It was Halloween Eve 1991, the weather was crisp and pleasant in western Massachusetts and New England. However, it was not the children that would be playing tricks on the people of this region, it was instead nature. The day before a storm of surprising intensity had brought waves of 25 feet crashing onto the short and swells of more than 100 feet at sea. Thousands of costal homes were seriously damaged, and Atlantic City recorded its second highest ride record. Damage cost were in the hundreds of millions and approaching the levels inflicted by Hurricane Bob only weeks earlier.
Initially, the storm originated off of New England as an extratropical storm, which is the conflagration of atmospheric temperature contrasts common to the midlatitudes. After weakening most of the day, the storm drifted south in the evening and came upon the Gulf Stream were temperatures were about seventy-eight degrees farenhieght, which are ideal conditions for tropical storms to develop overnight. The image of an eye became apparent on the satellite photos as the intensity of the storm increased.
The eye was a sign that the storm was developing a tropical structure and nearing hurricane intensity. On November 1, the United States Air Force Reserved flew into the Halloween storm, were they unmasked a tropical cyclone. At 7 p. m. , they found a cluster of hurricane hallmarks: winds of nearly 100 m. p. h. at flight level, a temperature increase of seven degrees in the storms core, and an extrapolated surface pressure of 981 millibars (1, Henson, 1996). Unlike the previous day were the storm had been more diffused, with no well-defined center and winds spinning over 600 nautical miles.
Henson states, The Halloween storm had donned a masterful disguise that has been tantalizing forecasters with its surprising frequency and uncharacteristic form(1, Henson, 1996). Brady describes the Halloween Storm of 1991 to be a convergence of noreasters so rare and devastating that one meteorologist dubbed it the perfect storm(1, 1997). A noreasters and hurricanes have similar storm characteristics. Noreasters are the most damaging storms along the Atlantic Coast. They stay along the ocean coastline for a longer period of time and cover a larger area than hurricanes.
A noreaster can stay in one area for days at a time causing total destruction. They lack the short, intensity and wind speed that hurricanes have. Noreasters are among the winters most ferocious storms. They get their name from its continuously strong northeasterly winds blowing in from the ocean ahead of the storm and over the costal areas. (Winter Storms 1-2). Since the Halloween storm had excessive storm surges it damaged a lot of the highways because, it was it was full of the sand from all of the beaches that the storm surges caused.
Storm surges are a low-pressure system that exert less atmospheric pressure than usual on the oceans surface, allowing the sea to bulge upwards beneath it. Hurricanes can cause great damage. They damage homes, highways, and basically anything that gets in its way. They can lift whole houses out of their foundations and smash them to pieces like it did in Long Island and in many other different places. (10, Lauber, 1996). In the hurricanes the winds usual do the most damage. The Halloween storm had winds of 50 to 70 knots.
Three factors that determine the development of waves are wind speed, wind duration, and fetch. (2, Cameron, 1993). The Halloween storm blew for 114 hours, which is nearly five days. Ralph Bigio says that The Halloween storm simply rewrites the climatology of the region. (2, Cameron, 1993). Beach erosion and coastal flooding was severe and widespread, even causing damage to lighthouses. Hundreds of homes and businesses were either knocked from their foundations or simply disappeared. Sea walls, boardwalks, bulkheads, and piers were reduced to rubble over a wide area.
Numerous small boats were sunk at their berths and thousands of lobster traps were destroyed. Flooding was extensive invading homes and closing roads and airports. Former President Bush’s home in Kennebunkport, ME suffered damage as windows were blown out, water flooded the building, and some structural damage also occurred. Even inland areas suffered major damage. The Hudson, Hackensack, and Passaic Rivers all experienced tidal flooding, and high winds brought down utility poles, lines, tree limbs, and signs in several states.
The most extensive damage occurred in New England where federal disaster areas were declared for seven counties in Massachusetts, five in Maine, and one in New Hampshire. Off Staten Island, two men were drowned when their boat capsized. Other fatalities occurred when a man fishing from a bridge was either blown or swept off in New York and a fisherman was swept off the rocks at Narrangansett, RI by heavy surf. Offshore, six lives were lost when the Andrea Gail, a sword fishing boat, sank.
Total damage in the Halloween Storm, as it came to be known because of its date, was in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The Department of Environmental Resources Management started to rebuild the Coral Cove Park Dune, by repairing portions eroded by the Halloween storm. The dune was no longer a gentle slope, but a steep cliff of sand with no plants. The department has planted thousands of small, green, young, costal plants in anthill-sized mounds of sand on the dunes to protect the beaches against future wave damage. , Santoneillo, 1994).
To protect the beaches in the future, the department is rebuilding the dunes, in hopes of preventing more damage. If a storm does hit a coast line dunes are used to weaken the energy of waves that lash at beachesand provide reservoirs of sand that can shift onto the flat part of a beach when it is being battered by waves. (1,1994). The coast to rebuild the dune with more sand came to about $484,000. There is no doubt that storms can still hit the shores of Coral Cove Park again.
Fortunately, the department has agreed to keep rebuilding the Jupiter and Tequesta dunes and fix the damage as it occurs. In order to be more prepared for future disasters such as hurricanes or other catastrophes the cities and towns in South Florida have decided to start an emergency fund. Borednstein and Sachdev quote the National Hurricane Center Director Bob Sheets in their article that, A major hurricane could cause about 15 billion dollars in damage to South Florida Bob Sheets also states that, If we have a big hurricane, youre going to see a tremendous economic impact. , 1992).
The damage the Halloween storm cost the city could have been much more, but fortunately it only came to about 160,000 dollars in damages. Without the funds to support catastrophes in the future that are so costly, cities and towns could find themselves in outrages financial disasters if they are not prepared. In the United States of America the whole eastern seaboard is vulnerable to hurricanes. Not only can they strike anywhere along the eastern coast, they can also hit in The Gulf of Mexico, the Hawaiian Islands, and even sometimes the southern coast of California.
Other areas that are very susceptible to hurricanes and tropical storms are the Gulf of Mexico coast to Mexico, the Pacific, and the Caribbean. The Bay of Campeche is often the site of early season formation, which is during June and July. The entire Caribbean is at great risk during the six-month hurricane season. In the United States however, the areas that are vulnerable to hurricanes and also have very heavy populated areas are at risk of having more damage in terms of cost and deaths. Some of these areas include New Orleans, Miami, and areas of the Carolinas.
Tropical Climatology). More about Hurricanes, Typhoons, and Cyclones Hurricanes, Typhoons, Cyclones, are all types of tropical storms that occur over oceans in regions near the equator. They all have many things in common. The winds are always rotational, they travel at much greater speed than other storms, and their energy released can be up to 12,000 times more powerful than any other storm. The Halloween storm of 1991 has been called by many The Perfect Storm. It has even had a movie made about it, that was a major box office hit.
Jugner says that the most fascinating thing about the Perfect Storm was that I learned more about how the physical world works and how hurricanes work and what they are all about. (2, Brady, 1997). The Halloween storm has to be considered one of the mother natures most interesting and deadly storms ever created. Anything that has the nickname of the Perfect Storm, has to be considered amazing. It caused massive amounts of damage to the areas it hit, while also doing damage to ships that were in the sea.
It cost several people their life, and many others pain. The Halloween storm is just one type of a hurricane storm that can occur. Hurricanes are very powerful and dangerous natural disasters. They most be treated with respect, by the people who live in an area were they can hit. There have been many hurricanes that have caused more damage or killed more people than the Halloween storm. Yet it uniqueness and unpredictability is surpassed by no other. I found this to be a very interesting topic and I enjoyed learning about The Perfect Storm.