Early American Hurricanes, 1492-1870

Early American Hurricanes, 1492-1870

Early American Hurricanes, 1492-1870

Early American Hurricanes, 1492-1870

Excerpt

The purpose of this work is to set down in chronological order, as far as available historical sources permit, the meteorological situations attending the occurrence of hurricanes prior to 1870 which have either closely approached or actually crossed the Atlantic and Gulf coastlines of the present United States.

There has been very little written about the historical past of the American climate possessing real scientific significance for the present-day meteorologist. In the field of hurricanes, Sidney Perley Historic Storms of New England (1891) and Marjory Douglas' Hurricane (1958) do treat the subject in full-scale from the historical view, but their approaches are from the human interest story. Neither contributes much toward adequate meteorological descriptions of individual hurricanes nor supplies a critical chronology of occurrences.

Several regional studies for a particular area have been compiled, such as the Texas coast, the Florida peninsula, the Charleston area, and the Outer Banks of North Carolina, but these present only a restricted regional view, usually lack the desired historical depth for the early period, and are often scanty as to meteorological details. The standard works of Ivan Ray Tannehill (1938-55) and of Gordon Dunn and Banner Miller (1960) are admirable volumes whose chief emphasis concerns a description of the physical nature of tropical storms. Of necessity, they relegate chronologies to a minor role in an appendix.

This study has been divided into two periods. The first section extends from the voyages of Columbus, through the years of exploration and colonization, to the end of 1814. This year makes a convenient breakpoint, for the first Federal attempts to institute a national weather observing service date from the last full year of the War of 1812 and the Napoleonic upheavals. Thereafter, the task of the meteorological historian is greatly assisted by the availability of a growing . . .

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