Introducing General Audiences to Atmospheric Science Topics through Historical Weather Events: The Great New England Hurricane of 1938

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Tuesday, 4 February 2014: 2:15 PM
Room C109 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Lourdes B. AvilÚs, Plymouth State University, Plymouth, NH

The Great New England Hurricane of 1938 is the one with which all other hurricanes in the region are sooner or later compared. One of only three exceedingly devastating storms of tropical origin since colonial times, it arrived swiftly and unexpectedly to an unprepared population. Hundreds died, coastal communities were wiped out, crops were lost, rivers flooded and an unprecedented number of trees fell when they could not keep their hold on the softened, saturated ground. It is easy to keep an audience interested when talking about this storm, especially those with local ties to the event.

For the past few years, the author has been taking advantage of this extraordinary historical storm to present basic hurricane science and other atmospheric science topics to local New England audiences. The storm's life cycle, from formation to dissipation, serves as a framework to discuss various relevant topics, which will be highlighted here and are fully treated at a general level in a book about the science and history of the storm recently published by the AMS.