Posted: Oct 2, 2012 4:32 PM by Rob Perillo
Updated: Oct 2, 2012 5:51 PM
As the 2012 Hurricane Season continues to remain quiet across the Gulf and Caribbean, Wednesday marks the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Lili making landfall along the Acadiana Coast.
Lili was the deadliest and costliest hurricane of the 2002 season. It was responsible for 15 fatalities and and more than 1 billion dollars in damage. While most of the fatalities were in Jamaica and Haiti, the most damage from the storms manifested in Louisiana.
Lili was a most notable storm for how quickly it weakened prior to landfall on the Acadiana Coast.
On October 2 Lili was a Category 4 storm with 145mph winds, but prior to landfall the storm collapsed drastically and officially made landfall along the coast as a category 1 storm.
Lili's collapse was due to two major influences...dry air entrainment from the west, similar to what Acadiana saw with Hurricane Isaac this year, and cool water run-off from Tropical Storm Isidore that made landfall a week earlier along the North-Central Gulf.
Essentially the cool water near the coast extended roughly 70 miles offshore and as Lili crossed these cooler waters the latent heat of evaporation process that fuels tropical systems was cut-off.
Lili nonetheless produced hurricane conditions across all of Acadiana with sustained winds of 60-65mph with frequent gusts to 110-120mph in and around the where the eye of the storm crossed from Vermilion, through Lafayette, Acadia, Jeff Davis, St Landry and Evangeline Parishes.
After the storm passed more than 97% of Acadiana was without power with some areas not getting utilities back to normal services for one to two weeks.
Most of the damage from Lili and fatalities in Louisiana were from fallen trees. Although over the the last 20 years this area has been affected by Hurricanes Andrew, Katrina, Rita, Gustav, Ike and Isaac, Lili remains the most "direct-hitting" hurricane in Acadiana since Danny in 1985.
Because of the extensive damage, Lili's named was retired in 2003 and was replaced on the 6 year list to "Laura".
October 2nd/3rd is also the anniversary of Hurricane Hilda that struck Acadiana in 1964. Hilda was a deadly storm most notably for a collapse of a water tower in Erath that killed 8 civil defense volunteers stationed at the emergency operation center below the structure.
Lili on October 2, 2002 with 145mph winds:
Lili on October 3, 2002 with 90mph sustained winds...gusts to 120mph: