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San Ciriaco Hurricane of 1899
Category 4 hurricane (SSHS)

Surface Weather Analysis of Hurricane San Ciriaco on August 13, 1899.
Formed August 3, 1899 (1899-08-03)
Dissipated September 4, 1899 (1899-09-05)
Highest
winds
150 mph (240 km/h) (1-minute sustained)
Lowest pressure 930 mbar (hPa; 27.46 inHg)
Fatalities 3433 direct
Damage Unknown
Areas
affected
Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Bahamas, North Carolina, Azores
Part of the
1899 Atlantic hurricane season

1899 Hurricane San Ciriaco, also known as the 1899 Puerto Rico Hurricane, was the longest-lived Atlantic hurricane and the tenth deadliest tropical cyclone in the basin. It was an intense and long-lived Atlantic Cape Verde-type hurricane which crossed Puerto Rico over the two day period August 8 to August 9, 1899. Many deaths occurred as a result, due to flooding. The cyclone kept tropical storm strength or higher for 28 days, which makes it the longest duration Atlantic hurricane on record and the second-longest anywhere in the world (behind Hurricane John in 1994). The estimated ACE of 73.57 is the highest ever recorded in the Atlantic basin.

Contents

Meteorological history

Storm path

The exact origins of the tropical cyclone are unknown, but it was first observed on August 3 to the west-southwest of Cape Verde.[1] That day, a ship reported tropical storm force winds and an atmospheric pressure of 995 mbar.[2] For a few days, its exact path was unknown due to lack of observations, although it is estimated that the storm continued west-northwestward and attained hurricane status on August 5.[1][2] On August 7, as it approached the northern Lesser Antilles, the hurricane began to be tracked continuously by ship and land observations.[3] By that date, it was quickly intensifying into a powerful storm, and a station on Montserrat reported a pressure of 930 mbar.[2] This suggested sustained winds of 150 mph (240 km/h), which would be the peak intensity of the hurricane.[1]

Late on August 7, the hurricane moved through the northern Lesser Antilles, passing directly over Guadeloupe and a short distance to the south of Saint Kitts; in the latter island, a station reported winds of 120 mph (193 km/h).[3] Continuing west-northwestward, the hurricane weakened slightly before making landfall on August 8 along the southeastern coast of Puerto Rico. The city of Guayama recorded a pressure of 940 mbar, suggesting a landfall intensity of 140 mph (225 km/h).[1]

August 8 was the namesday of Saint Cyriacus. It crossed the island in an east-southeast to west-northwest direction, causing maximum wind speeds between 110 and 140 mph (180 and 230 km/h) throughout.[4]

After it passed Puerto Rico, it brushed northern Dominican Republic as a Category 3 hurricane, but passed north enough to not cause major damage. It passed through the Bahamas, retaining its strength as it moved slowly northward. After drifting northeastward, the hurricane turned northwestward, hitting the Outer Banks on August 17. It drifted northeastward over the state, re-emerging into the Atlantic on the 19th. It continued eastward, where it became extratropical on the 22nd.

The extratropical cyclone turned southeastward where, on August 26, it became a tropical storm again. Like most of the rest of its lifetime, it drifted, first to the northwest then to the east. It strengthened as it moved eastward, and on September 3, as it was moving through the Azores, it again became a hurricane. The intensification didn't last long, and the hurricane became extratropical for the final time on the 4th. It dissipated that day while racing across the northeastern Atlantic.

Impact

Deadliest Atlantic hurricanes
Rank Hurricane Season Fatalities
1 "Great Hurricane" 1780 22,000
2 Mitch 1998 11,000 – 18,000
3 "Galveston" 1900 8,000 – 12,000
4 Fifi 1974 8,000 – 10,000
5 "Dominican Republic" 1930 2,000 – 8,000
6 Flora 1963 7,186 – 8,000
7 "Pointe-à-Pitre" 1776 6,000+
8 "Newfoundland" 1775 4,000 – 4,163
9 "Okeechobee" 1928 4,075+
10 "San Ciriaco" 1899 3,433+
See also: List of deadliest Atlantic hurricanes
Damage in Puerto Rico after Hurricane San Ciriaco.

On August 7, after stations in the Lesser Antilles reported a change in wind from the northeast to the northwest, the United States Weather Bureau ordered hurricane signals at Roseau, Dominica, Basseterre, Saint Kitts, and San Juan, Puerto Rico; later, a hurricane signal was raised at Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Information on the hurricane was also sent to other locations throughout the Caribbean.[3]

Estimates of storm-related fatalities range from 3,100 to 3,400, with millions of dollars in crop damage in Puerto Rico. North Carolina had considerable tobacco and corn damage from the longevity of the strong winds and rain.

Overall, the island was swamped by 28 days of rain, contributing to the overall disaster (see History of Puerto Rico).


Records

Hurricane San Ciriaco set many records on its path. Killing nearly 3,500 people in Puerto Rico, it was the deadliest hurricane to hit the island and the strongest at the time, until 30 years later when the island was hit by the Hurricane San Felipe Segundo, a Category 5 hurricane, in 1928. It was also the tenth deadliest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded.

Also, with an Accumulated cyclone energy of 73.57, it has the highest ACE of any Atlantic hurricane in history. In 2004, Hurricane Ivan became the second Atlantic hurricane to surpass an ACE value of 70, but did not surpass the San Ciriaco hurricane.

San Ciriaco is also the longest lasting Atlantic hurricane in recorded history, lasting for 28 days (31 including subtropical time).


See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d Chris Landsea, et al. (2003). "Documentation of Atlantic Tropical Cyclones Changes in HURDAT: 1896-1900". Hurricane Research Division. http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/hurdat/metadata_1896-00.htm#1899_3. Retrieved 2009-06-21.  
  2. ^ a b c Chris Landsea, et al. (2003). "Raw Observations for Hurricane #3, 1899" (XLS). Hurricane Research Division. http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/hurdat/excelfiles_centerfix/1899/1899_3.XLS. Retrieved 2009-06-21.  
  3. ^ a b c E.B. Garriott (August 1899). "Monthly Weather Review" (PDF). U.S. Weather Bureau. http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/hurdat/mwr_pdf/1899.pdf. Retrieved 2009-06-22.  
  4. ^ A good account of the hurricane's passage through the city of Ponce, where he was stationed at the time, is given by Ashford, Bailey (1998) [1934]. A Soldier in Science. New York: Morrow. ISBN 0847703517.  

Further reading

  • Hairr, John (2008). The Great Hurricanes of North Carolina. Charleston, SC: History Press. pp. 81–104. ISBN 9781596293915.  
  • Schwartz, Stuart B. (1982). "The Hurricane of San Ciriaco: Disaster, Politics, and Society in Puerto Rico, 1899-1901". Hispanic American Historical Review 72: 303–334. doi:10.2307/2515987.  

External links

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