Tropical Storm Edouard was the fifth named storm of the 2002 Atlantic hurricane season. Edouard was also one of eight tropical cyclones to develop during the month of September during the 2002 season. The season used to hold the record for the most amount of tropical cyclones to form in the month of September until the 2007 season tied the record. Edouard peaked as a 65 mph tropical storm with a pressure of 1002 mb. Because of strong upper-level wind shear as well as dry air, Edouard rapidly weakened after peaking in intensity. It struck near Ormond Beach, Florida early on September 5 as a minimal tropical storm with 40 mph winds. Edouard formed on September 1 and dissipated on September 6 as it became absorbed into the larger circulation of Tropical Storm Fay. It was noted that Edouard could re-strengthen in the Gulf of Mexico after its Florida landfall, but this never materialized, as strong upper-level shear from the outflow of Tropical Storm Fay prevented re-strengthening.
Edouard caused no known damage, and no fatalities.
|Formation||September 1, 2002|
|Dissipation||September 6, 2002|
|Highest winds||65 mph|
|Lowest pressure||1002 mbar|
On August 25, an area of cloudiness and showers developed several hundred miles east-southeast of the island of Bermuda, likely in association with a low-level disturbance that had formed along a cold front. For the next several days, the area of disturbed weather moved to the southwest, and, while located on the southwestern end of an upper-level trough to the north of Puerto Rico, deep convection increased throughout the system. At this point, the system began to track westward and because of high surface pressures in the area, it remained disorganized. The system then drifted to the northwest and it began to slowly organize on August 30 while located a few hundred miles northeast of the Bahamas. On August 31, a broad area of low pressure developed within the area. Despite this, the system remained disorganized, and winds were only 20-25 mph in squalls. Atmospheric conditions favored further development, and convection continued to increase as well as persist throughout the system. After developing a low-level circulation center on September 1, the system became Tropical Depression Five while located about 140 miles east of Daytona Beach, Florida. After forming, the depression was located within an environment of light to moderate westerly wind shear. With a ridge to the north and west of the cyclone, it moved northwest under weak steering currents. The depression slowly intensified, becoming Tropical Storm Edouard on September 2 while located about 120 miles east of Jacksonville, Florida.
Edouard remained disorganized, with strong upper-level shear displacing most of the convection from the center of circulation. Upon becoming a tropical storm, forecasters at the National Hurricane Center initially predicted Edouard to turn to the northeast, and within three days Edouard was forecast to be a short distance off the coast of South Carolina with winds of 60 mph. However, forecasters also admitted that they had little confidence in this forecast. Later on, forecasters predicted that Edouard would make a loop and go west into northern Florida or southern Georgia. Shortly after Edouard became a tropical storm, steering currents became weak, which resulted in the cyclone turning sharply eastward. Late on September 2, deep convection developed over Edouard's center, although the center quickly became exposed again. On September 2 and September 3, the upper-level environment became increasingly hostile, with strong increasing upper-level shear as well as dry air overspreading Edouard's center of circulation. Despite the hostile environment, the cyclone maintained vigorous convection in the eastern semicircle and on September 3, Edouard quickly intensified to reach peak winds of 65 mph. A reconnaissance aircraft flight into the storm estimated Edouard had surface winds of 60 mph. In addition, flight level winds were reported to be at 82 mph. Shortly after peaking in intensity, Edouard began to weaken as convection diminished due to strong upper-level winds as well as dry air entrainment. Late on September 3, the circulation center was exposed from the steadily decreasing convection.
The development of a weak narrow mid-level ridge turned the storm towards the west-southwest towards northeastern Florida. Despite very strong vertical wind shear, Edouard remained a tropical storm while producing sproadic amounts of deep convection. On September 4, banding features improved within the cyclone. Early on September 5, Edouard made landfall near Ormond Beach, Florida as a minimal tropical storm with 40 mph winds, and it almost immediately weakened to a tropical depression after landfall. Edouard crossed the state of Florida for 13 hours and entered the Gulf of Mexico near Crystal River. Initially, forecasters predicted Edouard to re-strengthen into a tropical storm over the northeastern Gulf of Mexico, although uncertainty was noted due to the development of Tropical Storm Fay in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. Upon entering the Gulf of Mexico, the cyclone encountered strong upper-level winds from the outflow of Fay. Edouard continued to generate minimal amounts of intermittent convection in the southeastern part of its circulation, enough for it to remain a tropical cyclone. By September 6, Edouard's remaining convection dissipated, and the cyclone itself dissipated while becoming absorbed into the larger circulation of Tropical Storm Fay.
Tropical Storm Edouard as seen by hurricane hunters.
Three hours after the cyclone developed, the National Hurricane Center issued a Tropical Storm Watch from Titusville, Florida to Brunswick, Georgia due to uncertainty in the future track of the cyclone. Hours after Edouard became a tropical storm, a Tropical Storm Warning was issued from Fernandina Beach, Florida to the mouth of the Savannah River, and a Tropical Storm Watch was issued further northward to include the mouth of the South Santee River in South Carolina, though this watch was cancelled after Edouard turned to the east. Also, about 10 hours before Edouard made landfall, the National Hurricane Center issued a Tropical Storm Warning from Titusville, Florida to Brunswick, Georgia. In addition, a Tropical Storm Watch was issued further south to Sebastien Inlet, Florida.
Two days before Edouard made landfall, several counties in the state of Florida were monitoring the progress of the storm. Although no serious impact was anticipated, officials in Brevard County identified possible shelters if they became necessary. In addition, officials in Putnam County placed several shelters on standby, and utility crews in Duval County were placed on standby in the event of a power failure. Several media releases of information were issued regarding the storm. The State Emergency Operation Center was on Level 2, or partial activation, and the state government organized two conferences to discuss county actions in regards to the storm. Hours before Edouard made landfall, the National Weather Service issued a Flood Watch for much of eastern Florida due to the heavy rainfall expected from the cyclone.
Tropical Storm Edouard near landfall.
The South Carolina Emergency Management Division monitored the progress of the storm, and the Division increased its awareness level in response to the storm. Important state agencies in South Carolina government were notified to be ready to respond if the need arose.
In Bermuda, outflow from Edouard brought cloudy conditions to the island. Also, squally conditions were reported just a little bit west of the island, although no rain was reported in Bermuda itself.
While moving eratically off the east coast of Florida, Edouard produced rough surf conditions as well as rip currents along many beaches. Beachgoers and visitors were advised to exercise extreme caution because of the treacherous ocean conditions. Also, Edouard produced water levels about 6 inches above normal near Cape Canaveral, although elsewhere wave action and and storm tides were not significant. Also, despite the storm being a tropical storm at landfall, sustained tropical storm-force winds were not observed. At Patrick Air Force Base, one of Edouard's rainbands produced a wind gust of 39 mph. In addition, a station at St. Augustine recorded a wind gust to 38 mph. Sustained winds peaked at 31 mph at Patrick Air Force Base. Also, the storm dropped moderate rainfall in the eastern portion of the state, mostly during 2 to 3 hour periods. The highest official rainfall total reached 2.5 inches at Orlando Executive Airport, although unofficial totals were as high as 4.8 inches in the city of Rockledge. Rainfall was higher in western Florida, peaking at 7.64 inches in DeSoto County, with an area near Tampa reporting over 7 inches of rain.
Moderate rainfall from Edouard caused river flooding along the Saint Johns River, which flooded some roads in Seminole County. In addition, roadway, urban, and lowland flooding was reported in Brevard and Orange counties. Roadway flooding was severe in some locations, resulting road closures in Oviedo, Cocoa Beach, and Cape Canaveral. Also, heavy rainfall in Pinellas Park caused significant street flooding along an intersection on U.S. Highway 19.
Despite all of this, Edouard caused no fatalities, and damage was minimal.
Naming and Records
Both Edouard and Fay were in the Gulf of Mexico concurrently for 24 hours on September 5 and September 6. There have only been two known times prior to this when there were two tropical cyclones in the Gulf of Mexico at the same time; two tropical depressions during June 18, 1959, and one depression and one hurricane existed on September 5, 1933. Edouard and Fay existed the longest together out of the three occasions.
This was also the fourth time the name Edouard had been used to name an Atlantic hurricane, the first time being in 1984.
Lack of Retirement
Because damage was minimal, the name Edouard 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.