Hurricane Olga was the fifteenth named storm and the ninth hurricane of the 2001 Atlantic hurricane season. Olga was also the final storm to form in that season. Olga formed on November 24 in the open Atlantic Ocean, well away from any land areas. Initially, Olga was a subtropical cyclone. It meandered eratically to the west and attained hurricane status on November 26. Olga peaked as a Category 1 hurricane with 90 mph winds but then began to turn to the southeast, weakening back to a tropical storm as it did so. Olga dissipated on December 6 while located east of the Bahamas.
Olga caused no damage, except for damage to some ships at sea. Its remnants also dropped heavy rainfall in the Bahamas and Florida. Olga caused no fatalities.
|Formation||November 24, 2001|
|Dissipation||December 6, 2001|
|Highest winds||90 mph|
|Lowest pressure||973 mbar|
|Areas affected||Bermuda, Bahamas, Florida, Cuba|
On November 22, an extratropical low formed in between Bermuda and the Leeward Islands. On November 24, the low strengthened and acquired subtropical characteristics. Embedded within an environment of weak steering currents, the subtropical storm moved slowly to the northwest, with its winds reaching 60 mph. By November 25, satellite imagery showed the structure of the cyclone becoming more tropical, as the convection became more involved with the center of circulation. Because of a ridge of high pressure to the north, the cyclone moved to the west. On November 26, satellite imagery indicated that the convection continued to organize around the center of circulation, which prompted the National Hurricane Center to upgrade the storm to Tropical Storm Olga. After forming, Olga moved to the northwest, and satellite imagery revealed that Olga was forming an eye. As 1200 UTC, Olga was upgraded to a hurricane. Despite sea surface temperatures of only 73-75°F (23-24°C), Olga continued to strengthen, as it made a double loop in the central Atlantic Ocean. Eventually, Olga peaked with winds of 90 mph and a pressure of 973 mb. Upon completing the second loop, Olga moved to the southwest where it encountered increasing vertical wind shear on November 28. The strong upper-level winds caused Olga's center to become disorganized, which resulted in Olga weakening back to a minimal hurricane. As Olga continued southwest, it weakened back to a tropical storm on November 29. On November 30, strong upper-level winds exposed much of Olga's convection at its circulation center, which caused Olga to weaken to a tropical depression by 1200 UTC that day. At 4:00 PM EST that day, Olga retained convection near its center, although the overall circulation became distorted because of the strong shear.
By 0300 UTC, QuikSCAT and TRMM satellite data showed deep convection re-developed over Olga's center as it entered an area of weaker wind shear. At the same time, the high pressure ridge north of the cyclone began to weaken, which weakened the steering currents near Olga and caused it to slow down. The next day, as Olga moved to the southwest, it continued to retain convection in the eastern semicircle. On December 1, satellite imagery indicated that Olga had re-developed deep convection near its center of circulation, which caused the National Hurricane Center to upgrade Olga back to tropical storm status. By this time, Olga had turned to the north, due the weakening of the high pressure ridge to the north of the cyclone. Olga reached its second peak of 50 mph winds as it continued to the north. As Olga moved north, it encountered increasing vertical wind shear caused by a trough moving off the East Coast of the United States. The strong shear caused much of the deep convection to become removed from Olga's circulation center, which caused Olga to weaken back to a tropical depression again. In addition, Olga made its second and final loop before losing much of its circulation as well as its deep convection. By December 5, the National Hurricane Center issued the last advisory on Olga, as the storm dissipated about 600 miles east of the Bahamas.
Olga's remnants crossed the Bahamas and skirted northern Cuba before dissipating in the Gulf of Mexico.
The National Hurricane Center began issuing advisories on Olga on November 24, as it became a subtropical cyclone. They anticipated that shipping lanes would be threatened by the storm. Also, the Bermuda Weather Service issued gale warnings and local marine warnings for boats and other small water craft. Also, Olga's approach forced the cancellation of the World Yacht regatta. When Olga became a hurricane, the National Hurricane Center forecast that Olga would bring rough seas to Bermuda, the East Coast of the United States, the Bahamas, as well as the northern Carribean Sea.
Several ships in the path of Olga reported seas of 12 feet or higher. One boat that was called the Manana Tres reported a pressure reading of 989 mb. In addition, that ship experienced structural damage from the hurricane.
Olga produced winds of 35-45 mph in Bermuda, and waves as high as 15-22 feet for several days. Damage, if any, was minimal.
Olga's remnants produced heavy rainfall over the Bahamas, Florida, and Cuba.
This was the first time the name Olga had been used to name an Atlantic hurricane. Also, this was only the second time a storm had been assigned with the O letter, the first being Hurricane Opal of 1995. Since Olga, there have been three tropical cyclones to be given a name starting with the letter O in the Atlantic basin. These storms are Odette, Otto, and Ophelia, respectively.
Lack of Retirement
Because damage was minimal from Olga, the name was not retired in the Spring of 2002 by the World Meteorological Organization. It is on the list of names to be used for the 2007 Atlantic hurricane season.