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January-February 2009

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Weatherwatch: September, October 2008

Category 2 Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, which struck the Gulf Coast less than 2 weeks apart in September, were part of a string of 6 consecutive named Atlantic Basin storms to make landfall in the United States, breaking a satellite-era record of 5 consecutive storms most recently attained in 2004. The remnants of both Gustav and Ike subsequently crossed the Midwest, contributing to record-setting wetness in the central Corn Belt during the first half of September. Just prior to Ike’s arrival, areas from Missouri to southern Michigan also had to contend with a cold front laced with moisture associated with former eastern Pacific Tropical Storm Lowell. In addition, Ike’s remnants helped to produce a swath of wind gusts as high as 60-80 mph from the Ohio Valley into the lower Great Lakes region, causing widespread power outages and downing trees.

Elsewhere, very warm, mostly dry weather prevailed in the West, while dry weather in much of the Southeast contrasted with wet conditions along the Atlantic Seaboard. Rain along the East Coast was largely due to Tropical Storm Hanna, which made landfall near the North Carolina-South Carolina border on the night of September 5-6, and also to an unnamed storm system that arrived near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on the night of September 25-26.

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