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Hurricane Helene was one of three major hurricanes of the active 1988 Atlantic hurricane season. The twelfth tropical storm and fourth hurricane of the season, Helene developed on September 19 from a tropical wave which was also associated with an area of deeply-organized convection that moved off the coast of Africa of September 15. After initially moving eastward, the storm turned northward and strengthened. Helene did not affect land nor did it ever pose a threat to land, but it likely posed a threat to boat shipping lines and to marine interests. Hurricane Helene did not affect land, however the precursor tropical wave caused some gusty winds in the Cape Verde Islands. The hurricane was the third most intense hurricane of the 1988 season, behind Gilbert and Joan. It was also the longest-lived hurricane of the 1988 Atlantic hurricane season.

Meteorological history

A tropical wave with deeply organized convection crossed the coast of Africa on September 15. The developing system was forced west due to a strong ridge in the eastern Atlantic. On September 19 at 1800 UTC, the system was upgraded to Tropical Depression Fourteen. By 0600 UTC on September 20, Tropical Depression Fourteen was reclassified as a tropical storm, it was designated as Tropical Storm Helene. Helene began to turn to the northwest on September 21 due to a major trough in the eastern Atlantic. Later on September 21, the system became further organized and winds were soon were in excess of Template:Convert/mph. This event prompted the National Hurricane Center to upgrade Tropical Storm Helene to a category 1 hurricane.[1]

Favorable conditions in the southeastern Atlantic allow Helene to further strengthen. Early on September 22 Hurricane Helene began to rapidly strengthen, becoming a category 2 hurricane by 0600 UTC, and a major hurricane by 1800 UTC. Hurricane Helene attained peak intensity on September 23 at 1800 UTC, maximum sustained winds were at Template:Convert/mph and the minimum central pressure was at 938 mbar. Helene turned to the north as a secondary trough reinforced the other trough and Helene began to slowly weaken. It was dropped to a category 3 hurricane on September 24 at 1200 UTC, while 24 hours later it had weakened to a category 2 hurricane. By September 26 it had weakened to a category 1 hurricane and Hurricane Helene would maintain this intensity as a strong category 1 hurricane for nearly 48 hours. Hurricane Helene passed Template:Convert/LoffAoffDbSoff to the east of Bermuda on September 27.[1]

The hurricane briefly restrengthened into a category 2 hurricane and reached a secondary peak intensity on September 29 at 0000 UTC. The winds secondary peak were measured at Template:Convert/mph and there was a minimum pressure of 970 mbar. The hurricane began to accelerate and slowly weaken shortly after it attained its secondary peak. It weakened to a category 1 hurricane just before it dissipated on September 30. Helene raced due to a strong southwesterly jet stream across the Atlantic just prior to its dissipation, the forward speed measured at nearly Template:Convert/mph just as it was declared dissipated. The hurricane dissipated roughly a few hundreds miles to the southwest of Iceland.[1]

Impact and naming

Hurricane Helene stayed out to sea and did not affect any land areas nor were there any no reports of damage or fatalities. There were never any warnings or watches were issued for the same reasons. However, the precursor tropical wave caused showers and thunderstorms in Cape Verde and winds there associated with the precursor were gusting between Template:Convert/mphTemplate:Convert/mph.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Hurricane Helene Preliminary Report". National Hurricane Center. November 11, 1988. Retrieved 18 January 2010. 

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