min average.


Table 4: Preliminary forecast evaluation (heterogeneous sample) for Hurricane Kyle, 20 September - 12 October 2002. Forecast errors for tropical storm and hurricane stages (n mi) are followed by the number of forecasts in parentheses. Errors smaller than the NHC official forecast are shown in bold-face type.
Forecast TechniquePeriod (hours)
1224364872
CLP547 (58)98 (53)169 (48)248 (46)442 (47)
GFDI28 (52)54 (47)98 (42)133 (40)194 (41)
GFDL31 (58)49 (53)77 (48)111 (46)172 (47)
LBAR41 (57)72 (52)112 (47)169 (45)287 (46)
AVNI41 (52)82 (47)138 (42)185 (39)283 (39)
AVNO40 (58)69 (52)115 (48)149 (45)234 (45)
AEMI40 (40)82 (36)133 (33)190 (32)283 (32)
BAMD48 (57)98 (52)163 (47)224 (45)307 (46)
BAMM39 (57)74 (52)121 (47)165 (45)229 (46)
BAMS50 (57)92 (52)129 (47)148 (45)182 (46)
NGPI38 (52)68 (47)103 (42)121 (40)196 (41)
NGPS37 (51)58 (46)85 (41)118 (39)173 (40)
UKMI41 (51)74 (46)131 (41)109 (35)189 (34)
UKMO37 (29)69 (28)118 (26)130 (22)167 (21)
A98E45 (57)79 (52)124 (47)180 (45)344 (46)
A9UK43 (27)80 (27)101 (25)137 (24)273 (24)
GUNS30 (51)55 (46)95 (41)102 (35)158 (34)
GUNA30 (51)53 (46)94 (41)105 (34)175 (32)
OFCL (Official)33 (56)59 (51)96 (46)131 (44)190 (45)
NHC Official (1992-2001 mean)43 (2199)81 (1965)115 (1759)148 (1580)222 (1272)
*Output from these models was unavailable at time of forecast issuance.


Table 5: Watch and warning summary for Hurricane Kyle, 20 September - 12 October 2002.
Date/TimeActionLocation
30 / 1500Tropical Storm Watch IssuedBermuda 
01 / 2100Tropical Storm Watch DiscontinuedBermuda 
10 / 1500Tropical Storm Watch IssuedCocoa Beach, FL to Brunswick, GA 
10 / 2100Tropical Storm Watch Extended NorthwardFlagler Beach, FL to Edisto Beach SC 
11 / 0300Tropical Storm Warning IssuedNorth of Brunswick, GA to Cape Fear, NC 
11 / 0300Tropical Storm Watch DiscontinuedFrom Brunswick, GA southward 
11 / 0900Tropical Storm Warning In EffectFrom north of Brunswick, GA northward to Surf City, NC 
11 / 1200Tropical Storm Warning DiscontinuedAlong the Georgia coast 
11 / 1200Tropical Storm Warning In EffectNorth of Savannah River to Surf City, NC 
11 / 1500Tropical Storm Warning Extended NortheastwardNorth of Savannah River to Currituck Beach Light, NC, including the Pamlico Sound 
11 / 2100Tropical Storm Warning DiscontinuedSouth of Little River Inlet, SC 
11 / 2100Tropical Storm Warning In EffectNorth of Little River Inlet, SC to Currituck Beach Light, NC, including the Pamlico Sound 
12 / 0000All Tropical Storm Warnings Discontinued 

Best track positions for Hurricane Kyle

Figure 1: Best track positions for Hurricane Kyle, 20 September - 12 October 2002, with minimum central pressure.

Selected wind observations and best track maximum sustained surface wind speed curve for Hurricane Kyle

Figure 2: Selected wind observations and best track maximum sustained surface wind speed curve for Hurricane Kyle, 20 September - 12 October 2002. Aircraft observations have been adjusted for elevation using 75% and 80% reduction factors for observations from 925 mb and 1500 ft, respectively. Objective Dvorak estimates are 3-h linear averages.

Selected pressure observations and best track minimum central pressure curve for Hurricane Kyle

Figure 3: Selected pressure observations and best track minimum central pressure curve for Hurricane Kyle, 20 September - 12 October 2002. Objective Dvorak estimates are 3-h linear averages.



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Page last modified: Wednesday, 14-Feb-2007 18:44:14 UTC