Hurricane Marco was the thirteenth named storm, and the ninth hurricane of the 1996 Atlantic hurricane season. Marco was the final storm of the season, forming in the Carribean Sea in November, and reaching Category 1 hurricane strength.
Marco caused no damage, and no deaths.
|Formation||November 16, 1996|
|Dissipation||November 24, 1996|
|Highest winds||75 mph|
|Lowest pressure||983 mbar|
On November 9, a cold front moved into the northwestern Carribean Sea, followed by an unusually strong high pressure system which dominated the eastern United States. The front became nearly stationary and interacted with a series of westward-moving tropical waves. The Inter-tropical Convergence Zone became active in the southwestern Carribean, as monsoonal southwesterly flow from the eastern Pacific Ocean reached the area. On November 13, surface analysis showed a weak low-pressure area just north of Colombia. On November 14, there was a well-defined, albeit broad, low-level circulation between Jamaica and Honduras. Despite this, the low did not match the criteria for tropical depression status, due to convection not being concentrated near the center of circulation. There were actually several smaller circulation centers embedded within a much larger system. The low drifted northward for a couple of days, and in combination with a high pressure system over the United States, produced gale-force winds over Florida, Cuba, the Bahamas, as well as the Gulf of Mexico.
Convection gradually became more organized to the south of Jamaica, and a post-season analysis of the surface data, as well as reconnaissance aircraft data indicates that the system became a tropical depression at 1800 UTC on November 16. The depression moved southward after forming, and as it entered an area more favorable for intensification, it became Tropical Storm Marco at 0600 UTC on November 19. Marco then slowed down and moved to the east-northeast, and it briefly reached Category 1 hurricane status at 0600 UTC on November 20, reaching its peak intensity of 75 mph winds and a pressure of 983 mb. Shortly thereafter, strong upper-level wind shear rapidly weakened Marco to a tropical depression at 1800 UTC on November 23, while located to the southeast of Jamaica. When a mid-level ridge built over Florida and the Bahamas, Marco turned to the west, then to the west-northwest, and re-intensified to a tropical storm. Marco dissipated by 1800 UTC on November 26, while located to the south of the western tip of Cuba, and it also interacted with a cold front at the time of its dissipation.
Marco's remnants drifted slowly southward and produced heavy rainfall over Belize and Honduras.
Lack of Retirement
Because there was no damage, the name Marco was not retired in the Spring of 1997 by the World Meteorological Organization. It was not used in the 2002 Atlantic hurricane season, and it is on the list of names to be used for the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season.