1988 Atlantic Hurricane Season

25 Jun
1988 Atlantic hurricane season
Season summary map
First system formed May 30, 1988
Last system dissipated November 24, 1988
Strongest storm Gilbert – 888 mbar (hPa) (26.23 inHg), 185 mph (295 km/h)
Total depressions 19
Total storms 12
Hurricanes 5
Major hurricanes (Cat. 3+) 3
Total fatalities 550
Total damage $7 billion (1988 USD)
Atlantic hurricane seasons
1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990
Related article

The 1988 Atlantic hurricane season was a moderately active season that proved costly and deadly, with 15 tropical cyclones directly affecting land. The season officially began on June 1, 1988, and lasted until November 30, 1988, although activity began on May 30 when a tropical depression developed in the Caribbean Sea. The June through November dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic basin. The first cyclone to attain tropical storm status was Alberto on August 8, nearly a month later than usual.[1] The final storm of the year, Tropical Storm Keith, became extratropical on November 24.

The season produced 19 tropical depressions of which 12 attained tropical storm status. One tropical storm was operationally classified as a tropical depression but was reclassified in post-analysis. Five tropical cyclones reached hurricane status of which three became major hurricanes reaching Category 3 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale.

The most notable cyclone of the season was Hurricane Gilbert, which at the time was the strongest Atlantic hurricane on record. The hurricane tracked through the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico and caused devastation in Mexico and many island nations, particularly Jamaica. Its passage caused US$5 billion in damage (1988 USD; $9.97 billion 2015 USD) and more than 300 deaths, mostly in Mexico. Hurricane Joan, striking Nicaragua as a Category 4 hurricane, caused about US$2 billion in damage (1988 USD; $3.99 billion 2015 USD) and more than 200 deaths. The hurricane crossed into the eastern Pacific Ocean and was reclassified as Tropical Storm Miriam.


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