Hurricane Gabrielle was a classic Cape Verde type tropical cyclone. It developed from an African wave near the Cape Verde Islands, tracked westward across the tropical Atlantic while strengthening to a large category four hurricane on the Saffir/Simpson Hurricane Scale and made the typical parabloic recurvature into the northern North Atlantic.
a. Synoptic History
The tropical which became Gabrielle moved off the coast of Africa on 28 August immediately following the wave which developed into Felix. However the wave associated with Gabrielle was located further to the south than Felix and tracked westward. The wave was well organized with a moderate amount of convection and didn't take long to develop into the 10th tropical depression of the season. Based upon two ship reports at 1200 UTC 30 August (UQYC located near latitude 14.3°N, longitude 20.9°W with the northeast winds of 35 mph in showers and UJTG located near latitude 8.7°N, longitude 22.7°W with southwest winds of 17 mph), the wave likely became a tropical depression near 1200 UTC on 30 August.
Even though Tropical Depression Ten was located within 1000 miles to the southeast of Tropical Storm Felix, the depression tracked toward the west as high pressure ridging from the northeast built a wedge between the two systems.
A distinct outflow pattern at the 200 millibar level provided
ventilation for the budding storm and, based upon satellite imagery from
the European Meteosat, the depression was upgraded to Tropical Storm Gabrielle
at 0000 UTC 31 August. By 1200 UTC the storm had already become rather
large and well developed. A ship of unknown identity located about 180
nautical miles south of the storm reported 40 mph winds with a pressure
of 1008 while the upper air sounding from Sal in the Cape Verde Islands
located about 450 nautical miles to the northeast of Gabrielle's center
reported east southeast winds of 58 mph at the 700 millibar level.
b. Meteorological Statistics
Based upon satellite imagery, Gabrielle had strengthened to
960 millibars with estimated winds of 117 mph by 1800 UTC 3 September.
The first reconnaissance aircraft arrived in the hurricane at 1820 UTC
and found a central pressure of 937 millibars by exploration from a flight
level of 1500 feet. Shortly thereafter, at 2046 UTC, the NOAA reconnaissance
aircraft determined the hurricane's minimum pressure to be 935 millibars
by exploration from the 700 millibar level. Strongest winds measured by
the NOAA aircraft at this time were 121 mph. 0525 UTC on 4 September the
central pressure rose to 940 millibars and strongest winds remained near
121 mph. The next reconnaissance plane into the hurricane on the afternoon
of 4 September measured central pressures of 942 to 944 millibars and
strongest 700 millibar flight level winds of 152 mph. Maximum flight level
winds measured in the hurricane were 160 mph at the 700 millibar level
at 2258 UTC 5 September with a central pressure of 943 millibars.
1. Storm Surge DataSwells ranged from 10 to 15 feet along portions of the U.S. east coast and were as high as 20 to 30 feet along the south coast of Nova Scotia.
|Lat. (°N)||Lon. (°W)|
|03/2046||16.8||50.9||935||105||Category 2 Hurricane|
Pressure For Hurricane Gabrielle
30 August - 13 September, 1989
|Lat. (°N)||Lon. (°W)|
|05/1800||21.4||57.8||941||145||Category 4 Hurricane|