Tropical Storm Cristobal was the third named storm of the 2002 Atlantic hurricane season. Cristobal formed on August 5 off the coast of South Carolina from a trough of low pressure, the same one that spawned Tropical Storm Bertha. Cristobal moved southeast, then east and became absorbed by a front on August 9. Cristobal peaked as a 50 mph tropical storm with a pressure of 999 mb.

Satellite image of Tropical Storm Cristobal
FormationAugust 4, 2002
Dissipation August 8, 2002
Highest winds 50 mph
Lowest pressure 999 mbar
Deaths None reported
Damages None
Areas affected None

Meteorological History


The origin of Cristobal was non-tropical. On 1 August, a surface trough of low pressure extended from the northern Gulf of Mexico across Florida into the western North Atlantic Ocean. The trough moved very little over the next few days, and it spawned Tropical Storm Bertha in the Gulf of Mexico on August 4, while a second area of low pressure was developing in the trough near the South Carolina coast. This low moved slowly eastward and gradually, the convection within the low became better organized. By 1800 UTC on August 5, when the low was located about 150 miles east-southeast of Charleston, South Carolina, it had organized enough to be considered Tropical Depression Three. After forming, the depression moved slowly south-southeastward over the next day and a half. Development of the depression was limited due to northerly wind shear aloft as well as some dry air. As a result, most of the depression's convection was confined to the southern semicircle. The surface circulation became elongated in the southwesterly flow in advance of a southward moving cold front. Despite this, a reconaissance aircraft flight into the storm on August 6 indicated that the central pressure had fallen and that the depression strengthened into Tropical Storm Cristobal.

On August 7, Cristobal began to move slowly eastward as it became influenced by a large mid- to upper-level trough moving off the East Coast of the United States. In addition, the main convective activity shifted from south to southeast, and then finally to the eastern semicircle on August 8. This convective re-organization was accompanied by Cristobal reaching its peak intenity of 50 mph, although the central pressure did not decrease despite the increase in wind speed. On August 8, as additional dry air became entrained into Cristobal's circulation as well as convection becoming intermittent, Cristobal began a sudden acceleration to the east-northeast, with its foward speed increasing from roughly 3 knots to 20 knots over 12-hour period. By 1800 UTC on August 8, reconnaissance aircraft reported some difficulty in finding a closed low-level circulation center as Cristobal was becoming absorbed into a frontal zone, while located about 300 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. By 0000 UTC on August 9, Cristobal dissipated within the frontal zone.


Cristobal had no impacts on land.

Three ships reported sustained winds of at least 34 kt. Other than that, no impacts were felt from Cristobal. It caused no damage and no deaths.

Lack of Retirement

Because there was affect on land, the name Cristobal was not retired in the Spring of 2003 by the World Meteorological Organization. It is on the list of names to be used for the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season.

See Also

2002 Atlantic hurricane season


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