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2008 Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Rainfall
Atlantic Ocean rainfall chart Animation showing Tropical Cyclone rainfall accumulation for 2008. Credit: NASA/TRMM
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Tropical cyclone rainfall chart A referenced image from a paper done with Ed Rodgers in 2001.
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Hurricane, tropical storm and tropical depression rainfall caused many severe floods and numerous lost lives during the 2008 north Atlantic hurricane season. The north Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30.

The 2008 hurricane season had 16 named tropical cyclones and that was above the yearly average of 11. Haiti, Cuba and the Texas gulf coast were hardest hit with estimates of $54 billion in damage. Hurricanes Fay, Gustav, Ike, and tropicalstorm Hanna caused flooding in Haiti that contributed to the loss of over 800 lives.

The image above shows estimates for rainfall contributed by named tropical cyclones. Although not a named storm, Tropical depression 16 was included because it caused extensive flooding in Central America.

Areas with over 600mm (~ 23.6 inches) of tropical cyclone rainfall are shown in bright red over eastern Cuba and western Haiti. A small area of southern Haiti is shown in dark red where totals of tropical cyclone rainfall were estimated to be over 850 mm(~ 33.5 inches). The tracks of storms are shown in black. The general appearance of the tropical cyclone rainfall pattern is close to normal for Cuba and Haiti due their location in "Hurricane Alley." "Hurricane Alley" is an area of warm water in the Atlantic ocean stretching from the west coast of northern Africa to the east coast of central America and Gulf Coast of the southern United State where many hurricanes form. Those rainfall data (3B42) used in this analysis were from merged satellite rainfall estimates whose accuracy was calibrated with Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite data.

TRMM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) designed to monitor and study tropical rainfall.

Text credit: Hal Pierce, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/SSAI