National Geographic : 1899 Jan
THE WEST INDIAN HURRICANE OF SEPTEMBER Io-II, 1898 By PROF. E. B. GARRIOTT, U. S. Weather Bureau That Providence favored the American arms in the recent war with Spain appears from the fact that during the entire period of hostilities our fleets in West Indian and Southern waters were not endangered by tropical storms. During the investment of Santiago, when a hurricane visita tion would have resulted in damage and perhaps disaster to the American fleet and consequent appalling losses to our land forces in subsequent blockading operations along the coasts of Cuba and Puerto Rico, and finally during the dispersion of the naval forces and the transportation to our shores of a large portion of the army of invasion, no serious storm interfered with the ful fillment of American designs; and it was not until an attempt was made to naturalize the Maria Teresa that the weather failed to cooperate with the plans of the United States Navy. As a matter of fact, and in a seeming safe extension of the favor be stowed, the hurricane season has passed without the occurrence in or about Cuba or Puerto Rico of a violent atmospheric dis turbance. The single West Indian hurricane which did occur during the season of 1898 confined its ravages to Barbados, St Vincent, and St Lucia, islands of the Windward group. Like many other dis turbances of this type, this hurricane had its origin in the region of equatorial rains far to the eastward of the Windward islands. Reports at hand show that it was first encountered at midday, September 9, in latitude north 12° 2', longitude west 540 2', by the French barque Tourny, Captain Mortois commanding. This vessel experienced strong northeast winds with heavy sea swells during the afternoon of the ninth, and from 4 p. m. the barometer fell one-tenth inch an hour and reached a minimum of 29.35 at 7 p. m. This hour marked the time of the passage of the storm's vortex. The wind went to southwest blowing exceedingly strong, and by 11 p. m. the air had become relatively calm, although tremendous seas continued. The vessel lost all sail, and her cargo of rice was almost a total loss.