Tropical Storm Hermine was the eighth storm of the 1998 Atlantic hurricane season. Hermine formed on September 17, obtained a peak of 45 mph, and it made landfall at that intensity near Cocodrie, Louisiana on September 20. Hermine weakened after landfall, dissipating the same day.
Hermine produced heavy rainfall along the U.S. Gulf Coast, as well as Florida, and Georgia. It also spawned three tornado that caused minor to moderate structural damage.
Total damage from Hermine amounted to $452,000 (1998 USD), and no fatalities were reported, but one injury was reported.
|Formation||September 17, 1998|
|Dissipation||September 20, 1998|
|Highest winds||45 mph|
|Lowest pressure||999 mbar|
|Damages||$452,000 (1998 USD)|
|Areas affected||Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia|
A tropical wave exited the African coast on September 5. It moved westward across the Atlantic Ocean without developing. The wave was devoid of any convective activity until it approached the Windward Islands on September 12. It was then that the wave showed increasing cloud layer and shower activity, and the barometric pressure began to drop within the wave at that time as well. The wave closely paralleled the South America coastline, and moved westward into the Carribean Sea. It then crossed the Yucatan Peninsula where it interacted an upper-level low as well as another tropical wave in the Gulf of Mexico. Because of the interaction, a low-pressure area developed within the wave as well as the presence of a monsoon flow that prevailed over Central America, the Yucatan Peninsula, and the Gulf of Mexico. At 5:00 PM EDT on September 17, the National Hurricane Center classified the system as Tropical Depression Eight. After forming, the depression made a cyclonic loop as a result of an upper-level low over the Bay of Campeche.
The upper-level low produced wind shear over the depression. Despite that, the depression strengthened into Tropical Storm Hermine on September 19. Hermine then moved northeast, with wind shear causing Hermine to become disorganized. The strongest winds of Hermine were confined to the eastern half of the main convection of the storm. Because of this, Hermine only peaked as 45 mph tropical storm before making landfall near Cocodrie, Louisiana on September 20. At the time of its landfall, Hermine had a minimum central pressure of 999 mb. The remnants of Hermine tracked eastward across Mississippi and Alabama, and they dissipated on September 22 over the Carolinas.
As Tropical Depression Eight formed on September 17, the National Hurricane Center issued a Tropical Storm Watch from Sargent, Texas, to Grand Isle, Louisiana. The following day, the watch was extended further west towards Matagorda, Texas, and also further eastward to Pascagoula, Mississippi. On September 19, the tropical storm watches that were in effect for eastern Texas were discontinued as Hermine headed northeastward. However, at the same time, the watches were upgraded to warnings for areas stretching from Morgan City, Louisiana to Pensacola, Florida at 1500 UTC. The threat of Hermine caused 2,000 residents in Grand Isle, as well as Laforuche Parish to evacuate. Storm shelters were opened inland, even as far as New Orleans.
The National Weather Service also issued Flood Watches and Flood Warnings for areas east of Louisianas Atchafalaya Riverand southeastern Mississippi. Finally, on September 21, the watches and warnings were extended eastward to cover Alabama and Georgia.
Hermine produced light rainfall in central and southeastern portions of the state. Two weather stations in New Orleans and near the Mouth of the Mississippi River recorded wind gusts of 32-46 mph. Because of the heavy rainfall and storm surge Hermine produced, it caused severe flood damage in parts of the state. At the time, the state had been recovering from flooding from previous Tropical Storm Frances. In coastal portions of the state, Hermine brought storm tides of 1-3 feet above normal. In Washington Parish, rainfall of up to 3 inches fell, with floodwaters covering a section of Highway 438 near Thomas. Also, the parishes of Cameron, St. Mary, Iberia, and Vermilion experienced wind gusts of up to 25 mph from Hermine and storm tides 3-5 feet above normal. Thankfully, flooding in those parishes were confined to marshlands and overall damage was minimal.
In Mississippi, Hermine produced light rainfall across the southern and southwestern portions of the state. In Walthall County, Hermine dumped 4-5 inches of rain, which resulted in flooding that covered several roads, and also left Highway 27 under 4 feet of water. Hermine also produced tornado in the state, with the first one touching down near Poplarville at 0730 UTC. The tornado destroyed two mobile homes, damaged seven cars, and left one person injured. This tornado was rated F1 on the Fujita Scale, and caused $75,000 (1998 USD) in damage. The second tornado, which ranked F0 on the Fujita Scale, touched down near Bay St. Louis at 0850 UTC. Thankfully, it only caused $10,000 (1998 USD) in damage. Total damage in Mississippi amounted to $85,000 (1998 USD).
Alabama experienced heavy rainfall from Tropical Storm Hermine, as the storm dropped over 6 inches of rain across the state of Alabama. The heavy rainfall caused moderate flash flooding in southeastern Tuscaloosa County, northern Bibb County, and southwestern Shelby County. The floods from Hermine caused several road closings, and numerous vehicles were stalled and/or damaged, which stranded motorists. Damage in Bibb County and Shelby County amounted to $12,000 (1998 USD), and damage in Tuscaloosa County amounted to a mere $4,000 (1998 USD). In Choctaw County, Hermine dumped 3-5 inches of rain. The heavy rainfall caused flooding that closed some roads in the county. In Gilbertown, high waters forced residents living in three trailers to evacuate. Total damage from Choctaw County was $5,000 from Hermine.
In Baldwin County, a waterspout moved onshore near Gulf Shores, became an F0 tornado and dissipating without causing any damage, fortunately. Total damage in Alabama from Hermine was $21,000.
In Florida, the combination of Hermine and a nearby upper-level low dropped heavy rainfall across the state, with the highest being 10 inches in the city of Miami, with other areas reporting anywhere from 3-7 inches of rain. In the city of Hillsborough, the storm dropped 8-10 inches of rain in a 3-hour period. This resulted in moderate flooding that damaged cars, homes, as well as apartments, with total damage amounting to $100,000 (1998 USD). The storm's heavy rainfall also caused the Alafia River and the Little Manatee River to crest at 15-16 feet, which is four feet above flood stage. This caused $125,000 (1998 USD) in damage due to flooding of nearby homes. Near the city of Bradenton, the Manatee River crested 4 and a half feet above flood stage, with the crest peaking at 15 feet. Pasco County also reported flooding as the Cypress Creek along State Road 54 crested to 9.5 feet, which is 1 and a half feet above flood stage. The resulting flooding caused $5,000 (1998 USD) in damage.
Also, in Land O Lakes, heavy rainfall from the storm caused a pond levee to fail, which caused $100,000 (1998 USD) in flood damage to many houses. In Sarasota, a gauge at the Myakka State Park recorded the Myakka River crested at 8.6 feet, which resulted in $1,000 (1998 USD) in flood damage to foot bridges. Total damage in Florida from Hermine amounted to $331,000 (1998 USD).
As the remnants of Hermine moved inland, they dropped heavy rainfall across central and southeastern portions of the state of Georgia. In Camden County, the heavy rainfall from the remnants of Hermine caused flooding that closed numerous streets in the towns of St. Mary and Kingsland. The flooding caused damage to cars, as well as three homes. One family was relocated by the American Red Cross, because of the flood damage to their house. Total damage in Georgia from Hermine reached $15,000 (1998 USD).
Lack of Retirement
Because damage was minimal, the name Hermine was not retired in the Spring of 1999 by the World Meteorological Organization. It was used again in 2004, and is on the list of names to be used for the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season.