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LILI STRENGTHENS RAPIDLY TO DANGEROUS CATEGORY 4 HURRICANE;
NOAA Warns Preparations to Protect Life and Property in the Hurricane Warning Area Should Be Rushed to Completion

(See NOAA's National Hurricane Center for the latest information on this storm. Complete advisories are posted at 11 a.m., 5 p.m., 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. All times are Eastern. Advisories are posted more frequently as the storm nears the USA mainland.)

NOAA satellite image of Hurricane Lili taken at 10:15 a.m. EDT on Oct. 2, 2002.October 2, 2002 — At 2 p.m. EDT, the center of Hurricane Lili was located near latitude 25.3 north, longitude 89.4 west or about 325 miles south of New Orleans, La. Lili is moving toward the northwest near 15 mph, and this general motion is expected to continue for the next 24 hours, according to the NOAA National Hurricane Center in Miami, Fla. (Click NOAA satellite image for larger view of Hurricane Lili taken at 10:15 a.m. EDT on Oct. 2, 2002. Click here to see latest view. Please credit “NOAA.”)

Reports from an Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 135 mph with higher gusts. This makes Lili a dangerous Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. Additional strengthening is possible Wednesday afternoon and Wednesday night.

A hurricane warning remains in effect from east of High Island, Texas, to the mouth of the Mississippi River. Preparations to protect life and property in the hurricane warning area should be rushed to completion.

A tropical storm warning remains in effect from Freeport, Texas, to High Island and from the mouth of the Mississippi River to the Alabama/Florida border, including New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain.

Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 45 miles from the center, and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 185 miles. Hurricane-force winds are expected to spread inland up to 150 miles near the track of the center of Lili.

The latest minimum central pressure reported by the hurricane hunter is 941 mb, 27.79 inches. A life-threatening storm surge of 10 to 15 feet above normal tide levels is likely near and to the east of where the center crosses the coast. This surge could spread well inland across the low-lying areas of the hurricane warning area. Rainfall accumulations of 6 to 10 inches are possible along the track of Lili.

For storm information specific to your area, please monitor products issued by NOAA National Weather Service local forecast offices.

NOAA’s HURRICANE FACTS

LAST TIME A HURRICANE STRUCK THE U.S. MAINLAND

Bret, Padre Island, south Texas, Aug. 22, 1999. Sustained winds of 115 mph, Category 3.

Floyd, Cape Fear, N.C., Sept. 16, 1999. Sustained winds of 105 mph, Category 2.

Irene, south Florida, October 15, 1999. Sustained winds of 75 mph, Category 1.

During their lifetimes, Bret and Floyd were Category 4 storms but weakened before landfall.


Last U.S. land falling Category 5 storm: Andrew, Dade County, Florida, Aug. 24, 1992

Last U.S. land falling Category 4 storm: Hugo, Charleston, S.C., September 22, 1989

Last U.S. land falling Category 3 storm: Bret, Padre Island, south Texas, Aug. 22, 1999

Click NOAA tracking map for larger view.
NOAA Tracking Map of Hurricane Lili.

Relevant Web Sites
NOAA's National Hurricane Center — Get the latest advisories here

NOAA's Atlantic Hurricanes Database — 150 Years of Atlantic Hurricanes

El Niño Expected to Impact Atlantic Hurricane Season, NOAA Reports

Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale

NOAA's River Forecast Centers


NOAA's Flood Products

NOAA Rainfall Graphics
24-hour Observed Precipitation as of 8 a.m. today

Latest rainfall data as of 8 a.m. EDT today

NOAA Buoys

NOAA's Tides Online

NOAA Satellite Images — The latest satellite views

Colorized Satellite Images

NOAA 3-D Satellite Images

NOAA's Hurricanes Page

NOAA's Storm Watch — Get the latest severe weather information across the USA

Media Contact:
Frank Lepore, NOAA's National Hurricane Center, (305) 229-4404