Tropical Storm Peter was the sixteenth named storm of the 2003 Atlantic hurricane season. Peter was another rare off-season storm during the 2003 season, forming on December 7 in the far eastern Atlantic Ocean about 835 miles south-southwest of the Azores. Peter started out as a subtropical cyclone, but ultimately reached a peak of 70 mph as a tropical cyclone before dissipating on December 11. Peter was no threat to land.
Peter caused no damage and no deaths.
|Formation||December 7, 2003|
|Dissipation||December 11, 2003|
|Highest winds||70 mph|
|Lowest pressure||990 mbar|
|Part of the||2003 Atlantic hurricane season|
On December 2, an extratropical cyclone developed in the eastern Atlantic Ocean about 1430 miles southwest of the Azores. It tracked northwest, then north, and it developed gale-force winds on December 4 after turning to the northeast. Later that day, the extratropical cyclone transitioned into a frontal low, and because high pressures persisted across the northeastern Atlantic Ocean, the storm turned to the southeast. Early on December 7, the system lost its frontal structure as it turned to the south-southwest. Later that day, the gale developed convection near its center, and it is estimated that the system became Subtropical Storm Peter late on December 7 while located 830 miles south-southwest of the Azores. As the system moved southwestward over warmer waters, convection continued to develop, and convection became concentrated near the low-level circulation center as banding features became well-defined. Based on this, the National Hurricane Center designated the subtropical cyclone as Tropical Storm Peter on December 9 while located 980 miles northwest of Praia, Cape Verde. Several days prior to Peter's formation, computer models had predicted that the storm would form. As Peter transitioned into a 45 mph tropical storm, it was moving slowly, and initial forecasts from the NHC predicted rapid weakening of the cyclone. However, an eye feature quickly developed within the center of the convection, and late on December 9, Peter strengthened to reach peak winds of 70 mph. Although the presence of the eye feature, along with Dvorak classifications of 75 mph would normally indicate a hurricane strength tropical cyclone, Peter remained a tropical storm, and the eye feature quickly dissipated. The NHC did, however, remark that Peter could've briefly been a hurricane during the time that the eye feature was evident. Peter tracked to the north ahead of the same frontal zone that absorbed Tropical Storm Odette, and the combination of strong upper-level wind shear and cool water temperatures quickly weakened Peter.
By December 10, Peter had weakened to a tropical depression, consisting of a tight low-level circulation accompanied by a swirl of low clouds. As Peter turned northeast of progressively cooler waters, it became an extratropical cyclone on December 11, and it was absorbed by the approaching front shortly thereafter.
With the formation of Odette and Peter, the 2003 Atlantic hurricane season became the first Atlantic hurricane season since 1887 to have two storms form in December. At the time, after Peter formed, 2003 was tied for the fifth most-active Atlantic hurricane season, but it has since dropped to the sixth after the record-breaking 2005 season. Also, the 235 days between the development of the first storm of the 2003 season, Tropical Storm Ana, and the dissipation of the last storm, Peter, made 2003 the longest hurricane season since 1952. 2003 is one of only three Atlantic hurricane seasons to reach the letter "P" in the alphabet, since naming began in 1950.
Lack of Retirement
Because it affected no land, the name Peter was not retired in the Spring of 2004 by the World Meteorological Organization. It is on the list of names to be used for the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season.