June 13, 2024

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7:15 AM | *“The Perfect Storm” – October 1991

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In the movie “The Perfect Storm”, the last scene was of a very large wave of nearly 100 feet that essentially sunk the boat and this depiction had credibility as a buoy in Atlantic Canada recorded a rogue wave of about that height. Waves as high as 25-feet occurred along coastal Massachusetts where winds were whipping up to about 80 mph. In Boston, 25-foot waves crashed onshore as high tides were running about 4 feet above average. The tide reached 14.1 feet above the average low tide which was about 1 foot lower than what was reported during the Blizzard of 1978. The story of the Andrea Gail was the subject of a 1997 novel called “The Perfect Storm” written by Sebastian Junger and the book turned into a movie with the same name in 2000. “The Perfect Storm” was a nickname given to the storm by Bob Case, a retired NOAA meteorologist who worked at Boston’s National Weather Service office.

Impact from the Caribbean to Canada

Dangerous surf was reported by this complex storm system all the way from the Caribbean to Canada. Many locations up and down the Atlantic coast saw tide, flood and storm surge records broken. In ocean City, Maryland, for example, a record high tide of 7.8 feet occurred beating the old record of 7.5 feet recorded during a March 1962 storm. Up the coast, hundreds of homes and businesses were knocked from their foundations by the powerful storm system with sea walls, boardwalks, bulkheads, and piers reduced to rubble in many areas. Numerous small boats were sunk at their berths, and thousands of lobster traps were destroyed. The Hudson, Hackensack, and Passaic rivers (NY, NJ) all experienced tidal flooding, and high winds brought down utility poles, power lines, tree limbs, and signs. 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. In Kennebunkport, Maine, the home of then President George H.W. Bush was damaged with blown out windows, flooding, and structural damage. There were a total of 12 lives lost by this storm system including the six-man crew of the Andrea Gail.

Meteorologist Paul Dorian

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Paul Dorian

2023-10-31 11:15:00

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