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Tropical New England: Complete New England Hurricane History Part One



Tropical New England: Documenting 2,000 years of tropical cyclone activity in New England is a book that NESC has been working on since last summer. This book will be released in full by the end of April. In this book, you will find the most complete and comprehensive history on tropical cyclone activity in this region. In it, there are 42 sections that detail over 60 cyclones that impacted New England. In addition, you will find tables showing every known tropical cyclone to impact the region since 1635.


This book goes well beyond covering New England landfalls. While every landfalling system is included, this book goes over systems that did not make landfall in New England, but still brought impactful weather to the region. This book also covers the major developments of hurricane forecasting over the years. Here is the full introduction from this book:


A tropical cyclone can wreak havoc on the entire east coast of the United States of America as well as Atlantic Canada. This zone naturally includes New England. While New England is better known for dealing with cold cyclones in the form of nor'easters, the region has also experienced its fair share of tropical cyclones. Tropical systems typically weaken significantly or become post-tropical by the time they make their way up the coast to New England. There are, however, exceptions. Throughout recorded history, New England has been hit by several major hurricanes.


Since the Atlantic Hurricane Database began keeping track of every system in 1851, New England has been hit by over 100 tropical or post-tropical systems. Prior to 1851, at least 30 systems were observed in New England, dating back to the early 1600s, as recorded by meteorologists at the time. Furthermore, paleotempestology has shed light on tropical cyclone activity that most likely occurred in the region prior to recorded history.


Typically, when cyclones make their way up the east coast of the United States toward New England, they are deflected out to sea and away from New England by a subtropical ridge of high pressure. These storms frequently stay well offshore, but they can get close enough to have an impact on New England. A storm does not have to make landfall in order to bring severe weather to the region.


Landfalls in New England are rather uncommon, but they do occur. Almost all landfalling New England systems follow the same setup and track. Cyclones begin as tropical waves off the coast of Africa. These waves move across open water to the west northwest. As they move north of Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Cuba, the storms begin to track northwest. The storms will then turn north, avoiding Florida.


The storms then parallel the east coast of the United States, staying very close to the coastline until they reach New England, which sticks further out into the ocean than the rest of the US east coast. The key to a landfalling New England storm is that the high pressure ridge is either unusually far north or too weak to deflect the storm away.


There are some exceptions to the aforementioned track.The 1938 New England Hurricane made landfall traveling due north. Tropical Storm Henri in 2021 and Sandy in 2012 both made sharp turns west as they approached New England. A few storms have made landfall in both Florida and New England.


Aside from tropical systems, post-tropical storms can also have a significant impact on the region. At least 35 post-tropical systems have been felt in the region since 1851. While these storms are no longer classified as tropical, they can still cause havoc. Post-tropical Noel passed New England off the coast of Cape Cod in 2007. Despite the fact that it was no longer tropical, the storm brought hurricane-force winds to Massachusetts, with gusts reaching 89 mph. Parts of Maine received five inches of rain. Several houses on Cape Cod were damaged by high surf. Almost 100,000 customers in New England lost power. When the 1991 "Perfect Storm" hit New England, it was extratropical and did not become a hurricane until after the storm had passed. Now, let's go over the entire history of tropical activity in New England.


"Tropical New England" will be released as an e-book. Details on release date and where to purchase the book will be coming very soon, along with more excerpts from the book itself.

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