Thursday, September 11, 2014

Sixth Anniversary of Hurricane Edna

Hurricane Edna was a deadly and destructive major hurricane that impacted the United States East Coast in September of the 1954 Atlantic hurricane season. It was one of two hurricanes to strike Massachusetts in that year, the other being Hurricane Carol. The fifth tropical cyclone and storm of the season, as well as the fourth hurricane and second major hurricane, Edna developed from a tropical wave on September 2. Moving towards the north-northwest, Edna skirted the northern Leeward Islands as a tropical depression before turning more towards the west. The depression attained tropical storm status to the east of Puerto Rico and strengthened further to reach hurricane status by September 7. The storm rapidly intensified and reached its peak intensity of 120 mph (195 km/h) north of the Bahamas before weakening to Category 1 status near landfall in Massachusetts on September 11. Edna transitioned into an extratropical cyclone in Atlantic Canada before its remnants dissipated in the northern Atlantic.

Edna caused 20 fatalities throughout its lifetime as a tropical cyclone, as well as a moderate amount of damage. It first caused rainfall-induced flooding in Puerto Rico, and it later brushed the Bahamas. High waves affected the coastline of North Carolina. Edna resulted in the heaviest day of rainfall in New York City in 45 years, while strong waves cut off Montauk from the remainder of Long Island. There were six highway deaths in the state, and $1.5 million in crop damage. There were widespread evacuations in southern New England, after Hurricane Carol struck the same area only 11 days prior. Strong winds caused extensive power outages for 260,000 people, including nearly all of Cape Cod. Edna became the costliest hurricane in the history of Maine, where the hurricane caused flooding that washed out roads and rail lines. There were 21 deaths in New England, eight of whom in Maine due to drownings. Later, high winds severely damaged crops in Atlantic Canada.....

When Edna struck New England, it was moving quickly to the northeast at 45 mph (72 km/h). It struck eastern Massachusetts about 100 mi (160 km) east of where Hurricane Carol struck only a week prior. Hurricane force winds affected much of the coastline, with peak gusts of 120 mph (190 km/h) on Martha's Vineyard offshore Massachusetts, and 110 mph (180 km/h) on Block Island offshore Rhode Island. Along the coast, wind gusts peaked at 100 mph (160 km/h) at Hyannis, Massachusetts. The high winds caused widespread power outages, including for nearly all of Cape Cod. The storm surge reached 6 ft (1.8 m) along the Massachusetts coast, causing flooding and heavy boating damage. Further west, there was lesser coastal flooding, although heavy rainfall after previously wet conditions caused urban and stream flooding; rainfall peaked at around 11 in (280 mm). Damage in Connecticut and Rhode Island was mainly in areas already affected by Hurricane Carol. Several streets were washed out, and rivers rose above flood stage.[21]

The eye of the storm passed between Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts at 2:30 PM on September 11th. As the storm continued northeast, winds began to wrap around the storm from the north. The storm was large, as gale force winds extended outward 400 miles from the center. Winds of 87 mph at Boston with a brief gust of 101 mph from the northwest.

Damage was heaviest in Maine, estimated at $25 million,[16] which made Edna the costliest hurricane in the state's history. Strong wind gusts, reaching 74 mph (119 km/h), and heavy rainfall, peaking at 7.49 in (190 mm), extended into the state;[22] these were considered the heaviest rains in the state in 58 years.[18] The Androscoggin and Kennebec rivers both reached above-normal levels, causing flooding and washing out roads.[22] In Augusta, the Kennebec River reached 20.5 ft (6.2 m), which was 5 ft (1.5 m) above the peak level after the spring snow melt.[23] Flooding entered basements, affected fields, and covered bridges. In West Peru, the floods washed out a bridge that was under construction.[24] In addition, the winds downed trees,[22] which blocked widespread roads and caused power outages in 18% of the state.[12] Washed out roads and rail lines cut off the state from the rest of New England.[18] In Lewiston, a trapped car in 5 ft (1.5 m) deep waters required rescue by boat.[25] Another stranded family was rescued after seven hours in Unity, in which one child and a rescuer were killed. There were eight deaths in the state, most of whom related to cars being swept away by floods.[12]............

..........While rapidly losing characteristics of a tropical cyclone, Edna traversed central New Brunswick. In contrast with the smaller, more compact Hurricane Juan, which struck Atlantic Canada in 2003, Edna was a much larger storm with strong winds extending hundreds of miles from the center. The tightest pressure gradient was focused on the east side of the storm, over mainland Nova Scotia. Edna brought down approximately 700 million board feet of timber, and although the amount of trees the storm destroyed was comparable to that of Juan, its effects were more widespread and not as locally severe.[27] Sustained winds reached 160 km/h (99 mph) at Yarmouth and 95 km/h (59 mph) at Halifax. The intense winds downed power and telephone lines and destroyed many barns; one such structural collapse killed a man, and livestock were lost throughout the region. Other damage to property included several fallen chimneys, a toppled church steeple in Pictou, and roof failures. In Kentville, an apartment building undergoing construction was destroyed. Approximately $3 million CAD in apple crops were decimated, while in Yarmouth, both live lobsters and lobster pots were lost. Debris blocked streets across the province, and at least 800 m (0.50 mi) of road was washed out. Damage in Nova Scotia totaled $6 million CAD: in the aftermath, Yarmouth and Kentville declared states of emergency.[28]

In New Brunswick, the storm dropped 130 mm (5.1 in) of rain and produced winds of 120 km/h (75 mph). Wind damage was less significant than in Nova Scotia, although still evident in structures and utility lines. A theatre in McAdam was destroyed, and several people were injured across the area. The storm flooded streets in St. Stephen. About 400 salmon, valued at $10,000 CAD, were lost in Dalhousie. Total damage in the province is estimated at $1.78 million CAD. Elsewhere, power outages were reported in Montreal.[28]

taken from Wikipedia


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