User:Yellow Evan/Hurricane Omar (2008)

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Hurricane Omar
Category 4 major hurricane (SSHWS/NWS)
Omar 2008-10-15 at 1745 UTC.jpg
Omar in the Caribbean Sea as a Category 1 hurricane.
Formed October 13, 2008
Dissipated October 19, 2008
Highest winds 1-minute sustained: 135 mph (215 km/h)
Lowest pressure 958 mbar (hPa); 28.29 inHg
Fatalities 1 direct, 1 indirect
Damage At least $78 million (2008 USD)
Areas affected ABC islands, Puerto Rico, Antigua, Virgin Islands
Part of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season

Hurricane Omar was the fifteenth tropical storm, seventh hurricane and fourth major hurricane of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season. [1][2]A fairly powerful late-season major hurricane, it formed from a tropical disturbance which moved into the Caribbean sea from the tropical North Atlantic during the second week of October. It headed east slowly, and became Tropical Depression 15 on October 13, and Tropical Storm Omar later that day. Turning northeast, Omar strengthened into a Category 4 hurricane before vertical wind shear caused the cyclone to weaken as it moved into the subtropical Atlantic ocean.

Property damages in Dominica totaled to $35 million (2008 USD)[3] and agricultural losses in Antigua amounted to around $11 million (2008 USD)[4]. Property damage on the island amounted to $25 million.[5] Overall damage, however, is unknown. Damages in St. Croix amounted to $1.7 million.[6] Damages in St. Thomas amounted to $5.3 million.[7]

This is the first time the name Omar has been used for any tropical cyclone in the Atlantic.

Meteorological history[change | change source]

Storm path

A tropical disturbance in the eastern Caribbean Sea was in an area unfavorable for development in the second week of October. While drifting across the region, upper-level winds diminished enough for the tropical disturbance to strengthen. The cyclonic circulation could be seen on radar, surface observations, as well as QuikSCAT data. The disturbance eventually developed into Tropical Depression Fifteen on October 13. Shortley thereafter, the future Omar began to dumbed heavy rainfall over South America, becoming the first to effect the are since Hurricane Beta in 2005. It was also perdition in the National hurricane center's public advisory that the storm should become Tropical Storm Omar in several hours. This did not happened. It strengthened to Tropical Storm Omar the next day, however. [8]

Omar rapidly intensified that afternoon and reached an intensity of 70 miles per hour (110 km/h). Later that evening, Omar became a hurricane. After leveling out in intensity, another intensification phase took place on October 15. That evening, it strengthened into a Category 2 hurricane. Early on October 16, Omar peaked at Category 4 strength with winds of 135 miles per hour, then rapidly weakened [9][10] after leaving the Leeward Islands due to increased wind shear.

Within 24 hours Omar had weakened back to tropical storm status. Despite the cooler waters and high wind shear, Omar briefly re-intensified again to hurricane status the next day before weakening back to a tropical storm.

On October 18, Omar rapidly became disorganized and degenerated into a remnant low that morning despite having tropical storm-force winds. The remnants of Omar continued across the Atlantic before being absorbed by a larger extratropical cyclone by October 20.

Preparations, Impact, and Naming[change | change source]

On October 13, tropical storm watches were issued for Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, and the Dominican Republic from Saona Island to Cabo Engaño by the respective governments of those islands.[11] On October 14, the United States Coast Guard closed Christiansted Harbor. The huge Hovensa oil refinery on St. Croix began shutdown procedures on October 15.[12]

Despite its high intensity (Omar passed through the Leeward Islands as a strong Category 3 hurricane), damage was relatively light as the eye and eyewall remained over water. Some flooding was reported and some trees were knocked down, but there were no reports of significant structural damage. One indirect death was reported as a result of a cardiac arrest while preparing for the storm in Culebra.[13] In addition, one direct death was confirmed in Puerto Rico due to Omar.[14]

The southern part of the Windward Islands, including Aruba, Curaçao and Bonaire suffered from the strong winds coming from an unaccustomed direction, caused by Omar's unusual path in its early state. While the trade winds usually blow from east to west, and all major beaches lie on the leeward side on the west of the islands, on October 14 Omar brought strong westerly winds with it and caused severe damage on the coasts, including a lot of power outages and fallen trees. [15]

October 14 marked the first time that the name Omar was used for any tropical cyclone in the Atlantic;[16] however it was used in the west Pacific and retired after Typhoon Omar of the 1992 Pacific typhoon season. Also, Omar was the first hurricane since Hurricane Lenny to strike the Leeward Islands from the west.

Hurricane Omar passing through the Leeward Islands on October 16

The damage dealt to the agricultural sector of Antigua and Barbuda fueled major concerns for "food security" in 2009. The government allocated about $33,897,420 to help develop and repair the industry. Significant expansions of croplands were discussed, 15,000 ft2 (4572 m2) area, to help promote growth of the sector.[17]

The island of Dominica suffered severe damage from Hurricane Omar. The village of Scotts Head, with a population of 450, was cut off from the rest of the country as roads were extensively damaged. The village also suffered water losses, electricity shortage, and landline telephones were cut off. Ports throughout the country were severely damaged. All barge access for hauling sand and stones were destroyed. The airport also sustained some damage. Seven boats ran aground during the storm.[18]

Minor damage was reported in Anguilla. Two hotels sustained roof damage, downed treed knocked down power lines causing scattered power outages, and the rough seas caused severe beach erosion. Three cargo ships and seven boats ran aground and two other boats sank.[19]

Athermath[change | change source]

On October 29, in the wake of Omar, President George W. Bush signed a major disaster declaration for the United States Virgin Islands, allowing public aid to assist the islands. The Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA, had received 60 requests for public assistance throughout the area. Monetary value for the assistance was estimated at $3 million and growing. Twenty-five departments and agencies were approved of for federal support, namely the U.S. V.I. Department of Public Works. Several non-profit organizations also received support from FEMA, while those which did not meet the criteria were referred to the Small Business Administration’s low-interest loan program.[20]

On Dominica, Omar's close pass to the island left 30 families homeless and severely hampered the fishing community. On December 15, the Board of Directors of the Caribbean Development Bank approved $9.16 million for assistance to those affected by Omar on the island and to restore the infrastructure damaged by the hurricane.[21] On December 18, the government of Dominica invested $4 million in aid for the fishing communities impacted by Omar. A total of 140 fishermen were provided with $250 per week for a total of four weeks. Sixty-two of which would continue to receive funds due to their circumstances. The government also purchased 121 boat engines to distribute to fishers. Another $794,000 was being spent to repair 47 boats and construct another 28 which were damaged or destroyed by Omar. Fishing gear was also bought by the government to replace those damaged or destroyed by the hurricane.[22]

See also[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  3. Dominica Correspondent (2008). "Clear skies but millions for clean up bill". Dominica News Online. Retrieved 2008-11-19. 
  4. Brian Ho (2008). "Agricultural losses amount to $11M". Sistema da Alerta Temprana. Retrieved 2008-11-19. 
  9. Public Advisory 13
  11. Avila (2008-10-14). "Tropical Depression Fifteen Advisory Number 2". National Hurricane Center. Retrieved 2008-10-13. 
  12. "Hurricane Omar looms for islands". CNN. 2008-10-15. Retrieved 2008-10-15. 
  13. "Hurricane Omar moves through northern Caribbean". Miami Herald. 2008-10-16. Retrieved 2008-10-16. 
  14. (Spanish) "Deja Omar un muerto en Puerto Rico". Las Noticias Mexico. 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-19. 
  15. "Storm Omar dislocates islands". 2008-10-14. Retrieved 2008-10-16. 
  16. NHC Hurricane Research Division (2008-01-01). "Atlantic hurricane best track ("HURDAT")". NOAA. Retrieved 2008-10-14. 
  17. "Agriculture ministry to get over $30M, says Cort". Antigua Sun. December 3, 2008. Retrieved December 21, 2008. 
  18. Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (October 16, 2008). "Hurricane Omar Situation Report #2". Reliefweb. Retrieved December 21, 2008. 
  19. "Hurricane Omar impacts five CDERA Participating States". Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency. October 16, 2008. Retrieved December 22, 2008. 
  20. Susan Mann (December 18, 2008). "USVI had costly face-off with Hurricane Omar". Caribbean Net News. Retrieved December 21, 2008. 
  21. "CDB lends Dominica over US$9 million". Antigua Sun. December 15, 2008. Retrieved December 21, 2008. 
  22. Sean Douglas (December 18, 2008). "Fishermen to benefit from revamp in fisheries sector". Dominica News. Retrieved December 21, 2008. 

External links[change | change source]

Category:2008 Atlantic hurricane season

es:Huracán Omar (2008) fr:Ouragan Omar (2008) no:Orkanen Omar pt:Furacão Omar (2008) en:Hurricane Omar (2008)