Tropical Storm Marco (1990)

Tropical Storm Marco (1990)

Infobox Hurricane
Name=Tropical Storm Marco
Image location=TS Marco 11 oct 1990 1301Z.jpg

Type=Tropical storm
Formed=October 9, 1990
Dissipated=October 12, 1990
1-min winds=55

Fatalities=12 total
Areas=Florida, Georgia, The Carolinas, East Coast of the United States
Hurricane season=1990 Atlantic hurricane season

Tropical Storm Marco was the only tropical cyclone to make landfall on the United States during the 1990 Atlantic hurricane season. The thirteenth named storm of the season, Marco formed from a cold-core low pressure area along the northern coast of Cuba on October 9, and tracked northwestward through the eastern Gulf of Mexico. Paralleling the Florida coastline just offshore, Marco produced tropical-storm-force winds across the state, though it weakened to a tropical depression before moving ashore near Cedar Key. The cyclone combined with a cold front and the remnants of Hurricane Klaus, to produce heavy rainfall in Georgia and the Carolinas.

In Florida, the cyclone caused generally minor damage, including the flooding of some houses and roadways. Rainfall across its path peaked at 19.89 inches (505 mm) in Louisville, Georgia, though several locations received over 10 inches (250 mm) of precipitation. The flooding caused a total of 12 deaths, mostly due to drowning, as well as $57 million in damage (1990 USD, $90 million 2007 USD).

Meteorological history

By early on October 6, a low pressure area and circulation persisted over eastern Cuba in the middle levels of the atmosphere. The low drifted westward, and interacted with Hurricane Klaus to its east.cite web|author=National Hurricane Center|year=1990|title=Hurricane Klaus Preliminary Report|accessdate=2007-10-31|url=] Initially cold-core in nature, the system gradually built downward to the surface, and on October 9 the low developed a low-level circulation; at 1200 UTC the National Hurricane Center classified it as Tropical Depression Fifteen while located near the Cuban city of Caibarién,cite web|author=National Hurricane Center|year=1990|title=Tropical Storm Marco Preliminary Report|accessdate=2007-10-31|url=] though the cyclone was initially subtropical in character.cite web|author=David Roth|year=2006|title=Rainfall Summary for Tropical Storm Marco/Hurricane Klaus|publisher=Hydrometeorological Prediction Center|accessdate=2007-10-31|url=] Tropical Storm Klaus to its east continued weakening, and the depression became the dominant system after it absorbed Klaus. The tropical depression tracked along the north coast of Cuba, and after turning to the northwest it intensified into Tropical Storm Marco about 35 miles (55 km) south-southwest of Key West, Florida.

After passing midway between Key West and the Dry Tortugas, Tropical Storm Marco turned to a steady northward track and quickly intensified, reaching peak winds of 65 mph (100 km/h) on October 11 just southwest of Englewood, Florida. The center paralleled the west coast of Florida just offshore, and by six hours after its peak intensity Marco reached a position about 6 miles (10 km) west of Bradenton Beach; much of its circulation was over land, and initially the storm was forecast to move ashore between Fort Myers and Sarasota.cite news|author=David K. Rogers|date=1990-10-11|title=Tropical Storm Marco aims south of Tampa Bay|publisher=Saint Petersburg Times|accessdate=2007-11-12] However, the cyclone continued northward just offshore, and weakened to a tropical depression just prior to making landfall near Cedar Key early on October 12. Because much of its inner circulation had crossed over Saint Petersburg as a tropical storm, Marco was considered a tropical storm direct hit for the United States, the only of the year for the country; had it not been considered a direct hit, the season would have been the first since 1890 without a tropical storm or hurricane direct hit on the nation.cite web|author=National Hurricane Center|year=1990|title=Tropical Storm Marco Preliminary Report Page 2|accessdate=2007-11-08|url=]

After landfall, the cyclone accelerated northward and weakened, and by 1200 UTC on October 12, Marco transitioned into an extratropical cyclone. It turned to the northeast and east through South Carolina, under the influence of Hurricane Lili to its northeast. The weakening low was absorbed by a cold front to its north on October 13, though moisture from the remnants of Marco continued dropping heavy rainfall across the southeast United States for another day.


A tropical storm warning was issued at some point during the duration of the cyclone for the west coast of Florida from Key West to Apalachicola. Additionally, a tropical storm warning was put in place for the east coast from Vero Beach northward to Fernandina Beach.cite web|author=Max Mayfield and Miles B. Lawrence|year=1992|title=Atlantic Hurricane Season of 1990|publisher=American Meteorological Society|accessdate=2007-11-09|url=|format=PDF] Prior to the arrival of the storm, elementary schools were closed on the three barrier islands in Lee County. Florida governor Bob Martinez ordered for the closure of state offices in the Tampa Bay, and also decided not to open the University of South Florida and other community colleges in the area. Public schools were not opened on the day of the storm's passage in Manatee and Sarasota counties, though most other schools remained open. [cite news|author=Bill Adair, et al.|date=1990-10-12|title=State employees get day off, but children attend school|publisher=Saint Petersburg Times|accessdate=2007-11-12] As the storm tracked northward, the National Weather Service issued a flood watch for much of Georgia. A flood watch was later issued for western portions of the Carolinas and for high elevations in Virginia and West Virginia.cite news|author=Andrew Yarrow|date=1990-10-13|title= Storms Batter the East Coast From Georgia to Delaware|publisher=New York Times|accessdate=2007-11-17|url=]


With most of its circulation over the western portion of Florida during its duration, Tropical Storm Marco produced tropical storm force winds across western Florida. As it brushed the coastline, the storm developed strong convective rainbands, leading to peak sustained winds of 69 mph (112 km/h) with gusts to 85 mph (137 km/h) on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge; the bridge was closed after gusts reached 70 mph (115 km/h).cite news|author=David Rogers, et al.|date=1990-10-12|title=Marco sprinkles state with rain|publisher=Saint Petersburg Times|accessdate=2007-11-12] Squalls from the storm spawned four tornadoes in the state, one of which struck the city of Crystal River which destroyed a mobile home and left 2,000 people without power for about an hour. [cite news|author=Jim Ross, et al.|date=1990-10-12|title=Tropical storm spawns tornado|publisher=Saint Petersburg Times|accessdate=2007-11-12] A total of about 25,000 customers across the state were left without power, and about 40 families were left temporarily homeless due to storm damage. Paralleling the coastline, the storm produced a light storm surge that peaked at 2.62 feet (0.8 m) above normal on Sanibel Island. In some locations, the surge rose rapidly, and despite the unusual geography of the area the levels varied only by as much as 9.8 inches (250 mm) than the predicted levels from the SLOSH model.cite web|author=Sam Houston & Mark Powell|year=1994|title=Observed and Modeled Wind and Water-Level Response from Tropical Storm Marco (1990)|publisher=American Meteorological Society|accessdate=2007-11-09|url=|format=PDF] The surge and waves caused some minor beach erosion. Moderate to heavy rainfall fell across western Florida, peaking at 6.14 inches (156 mm) near Bradenton;cite web|author=David Roth|year=2007|title=Tropical Cyclone Rainfall in Florida|publisher=Hydrometeorological Prediction Center|accessdate=2007-11-09|url=] the rainfall was beneficial after a very dry summer, though because it fell quickly the precipitation failed to cease water restrictions across the area. [cite news|author=Steven Drummond|date=1990-10-12|title=Storm won't ease water restrictions|publisher=Saint Petersburg Times|accessdate=2007-11-12] The passage of the storm resulted in some flooding across its path, including some flooded homes in Manatee County. Several roadways, including two U.S. highways, were also flooded. Damage in the state totaled $3 million (1990 USD, $5 million 2007 USD), of which $1 million (1990 USD, $1.6 million 2007 USD) occurred in Manatee County.

As the remnants of Marco entered Georgia, it combined with the remnant moisture from Hurricane Klaus and a slow-moving cold front, which caused large amounts of precipitation to fall across the eastern portion of the state. Rainfall peaked at 19.89 inches (505 mm) at a station near Louisville, where over 16 inches (400 mm) fell in a 24 hour period. In Augusta, 2.79 inches (71 mm) of rainfall fell in one hour, which forced the evacuation of about 300 people. Some roads in eastern Georgia were flooded up to 6 feet (1.8 m) deep, and police officers in Augusta rescued people in flooded cars. The flooding resulted in some power outages. The deluge killed five people through drowning, and left over 450 people homeless. The remnants of the storm spawned a tornado in Brantley County, which destroyed 25 unoccupied homes. [cite web|author=Julia C. Muller|year=2004|title=15 years of area natural disasters|publisher=Savannah Morning News|accessdate=2007-11-18|url=] Damage in the state totaled $42 million (1990 USD, $66 million 2007 USD). On October 19, 1990, President George H. W. Bush declared several counties in Georgia as federal disaster areas, which permitted the use of emergency funds for disaster victims. [cite web|author=Government of Augusta, Georgia|year=2005|title=Hazard Mitigation Plan (Draft) for Richmond County|accessdate=2007-11-18|url=] cite web|author=Federal Emergency Management Agency|year=1990|title=Georgia Flooding, Severe Storm|accessdate=2007-11-18|url=]

Heavy rainfall continued into the Carolinas. Much of South Carolina experienced over 7 inches (175 mm) of precipitation, and the statewide rainfall total peaked at 13.96 inches (355 mm) in Pageland.cite web|author=David Roth|year=2007|title=Tropical Cyclone Rainfall in the Southeast|publisher=Hydrometeorological Prediction Center|accessdate=2007-11-15|url=] The rainfall, which caused the highest totals in 100 years in some locations, [cite news|author=Associated Press|date=1990-10-13|title=10 die as torrential storms cause floods in southern U.S.|accessdate=2007-11-17] also ended a severe drought in South Carolina. [cite web|author=South Carolina State Climatology Office|year=2004|title=Climate Statistics for South Carolina|accessdate=2007-11-17|url=] The rainfall caused 80 bridges in the state to fail, while more than 120 bridges were either closed, damaged, or destroyed. [cite web|author=South Carolina District of U.S. Geological Survey|year=2004|title=South Carolina Science Goals 2004-2009|accessdate=2007-11-19|url=|format=PDF] In South Carolina, the system caused three deaths from drowning; damage totaled $12 million (1990 USD, $19 million 2007 USD). In North Carolina, rainfall reached 10.74 inches (273 mm) in Albemarle. Two direct deaths occurred in the state, and there were two indirect traffic deaths.cite news|author=Dennis Hevesi|date=1990-10-14|title=East Breathes Easier as Storms' Threat Pales|publisher=New York Times|accessdate=2007-11-18]

Rainfall from the remnants of Marco and Klaus extended into the Ohio Valley, with 3.67 inches (93 mm) recorded near Mountain City, Tennessee. Totals of 2 – 5 inches (50 – 125 mm) spread across northwest Virginia, western Maryland, eastern West Virginia, and the Susquehanna Valley of Pennsylvania. In New York, the rainfall combined with moisture from Hurricane Lili, which closed a portion of a railway line and a highway. [cite news|author=Tracy Walmer|date=1990-10-15|title=Southeast mops up, calms down after storms' havoc|accessdate=2007-11-18|publisher=USAToday]

The name Marco was not retired; as such, it was re-used in 1996 and remains on the Atlantic hurricane naming list.

See also

* List of Florida hurricanes


External links

* [ NHC Marco Preliminary Report (gif format)]
* [ 1990 Monthly Weather Review]

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