Hurricane Kate was the eleventh named storm, seventh hurricane, and third major hurricane of the 2003 Atlantic hurricane season. Kate formed on September 25 in between Africa and the Lesser Antilles. Kate moved northwest initially without reaching tropical storm status. Upon becoming a tropical storm, Kate moved northeast, west, and then finally recurved north-northeast and out to sea. Kate became an extratropical cyclone on October 8 and it dissipated on October 10.

Kate caused no damage and no deaths.

Kate on October 3 in the Atlantic Ocean
FormationSeptember 25, 2003
Dissipation October 10, 2003
Highest winds 125 mph
Lowest pressure 952 mbar
Deaths None reported
Damages None
Areas affectedNone
Part of the 2003 Atlantic hurricane season

Meteorological History


A tropical wave emerged off the coast of Africa on September 21. It passed near the Cape Verde Islands on September 23. Although the wave was disorganized, a low-level circulation developed within the wave on September 24 a few hundred miles southwest of the Cape Verde Islands. The wave continued to organize, including the development of curved bands around its circulation center. Although the wave lacked a well-defined inner core, the wave organized enough to be classified as Tropical Depression Sixteen on September 25 while located 920 miles west-southwest of the Cape Verde Islands. After forming, the depression moved northwest because of a weakness in the subtropical ridge. Initially, forecasts had predicted the depression would intensify to a 60 mph tropical storm within 48 hours, the depression remained weak because of strong southwesterly vertical wind shear. The shear remained strong, and though the National Hurricane Center forecast that the cyclone would remain a depression through September 30, the depression unexpectedly strengthened into Tropical Storm Kate on September 27, as convection increased near the center. Kate turned north and then northeast, and despite 30 knots of shear over the system, it continued to strengthen. Early on September 29, a banding eye feature developed within the cyclone, and that evening, it intensified into a hurricane while located 655 miles southwest of the Azores. Kate maintained hurricane status for 12 hours before weakening back to a tropical storm as it decelerated to the north. Kate then turned sharply to the west-southwest while moving around the eastern side of a mid-level circulation. As the cyclone passed into an area of warm waters and decreasing vertical wind shear, it became a hurricane again on October 1. Steered by an anticyclone to its north and a cyclonic circulation to its south, Kate continued west-southwest over the subtropical Atlantic Ocean at 30°N. On October 2, Kate showed a well-defined eye on satellite imagery. On October 3, Kate attained Category 3 status, and on October 4, Kate reached its peak intensity of 125 mph while located 650 miles east of Bermuda.


Kate on October 4 as a Category 3 hurricane.

Shortly after peaking, the western side of Kate's Central Dense Overcast (CDO) began to become eroded, and Kate started to weaken. On October 5, Kate weakened below major hurricane status. Due to moving around the western periphery of a powerful anticyclone, Kate moved sharply northward, and its foward speed slowed as a result. As Kate recurved north-northeast, it gradually weakened, with an eye occasionally reappearing on satellite imagery. On October 7, Kate weakened to a tropical storm while moving over cooler waters. It accelerated to the northeast, passing about 260 miles east of Newfoundland. It became an extratropical cyclone later on October 8 as cold air became entrained into the circulation. The storm remained powerful, however, and later on October 8, Kate re-intensified into a hurricane-strength extratropical cyclone while passing south of Greenland. Kate then turned east, passing a short distance south of Iceland, and then it became absorbed by another extratropical cyclone on October 10 near Scandinavia.


Just a week after Hurricane Juan struck Atlantic Canada, the Newfoundland and Labrador Emergency Measures Organization advised the general public to take the necessary precautions for the anticipated affects of Kate, which included strong winds and rainfall as high as 3 inches. Such actions included securing loose objects, cleaning debris from storm drains, owning appropriate hurricane supplies, a charged cellphone, and batteries in the event of a power outage. A cruise ship scheduled to go to St. John's bypassed Newfoundland in order to avoid the hurricane. Also, the Newfoundland and Maritimes Weather Center issued a storm warning for Newfoundland, and the Canadian Hurricane Centre issued a hurricane force wind warning for the country. Due to the expected combination of moisture from Kate as well as a cold front, the Canadian Hurricane Centre also issued a heavy rain warning for southeastern Newfoundland. Offshore, waves were expected to become as high as 33 feet. Also, marine warnings were issued for the coastal waters of Newfoundland.


Kate caused no damage and no deaths, since it stayed far away from any landmasses during its lifetime.


From September 28 to October 7, 33 ships reported winds of over 40 mph in relation to Kate, though nearly all occurred as the storm was becoming extratropical. The strongest winds reported by a ship were 59 mph, while the lowest pressure reported from a ship was 989 mb. Also, the interaction between Kate and a high pressure area to the north produced 3 to 4 foot waves along the coasts of North Carolina as well as along the coast of New England. Kate's strongest winds remained away from any landmasses, although because it was large, it produced 40 mph sustained winds at Cape Race, Newfoundland. Kate also produced strong swells and surf along the southern portion of the Avalon Peninsula, reaching heights of 9 to 13 feet. The combination from Kate and a stalled front produced moderate amounts of rainfall, with some locations in southeastern Newfoundland reporting more than 4 inches of rain. On October 6, St. John's reported 1.8 inches of rain, which is a record for that date. Due to the dry conditions in the weeks before the hurricane, grounds were able to absorb the rainfall brought from the hurricane, which resulted in a lack of flooding.


Kate's extratropical remnants produced wind gusts of 70 mph in northern Scotland.

Lack of Retirement

Because there was no damage, the name Kate was not retired in the Spring of 2004 by the World Meteorological Organization. It is on the list of names to be used for the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season.

See Also

2003 Atlantic hurricane season


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