Tropical Storm Leslie was the twelfth named storm of the 2000 Atlantic hurricane season. Leslie formed over Florida as a subtropical depression, moved out into the Atlantic Ocean, and ultimately became a tropical storm. Leslie peaked as a 45 mph tropical storm with a pressure of 1006 mb. Although Leslie caused no damage as a tropical cyclone, the precursor disturbance produced extreme flooding in Florida, and damage totaled to nearly $1,000,000,000 (2000 USD).
Leslie killed 3 people indirectly, and caused $950,000,000 (2000 USD) in damage.
|Formation||October 4, 2000|
|Dissipation||October 7, 2000|
|Highest winds||45 mph|
|Lowest pressure||1006 mbar|
|Damages||$950,000,000 (2000 USD)|
|Areas affected||Cuba, Florida, Bermuda, Newfoundland|
A tropical wave entered the eastern Carribean Sea on September 27, likely the same wave that had spawned Hurricane Isaac earlier in the season. Upon entering the Carribean Sea, the wave was accompanied by sporadic and disorganized thunderstorm activity over the northern portions of South America. On September 29, the wave and the accompanying thunderstorm activity moved north-northwest off the coast of Colombia and into the central Carribean Sea. For the next two days, the disorganized wave moved north-northwest around the circulation center of Hurricane Keith, which at that time was located in the northwestern Carribean Sea. By 1200 UTC on October 2, a distinct mid-level circulation was evident in satellite imagery just south of western Cuba, near the Isle of Youth. This circulation moved northward across western Cuba and the Straits of Florida, and by 1200 UTC on October 3 it entered the extreme southeastern Gulf of Mexico. That same day, Dvorak classifications began on the wave. Satellite and radar images showed a large area of showers and thunderstorms that extended east of the mid-level circulation center from the Florida Straits northward across the Florida Keys into extreme south Florida. During the early afternoon of 3 October, a NOAA reconnaissance aircraft investigated the disturbance in the southeast Gulf of Mexico, and found an elongated trough of low pressure at a flight-level of 1500 ft but no well-defined surface circulation center.
After 0000 UTC on October 4, the mid-level circulation began moving northeast, passing near Sarasota around 0600 UTC. At this time, the associated shower and thunderstorm activity remained well to the southeast of the disturbance in the frontal trough. Surface observations showed that the remnants of the frontal trough remained over south Florida for several hours after the passage of the mid-level circulation center. Surface observations also indicated that by 1200 UTC on October 4, as the mid-level circulation center continued northeast over central Florida, an associated well-defined surface low and circulation had developed to the east of Orlando. At this time, the heaviest thunderstorm activity was located to the southeast of the low, approximately 150 miles from the center. Given this structure, as well as a nearby upper-level shortwave trough that may have assisted in the development of the low, the system is estimated to have become a subtropical depression at this time.
Precursor trough to Leslie.
The depression moved just offshore Daytona Beach, Florida at 1800 UTC on October 4. Early morning satellite imagery on October 5 indicated that the convection had become more concentrated near the center. Reconnaissance aircraft confirmed that the wind field had contracted, and the maximum flight-level winds were 44 kt within 75 miles of the center. Based on this, the depression was upgraded to Tropical Storm Leslie, while it was located about 200 miles east of St. Augustine, Florida. After forming, Leslie remained weak and moved east-northeast on October 5, briefly threatening the island of Bermuda. On October 7, Leslie turned northeast, and passed about 250 miles west of the island that day. At this time, Leslie's center became more elongated and it interacted with an approaching frontal boundary, and by 1800 UTC on October 7, Leslie became an extratropical cyclone, while located about 325 miles north-northwest of Bermuda. Leslie's extratropical remnants moved rapidly northeastward, crossing Newfoundland late on October 8. The remnants were tracked for another day or so as they moved east-northeast across the cold waters of the North Atlantic Ocean.
The National Hurricane Center predicted the precursor to Leslie, namely a trough, to drop very heavy rainfall across western Cuba and south Florida. The National Weather Service in Miami, Florida issued a Flood Watch for southern Florida, stating that the system could produce flooding on some roads as well as some low-lying areas. As a precaution, water was moved out of canals. However, in general, there was very little warning for the flooding in the state.
When Leslie began to move east-northeast across the Atlantic Ocean, a Tropical Storm Warning was issued for Bermuda, in anticipation of a possible threat from the storm. However, Leslie passed well to the west of the island, and the warnings were quickly dropped.
The precursor disturbance to Leslie dropped heavy rainfall in western and central Cuba, peaking at 8.25 inches in the Havana province, with numerous other locations reporting over 4 inches from rain from the system.
In the southern part of Florida, the precursor disturbance dropped very heavy rainfall, including a peak observation of 17.05 inches in South Miami. Two areas, one to the south of Lake Okeechobee and the other being the Miami area, picked up over 10 inches of rain from the disturbance. In addition, the system produced two F0 tornadoes in Miami-Dade County, one of which tore a roof off of a fire station in Hialeah. The flooding rainfall, very similar to what Hurricane Irene produced a year earlier, flooded about 93,000 homes that contained 214,000 residents in Miami-Dade County. An incomplete damage survey of Miami-Dade County indicated that the flooding destroyed 1,005 homes, severely damaged 1,358, and caused minor damage to 3,443. The floodwaters, which were 4 feet deep in some locations, also managed to flood thousands of cars. Many people were stranded in their homes, forcing them to use canoes or inflatable rafts in order to move to higher ground. In addition, all schools in the Miami area were closed, and all of the non-essential Miami-Dade County employees were asked to stay home. Also, numerous flights at the Miami International Airport were cancelled or delayed, although the airport remained opened. The flooding, which was greatest in Sweetwater, West Miami, Hialeah, Opa-Locka, and Pembroke Park, lasted for up to a week in areas.
Also, the extreme flooding damaged electrical stations, leaving more than 27,000 people without electricity. The flooding indirectly killed three people, two from drowning as a result of driving their vehicles into floodwater. The last death occured when a man fell from a tall building while trying to unclog a roof drain. Total property damage in Florida was $450,000,000 (2000 USD). Floodwaters in Miami-Dade County covered about 40,000 acres of agricultural land, which caused severe problems for farmers. The flooding occured at the beginning of the planting season for winter. Flooded nurseries and fields caused around $500,000,000 (2000 USD) in agricultural damage, including $60,000,000 (2000 USD) in tropical fruit damage and $397,000,000 (2000 USD) in ornamental crops. The U.S. Department of Agriculture declared 16 counties in Florida, including Miami-Dade, Collier, and Palm Beach counties disaster areas. This allowed farmers and their families eligible for USDA emergency farm loans. 22 other counties, including Broward County, were eligible for aid due to their proximity to the disaster areas.
A flooded house in Miami-Dade County.
As an extratropical cyclone, Leslie produced winds of up to 40 mph in Newfoundland. It also caused waves in excess of 16 feet, and rainfall peaked at around 1 inch. Overall, impact in Newfoundland from Leslie was minor.
Lack of Retirement
Because Leslie produced little damage as a tropical cyclone, the name was not retired by the World Meteorological Organization in the Spring of 2001. It was not used during the 2006 season, and is on the list of names to be used for the 2012 Atlantic hurricane seasons.