Friday, May 31, 2013

Three things you probably don't know about hurricanes ...

Aftermath of Superstorm Sandy,
near Breezy Point

Posted by Jane Feehan

The 2015 hurricane season begins June 1 and ends Nov. 30. Always cause for speculation by the media,  government, and the public, hurricanes will be the topic of discussion for the next six months. Many tend to contrast and compare seasons in their life times, but weather history (and climatological history) has a backdrop of many decades and centuries.

1. Hurricane deaths (most then, as now, die of drowning):

Most deaths:
Great Hurricane, mid-October 1780 in the Lesser Antilles: 22,000
9,000 died in Martinique
4,000-5,000 in St. Eustatius
4,326- Barbados
Thousands off shore

Second largest number:
Galveston Hurricane, Aug 27, 1900: official number is “at least” 8,000 with
some estimates at 12,000

Three others most deaths attributed to:
Aug. 25, 1930-Dominican Republic - about 8,000
Oct. 2, 1963-Flora in Haiti and Cuba - about 7,000
Sept. 18, 1974-Fifi in Honduras - between 3,000 and 10,000

2. Forecasting Errors. There are many variables in forecast accuracy but there seems to be a correlation in: 

Years dominated by hurricanes or tropical storms that move through the low latitude easterly trade winds typically hold the lowest number of forecast errors.

Years in which hurricanes or tropical storms move through the mid-latitude westerlies (as during El Nino years) hold the largest number of errors.

3. Worst decades for Florida hurricanes:

1940-49: 10 hurricanes
1920-29:   8
1960-69:   8
2000-10:   7

Sources: National Hurricane Center 2013

Tags: Hurricane statistics, hurricane history, hurricane deaths, deadliest hurricanes, Florida hurricanes, historical researcher, film researcher 

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