Comments on the proposed revisions to the pre-1930 odds and ends

From the Best Track Supervisory Committee
[Responses to the Committee are indented and in bold face - Chris Landsea - June 2011]

General comments:

  1. In the August 1909 Monthly Weather Review (pg. 538, Weather, Forecasts, and Warnings for the Month), there are several apparent tropical disturbances that are not on the track chart or included in the "other systems" category. These include "disturbances of slight intensity" over the mid-Atlantic states on 4-5 August and over the Gulf of Mexico on 4-8 August (which is shown in the monthly track map). Another is a disturbance east on the Virgin Islands on 16 August that recurved south and east of Bermuda on 17-18 August. If these have not yet been investigated, please do so to see if they were tropical cyclones.

    1. [The system on the 4th and 5th of August, 1909 along the mid-Atlantic states is clearly frontal based upon a review of the Historical Weather Maps. No inclusion in the Additional Notes section of the metadata is warranted.
    2. August 4-8: The Historical Weather maps show a strong tropical wave moving west-northwestward from the central Caribbean on the 4th to the western Gulf of Mexico on the 8th . "July closed with a barometric depression over the Caribbean Sea within which two disturbances of slight intensity appeared'85the other passed over the Gulf of Mexico to the Texas coast with moderate to heavy rains in the middle and west Gulf coastal districts from the 4th to the 8th . "No gales or low pressures were observed throughout the lifetime of this disturbance and it does not appear that a closed low was ever in existence, despite the MWR showing a low from the 6th to the 8th moving from the central Gulf of Mexico to Texas in the Tracks of Centers of Low Areas. Thus there is not evidence to include this system into HURDAT as a tropical storm. This is now included into the Additional Notes section for 1909.
    3. The system on the 16th to the 18th is an extension of a disturbance currently in the Additional Notes section of the metadata in 1909. Upon further review, this system is close, but does not meet the criteria needed for inclusion as a tropical storm in HURDAT.]

    It should be noted that the new proposed storm for August 1909 is *not* mentioned in the Monthly Weather Review, in contrast to these other systems.

  1. Cary Mock's modification of storm #2 of 1885: The committee concurs with the downgrade of the system to Category 2, pending the resolution of a couple of issues.

    1. The Monthly Weather Review monthly summary table (page 209) shows a low pressure for the month of 972.9 mb in Charleston. Is this the same barometer analyzed in Mayes' thesis?

      [This is correct and now is clarified in the metadata writeup.]

    2. What is the careful analysis of the barometer in Mayes' thesis, especially the parts that show it was in the eye and not just the eyewall? Please include the relevant excerpts in the metadata.


  2. Chenoweth's re-analysis of storm #2 in 1857 and storm #8 in 1859

    [Note from Chris Landsea: The replies for these two systems are directly from Mike Chenoweth.]

    1. For both of these systems, the suppositions about the upper air patterns probably need to be left out of the summaries.

      [That is fine by me. Please omit or edit as you feel needed.]

    2. For storm #2 of 1857, what is the data that justifies moving the track inland? Is it the southerly wind in New Bern? Please be specific.

      [The reason is the totality of the information and not a single item. The Wilmington Journal indicates that in the lower part of the county (south of the city in the "lower part of the county" the storm was considered more violent than in Wilmington. As late as 4pm 12th the Columbia steamer (see "E" reply below) had hurricane force winds having apparently been in the eye of the storm around 5-8am that day. With the hurricane center that near to land, and the last wind being from the south, then it seems very likely that the hurricane made landfall not too far to the east of Wilmington but just enough to spare it from major damage. It is also possible that cooler waters near the coast may have played a role and diminished its intensity at landfall. I am certainly willing for the committee to make adjustments in light of the answers to the questions here, especially to intensity; I don't think the track needs to be adjusted much from what I have provided.]

    3. For storm #2 of 1857, please explain in greater detail the "Spanish Prime Meridian" and its relevance to the report from the brig "Emilia".

      [The ship is Spanish and it was normal for the ship's longitude to be given from a Spanish prime meridian (such as Cadiz) so this was meant to indicate uncertainty in the longitude since it is not clear if the longitude is as given or silently corrected to the Greenwich meridian in the report. As stated, it appears to be on the order of about 5 degrees too far east to fit with the available data. I have also recently obtained a new account from a ship's logbook further supporting the formation of the storm around 5-6 September further to the west, although I would now center its start point a little further to the nw than in the original write-up and the storm drifting initially to the e and ene more slowly, intensifying to a powerful tropical storm and then turning on its nw'erly track as in the write-up. The Emilia's longitude is an outlier and not to be relied on.]

    4. For storm #2 of 1857, the committee notes that the lack of damage in Wilmington, Washington, and Beaufort is not inconsistent with a major hurricane if the center remained offshore, or the strongest winds remained over water away from the center (see point B).

      [I agree. If the center passed just east of Wilmington as I assume, then the area of strongest winds on the western side of the storm may have been fairly narrow. The storm may also have weakened just prior to landfall which could also account for the data I have provided. (see "E" below).]

    5. For storm #2 of 1857, do some of the observations for the steamer "Columbia" have the wrong day? Some of them look like they should be from 12 September.

      [Yes, the last four entries are indeed for 12 September and were inadvertently left as 11 September in the original.]

    6. For storm #2 of 1857, Chenoweth writes "The relative absence of ship reports east of 53W indicates that the storm probably weakened and became extra-tropical soon after passing the 50W meridian." What does this mean? Were there no gale or storm observations, or just no ship reports? Please clarify.

      [Ships sailing in from further east around the time we would expect the storm to be passing through made no comments on the weather so the storm likely weakened considerably eastward of the last reports of hurricane force winds.]

    7. For storm #8 of 1859, while the committee occurs with extending the track back into the Gulf of Mexico, there are concerns about both the track and intensity. For the location, how can the proposed positions be reconciled with those of Fernandez-Partagas, especially since on the 28th hurricane-force winds are reported from 86°W to 77°W?

      [The easiest way to reconcile the apparent dating conundrum is a fast-moving storm that was inter-acting with the westerlies and accelerating the entire time as I indicate in my original write-up. My timeline would indicate that the Kensington probably encountered the storm around 11pm local time on 28 October which is consistent with an early afternoon landfall at Tampa Bay and an accelerating forward motion. This implies that the ship's encountering the storm in the GMEX had it in the early hours of 28 October. Also, given the differences in civil versus marine calendar usage (midnight to midnight versus noon to noon) there is always a potential for a 12-hour error if a single day is given in a ship report. The Kensington date in the press account of 28 October would be more accurate if it said 28-29 October or just 29 October since the seaman's day began at local noon of the 28th and ended local noon of the 29th and during this interval it encountered the hurricane. Reading it as a mariner's log date (28 Oct = 27-28 Oct) than the account is misdated; if one views it as a civil day (28 Oct) then the press account is spot on, just, by an hour or so.

      My confidence in my track and its timing, while necessarily approximate given the available data, is supported by data from logbooks gathered after I originally submitted my item. The USS Tennessee sailed from Vera Cruz and reached New Orleans on 26 October. The USS Savannah was at Vera Cruz the entire time. The weather reports from the ships are consistent with my depiction of the overall synoptic situation and the timeline with the leading edge of the cold air reaching Vera Cruz about 6am 23 October and by 25 October pressure again falling and the weather becoming disturbed with a storm forming to the northeast somewhere in the Bay of Campeche but Vera Cruz never had pressure below 30.05 (uncorrected) and temperatures only fell briefly by a few degrees the night of 23-24 October so the center positions are, of course, quite approximate until we get a better fix with the earliest storm encounter by a ship in 22°N.]

      For the intensity, there is concern that the 95 kt intensity in Florida is too high given 1) the lack of good pressure observations, and 2) the possibility that the cyclone was interacting with the westerlies or beginning extratropical transition even before reaching Florida. Does the thermal data available allow for a better analysis of the latter possibility?

      [Yes, a better analysis is possible and I wish I had placed the temperatures in the original submission. The temperature at Egmont Key at all three observations on 27 October was 74F with unsettled rainy weather prevailing all day. On 28 October there is a single temperature reading at 7am of 68.5°F which would indeed indicate cooler air close to the hurricane. So I certainly am open to a different intensity value at this time and the exact evolution and timing of the extra-tropical transition can be modified in light of this.

      The temperatures at Charlotte Harbour on 27 October at the 3 ob times were 78-78-79 and on 28 October were 77-78-74.

      I ask the committee to consider that (1) Egmont Key did not sample the strongest part of the storm (2) the thermometer, being 1859, was in a non-standard exposure and was probably wetted and acting like a wet bulb under the weather conditions prevailing at the time (3) the additive effect of the increasing forward motion of the storm (4) pressure from the Kensington suggests the storm was still a hurricane at this point but soon after becoming extratropical (so even having travelled over land it maintained hurricane intensity in an increasingly unfavorable environment). I am willing to reduce the 90-95kt obs down to 85kt to keep it in Cat 2 territory given the absence of land-based damage reports but the timing and position are to remain.]

      [Note here from Chris Landsea: The precision in HURDAT pre-1886 is 10 kt, so choices for landfall intensity in this 1859 hurricane are either 80 kt (Cat 1) or 90 kt (Cat 2).]

    8. For storm #8 of 1859, there seems to be a lot of handwaving over the observation from the W.W. Harkness for both the pressure and the date (see the notes in the spreadsheet). Is this observation really accurate enough to be useful?

      [Here is the full item from the 12 Nov Picayune about the W.W. Harkness:
      "On the 23d October, two days out from Tampico, was compelled to heave to and reef sails in a heavy norther in lat 25°, long. 96°, which lasted until the 27th, when in lat. 22°, long. 92.46°, was overtaken by a hurricane. Began to blow at 8 P.M. from the northeast, and lasted till 11 A.M. the next morning, when wind veered round to the northwest, barometer 27.50° . During all this time the Harkness was hove to with all sails furled, except a little of the main peak set to keep her head to the sea, which run very high. Lost two jibs, carried away head stays and worked loose bowsprit. Vesel made water freely after the gale. Finally, obliged to drift without any sails till temporary rigging could be made. Wind blowing strong from N.E. all the time. November 2. - At 4P.M. exchanged signals with the schooner Star, bound south, lat. 25.24° long. 93.11°. November 4. - Vessel very crank. Fruits rotten. Was obliged to run in for the land, westward, in smooth water and brought to. All the fruit overboard. Broke cargo aft and stowed forward, so as to bring vessel into sailing trim. November 9. - Off Timablier [sic] Island. Exchange signals with steamships Mexico and Texas. November 10. - Arrived at Southwest Pass, 21 days from Tampico, during which time not one single hour of fair wind. Nothing but a northeaster from one end of the Gulf to the other."

      I considered the pressure reading unreliable only because I did not have a reading from which it initially fell to judge how well it was calibrated. If the coordinates are for noon the 27th, then this is indeed the sea day 26-27 October, instead of the 27-28th as implied by reading the entry as the storm beginning at 8pm the 27th and ending 11am the 28th, which is why I considered the account "misdated". Such a date was also inconsistent with a storm increasing its forward motion the further east it moved across the Gulf.

      The USS Tennessee, in about 21.00-21.30°N 94°W had SSW winds at 1pm 22 October and then a shift, after a calm at 3pm, to north at 4pm 22 October indicating the arrival of colder air behind a cold front. Since the Harkness first had a norther in 25°N it had to have encountered the cold front earlier. There account says the 23rd, which is not correct when read as a civil time, and has to be the 22nd, and probably that for 21-22 October (sea reckoning). From the stated coordinates, the ship was forced back to the southeast by the norther, and then took the hurricane. So, if the 23rd is a mis-date by one day, then so is the 27th a misdate by one day. I made this supposition originally without the USS Tennessee logbook and so I am vindicated by the results. So, my analysis was gutsy in the first place and proved to be a reasonable approximation of what really happened.

      The only hand-waving in this account was done by Fernandez-Partagas, who ignored a completely valid ship report ("Wildfire") which he thought was inconsistent with other information. He also ignored the account of the ship Portland, which sailed from Liverpool to New Orleans and had the hurricane on 28 October, which he acknowledges would match with the Wildfire report if the storm was in the GMEX and not in the Atlantic, as he mistakenly assumed. In this instance of "hand-waving", the (then) HURDAT committee agreed with his write-up and placed it directly into HURDAT. I've never understood this storm being in HURDAT as it was, given the climatology of late October hurricanes and the utter absence of weather reports from the Bahamas and Cuba earlier in the life cycle; the absence of such reports from these areas would increase the likelihood of cyclogenesis and a track from somewhere in the GMEX. Now, we have a much better idea of what actually happened.]

  3. Proposed changes to the miscellaneous Gulf of Mexico hurricanes from 1852 to 1920:
    1. Is the use of the Brown et al wind-pressure relationships being uniformly applied to every place where a pressure is available, or just for the landfall times? There is also a concern on the committee's part that we don't get into a game of re-analyzing a cyclone every time a new wind-pressure relationship comes out. For example, how much re-analysis will be needed once the Knaff-Courtney-Zehr wind-pressure relationship becomes the industry standard?

      [Yes, the Brown et al. wind-pressure relationships are applied uniformly whenever a pressure is available, either at landfall or over the open ocean. We agree that using a revised wind-pressure relationship each time a new one is published would not be a reasonable approach. This would cause our team to go back to 1851 and re-revise the database every time, which is a huge amount of effort. The current plan is to continue with reanalysis efforts with the Brown et al. relationships from 1931 until the modern era. Certainly, researchers in the future would not be restricted in using any such revised wind-pressure relationships. (An aside about the Knaff-Courtney-Zehr wind-pressure relationship for use in reanalyses: the format of this relationship is not applicable for the historic storms because the relationship needs either the mean tangential winds in an annulus from 400-600 km from the center or the mean radius of gale-force winds. Both of these quantities are nearly impossible to estimate reliably before the modern era of aircraft reconnaissance since 1990.)]

    2. For storm #1 of 1852, the proposed changes appear reasonable if the RMW size is correct. However, the RMW is assessed at 30 n mi, presumably by Ho. The storm motion at landfall is about 4 kt, which given the RMW suggests someone had a 12-15 hour long eye passage. Are there any known accounts of such a long eye passage? Apparently, the lull in Mobile was two hours or less. The landfall position and/or RMW size may need re-examination.

      [There are no reports available of such a very long eye passage. While it is possible that Mobile did not go through the exact center of the eye, it is agreed that the RMW was likely substantially smaller than originally estimated by Ho et al. Using a This value is substantially smaller than climatology (20 nmi - Vickery et al. 2000) for this latitude and central pressure. Thus keeping the landfall intensity at 100 kt and thus the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Windscale Category at 3 are reasonable. No changes are thus made to HURDAT, but the estimated RMW is changed from 30 to 10 nm.]

    3. For storm #9 of 1887, the data record from Brownsville for the passage of the storm is available on page 243 of the Monthly Weather Review , and it should be added to the raw data compilation. Examination of this and the Point Isabel record (MWR page 244), combined with the 5 kt motion at landfall, suggests the eye diameter was at least 40 n mi and may have been as large as 65 n mi. This suggests an RMW that would likely be more in line with the lower landfall intensity.

      [Agreed, the combination of a large RMW and a slow moving system would indicate a lower intensity of 75 kt for the 973 mb central pressure. These observation were already in the raw data file.]

    4. For storm #10 of 1893, does the fact that the storm was weakening suggest a lower landfall intensity in Mississippi?

      [Agreed, the new Brown et al. (2006) pressure-wind relationship suggests winds of 84 kt from the north of 25N equation for steady state systems and 81 kt for weakening systems. Given the small size but near average translational velocity of 10 kt at landfall, 85 kt is chosen at landfall in Mississippi at 16Z on the 2nd. This retains the Category 2 assessed in the 2003 reanalysis. No changes are needed to HURDAT as 85 kt was already indicated at 18Z on the 2super ndnosupersub , just two hours after the second landfall.]

    5. For storm #2 of 1899, this system not only had a small size but also seems to have had a small RWM. A modern analog might be Paula of 2010. Does an RMW of 5-10 n mi justify keeping a higher intensity when compared to Vickery's climatology? Does the steady state of the storm before the Florida landfall invalidate the use of the "deepening" relationship?

      [Agreed. The system had a very small size (140 nmi radius of outer close isobar and ~10 nm RMW), the latter of which is substantially smaller than climatology (23 nm '96 Vickery et al. 2000) for this central pressure and latitude. Given the lack of inner core observations before the 979 mb central pressure measurement, it is uncertain which relationship is most appropriate, so both are considered. Given the combination of a very small size with the assumption of an intensifying cyclone tempered somewhat by a slow translational velocity (5 kt), an intensity at landfall of 85 kt is analyzed. This is unchanged and thus retains the Category 2 from the 2003 reanalysis.]

    6. The landfall data for the 1900 Galveston hurricane gives the landfall state and category as CX4. Should this be CTX4?


    7. The committee concurs with the remainder of the proposed changes.
  4. Chenoweth's re-analysis of storm #7 in 1866

    [Reply provided by Mike Chenoweth.]

    1. The committee concurs with the decision to remove the southern portion of the track over the Bahamas. It should be noted that the Fernandez-Partagas/Diaz work originally showed this track starting north of the Bahamas, and the track should probably revert back to that.

    2. The committee does not concur at this time with removing this system completely from HURDAT. Ship reports shown in the Fernandez-Partagas /Diaz work suggest this system was at least initially a separate low from the baroclinic development to the north and west. The committee recommends locating observations from the coast of North Carolina currently not available from either Fernandez-Partagas/Diaz or Chenoweth - to help determine the evolution of this system.

      [Here are land-based reports for some stations on the US East coast for 29-31 October 1866. Since EDADS is not likely to come back up soon it is much more difficult to quickly obtain data to fully answer as I would normally. Obs are 7/2/9 and standard Smithsonian Institution Wind Force terms are in use by the US stations. Pressure data are not corrected.Cary Mock provided the Georgetown data from the Alexander Glennie record. Other reports note the observation time.

      St. Stephens, New Brunswick [HMS Cordelia Logbook]
      Oct 30 noon 49 SE6 30.10 Midnight 47 SE8 29.83
      Oct 31 noon 53 S1 29.88 2pm SW2 4pm 53 NW1 29.95

      Halifax, Nova Scotia [HMS Duncan Logbook]
      Oct 30 noon 47 SE4-5 30.50

      New Bedford, MA
      Oct 29 45-51-54 ESE2-SE-SE3 30.37-30.29-30.21
      Oct 30 58-62-52 SE5-S4-NW1 29.81-29.53-29.64
      Oct 31 42-54-40 W1-WxN2-NW1 29.81-29.87-30.06

      Ft. Monroe, VA
      Oct 29 60-65-61 E3-E3-NE6 30.45-30.25-29.75 High wind during the night rain began 7:00p.m.
      Oct 30 65-66-55 NE2-N1-N3 [Observations inadvertently omitted and not available w/o EDADS]
      Wilson, NC [3541N 7747W]
      Oct 29 58-70-69 E1-S2-E2
      Oct 30 64-72-54 SW1-NW1-W1

      Georgetown, SC
      Oct 28 No temp NE1-E2-E1 clear-fine-cloudy
      Oct 29 No temp SE5-SE5-S2 rain-rain-rain 2.5" of rain
      Oct 30 MM-69-56 SW1-W3-W1 fine-clear-clear

      Hilton Head, SC
      Oct 29 68-76-66 E2-E3-W2
      Oct 30 62-68-56 N1-N4-MM

      Bermuda (noon ob)
      Oct 29 74 NE3 30.040 fine wx
      Oct 30 73 SE4 29.945 cloudy

      The wind shift at Georgtown, SC is not consistent with a tropical cyclone passing by to its east; likewise, the wind field from the Virginia and NC observations would suggest a frontal boundary by the morning of 30 October lying between Norfolk and Wilson. A large high pressure area retreated as the low came up the coast but it seems like the initial disturbance came across the SE US and deepened/formed off the SC coast and then moved NNE into southern New England where it was clearly an extratropical system as F-P & Diaz suggested. Ludlum's sparse documentation also suggests he had doubts about the storm's existence. I do not believe we have sufficient evidence for a tropical cyclone especially given the absence of any storm in lower latitudes.'a0 Also, ship reports from the brigs G.W. Barter and Eveline do not mention rainfall or storms or any bad weather other than gales and if they had so, this would have made me more inclined to consider the possibility of a subtropical depression or storm forming north of the Bahamas and east of SC. The ships also do not mention having "laid to" so they continued moving (at whatever speed) so their coordinates may be the location where they initially encountered gales but the weather does not necessarily correspond to a fixed point and covers an indeterminate period of time on the stated day.]

  5. Chenoweth's re-analysis and combination of storms #1 and #2 in 1871

    [Note that the following response is directly from Mike Chenoweth.]

    1. The committee would like to see all the observations used here, especially those from Galveston, Clear Lake, Houston, and Gilmer.

      [Comment A - Observations for individual stations are available on EDADS (the successor to WSSRD) but the site is presently down according to an e-mail from Cynthia Karl to users and is expected to be down for some weeks until they fix the issues with the site. So at present I only have certain extracts from the original forms (mainly winds, temps and wx comments, and if available, pressure data). Ob times 7,2,9. MM=missing data for a given weather element; note that force 5 in Smithsonian Scale equals 35mph; force 6 = 45mph and force 7 = 60mph. Also, make reference to the NOAA Central Library website of daily weather maps produced by the Signal Corps at h which indicates the sparse nature of the network in the southern Plains which I supplemented originally with reports from interior stations. If there had been any evidence of a remnant low passing by I would have said so and provided the most important details; instead there is nothing but negative data to infer from these observations for the northward movement of the tropical cyclone and everything in the observations nearer to the storm to keep it in Texas, looping as the data would suggest.

      3 June
      Austin TX N1-NE3-NE2
      Victoria TX N1-N2-N1 79-90-83
      Houston TX calm-NW3-NW3 80-89-79
      Clear Lake NE2-NE3-NE3 77-83-77 [located in 29.32°N 95.01°W]
      Collins Landing LA N2-E5-E3 29.73-29.68-29.71 (uncorrected and appear to be on the order of .15-.20" too low with reference to New Orleans corrected data) [located in 30.30°N 90.20°W]

      Note: The 735am Washington time weather report from Galveston on 3 June indicates 12mph winds from the north, temperature 75° and barometer (corrected) at 29.92 [NOAA Central Library daily weather maps]

      4 June
      Austin NE - N4 - N3 77-90-78
      Victoria N2-N3-N2 showers from 11am to 4pm 0.5" 80-86-80
      Houston NW5-NE5-NE5 79-79-MM
      Clear Lake NE3-NE4-SE5 79-76-77 at 1215 a,m. rain with few intermissions until 5p.m.; wind [then] to ESE drizzling slightly increasing wind at 7p.m. and continuing to 9p.m.
      Collins Landing SE3-S3-calm 29.71-29.71-29.74

      Note: The 735am Washington time weather report from Galveston on 4 June indicates se31mph winds, temperature 76 and barometer (corrected) at 29.52 [NOAA Central Library daily weather maps]

      5 June
      Austin N3-N3-N2 77-85-77
      Victoria N3-N3-N3 rain began 11am 78-80-78
      Houston E5-NE5-NE5 78-80-78
      Clear Lake SE5-SE4-E3 strong gale from NW from about 1230am to about 5am doing much damage to the china tree in he yard; rain without much intermission all day; no lightning
      Collins Landing S1-W1-Calm 29.74-29.73-29.74

      6 June
      Austin N3-N2-N1 76-90-79
      Victoria N3-N2-N1 rain ended 4pm 1.3" 78-83-78 rain nearly all day with strong gusts of wind
      Houston Calm-Calm-Calm 80-84-81
      Clear Lake NE2-NE1-NE1 78-79-77 slight rain last night; showers at 130pm with slight thunder
      Collins Landing S2-S1-Calm 29.75-29.72-29.74

      Note: The 735am Washington time weather report from Galveston on 6 June indicates a 4mph east wnd, temperature 79 and barometer (corrected) at 29.79.

      7 June
      Austin N3-N3-N1 79-90-78
      Victoria N2-N2-N1 78-83-74 0.3" rain in showers; gusts of wind; fine rainbow at sunset
      Houston Calm-Calm-Calm 85-88-87
      Clear Lake NE1-NE1-NE2 78-86-77 at 120pm and 315pm slight showers
      Collims Landing Calm-W1-Calm 29.76-29.73-29.76

      8 June
      Austin N1-N3-E1 76-90-72
      Victoria N1-N2-N1 78-80-76
      Houston Calm-Calm-Calm 88-92-74
      Clear Lake NE2-NE1-NE2 76-83-75 220pm heavy shower with thunder & lightning then slight rain to 330pm
      Collins Landing E2-NE2-Calm 29.82-29.82-29.82

      9 June
      Austin N1-NE3-NE2 79-87-77
      Victoria N1-S1-S1 74-89-[8] 4
      Houston MM-NE3-NE5 74-79-79
      Clear Lake NE3-NE3-N5 75-72-72 began to rain at 1250pm without much intermission in the afternoon; wind rose to a strong gale at 920pm and continued without variation until 12pm then gradually slackened to a strong wind by daybreak of the 10th; much damage to trees, fences and crops
      Collins Landing 1-NE4-E4 29.83-29.79-29.81

      10 June
      Austin NW2-NW2-SW1 79-93-77
      Victoria S1-S1-Calm 78-90-84
      Houston MM-W5-MM 76-91-80
      Clear Lake NW3-NW2-MM 74-88-70 [70F lowest temp of June 1871]
      Collins Landing S6-SW7-SW6 29.73-29.76-29.78
      Brookhaven MS E2-SE5-SW4 75-76-74 rain ended 5pm 3.00" rain]

    2. It is noted that the newspapers used here were based out of New Orleans. Are there any newspapers in the Galveston area, or in southwestern Louisiana, that could shed light on this storm? It might be a good idea to contact Lew Fincher to see what information can be found in the archives in southeastern Texas.

      [Comment B - The Galveston extracts in the Picayune of 9 June are taken from, and cited as being from, the Galveston [Daily] News of 6 and 7 June and the Galveston extracts from the 16 June Picayune are from the 11 June issue of the Galveston [Daily] News. Other reports are from the New Orleans papers interviews with passengers on ships from Galveston, or their own correspondent reports from Galveston. There are no Galveston papers for 1871 in the US Library of Congress but issues in later years of the 1870s that are available are frequently cited in the Picayune and match the content in the Galveston papers. Other local papers in the region would be welcome for any details that may not have been picked up in the New Orleans press but they will probably not make any fundamental change in the track and timing of the storm and should not delay changes in HURDAT since HURDAT is a living document that will always be ready for a new update.

      Why is my use of Galveston press accounts from a New Orleans paper considered insufficient evidence for re-analysis? Fernandez-Partagas used only press accounts from New York City (New York Times) which is about 700 miles further from Galveston than New Orleans and previous HURDAT committee members apparently found that to be sufficient and accepted without question. A consistent policy towards sources and data is not apparent in your response to my input.]

    3. The committee concurs that, at the very least, the track of storm #2 needs a major shift to the east. The evidence that a cyclone moved from the central Louisiana coast into eastern Mississippi appears to be very strong.

      [Comment C - The track in Louisiana is indeed a big miss by the Signal Corps and so it should be no surprise if they messed up the track of storm one as well. In real time, with little information on their own daily maps, they released to the press: "The threatening weather which is now prevalent on the [Great] lakes is the remnant of the storm which was at Galveston June 4th, and at Key West June 1st." [Dateline Washington, June 6 as reported in the Daily Picayune, 7 June, p. 1] There were no Galveston observations on the Daily Weather Map series for 5, 7-8 and 10-11 June.

      In fact, they assumed that weather associated with a cold front and low pressure trough in the central Great Lakes and mid-Mississippi River valley on the morning of 6 June was associated with the tropical cyclone. It appears to me that the trough did not connect up with the low near the Texas coast and the low instead drifts ssw-ward for several days, as the gusty winds at Victoria on 6 & 7 June indicate. Also, northerly winds prevailing across SE TX each day from 3-9 June is completely at odds with the normal climatological expectation of south and south-southeast winds are expected.]

    4. The committee does not yet concur with the merging of the two systems together. The proposed looping motion is reasonable, as it has been seen in other storm in that area (e. g. Allison of 1989 and 2001). However, there is such a large gap in the data over northeastern Texas, western Louisiana, and Arkansas that it makes the case for this being one system less than conclusive at this time.

      [Comment D - The critical time in the space/time continuity is in the early morning hours of 5 June when Clear Lake reports a strong gale from NW, which followed force 5 SE winds at 9pm 4 June and then were followed at 7am 5 June by winds back at SE5 at 7am 5 June. This would indicate that the center of the storm moved to the east of Clear Lake and then back to the south and west towards sunrise of the 5th probably passing between Houston and Clear Lake. If not for the excellent note-taking by the Clear Lake observer we would not be able to infer from the fixed hour observations that the storm center had even reached this far north since the winds are predominantly NE at Houston and SE at Galveston on 3-5 June. The Houston press account mentions only NE winds and parts of the city submerged indicating a predominant easterly fetch to the winds driving the water into the bay and bayous.]

  6. Proposed new tropical storm, 1899:

    1. The committee has concerns that this system was not fully tropical in character. The two gale reports were a significant distance from the center, and climatology suggests the possibility there were baroclinic forces at work. Please analyze the thermal structure of the cyclone as best as the data allows.

      [On the days of peak intensity - 16th and 17th - the system had a rather minimal temperature gradient ~2 F. The two gale force reports were roughly 100 and 175 nm from the center at that time on the 16th. It appears that the system was primarily tropical in nature, but in the era of satellite imagery, might instead have been considered a subtropical storm.]

    2. The Historical Weather Maps suggest the possibility that the system was farther west on 17-18 October. On 17 October, there is a ship with a southerly wind near 30N 76W, suggesting perhaps a center west of 75W. On 18 October, the obs suggest a low pressure area just north or northeast of Cape Hatteras. How that relates to the proposed cyclone position of 35.5°N 72.5°W is unclear. You may need the OMR records from the North Carolina coast to help resolve this.

      [The positions are adjusted toward the west on the 16th, 17th and 18th. No tropical storm force winds or low pressures occurred in North Carolina, which is consistent with the system dissipating late on the 18th.]

  7. a. The additional notes:
    1. The committee concurs (with the exceptions noted below) with leaving these systems out of HURDAT. One question is that have the obs for these systems been checked for suspiciously low pressures as well as gales? This is specially true for the two systems in September 1909 where gales were reported lose to the center.

      [Yes, pressures were examined as well. However, pressure observations in the COADS database tend to be quite sparse in the early 20th Century.]

    2. For the June 9 - 17, 1900 system, there were two gale obs mentioned on 15 June. How far were these from the center? It may be possible that the winds were right and the pressures were wrong. Were any of the ships close enough to the center to estimate a central pressure from their data?

      [These two gales were about 250 and 200 nm, respectively, from the system's center. Another reason for doubting the observations - which appear to be from the same ship - is that on the 15th the ship is nearly collocated with a separate vessel that is reporting 15 kt SW winds. None of the ships were close enough to the center to estimate a central pressure from the data.]

    3. For the 4 - 11 October 1901 system, was there a pressure observation for the ship with the 35 kt winds? If so, please note it in the record.

      [There was no pressure reading accompanying this wind observation from the ship.]

    4. For the 7 - 16 August 1909 system, this may be the system referred to in the Monthly Weather Review that was east on the Virgin Islands on 16 August and recurved south and east of Bermuda on 17-18 August. You may want to check those last two days for significant ship reports.

      [The system on the 16th to the 18th is indeed an extension of a disturbance currently in the Additional Notes section of the metadata in 1909. Upon further review, this system is close, but does not meet the criteria needed for inclusion as a tropical storm in HURDAT. The 17th and 18th are added to the writeup in the Additional Notes.]

  8. Chenoweth's new 1901 hurricane:

    1. The committee concurs with the addition of this new hurricane. However, there are concerns that this is based on only one ship observation, which goes against the idea of needing to have two independent observations. The observation in question seems to be very clear cut, (especially since the same ship got hit by another hurricane a few days later), but it is a concern nonetheless.

      [Agreed that this system is quite unique in its inclusion into HURDAT during the post-1871 era based upon a single observation. However, main reason for requiring two independent observations of either gale force and/or 1005 mb or less was to insure that a single observation of minimal tropical storm intensity was not simply an instrumentation problem or due to a typographical error. In this case, it is highly unlikely that this system is not a tropical cyclone of at least tropical storm intensity because of either of these two issues.]

  9. Chenoweth's new 1904 hurricane:
    1. The committee concurs with the addition of this new hurricane. It may be worthwhile to contact the Meteorological Service of Belize to find out what information they have on this system, or what was gathered when the country was called British Honduras. Is a ship log available for the "Eliis" in Norway?

      [These worthwhile suggestions are excellent ones to followup on in future reanalysis efforts.]

    2. The committee notes that plots of the data to include in the storm binder would be worthwhile.

      [Plots of the COADS and additional observations were included annotated to the Historical Weather Maps. Unfortunately, these were apparently lost in the transition from Colin McAdie to Jack Beven as chair of the committee. Plots have been reprinted of the Historical Weather Maps.]

  10. Proposed new tropical storm, 1909:

    1. There are several reports included in the beginning of the metadata that don't seem related to the proposed storm. Perhaps they should be omitted? There are also several observations in the data spreadsheet that are outside of the Gulf of Mexico. Are these needed to properly analyze this system?

      [Agreed, these have been removed.]

    2. The committee concurs with the addition of this system with three caveats: 1. Is there sufficient evidence to justify a 45 kt intensity? If so, what is it? 2. The Historical Weather Maps show a low pressure area forming over the northeastern Gulf of Mexico on 20 August and a vorticity center near 26°N 86°W on 21 August. This need to be examined to see if this was the pre-cursor disturbance for this storm, whether the system formed earlier than 22 August, and whether the track on 22 August is thus too far south. 3. The Historical Weather Maps show a ship with southeasterly winds near 27°N 90°W on 23 August. Does this mean the 12Z position needs to be adjusted westward?

      [The peak intensity of 45 kt is based upon the observed "strong gale" - about 40 kt - from the steamship Karen, under the assumption that it is quite unlikely that the ship sampled the worst portion of the tropical storm and the intensity is adjusted just above the observed value. The combination of HWM and COADS data suggest that the system was primarily an elongated trough on the 20th and 21super stnosupersub , especially on the latter day when more observations were available. Thus beginning the system at 00Z on the 22super ndnosupersub is preferred. The 12Z position is adjusted westward slightly, but in deference to the two ships with gales that were likely near 87-88°W on that date, the position is moved to 90.5°W]

  11. Changes to four hurricanes (1915, 1921, 1925, and 1926) by Daniel Gladstein (May 2009):

    1. For storm #2 of 1915: More information is needed on the Cuban pressure observation. Is it correct? Where was it first originally documented? If the observation is correct, the combination of it and the observed small RMW make the proposed change look correct. However, the committee can not approve this change without more information on the observation.

      [The following additional information was provided by Ramon Perez, at the Cuban Institute of Meteorology:

      "I couldn't find any information to confirm the sea level pressure recorded at western tip of Cuba. The annual reports of the "Observatorio del Colegio de Belen" didn't record any information on western Cuba sea level pressure. Gutierrez Lanz wrote: "Ciclòn de notable intensidad (we can understand as a major hurricane) pasò por el Sur de la Isla, alcanzando su lado derecho con fuerza moderada la regiòn Sur de la provincia oriental y 'bastante màs en Pinar del Rìo. En La Habana y provincias centrales se sintiò dèbilmente. Los daños causados fueron de consideraciòn en la provincia de Pinar del Rìo, principalmente en los frutos menores y en las casas de curar tabaco, en las otras provincias fueron muy ligeros. En este ciclòn se perdiò el vapor "Marouwinje", de la United Fruit Co., con 28 pasajeros y 65 tripulantes, el cual saliò de Belice el 13 de agosto y del que nada se volviò a saber."

      Furthermore, it is clear to me that Gutierrez Lanza and his colleagues didn't see this hurricane as intense as the 1924 hurricane. They named the 1924 hurricane as the "Huracàn sin precedents" and comparing it with the 1846 hurricane (La Tormenta de San Francisco de Borja). However, damages related by MWR in western Cuba are very important. We can upgrade this 1915 hurricane to category 4 or more according to the analysis you could make about it."

      Given the uncertain nature of this measurement (in that the Cuban meteorologists have no record of it) and that the value itself was quite rough ("27 inches"), it might be placing too much emphasis on this pressure to directly obtain an intensity. The Brown et al. south of 25N pressure-wind relationship would suggest 144 kt - Category 5 conditions and about 40 kt more than previously in HURDAT. The impacts that are described do suggest wind-caused damages above that of a Category 3. The reanalysis here splits the difference between the original HURDAT and the winds from the pressure-wind relationship because of the uncertainties present in the pressure value. Winds are adjusted upward to 125 kt from 12Z on the 14th to 06Z on the 15th , a major change from 105 kt originally. This revises the impact in Cuba to a Category 4 on the Saffir Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.]

    2. For storm #6 of 1921, the committee concurs with the proposed change.

    3. For storm #4 of 1925: The new data from Fort Myers strongly (though not 100%) suggests this system was not a hurricane at landfall in Florida. The efore, the committee has decided to reduce the Florida landfall intensity along the lines proposed in the original re-analysis submission. The Fort Myers data also supports Gladstein's proposed track modification. The committee suggests that the HURDAT entry for this system be modified to the following:

      24665 11/27/1925 M= 9   4 SNBR= 553 NOT NAMED    XING=1 SSS=1
      24670 11/27*202 859   30     0* 858   30     0*200 857   35     0*199 856   35     0* 
      24675 11/28*198 854   35     0*197 852   35     0*195 850   35     0*193 847   35     0*
      24680 11/29*191 842   35     0*190 837   35     0*190 835   35     0*193 837   35     0*
      24685 11/30*199 841   35     0*208 846   35     0*220 847   40     0*236 843   45     0*
      24690 12/01*256 828   55     0E273 811   50     0E287 801   60     0E300 795   70     0*
      24695 12/02E310 787   80     0E320 781   75     0E333 775   70     0E344 769   65   980* 
      24700 12/03E355 762   60     0E365 754   60     0E372 745   55     0E377 735   55     0* 
      24705 12/04E379 724   50     0E378 712   50     0E376 700   45     0E372 690   45     0* 
      24710 12/05E368 682   40     0E364 677   35     0E360 675   30     0* 0    0    0     0*
      24715 TS

    4. For storm #9 becoming #10 of 1926:

      The concerns raised about the intensity have been addressed in the previous re-analysis of this storm, resulting in higher winds than what Gladstein is proposing. Thus, the committee thinks that issue is closed for now. The positions have also been adjusted to those that are within 0.1-0.2 degrees of the Gladstein proposals except for 00Z and 06Z on 21 October. These would produce a somewhat discontinuous change in the best track speed from 21/06z to 21/12Z, so the committee thinks it would be best to keep the positions previously worked out.


  12. Removal of storm #3 of 1882:
    1. The committee agrees that there is a problem with this storm. However, even if the Lake Charles Echo report combined the accounts of the Sabine Pass events with that of the previous hurricane at Port Eads, that hurricane did not come close enough to Sabine Pass and Lake Charles to create the conditions the article describes, especially the reported apparent storm tide. Thus, either the reported conditions southeastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana are incorrect, or the area was affected by a separate storm. This issue needs to be resolved before the committee agrees to remove this system.

      [After further investigation, it was determined that there were indeed two separate systems about a week apart in time. The latter of which that impacted Sabine Pass was likely a 50 kt tropical storm. Alternatively, some of the researchers contributing information for this system have concluded that this was not a tropical storm either over the Gulf of Mexico or in Louisiana/Texas and instead was a local wind/rain event (likely a squall line) for Sabine Pass. ]

    2. The committee would like to see a copy of the report from the Lake Charles Echo so it can be evaluated. Other media reports from southwestern Louisiana and southeastern Texas would also be useful. Again, it might be a good idea to contact Lew Fincher to see what information can be found in the archives in southeastern Texas.

      [The newspaper articles from the Lake Charles Echo are provided.]

    3. The winds shift at Galveston from east to northwest on 14-15 September suggests some kind of low pressure area passed to the northeast of the station. This could have been a small tropical cyclone that caused the reported impacts. It is also possible that it was a non-tropical or hybrid disturbance, as the system may have formed from an old frontal system.

      [The observations from Galveston and the other available stations along with the modest impacts described in the newspaper articles for Lake Charles and Sabine Pass do suggest that a small tropical storm came ashore near the Louisiana/Texas border. But they are quite inconsistent with a hurricane strike. With these additional data, the track is adjusted over the Gulf of Mexico toward the southwest on the 14th beginning with as a tropical depression , intensifying to a 50 kt tropical storm by landfall, but making landfall at the same location and time as originally indicated. Weaker winds are also indicated during the dissipation phase.]