1991 Perfect Storm

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1991 "Perfect Storm"
Category 1 hurricane (SSHWS/NWS)
Unnamed Hurricane 01 nov 1991 1906Z.jpg
Satellite image of the unnamed hurricane at peak intensity on November 1
FormedOctober 28, 1991 (1991-10-28)
DissipatedNovember 2, 1991 (1991-11-03)
Highest winds 1-minute sustained:75 mph (120 km/h)
Lowest pressure972 mbar (hPa); 28.7 inHg
Fatalities13 direct
Damage> $200 million (1991 USD)
Areas affected Eastern United States, Eastern Canada
Part of the 1991 Atlantic hurricane season

The 1991 Perfect Storm, also known as The No-Name Storm (especially in the years immediately after it took place) and the Halloween Gale/Storm, was a nor'easter that absorbed Hurricane Grace and ultimately evolved back into a small unnamed hurricane late in its life cycle. The initial area of low pressure developed off Atlantic Canada on October 29. Forced southward by a ridge to its north, it reached its peak intensity as a large and powerful cyclone. The storm lashed the east coast of the United States with high waves and coastal flooding before turning to the southwest and weakening. Moving over warmer waters, the system transitioned into a subtropical cyclone before becoming a tropical storm. It executed a loop off the Mid-Atlantic states and turned toward the northeast. On November 1, the system evolved into a full-fledged hurricane, with peak sustained winds of 75 miles per hour (120 km/h), although the National Hurricane Center left it unnamed to avoid confusion amid media interest in the precursor extratropical storm. It later received the name "the Perfect Storm" (playing off the common expression) after a conversation between Boston National Weather Service forecaster Robert Case and author Sebastian Junger. The system was the twelfth and final tropical cyclone, the eighth tropical storm, and fourth hurricane in the 1991 Atlantic hurricane season. The tropical system weakened, striking Nova Scotia as a tropical storm before dissipating.

Noreaster cyclone

A nor'easter is a macro-scale extratropical cyclone in the western North Atlantic ocean. The name derives from the direction of the strongest winds that will be hitting an eastern seaboard of the northern hemisphere: as a cyclonic air mass rotates counterclockwise, winds tend to blow northeast-to-southwest over the region covered by the northwest quadrant of the cyclone. Use of the term in North America is associated with storms that impact the middle and north Atlantic areas of the United States, and in the Atlantic Provinces of Canada.

Atlantic Canada Region in Canada

Atlantic Canada, also called the Atlantic provinces, is the region of Canada comprising the four provinces located on the Atlantic coast, excluding Quebec: the three Maritime provinces – New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island – and the easternmost province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The population of the four Atlantic provinces in 2016 was about 2,300,000 on half a million km2. The provinces combined had an approximate GDP of $121.888 billion in 2011.

Cyclone large scale air mass that rotates around a strong center of low pressure

In meteorology, a cyclone is a large scale air mass that rotates around a strong center of low atmospheric pressure. Cyclones are characterized by inward spiraling winds that rotate about a zone of low pressure. The largest low-pressure systems are polar vortices and extratropical cyclones of the largest scale. Warm-core cyclones such as tropical cyclones and subtropical cyclones also lie within the synoptic scale. Mesocyclones, tornadoes and dust devils lie within smaller mesoscale. Upper level cyclones can exist without the presence of a surface low, and can pinch off from the base of the tropical upper tropospheric trough during the summer months in the Northern Hemisphere. Cyclones have also been seen on extraterrestrial planets, such as Mars and Neptune. Cyclogenesis is the process of cyclone formation and intensification. Extratropical cyclones begin as waves in large regions of enhanced mid-latitude temperature contrasts called baroclinic zones. These zones contract and form weather fronts as the cyclonic circulation closes and intensifies. Later in their life cycle, extratropical cyclones occlude as cold air masses undercut the warmer air and become cold core systems. A cyclone's track is guided over the course of its 2 to 6 day life cycle by the steering flow of the subtropical jet stream.


Damage from the storm totaled over $200 million (1991 USD) [1] and the death toll was thirteen. Most of the damage occurred while the storm was extratropical, after waves up to 30 feet (10 m) struck the coastline from Canada to Florida and southeastward to Puerto Rico. In Massachusetts, where damage was heaviest, over 100 homes were destroyed or severely damaged. To the north, more than 100 homes were affected in Maine, including the vacation home of then-President George H. W. Bush. More than 38,000 people were left without power, and along the coast high waves inundated roads and buildings. In portions of New England, the damage was worse than that caused by Hurricane Bob two months earlier. Aside from tidal flooding along rivers, the storm's effects were primarily concentrated along the coast. A buoy off the coast of Nova Scotia reported a wave height of 100.7 feet (30.7 m), the highest ever recorded in the province's offshore waters. In the middle of the storm, the fishing vessel Andrea Gail sank, killing her crew of six and inspiring the book, and later movie, The Perfect Storm. Off the shore of New York's Long Island, an Air National Guard helicopter ran out of fuel and crashed; four members of its crew were rescued and one was killed. Two people died after their boat sank off Staten Island. High waves swept two people to their deaths, one in Rhode Island and one in Puerto Rico, and another person was blown off a bridge to his death. The tropical cyclone that formed late in the storm's duration caused little impact, limited to power outages and slick roads; one person was killed in Newfoundland from a traffic accident related to the storm.

Bush compound building complex

The Bush compound is the summer retreat house of the Bush family. It served as the Summer White House of George H. W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States. It is located along the Atlantic Ocean in the northeast United States, on Walker's Point.

President of the United States Head of state and of government of the United States

The President of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces.

George H. W. Bush 41st president of the United States

George Herbert Walker Bush was an American politician who served as the 41st president of the United States from 1989 to 1993 and the 43rd vice president of the United States from 1981 to 1989. A member of the Republican Party, he held posts that included those of congressman, ambassador, and CIA director. Until his son George W. Bush became the 43rd president in 2001, he was usually known simply as George Bush.

Meteorological history

Map plotting the track and the intensity of the storm, according to the Saffir-Simpson scale 1991 Atlantic hurricane 8 track.png
Map plotting the track and the intensity of the storm, according to the Saffir–Simpson scale

The Perfect Storm originated from a cold front that exited the east coast of the United States. On October 28, the front spawned an extratropical low to the east of Nova Scotia. Around that time, a ridge extended from the Appalachian Mountains northeastward to Greenland, with a strong high pressure center over eastern Canada. The blocking ridge forced the extratropical low to track toward the southeast and later to the west. Hurricane Grace was swept aloft by its cold front into the warm conveyor belt circulation of the deep cyclone on October 29. The cyclone significantly strengthened as a result of the temperature contrast between the cold air to the northwest and the warmth and humidity from the remnants of Hurricane Grace. The low pressure system continued deepening as it drifted toward the United States. [2] It had an unusual retrograde motion for a nor'easter, beginning a set of meteorological circumstances that occur only once every 50 to 100 years. [3] Most nor'easters affect New England from the southwest. [4]

Cold front leading edge of a cooler mass of air

A cold front is the leading edge of a cooler mass of air, replacing at ground level a warmer mass of air, which lies within a fairly sharp surface trough of low pressure. It forms in the wake of an extratropical cyclone, at the leading edge of its cold air advection pattern, which is also known as the cyclone's dry conveyor belt circulation. Temperature differences across the boundary can exceed 30 °C (54 °F) from one side to the other. When enough moisture is present, rain can occur along the boundary. If there is significant instability along the boundary, a narrow line of thunderstorms can form along the frontal zone. If instability is less, a broad shield of rain can move in behind the front, which increases the temperature difference across the boundary. Cold fronts are stronger in the fall and spring transition seasons and weakest during the summer.

Appalachian Mountains mountain range in the eastern United States and Canada

The Appalachian Mountains, often called the Appalachians, are a system of mountains in eastern North America. The Appalachians first formed roughly 480 million years ago during the Ordovician Period. They once reached elevations similar to those of the Alps and the Rocky Mountains before experiencing natural erosion. The Appalachian chain is a barrier to east–west travel, as it forms a series of alternating ridgelines and valleys oriented in opposition to most highways and railroads running east–west.

The tropical storm making landfall west of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, on November 2 Unnamed TS storm 02 nov 1991 1305Z borders.jpg
The tropical storm making landfall west of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, on November 2

While situated about 390 miles (630 km) south of Halifax, Nova Scotia, the storm attained its peak intensity with winds of up to 70 mph (110 km/h). [2] The nor'easter reached peak intensity at approximately 12:00 UTC on October 30 with its lowest pressure of 972 millibars. The interaction between the extratropical storm and the high pressure system to its north created a significant pressure gradient, which created large waves and strong winds. [2] Between the southern New England coast and the storm's center, the gradient was 70 mbar (2.1 inHg). [5] A buoy located 264 miles (425 km) south of Halifax reported a wave height of 100.7 feet (30.7 m) on October 30. This became the highest recorded wave height on the Scotian Shelf, which is the oceanic shelf off the coast of Nova Scotia. [6] East of Cape Cod, a NOAA buoy located at 41°06′N66°36′W / 41.1°N 66.6°W / 41.1; -66.6 reported maximum sustained winds of 56 mph (90 km/h) with gusts to 75 mph (121 km/h), and a significant wave height (average height of the highest one-third of all waves) of 39 feet (12 m) around 15:00 UTC on October 30. Another buoy, located at 40°30′N69°30′W / 40.5°N 69.5°W / 40.5; -69.5 , reported maximum sustained winds of 61 mph (98 km/h) with gusts to 72 mph (116 km/h) and a significant wave height of 31 feet (9.4 m) near 00:00 UTC on October 31. [2]

Scotian Shelf

The Scotian Shelf is a geological formation, part of the Continental shelf, located southwest of Nova Scotia, Canada. It covers an area of 120,000 km², is 700 km long and ranges in width from 120 to 240 km. It has an average depth of 90 metres. The Scotian Shelf contains the ecologically important Scotian Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem (LME) and the Scotian Shelf Waters (SSW).

Continental shelf A portion of a continent that is submerged under an area of relatively shallow water known as a shelf sea

A continental shelf is a portion of a continent that is submerged under an area of relatively shallow water known as a shelf sea. Much of the shelves were exposed during glacial periods and interglacial periods.

In physical oceanography, the significant wave height is defined traditionally as the mean wave height of the highest third of the waves (H1/3). Nowadays it is usually defined as four times the standard deviation of the surface elevation – or equivalently as four times the square root of the zeroth-order moment (area) of the wave spectrum. The symbol Hm0 is usually used for that latter definition. The significant wave height may thus refer to Hm0 or H1/3; the difference in magnitude between the two definitions is only a few percent.

Upon peaking in intensity, the nor'easter turned southward and gradually weakened; by November 1, its pressure had risen to 998 millibars (29.5 inHg). The low moved over warm waters of the Gulf Stream, where bands of convection around the center began to organize. [7] Around this time, the system attained subtropical characteristics. On November 1, while the storm was moving in a counter-clockwise loop, a tropical cyclone had been identified at the center of the larger low. [8] (Although these conditions are rare, Hurricane Karl during 1980 formed within a larger non-tropical weather system.) [9]

Gulf Stream A warm, swift Atlantic current that originates in the Gulf of Mexico flows around the tip of Florida, along the east coast of the United States before crossing the Atlantic Ocean

The Gulf Stream, together with its northern extension the North Atlantic Drift, is a warm and swift Atlantic ocean current that originates in the Gulf of Mexico and stretches to the tip of Florida, and follows the eastern coastlines of the United States and Newfoundland before crossing the Atlantic Ocean. The process of western intensification causes the Gulf Stream to be a northward accelerating current off the east coast of North America. At about 40°0′N30°0′W, it splits in two, with the northern stream, the North Atlantic Drift, crossing to Northern Europe and the southern stream, the Canary Current, recirculating off West Africa.


A rainband is a cloud and precipitation structure associated with an area of rainfall which is significantly elongated. Rainbands can be stratiform or convective, and are generated by differences in temperature. When noted on weather radar imagery, this precipitation elongation is referred to as banded structure. Rainbands within tropical cyclones are curved in orientation. Tropical cyclone rainbands contain showers and thunderstorms that, together with the eyewall and the eye, constitute a hurricane or tropical storm. The extent of rainbands around a tropical cyclone can help determine the cyclone's intensity.

Atmospheric convection

Atmospheric convection is the result of a parcel-environment instability, or temperature difference layer in the atmosphere. Different lapse rates within dry and moist air masses lead to instability. Mixing of air during the day which expands the height of the planetary boundary layer leads to increased winds, cumulus cloud development, and decreased surface dew points. Moist convection leads to thunderstorm development, which is often responsible for severe weather throughout the world. Special threats from thunderstorms include hail, downbursts, and tornadoes.

By around 14:00 UTC on November 1, an eye feature was forming, and the tropical cyclone reached its peak intensity with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph (121 km/h); [10] [11] these estimates, combined with reports from an Air Force Reserve Unit flight into the storm and confirmation that a warm-core center was present, indicated that the system had become a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale. The hurricane accelerated toward the northeast and quickly weakened back into a tropical storm. It made landfall near Halifax, Nova Scotia, at 14:00 UTC on November 2, with sustained winds of 45 mph (72 km/h). While the storm was approaching the coast, weather radars depicted curved rainbands on the western side of the system. [8] After crossing over Prince Edward Island, [6] the storm fully dissipated late on November 2. [8]

Eye (cyclone) region of mostly calm weather at the center of strong tropical cyclones

The eye is a region of mostly calm weather at the center of strong tropical cyclones. The eye of a storm is a roughly circular area, typically 30–65 km (20–40 miles) in diameter. It is surrounded by the eyewall, a ring of towering thunderstorms where the most severe weather and highest winds occur. The cyclone's lowest barometric pressure occurs in the eye and can be as much as 15 percent lower than the pressure outside the storm.

Prince Edward Island Province of Canada

Prince Edward Island is a province of Canada consisting of the Atlantic island of the same name along with several much smaller islands nearby. PEI is one of the three Maritime Provinces. It is the smallest province of Canada in both land area and population, but it is the most densely populated. Part of the traditional lands of the Mi'kmaq, it became a British colony in the 1700s and was federated into Canada as a province in 1873. Its capital is Charlottetown. According to the 2016 census, the province of PEI has 142,907 residents.

Preparations and naming

The Perfect Storm to the south of Nova Scotia on October 30. Perfect storm.gif
The Perfect Storm to the south of Nova Scotia on October 30.

For several days, weather models forecast the development of a significant storm off New England. [5] However, the models were inadequate in forecasting coastal conditions, which in one instance failed to provide adequate warning. In addition, a post-storm assessment found an insufficient number of observation sites along the coast. [12] On October 27, the Ocean Prediction Center noted that a "dangerous storm" would form within 36 hours, with its wording emphasizing the unusual nature of the storm. [13] The National Weather Service likewise issued warnings for the potential storm, providing information to emergency service offices as well as the media. [12] The public however was skeptical and did not recognize the threat. [3] [12] The timely warnings ultimately lowered the death toll; [12] whereas the Perfect Storm caused 13 deaths, the blizzard of 1978 killed 99 people, and the 1938 New England hurricane killed 564 people. [5]

From Massachusetts to Maine, thousands of people evacuated their homes and sought shelter. [14] A state of emergency was declared for nine counties in Massachusetts, including Suffolk County, as well as two in Maine. [4] [15] In North Carolina, the National Weather Service offices in Hatteras and Raleigh first issued a heavy surf advisory on October 27, more than eight hours before the first reports of high waves. That same day, a coastal flood watch and later a warning was issued, along with a gale warning. The Hatteras NWS office ultimately released 19 coastal flood statements, as well as media reports explaining the threat from the wind and waves, and a state of emergency was declared for Dare County, North Carolina. [14] The warnings and lead times in the region were described as "very good". [16]

In Canada, the threat from the storm prompted the cancellation of ferry service from Bar Harbor, Maine, to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, as well as from Nova Scotia to Prince Edward Island and between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. [6]

In its tropical cyclone report on the hurricane, the National Hurricane Center only referred to the system as "Unnamed Hurricane". [7] The Natural Disaster Survey Report called the storm "The Halloween Nor'easter of 1991". [5] The "perfect storm" moniker was coined by author and journalist Sebastian Junger after a conversation with NWS Boston Deputy Meteorologist Robert Case in which Case described the convergence of weather conditions as being "perfect" for the formation of such a storm. [3] Other National Weather Service offices were tasked with issuing warnings for this storm in lieu of the typical NHC advisories. The OPC posted warnings on the unnamed hurricane in its High Seas Forecasts. [13] The National Weather Service State Forecast Office in Boston issued Offshore Marine Forecasts for the storm. Local NWS offices along the East coast covered the storm in their Coastal Waters Forecasts. [17]

Beginning in 1950, the National Hurricane Center named officially recognized tropical storms and hurricanes. The unnamed hurricane was reported to have met all the criteria for a tropical cyclone, but it was purposefully left unnamed. This was done to avoid confusion among the media and the public, who were focusing on the damage from the initial nor'easter, as the hurricane itself was not expected to pose a major threat to land. It was the eighth nameable storm of the 1991 Atlantic hurricane season. [8] [18] Had the system been named instead, it would have received the name Henri, which was the next name on the 1991 list after Grace.


Oceanfront flooding in Ocean City, New Jersey Perfect Storm Oceanfront flooding.jpg
Oceanfront flooding in Ocean City, New Jersey

The Halloween Storm of 1991 left significant damage along the east coast of the United States, primarily in Massachusetts and southern New Jersey. Across seven states, damage totaled over $200 million (1991 USD). [1] Over a three-day period, the storm lashed the northeastern United States with high waves, [5] causing damage to beachfront properties from North Carolina to Maine. [12] The coastal flooding damaged or destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses and closed roads and airports. [2] In addition, high winds left about 38,000 people without power. The total without power was much less than for Hurricane Bob two months prior, and was fairly low due to little rainfall and the general lack of leaves on trees. [15] Overall there were thirteen confirmed deaths, [5] [6] including six on board Andrea Gail , a swordfishing boat. The vessel departed Gloucester, Massachusetts, for the waters off Nova Scotia. After encountering high seas in the middle of the storm, the vessel made its last radio contact late on October 28, about 180 miles (290 km) northeast of Sable Island. Andrea Gail sank while returning to Gloucester, her debris washing ashore over the subsequent weeks. The crew of six was presumed killed after a Coast Guard search was unable to find them. The storm and the boat's sinking became the center-piece for Sebastian Junger's best-selling non-fiction book The Perfect Storm (1997), which was adapted to a major Hollywood film in 2000 as The Perfect Storm starring George Clooney. [2] [19]

Tamaroa, a Coast Guard cutter that rescued the crew of a downed Air National Guard helicopter USCGC Tamaroa WUEC-166 1990.jpg
Tamaroa, a Coast Guard cutter that rescued the crew of a downed Air National Guard helicopter

Despite the storm's severity, it was neither the costliest nor the strongest to affect the northeastern United States. It was weakening as it made its closest approach to land, and the highest tides occurred during the neap tide, which is the time when tide ranges are minimal. [5] The worst of the storm effects stayed offshore. A buoy 650 miles (1,050 km) northeast of Nantucket, which was 60 miles (97 km) west of Andrea Gail's last known position, recorded a 73 ft (22 m) rise in wave height in 10 hours while the extratropical storm was still rapidly intensifying. Two buoys near the Massachusetts coast observed record wave heights, and one observed a record wind report. [5] The United States Coast Guard rescued 25 people at sea at the height of the storm, [20] including 13 people from Long Island Sound. [4] A New York Air National Guard helicopter of the 106th Air Rescue Wing ditched during the storm, 90 miles (140 km) south of Montauk, New York, after it was unable to refuel in flight and ran out of fuel. After the helicopter had attempted a rescue in the midst of the storm, an 84-person crew on the Coast Guard Cutter Tamaroa arrived and rescued four members of the crew of five after six hours in hypothermic waters. The survivors were pilots Dave Ruvola and Graham Bushor, flight engineer Jim Miolli, and pararescue jumper John Spillane. The fifth member, pararescue jumper Rick Smith, was never found. [21] They were all featured on the show I Shouldn't be Alive. [4] [15] [22]

Following the storm's damage, President George H. W. Bush declared five counties in Maine, seven counties in Massachusetts, and Rockingham County, New Hampshire to be disaster areas. [1] The declaration allowed for the affected residents to apply for low-interest repair loans. [23] New Jersey governor Jim Florio requested a declaration for portions of the coastline, but the request was denied because of the funding needs of other disasters, such as Hurricane Hugo, Hurricane Bob, and the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. [24] The American Red Cross opened service centers in four locations in Massachusetts to assist the storm victims by providing food, clothing, medicine, and shelter. The agency deployed five vehicles carrying cleanup units and food, and allocated $1.4 million to provide assistance to 3,000 families. [23]

New England and Atlantic Canada

Along the Massachusetts coastline, the storm produced 25 ft (7.6 m) wave heights on top of a 4 ft (1.2 m) high tide. [1] In Boston, the highest tide was 14.3 ft (4.4 m), [5] which was only 1 ft (30 cm) lower than the record from the blizzard of 1978. [1] High waves on top of the storm tide reached about 30 ft (9.1 m). The storm produced heavy rainfall in southeastern Massachusetts, peaking at 5.5 inches (140 mm). [5] Coastal floods closed several roads, forcing hundreds of people to evacuate. In addition to the high tides, the storm produced strong winds; Chatham recorded a gust of 78 mph (126 km/h). Damage was worst from Cape Ann in northeastern Massachusetts to Nantucket, with over 100 homes destroyed or severely damaged at Marshfield, North Beach, and Brant Point. There were two injuries in the state, although there were no fatalities. Across Massachusetts, damage totaled in the hundreds of millions of dollars. [1]

Street flooding in Ocean City, New Jersey, from the storm Perfect Storm Ocean City.jpg
Street flooding in Ocean City, New Jersey, from the storm

Elsewhere in New England, waves up to 30 ft (9.1 m) reached as far north as Maine, [1] along with tides that were 3 ft (0.91 m) above normal. [20] Significant flooding was reported in that state, along with high winds that left areas without power. A total of 49 houses were severely damaged, 2 were destroyed, [1] and overall more than 100 were affected. [25] In Kennebunkport, the storm blew out windows and flooded the vacation home of then-President George H. W. Bush. [2] The home sustained significant damage to its first floor. [26] In Portland, tides were 3 ft (0.91 m) above normal, among the ten highest tides since record-keeping began in 1914. Along the coast, damage was worse than that caused by Hurricane Bob two months prior. [25] Across Maine, the storm left $7.9 million (1991 USD) in damage, [1] mostly in York County. [25] More than half of the damage total was from property damage, with the remainder to transportation, seawalls, and public facilities. [25] Although there were no deaths, there were two injuries in the state. In neighboring New Hampshire, coastal flooding affected several towns, destroying two homes. The storm destroyed three boats and damaged a lighthouse. [1] High waves destroyed or swept away over 50,000 lobster traps, representing $2 million in losses (1991 USD). [27] Damage was estimated at $5.6 million (1991 USD). [1] Further west, high winds and coastal flooding lashed the Rhode Island and Connecticut coasts, killing a man in Narragansett, Rhode Island. Winds reached 63 miles per hour (101 km/h) in Newport, Rhode Island, causing power outages. [1]

Off the coast of Atlantic Canada, the storm produced very high waves, flooding a ship near Sable Island and stranding another ship. Along the coast, the waves wrecked three small boats near Tiverton, Nova Scotia, as well as nine boats in Torbay, Newfoundland and Labrador. In Nova Scotia, where the storm made landfall, precipitation reached 1.18 in (30 mm), and 20,000 people in Pictou County were left without power. The storm also caused widespread power outages in Newfoundland from its high winds, which reached 68 mph (110 km/h) near St. Lawrence. There were at least 35 traffic accidents, one fatal, in Grand Falls-Windsor due to slick roads. Prior to the storm's formation, there was a record 4.4 in (116 mm) of snowfall across Newfoundland. [6] The storm caused no significant damage in Canada, other than these traffic accidents. [28]

Mid-Atlantic states

The cyclone near its closest approach to the United States Halloween storm 30 oct 1991 1226Z.jpg
The cyclone near its closest approach to the United States

In New York and northern New Jersey, the storm system left the most coastal damage since the 1944 Great Atlantic hurricane. Numerous boats were damaged or destroyed, killing two people off Staten Island. High winds swept a man off a bridge, killing him. [1] High waves flooded the beach at Coney Island. In Sea Bright, New Jersey, waves washed over a seawall, forcing 200 people to evacuate. [4] Further inland, the Hudson, Passaic, and Hackensack rivers experienced tidal flooding. [2] Outside Massachusetts, damage was heaviest in southern New Jersey, where the cost was estimated at $75 million (1991 USD). Across the area, tide heights reached their highest since the 1944 hurricane, leaving severe coastal and back bay flooding and closing many roads. The storm caused significant beach erosion, [1] with 500,000 cubic yards (382,000 cubic meters) lost in Avalon, as well as $10 million damage to the beach in Cape May. The presence of a dune system mitigated the erosion in some areas. [24] There was damage to the Atlantic City Boardwalk. [4] Fire Island National Seashore was affected, washing away an entire row of waterfront houses in towns like Fair Harbor. Following the storm, there was a moratorium on clamming in the state's bays, due to contaminated waters. [24] Along the Delmarva Peninsula and Virginia Beach, there was widespread water damage to homes, including ten affected houses in Sandbridge Beach, Virginia. Tides in Ocean City, Maryland, reached a record height of 7.8 ft (2.4 m), while elsewhere the tides were similar to the Ash Wednesday Storm of 1962. [1]

Farther south

In North Carolina along the Outer Banks, high waves were initially caused by Hurricane Grace and later its interaction with a high pressure system. This produced gale-force winds and 12 ft (3.7 m) waves in the town of Duck. Later, the extratropical predecessor to the unnamed hurricane produced additional high waves, causing oceanfront flooding from Cape Hatteras through the northern portions of Currituck County. Flooding was first reported on October 28, when the ocean covered a portion of North Carolina Highway 12 north of Rodanthe; [16] the route is the primary thoroughfare in the Outer Banks. [20] Nags Head, Kitty Hawk, and Kill Devil Hills had large portions covered with water for several blocks away from the beach. The resultant flooding damaged 525 houses and 28 businesses and destroyed two motels and a few homes. [16] Damage was estimated at $6.7 million (1991 USD). [1] Farther south, the storm left 14 people injured in Florida. There was minor beach erosion and flooding, which damaged two houses and destroyed the pier at Lake Worth. [1] In some locations, beaches gained additional sand from the wave action. [29] Two people went missing off Daytona Beach after their boat lost power. [4] High waves destroyed a portion of State Road A1A. [30] Damage in the state was estimated at $3 million (1991 USD). [1] High waves also affected Bermuda, the Bahamas, and the Dominican Republic. [2] In Puerto Rico, waves of 15 ft (4.6 m) affected the island's north coast, which prompted 32 people to seek shelter. The waves swept a person off a large rock to his death. [1]

See also

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Hurricane Gloria was the first significant tropical cyclone to strike the northeastern United States since Hurricane Agnes in 1972 and the first major storm to affect New York and Long Island directly since Hurricane Donna in 1960. It was a powerful Cape Verde hurricane that formed during the 1985 Atlantic hurricane season, originating from a tropical wave on September 16 in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. After remaining a weak tropical cyclone for several days, Gloria intensified into a hurricane on September 22 north of the Lesser Antilles. During that time, the storm had moved generally westward, although it turned to the northwest due to a weakening of the ridge. Gloria quickly intensified on September 24, and the next day reached peak winds of 145 mph (230 km/h). The hurricane weakened before striking the Outer Banks of North Carolina on September 27. Later that day, Gloria made two subsequent landfalls on Long Island and later western Connecticut, before becoming extratropical on September 28 over New England. The remnants moved through Atlantic Canada, eventually dissipating on October 2.

1954 Atlantic hurricane season hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

The 1954 Atlantic hurricane season resulted in over $750 million in damage, the most of any season at the time. The season officially began on June 15, and nine days later the first named storm developed. Hurricane Alice developed in the Gulf of Mexico and moved inland along the Rio Grande, producing significant precipitation and record flooding that killed 55 people. Activity was slow until late August; only Barbara, a minimal tropical storm, developed in July. In the span of two weeks, hurricanes Carol and Edna followed similar paths before both striking New England as major hurricanes. The latter became the costliest hurricane in Maine's history.

1953 Atlantic hurricane season hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean

The 1953 Atlantic hurricane season was the first time an organized list of female names was used to name Atlantic storms. It officially began on June 15, and lasted until November 15, although activity occurred both before and after the season's limits. The season was active with fourteen total storms, six of which developed into hurricanes; four of the hurricanes attained major hurricane status, or a Category 3 or greater on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

Hurricane Charley (1986) Category 1 Atlantic hurricane in 1986

Hurricane Charley was the first hurricane to threaten the East Coast of the United States since Hurricane Gloria the previous year. The third tropical storm and second hurricane of the season, Charley formed as a subtropical low on August 13 along the Florida panhandle. After moving off the coast of South Carolina, the system transitioned into a tropical cyclone and intensified into a tropical storm on August 15. Charley later attained hurricane status before moving across eastern North Carolina. It gradually weakened over the north Atlantic Ocean before transitioning into an extratropical cyclone on August 20. Charley's remnants remained identifiable for over a week until after crossing the British Isles and dissipating on August 30.

Hurricane Edouard (1996) Category 4 Atlantic hurricane in 1996

Hurricane Edouard was the strongest hurricane in the 1996 Atlantic hurricane season, reaching winds of 145 mph (230 km/h) on its path. Edouard remained a major hurricane for eight days, an unusually long amount of time. A Cape Verde hurricane, the storm formed near the coast of Africa in the middle of August. It moved westward then curved northward, and persisted until early September when it became extratropical to the southeast of New England. Edouard was originally forecast to strike the northeast United States, but it produced hurricane-force gusts to portions of southeastern Massachusetts while remaining offshore. The winds caused minor damage totaling $20 million. In addition, the hurricane generated strong waves and rip currents to coastlines, killing two people in Ocean City, MD and causing numerous injuries.

Hurricane Gladys (1964) Category 4 Atlantic hurricane in 1964

Hurricane Gladys was a tropical cyclone that caused minor impact along the East Coast of the United States, Bermuda, and Atlantic Canada. The ninth named storm and fifth hurricane of the 1964 Atlantic hurricane season, Gladys developed from a tropical wave located east of the Lesser Antilles on September 13. Shortly thereafter, it strengthened into a tropical storm. On September 14, Gladys abruptly intensified into a Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale. However, early on the following day, Gladys weakened slightly to a Category 1 hurricane. Between late on September 16 and late on September 17, the storm rapidly strengthened, peaking as a 145 mph (230 km/h) Category 4 hurricane on the latter. Gladys began weakening on the following day and curved northward on September 19.

Tropical Storm Alberto (2006) first tropical storm of the 2006 Atlantic hurricane season

Tropical Storm Alberto was the first tropical storm of the 2006 Atlantic hurricane season. Forming on June 10 in the northwestern Caribbean, the storm moved generally to the north, reaching a maximum intensity of 70 mph (110 km/h) before weakening and moving ashore in the Big Bend area of Florida on June 13. Alberto then moved through eastern Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia as a tropical depression before becoming extratropical on June 14.

Tropical Storm Beryl (2006) Atlantic tropical storm in 2006

Tropical Storm Beryl was the third tropical storm of the 2006 Atlantic hurricane season. Developing from a tropical disturbance on July 18, it tracked generally northward, and strengthened to attain peak winds of 60 mph (95 km/h) under generally favorable conditions. After turning to the northeast, Beryl weakened over cooler waters. On July 21 it struck the island of Nantucket, and shortly thereafter it became extratropical. The extratropical remnants continued northeastward through Nova Scotia, and on July 22 it merged with an approaching cold front.

The November 2001 Atlantic Canada storm complex was a powerful coastal storm that included the remnants of North Atlantic hurricanes Michelle and Noel. The low intensified as it moved westward into Atlantic Canada on November 6, reaching a minimum pressure of 946 mbars. The storm turned to the northeast and emerged into the Atlantic Ocean on November 8. It produced strong winds throughout Atlantic Canada, including gusts of up to 96 mph (155 km/h) at the Confederation Bridge in Prince Edward Island. High waves caused damage along the coastlines, while high winds left up to 100,000 without power. Overall damage was minor, and no casualties were reported.

Hurricane Daisy (1962) Category 2 Atlantic hurricane in 1962

Hurricane Daisy brought the worst flooding to New England since Hurricane Diane in 1955. The fourth named storm and second hurricane of the 1962 Atlantic hurricane season, Daisy developed from a tropical disturbance located well east of the Leeward Islands on September 29. Initially a tropical depression, it headed west-northwestward and failed to strengthen significantly. While located a short distance from the Leeward Islands, the depression curved northwestward and began intensifying. On October 2, the depression was upgraded to Tropical Storm Daisy. Around that time, the storm turned back to the west-northwest and continued to deepen. Daisy reached hurricane status late on October 3. Two days later, it became a Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale, but briefly weakened back to a Category 1 on October 6.

Hurricane Grace Category 2 Atlantic hurricane in 1991

Hurricane Grace was a short-lived Category 2 hurricane that contributed to the formation of the powerful 1991 Perfect Storm. Forming on October 26, Grace initially had subtropical origins, meaning it was partially tropical and partially extratropical in nature. It became a tropical cyclone on October 27, and ultimately peaked with winds of 105 mph (165 km/h). The storm had minor effects on the island of Bermuda as it passed to the south. A developing extratropical storm to the north turned Grace eastward; the hurricane was eventually absorbed into the large circulation of the larger low pressure system. Fed by the contrast between cold air to the northwest and warm air from the remnants of Hurricane Grace, this storm became a large and powerful nor'easter that caused extremely high waves and resulted in severe coastal damage along the East Coast of the United States.

October 2000 Atlantic Canada storm complex

The October 2000 Atlantic Canada storm complex was reported as the worst storm in Prince Edward Island in 30 years. Environment Canada considered as one of the ten most significant weather events in Canada in the year. It moved southeastward from Atlantic Canada in late October 2000, producing high snowfall totals in Maine. It absorbed an unnamed subtropical cyclone, and remained nearly stationary in the Gulf of Maine for over a week. Some locations in Atlantic Canada reported record durations of continuous cloud cover. Daily amounts of rainfall produced flooding in Nova Scotia, while a high storm surge associated with the storm washed out roads in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. The storm produced wind gusts that peaked at 104 mph (168 km/h) in Newfoundland, and across the region there were scattered power outages.

Hurricane Josephine (1984) Category 2 Atlantic hurricane in 1984

Hurricane Josephine was a long-lived Atlantic hurricane that threatened the East Coast of the United States for several days in October 1984. The fifteenth tropical cyclone, tenth named storm, and third hurricane of the season, Josephine developed from an area of disturbed weather near the Bahamas on October 7, forming with subtropical characteristics. It quickly organized, and gained tropical characteristics as it strengthened into a tropical storm on October 8. Gradual intensification occurred thereafter, reaching hurricane status on October 10. The storm headed northward, remaining well offshore of the eastern United States. Josephine strengthened further and peaked as a moderately strong Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale on October 12. On the following day, Josephine weakened back to a Category 1 hurricane before becoming nearly stationary. It later headed northeastward and paralleled the coast well offshore of Nova Scotia. By October 17, Josephine weakened back to a tropical storm, shortly before beginning to execute a cyclonic loop to the south of Newfoundland. While executing the cyclonic loop, Josephine became extratropical on October 18.

Hurricane Alma (1962) Category 2 Atlantic hurricane in 1962

Hurricane Alma saw the latest development of the first storm since 1941. The first named storm of the 1962 Atlantic hurricane season, Alma formed from a tropical wave located offshore South Florida on August 26. Initially a tropical depression, it subsequently moved inland over South Florida. Impact in the state was minor, generally limited to light rainfall and rough seas. Early on August 27, the depression reemerged into the Atlantic Ocean and strengthened into Tropical Storm Alma later that day. Thereafter, it moved northeastward and remained offshore the East Coast of the United States. Alma strengthened into a hurricane on August 28, while located offshore the Outer Banks of North Carolina. In the eastern portion of the state, strong winds downed electrical poles, which caused power outages. Storm tides caused erosion in some areas. Damage in North Carolina reached $35,000 (1962 USD).

1940 Nova Scotia hurricane

The 1940 Nova Scotia hurricane swept through areas of Atlantic Canada in mid-September 1940. The fifth tropical cyclone and fourth hurricane of the year, it formed as a tropical depression east of the Lesser Antilles on September 7, though at the time weather observations in the area were sparse, so its formation was inferred. The disturbance gradually intensified throughout much of its early formative stages, attaining tropical storm strength on September 10; further strengthening into a hurricane north of Puerto Rico occurred two days later. Shortly thereafter, the hurricane recurved northward, and reached peak intensity the following day as a Category 2 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph (160 km/h) and a minimum barometric pressure of at least 988 mbar. The cyclone steadily weakened thereafter before making landfall on Nova Scotia on September 17 with winds of 85 mph (135 km/h). Moving into the Gulf of Saint Lawrence later that day, the storm transitioned into an extratropical cyclone. The remnant system curved eastward and passed over Newfoundland before dissipating over the Atlantic on September 19.


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