The storm at peak intensity at landfall
|Formed||September 23, 2008|
|Dissipated||September 28, 2008|
|Highest Winds||50 mph (80 km/h)|
|Lowest Pressure||990 mbar (hPa; 29.23 inHg)|
|Damages||$79,000 (2008 USD)|
|Areas affected||The Carolina Coast|
2008 Atlantic hurricane season
The September 2008 Carolinas storm was a strong extratropical cyclone which affected areas of the United States Eastern coast.
Beginning on September 21, 2008, a strong plume of moisture began to stream out of the Gulf of Mexico along a frontal boundary which stretched into the open Atlantic Ocean. At 1300 UTC the following day, a large concentration of thunderstorm activity developed in the Apalachicola Bay and quickly broke into two segments. The weaker component made landfall near Beverley Hills, Florida, at 1900 UTC later that day, while the stronger of the two progressed southeast before reaching Fort Myers, Florida, at 2300 UTC.
The stronger component later broke apart into several clusters of storms which moved eastward across southern Florida, before weakening after reaching the Atlantic Ocean and dissipating at the Bahamas by 0800 UTC on September 23. However, the weaker system maintained its intensity as it moved across the Florida Panhandle and into the Atlantic. The system coalesced with additional frontal storms over the Atlantic and gained intensity. On 1600 UTC, the newly developed disturbance began to show signs of cyclonic rotation. A low pressure area was first identified with the cyclone at 2200 UTC later that day. At the time, the extratropical storm had a pressure of 1013 mbar (hPa; 29.91 inHg). The extratropical storm continued to move towards the north-northeast along with the frontal boundary until about 0600 UTC on September 24, when it split from the front and began moving towards the coast. As a result, the storm intensified, and a new cluster of systems coalesced near the low pressure's center.
At 0335 UTC on September 26, the extratropical system made landfall just north of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina at peak intensity, with winds of 50 mph (80 km/h) and a minimum barometric pressure of 990 mbar (hPa; 29.23 inHg). The weather station at Myrtle Beach reported a minimum barometric pressure of 996 mbar (hPa; 29.42 inHg).
In North Carolina, at least a dozen high school football games were postponed as a precautionary measure for the oncoming storm system, while red warning flags were posted in the Outer Banks in order to prevent people from surfing due to the rough seas.
As the storm moved towards the coast, it generated turbulent seas off the coast. Enhanced by the high tide and strong winds, the waves caused minor coastal flooding, washing out portions of North Carolina Highway 12. Beach sand was also deposited on the road. In the Outer Banks, the strong waves exposed septic tanks. The waves forced Virginia Creek backward, flooding roads under 1 – 2 feet of water.
Bands of isolated shower activity began moving across the state on September 25, producing widespread rainfall. Much of the precipitation occurred in areas of central and coastal North Carolina, peaking at 4.47 in (114 mm) in Wilmington. Other totals of at least 2 in (50 mm) were common elsewhere in the state.
The isolated thunderstorm activity in eastern North Carolina spawned two tornadoes in Onslow and Pitt Counties and were both rated as EF0 tornadoes. The latter caused $2,000 in damages after causing minor damage to a mobile home and an outbuilding. Further west, another EF0 tornado in Bertie County caused damage to seven mobile homes and snapped numerous trees, amounting to $75,000 in damages.
The storm also brought moderately strong winds in small areas of North Carolina. In Bald Head Island, a weather station reported a maximum wind gust of 58 mph (93 km/h); this was the highest measurement recorded on land. However, an offshore buoy reported a wind gust of 62 mph (100 km/h), in conjunction with 15 ft (4.6 m) waves.
In South Carolina, where the extratropical system made landfall, effects were less severe. An estimated 4,300 people lost power due to the storm's strong winds. Rainfall was less in the state than in North Carolina, peaking at 2.18 in (55 mm) in Horry County, located near the coast. Strong gusts were also reported, peaking at 46 mph (74 km/h) in North Myrtle Beach. A maximum sustained wind of 31 mph (50 km/h) was also reported at the local airport.