Hurricane Timeline



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Hurricane Timeline


  • 1494 During his second voyage, Christopher Columbus shelters his fleet from a tropical cyclone. This is the first written European account of a hurricane.

  • 1502 During his fourth voyage Columbus warns the governor of Santo Domingo of an approaching hurricane, but is ignored. A Spanish treasure fleet sets sail and loses 20 ships with 500 men.

  • 1565 A French fleet sent to support Ft. Caroline is devastated by a hurricane. The Spaniards at St. Augustine massacre the colonists at Ft. Caroline ensuring Spanish control of East Florida.

  • 1609 The British ship Sea Venture is damaged by a hurricane but manages to find refuge on uninhabited Bermuda. The island become a British colony.

  • 1635 The Great Colonial Hurricane strikes the young Massachusetts Bay and Plymouth colonies.

  • 1667 The Dreadful Hurricane strikes the Virginia colonies.

  • 1702 A rare hurricane strikes England. Daniel Defoe gathers eyewitness accounts and publishes them in "The Storm".

  • 1743 A hurricane prevents Ben Franklin from observing a lunar eclipse in Philadelphia. When he later learns his brother in Boston experienced the storm much later, he surmises that hurricanes don't move in the direction that the winds are blowing. Also, Professor Winthrop of Harvard makes first detailed pressure and tide measurements during this hurricane.

  • 1780 The Great Hurricane leaves over 22,000 dead across the Antilles.

  • 1819 Professor Farrar of Harvard observes winds as hurricane passes Boston and concludes that the storm is a large vortex.

  • 1831 William Redfield observes damage across Connecticut from a hurricane and finds the winds swirled in a counter-clockwise pattern. He begins compiling hurricane tracks.

  • A major hurricane strikes Barbados. Lt. Col William Reid of the Royal Engineers is sent to survey the damage.

  • 1837 Racer's Hurricane devastates much of the Gulf coast.

  • 1838 Reid publishes his "Law of Storms" which advises mariners on how to avoid a hurricane at sea.

  • 1847 Reid establishes a hurricane warning network in Barbados.

  • 1848 The Smithsonian Museum organizes a network of weather observers across the United States and its territories.

  • 1855 Andres Poey publishes a chronology of over 400 hurricanes since the time of Columbus.

  • 1856 A hurricane wipes out the resort on Last Island, Louisiana.

  • 1865 Manila Observatory is founded in the Philippines with Fr. Faura as its first director. Begins study of typhoons and creates an observing network.

  • 1870 Fr. Benito Vines becomes head of Meteorological Observatory at Belen College in Havana, and begins research on hurricanes. He establishes an observing network across Cuba.

  • In the United States the National Weather Service is formed.

  • 1873 The National Weather Service issues its first hurricane warning.

  • 1875 Vines issues his first hurricane warning.

  • 1879 Faura makes first typhoon forecast.

  • 1897 Fr. Algue' publishes book cataloging and categorizing typhoon tracks.

  • 1898 The U.S. Weather Bureau establishes a hurricane warning center at Kingston, Jamaica. After the Spanish-American War this is moved to Havana.

  • 1900 A devastating hurricane strikes Galveston resulting in over 6000 deaths.

  • E Garriott writes USWB Bulletin H "West Indian Hurricanes".

  • 1902 Weather Bureau moves its hurricane forecast center to Washington, DC.

  • William Alexander writes USWB Bulletin No. 32 entitled "Hurricanes : Especially those of Porto Rico and St. Kitts"

  • 1909 Grand Isle, LA is struck by a major hurricane, killing 350 people.

  • 1913 Oliver Fassig publishes "Hurricanes of the West Indies".

  • 1919 Sakuhei Fujiwara notes that hurricanes move with the larger scale synoptic flow.

  • Over 600 deaths are caused by a hurricane striking the Florida Keys and then Corpus Christi, Texas.

  • 1921 Fujiwara publishes paper on the interaction of two tropical cyclones noting what becomes known as the "Fujiwara Effect".

  • 1922 Edward Bowie observes that most hurricanes move anti-cyclonically around the subtropical ridge.

  • 1924 Mitchell publishes "West Indies Hurricanes and other Tropical Cyclones" in Monthly Weather Review.

  • 1926 Issac Cline publishes his major book "Tropical Cyclones".

  • The Great Miami hurricane crashes into Florida causing tremendous damage and a month later another hurricane strikes Havana causing over 600 casualties.

  • 1928 The Lake Okeechobee hurricane kills over 2500 people.

  • 1935 The Weather Bureau revamps its hurricane warning service, and divides responsibilities between New Orleans, Jacksonville, San Juan, and Boston.

  • The Labor Day hurricane hits the Florida Keys with over 400 killed. This is the most intense hurricane to have been recorded in the U.S..

  • 1938 The New England hurricane strikes Long Island and Rhode Island causing over 600 deaths.

  • Ivan Tannehill publishes "Hurricanes, Their Nature and History".

  • 1939 Fr. Deppermann publishes "Some Characteristics of Philippine Typhoons" in which he presents a theoretical model of tropical cyclones.

  • 1940 Gordon Dunn demonstrates that most Atlantic hurricanes form from tropical easterly waves rather than baroclinic zones.

  • 1943 Major Joseph Duckworth flies his trainer airplane into a Gulf hurricane proving the utility of this method of reconnaissance.

  • The hurricane warning center is moved from Jacksonville to Miami where a joint center with the Navy and Air Corps is established.

  • 1944 The Great Atlantic hurricane sweeps up the eastern seaboard and causes 390 casualties, mostly at sea. This is the first hurricane with scheduled aircraft reconnaissance and the first radar depiction of a hurricane eye and spiral rainbands.

  • Herbert Riehl and Major Robert Schafer find that large vertical wind shear is inimical to tropical cyclone formation and development.

  • Halsey's Third Fleet runs into Typhoon Cobra in the Pacific with the loss of 3 destroyers and 790 men.

  • 1946 The Navy and Air Force organize Hurricane Hunter squadrons in the Pacific and Atlantic.

  • 1947 Navy planes seed an Atlantic hurricane as part of Project Cirrus.

  • Bob Simpson 'piggybacks' a research mission onto an Air Force reconnaissance flight into a hurricane. This is the first detailed examination of the upper level circulation of the hurricane core.

  • 1947- 1948 Four hurricanes over two years strike South Florida causing persistent flooding

  • 1948 Eric Palmen publishes a study showing that hurricanes require at least 80 F (26 C) water in order to form.

  • 1950 Hurricane King strikes Miami and affects much of Florida.

  • 1951 A 'piggyback' research mission is flown into Typhoon Marge, measuring its warm core and record low pressure eye.

  • 1954 Hurricane detected by camera on a Navy rocket. This convinces the US Government of the utility of weather satellites.

  • Hurricanes Carol and Edna strike New England in succession.

  • Last of the 'piggyback' research missions is flown on an Air Force reconnaissance flight into Hurricane Edna. f3fs28 |

  • Hurricane Hazel slams into the Carolinas and causes destruction all the way to Toronto. Grady Norton dies during the ongoing effort to forecast this storm.

  • 1955 Miami office of the US Weather Bureau is designated the National Hurricane Center and given primary responsibility for forecasting and issuing warnings for hurricanes in the Atlantic and eastern Pacific.

  • The US Weather Bureau founds the National Hurricane Research Project which begins research flights into hurricanes the next year.

  • Three hurricanes make landfall in North Caroline this year including Hurricane Diane, the "Billion Dollar Hurricane".

  • Tannehill publishes "The Hurricane Hunters" about aircraft reconnaissance.

  • 1956 Riehl develops the first statistical hurricane track forecast computer program.

  • Julian Adem describes the "beta effect" on the motion of hurricanes.

  • 1957 Hurricane Audrey causes over 500 deaths in Louisiana and Texas.

  • 1958 Marjory Stoneman Douglas publishes "Hurricane", a popular history about Atlantic hurricanes.

  • 1959 The Joint Typhoon Warning Center is formed in Guam, combining the Navy and Air Force forecasting efforts.

  • NHC and NHRP begin a five year program to study hurricane track forecasts and evaluated various objective techniques.

  • 1960 TIROS I, the first experimental weather satellite, is launched and promptly discovers an undetected tropical cyclone near Australia.

  • Hurricane Donna roars through the Florida Keys and then up to North Carolina and Connecticut causing 50 deaths.

  • Dunn and Banner Miller publish "Atlantic Hurricanes", the most up-to-date summary of hurricane science at the time.

  • 1961 Navy planes seed Hurricane Esther.

  • The Research Flight Facility is formed to manage and operate the Dept. of Commerce's hurricane research aircraft.

  • 1962 Project STORMFURY is begun, a joint effort of the Weather Bureau, Navy, National Science Foundation, and Air Force to seed hurricanes to reduce their winds,

  • 1963 STORMFURY planes seed Hurricane Beulah with encouraging results.

  • 1964 NHC-64, the first in a long line of statistical-dynamical track forecast programs, is used operationally.

  • 1965 Hurricane Betsy crashes through the Bahamas, Florida Keys, and Louisiana killing 75 people.

  • 1968 Charlie Neumann and John Hope create a hurricane database of Atlantic hurricanes known as HURDAT.

  • Harry Hawkins and Daryl Rubsam publish influential papers on the structure and energy budget of Hurricane Hilda.

  • 1969 Vic Ooyama creates first 2D hurricane simulation and formulates his CISK theory.

  • Hurricane Camille strikes Mississippi coast as only the second Category Five hurricane recorded in US history. She leaves 260 dead in her wake.

  • Project BOMEX attempts to define the air-sea fluxes in the tropical Atlantic.

  • Project STORMFURY seeds Hurricane Debbie on two days.

  • 1970 With the formation of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration the research laboratories, including NHRL, are separated from the National Weather Service, which includes NHC.

  • Fred Sanders' SANBAR, the first barotropic hurricane computer forecast model, is put into operation at the National Hurricane Center.

  • A tropical cyclone rushing up the Bay of Bengal causes over half of a million deaths in Bangladesh and India.

  • 1971 Richard Anthes creates the first 3D hurricane simulation.

  • Project STORMFURY seeds Hurricane Ginger. This is the last field experiment carried out by the Project.

  • 1972 Neumann develops CLIPER, a statistical hurricane track forecast scheme, used as a benchmark for other model's forecast skill scores.

  • Hurricane Agnes floods areas along the eastern seaboard causing over 120 deaths.

  • Bob Burpee publishes a paper explaining the origin and structure of easterly waves.

  • 1974 The Navy disbands its Hurricane Hunter squadrons.

  • The GATE experiment in the east Atlantic measures tropical waves as they come off the African coast.

  • Cyclone Tracy devastates Darwin, Australia.

  • 1975 Vern Dvorak proposes a scheme to estimate tropical cyclone strength from satellite pictures.

  • 1977 A tropical cyclone in India kills over 10,000.

  • 1979 Neumann and Brian Jarvinen develop SHIFOR, a statistical scheme to forecast hurricane intensity, used as a benchmark for intensity forecast skill scores.

  • 1980 Hurricane Allen roars through the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico as a Category Five hurricane.

  • 1982 The first Synoptic Flow experiment is flown around Hurricane Debby to help define the large scale atmospheric winds that steer the storm.

  • Richard Anthes publishes "Tropical Cyclones, Their Evolution, Structure, and Effects".

  • Hugh Willoughby, Jean Clos, and M Shoreibah publish a paper on hurricane eyewall cycles.

  • 1983 Project STORMFURY is officially ended.

  • Hurricane Alicia forms from an old frontal boundary in the Gulf of Mexico and hits Galveston and Houston.

  • 1984 William Gray and his team issue the first hurricane seasonal forecast.

  • 1985 Hugh Willoughby, Bob Black, Stan Rosenthal, and Dave Jorgensen write an assessment of Project STORMFURY which documents several flaws in the assumptions in planning the experiments that call the results into question.

  • Hurricane Gloria roars up the eastern seaboard threatening New York City, but eventually makes landfall on Long Island.

  • 1987 The Air Force disbands its Pacific Typhoon Chasers squadrons. 1

  • 988 Hurricane Gilbert has the lowest central pressure (888 mb) ever estimated for an Atlantic hurricane just before striking the Yucatan peninsula.

  • 1989 Hurricane Hugo makes a direct hit on Charleston, SC and causes over 20 casualties.

  • BAM, the Beta and Advection Model, and VICBAR, a nested barotropic hurricane track forecast model become operational.

  • 1990 Mark DeMaria and John Kaplan create SHIPS a statistical hurricane intensity forecast scheme.

  • Roger Pielke publishes "The Hurricane".

  • TCM-90 Experiment attempts to define factors contributing to typhoon motion such as synoptic winds and the beta effect.

  • 1991 TEXMex is an project carried out in the eastern Pacific to examine the genesis of tropical cyclones.

  • The Air Force transfers its Hurricane Hunters to the Air Force Reserves.

  • 1992 Hurricane Andrew levels parts of south Florida and causes over $26 billion in damages there, in the Bahamas, and Louisiana.

  • NCEP's Aviation model becomes operational.

  • TCM-92 Experiment combines satellite and aircraft observations to better define tropical cyclogenesis.

  • Hurricane Iniki hits Kauai in Hawai'i as a Category 4 storm.

  • 1995 In one of the busiest Atlantic hurricane seasons in decades, Hurricane Opal rapidly intensifies as it approaches the Florida panhandle, only to weaken just before landfall. It still causes $3 billion in damage.

  • Rapid scan high-resolution satellite loops are made of Hurricane Luis, showing eye structure and motion.

  • The GFDL model becomes operational. It provides both track and intensity forecasts.

  • 1996 Both the NOGAPS and UKMET track forecast models become available to NHC.

  • Mark Powell and Sam Houston publish detailed analyses of Hurricane Andrew.

  • 1997 High resolution dropsondes are released in the eyewall of Hurricane Guillermo in the eastern Pacific. These reveal wind structure that surprise scientists.

  • NOAA's GIV high altitude jet becomes operational, allowing examination of the steering flow around hurricanes from a greater height.

  • Super Typhoon Paka ravages Guam causing $500 million in damage.

  • 1998 Hurricane Mitch kills more than 12,000 people in Honduras and Nicaragua.

  • CAMEX3, a NASA experiment run in conjunction with NOAA's Hurricane Field Program collects detailed data sets on Hurricanes Bonnie, Danielle, and Georges.

  • 1999 Hurricane Floyd causes a massive evacuation from coastal zones from northern Florida to the Carolinas. It comes ashore in North Carolina and results in nearly 80 dead and $4.5 billion in damages.

  • 2001 CAMEX4, a NASA experiment run in conjunction with NOAA's Hurricane Field Program collects detailed data sets on Hurricanes Erin, Gabrielle, and Humberto and Tropical Storm Chantal.

  • Stan Goldenberg, Chris Landsea, Alberto Mestas-Nu'96ez and Bill Gray publish a major paper in ul Scienceulnone noting decadal swings in Atlantic hurricane activity.

  • 2003 Hurricane Isabel leaves a path of damage from North Carolina to Pennsylvania costing $3 billion and 16 deaths.

  • Mike Black and James Franklin' publish a paper on hurricane eyewall wind profiles based on GPS dropsondes.

  • Powell, Peter Vickery, and Timothy Reinhold publish a paper on drag coefficients in hurricane force winds . References:

    Fitzpatrick, Patrick "Natural Disasers : Hurricanes" 1999 ABC-CLIO Publishers, Santa Barbara, CA

    Ludlum, David "Early American Hurricanes 1492-1870" 1963 Lancaster Press, Lancaster, PA

    Simpson, Robert ed. "Hurricane ! Coping with Disaster" 2003 American Geophysical Union, Washington, DC}




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