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James L. Franklin, Lixion A. Avila, Jack L. Beven, Miles B. Lawrence, Richard J. Pasch, and Stacy R. Stewart

force winds. In an increasingly sheared environment Chris weakened rapidly, and the cyclone dissipated on 19 August northeast of the Leeward Islands. d. Hurricane Debby, 19–24 August Debby struck the islands of the northeast Caribbean as a hurricane with 65-kt winds, but its effects there were relatively minor. Just when the hurricane began to pose a significant threat to south Florida, it weakened abruptly and unexpectedly. 1) Synoptic history A strong tropical wave moved off the west coast of

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Richard J. Pasch and Lixion A. Avila

Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale (SSHS); Simpson (1974) ] in 1996. This is three times the normal number and is the highest seasonal total of major hurricanes since 1961 (in which there were seven). Landsea (1993) , however, has suggested that the major hurricanes in the 1940s through the 1960s were overestimated in wind speed intensity compared with those of the 1970s through the early 1990s. Landsea’s bias-removed database suggests that 1996 was the busiest major hurricane season since the seven in

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Edward N. Rappaport

surface wind report seen from the Azores Islands was 26 kt with a gust to 39 kt at Lajes Air Base at 1900 UTC on 15 September as Erika’s center was passing 180 n mi to the northwest. A report from Flores at 2300 UTC on 15 September gave a gust to 76 kt. Lajes also had a gust to 91 kt atop a 61-m tower. A rainfall total of 59.7 mm was reported from Flores. 3) Casualty and damage statistics The only effects to Puerto Rico were from the large waves and swells generated by the

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James L. Franklin, Lixion A. Avila, John L. Beven II, Miles B. Lawrence, Richard J. Pasch, and Stacy R. Stewart

1. Overview Tropical cyclone activity in the eastern North Pacific hurricane basin (the area north of the equator between the American continents and 140°W longitude) was below average in the year 2002. There were 12 cyclones of at least tropical storm strength ( Table 1 , Fig. 1 ). Of these, six became hurricanes. The mean seasonal totals for the period 1966–2002 were 15 named storms and eight hurricanes. Although the total of six hurricanes was below normal, there were five “major

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Miles B. Lawrence, Lixion A. Avila, John L. Beven, James L. Franklin, Richard J. Pasch, and Stacy R. Stewart

storms, of which 6 become hurricanes. There have been three seasons with 16 or more named tropical cyclones in the 60 seasons since 1944, and this places the 2003 season in the upper fifth percentile of seasonal number of named tropical cyclones. Another measure of seasonal activity is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) accumulated cyclone energy index, which is defined as the sum of the squares of the maximum wind speed, every 6 h, for all tropical storms and hurricanes in

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