The 2008 Atlantic hurricane season officially began June 1, 2008, and ended on November 30, 2008. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclone form in the Atlantic basin.

The 2008 season was well above average, featuring 17 tropical depressions, all of which became a named storm, save for Tropical Depression Sixteen. Notable storms include Tropical Storm Arthur, which developed just offshore the coast of Belize on May 31. Arthur became the first tropical storm in May since Arlene in 1981. In addition, this marked the second season in a row in which a May storm developed. Arthur produced some flooding across Belize, amounting to at least $78,000,000 (2008 USD) in damage. Hurricane Bertha became the earliest known Cape Verde hurricane in the history of the Atlantic basin, developing on July 3 near the Cape Verde Islands in the far eastern Atlantic. Although Bertha never impacted the United States, it lasted a total of 17 days, and became the longest-lasting Atlantic Hurricane prior to August. Bertha was also the longest-lived Atlantic storm since Hurricane Ivan in 2004. Bertha impacted Bermuda as a tropical storm, stalling in the vicinity of the islands for around 24 hours. Bertha also became a Category 3 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale, becoming one of only several July major hurricanes in the Atlantic. Bertha was the first July major hurricane since Hurricane Emily in 2005. Bertha caused only minimal damage. Hurricane Dolly struck southern Texas as a Category 1 hurricane, having just weakened from a 100 mph Category 2 in the hours prior to landfall. Dolly was the first hurricane to strike the south Texas area since Emily in 2005. Tropical Storm Fay, although never attaining hurricane status, produced torrential rainfall and associated flash floooding across portions of Florida, with rainfall amounts reaching 30 inches in some locations near Melbourne. Fay was a long-lived tropical storm, lasting for over a week. It had one of the highest ACE of any Atlantic tropical storm that never attained hurricane status, and the last time a tropical storm lasted as long as or longer than Fay in the basin was during the 2003 season, with Tropical Storm Nicholas. Fay also made a total of eight landfalls, including a record four in Florida.

Hurricane Gustav impacted Haiti as a Category 1 hurricane, triggering torrential rains and associated flooding and mudslides. Gustav went on to strike Jamaica as a 70 mph tropical storm, just under hurricane strength. It then headed for western Cuba, peaking at 150 mph as a strong Category 4 before making landfall there. Gustav then emerged into the Gulf of Mexico and made landfall near Cocodrie, Louisiana early on September 1 as a Category 2 hurricane. Gustav caused at least $8.5 billion (2008 USD) in damage. Hurricane Hanna, although only briefly reaching hurricane strength, impacted Haiti with torrential rains, flash flooding, and mudslides, becoming the third cyclone of the season to impact the country. Hanna killed at least 532 people directly, mainly in Haiti. Hanna went on to impact the Bahamas, then made landfall along the North Carolina/South Carolina border as a tropical storm. Hanna made a final landfall near Islip, New York before becoming extrtropical. Hurricane Ike became a strong Category 4, becoming the strongest storm of the season. Ike impacted the Turks and Caicos as a Category 4 before striking eastern Cuba as a Category 4. Ike traversed most of Cuba, but still retained minimal hurricane status as it emerged into the southern Gulf of Mexico. Ike only slowly strengthened due to a disrupted inner core from passage over Cuba, and made landfall near Galveston, Texas as a 110 mph Category 2, just shy of Category 3 status. Ike was the third costliest natural disaster in United States history, causing at least $28.2 billion (2008 USD) in damage. Tropical Storm Marco became the smallest tropical cyclone ever observed before striking Mexico. Hurricane Omar impacted the Leeward Islands from the west, becoming the first storm to do so since Hurricane Lenny in 1999. Omar didn't cause significant damage, in spite of attaining Category 4 status. Hurricane Paloma also reached Category 4 status, impacting the Cayman Islands as a major hurricane, and then Cuba as a Category 2.

In addition to the aforementioned storms, the 2008 season saw a record 7 consecutive tropical cyclones impact the United States, from Cristobal to Ike, the previous record being 6 in 2004. This is also the first season in which Cuba was impacted by three major hurricanes.




List of Storms

Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) Rating

The list below shows the ACE for each storm in the season. The ACE is, broadly speaking, a measure of the power of the hurricane multiplied by the length of time it existed for, so hurricanes that lasted a long time, as well as particularly strong hurricanes, have higher ACEs.

  • Arthur - 0.773
  • Bertha - 28.4
  • Cristobal - 3.81
  • Dolly - 5.36
  • Edouard - 1.70
  • Fay - 7.29
  • Gustav - 18.3
  • Hanna - 10.4
  • Ike - 39.0
  • Josephine - 3.07
  • Kyle - 5.43
  • Laura - 0.905
  • Marco - 1.32
  • Nana - 0.490
  • Omar - 8.98
  • Paloma - 9.20

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