Tropical Storm Charley was the third named storm of the 1998 Atlantic hurricane season. Charley was one of two tropical cyclones to make landfall in Texas during the 1998 season, with Frances being the other. Charley formed in the Gulf of Mexico south of Texas and Louisiana, then headed west and northwest, striking between extreme southern Texas and extreme northeast Mexico.
Charley caused $50,000,000 in damage, and killed 20 people, and left 6 people missing.
|Formation||August 21, 1998|
|Dissipation||August 24, 1998|
|Highest winds||70 mph|
|Lowest pressure||1000 mbar|
|Deaths||20 direct, 6 missing|
|Damages||$50,000,000 (1998 USD)|
|Areas affected||Mexico, Texas|
Charley's exact origins are unclear, but were traced back to a tropical wave that exited the coast of Africa on August 9. The wave moved westward across the Atlantic Ocean without development, passing through the Leeward Islands, and on August 15, the wave entered the Gulf of Mexico. On August 20, data from satellite imagery and Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicated that the system had 26 mph sustained winds, but no closed surface circulation, thus it was not classified as a tropical depression. A second Hurricane Hunter flight into the system on August 21 found a closed surface circulation, indicating that Tropical Depression Three formed at 0600 UTC on August 21. After forming, the depression moved west-northwest, and strengthened into Tropical Storm Charley on August 22. Before landfall, Charley reached its peak strength of 70 mph and a pressure of 1000 mb, unusually high for a strong tropical storm.
Charley made landfall near Port Aransas, Texas, late on August 22. After landfall, Charley quickly weakened to a tropical depression, and Charley's remnant circulation remained identifiable until it was over the Rio Grande. On August 25, Charley's remnants dissipated completely.
In Texas, Charley produced torrential rainfall, creating serious flash flooding across Texas and northern Mexico, with about 20 people being killed from Charley's floods. In Del Rio, Charley produced 17 inches of rain in a 24-hour period, the highest 24-hour rainfall rate in a city in the state of Texas since Tropical Storm Claudette in 1979. Charley's storm surge that it produced was minor, with storm surge along areas of the Texas coast only being 2 feet above normal, which is part of the reason why few people had noticed why a tropical cyclone had affected them. Also, four people, including two toddlers, were killed when their truck was swept away by Charley's floodwaters. Also, nine more people drowned due to flooding along the San Felipe Creek.
About 300-1,500 homes, businesses, mobile homes, and apartments were either damaged or destroyed by the flooding that Charley produced. Also, eight counties in Texas were declared federal disaster areas after the storm, which allowed residents in those counties to apply for federal aid.
According to media reports, seven people were killed in Ciudad Acuña, while they were trying to cross a flooded gully.
There was no damage reported in Mexico in associated with Charley, however.
When Charley made landfall, it was the second time that the Wind Engineering Mobile Instrumented Tower Experiment (WEMITE) was used, with the other time being with Hurricane Bonnie.
Lack of Retirement
Because of the lack of any significant damage, the name Charley was not retired in the Spring of 1999 by the World Meteorological Organization. It was retired in 2004, however, and was replaced with Colin for the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season.