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pending calamities of a hurricane. These rules will, of course, admit of continual improvement and extension as our knowledge of the laws of storms becomes more complete ; but it is a great step in the march of science to hold out to humanity even the faintest hope of escaping from risks the most imminent, and from dan. gers the most appalling.
“1. A vessel bound to the eastward between the latitudes of 32 deg. and 45 deg. in the western part of the Atlantic, on being overtaken by a gale which commences blowing from any point to the eastward of SE, or EŠE., may avoid some portion of its violence by putting her head to the northward, and when the gale has veered sufficiently in the same direction, may safely resume her course. But by standing to the southward, under like circumstances, she will probably fall into the heart of the storm.
“ 2. In the same region, vessels, on taking a gale from SE., or points near thereto, will probably soon find themselves in the heart of the storm, and after its first fury is spent, may expect its recurrence from the opposite quarter. The most promising mode of mitigating its violence, and at the same time shortening its duration, is to stand to the southward upon the wind as long as may be necessary or possible; and if the movement succeeds, the wind will gradually head you off in the same direction. If it becomes necessary to heave-to, put your head to the southward, and if the wind does not veer, be prepared for a blast from the north-west.
“3. In the same latitudes, a vessel scudding in a gale with the wind at east or north-east, shortens its duration. On the contrary, a vessel scudding before a south-westerly, or westerly gale, will thereby increase its duration.
“4. A vessel which is pursuing her course to the westward or south westward, in this part of the Atlantic, meets the storms in their course, and thereby shortens the periods of their occurrence; and will encounter more gales in an equal number of days than if stationary, or sailing in a different direction.
" 5. On the other hand, vessels while sailing to the eastward, or northeastward, or in the course of the storms, will lengthen the periods between their occurrence, and consequently experience them less frequently than vessels sailing on a different course. The difference of exposure which results from these opposite courses on the American coast may in most cases be estimated as nearly two to one.
“6. The hazard from casualties, and of consequence the value of insurance, is enhanced or diminished by the direction of the passage, as shown under the two last heads.
“7. As the ordinary routine of the winds and weather in these latitudes often corresponds to the phases which are exhibited by the storms as before described, a correct opinion founded upon this resemblance can often be formed of the approaching changes of wind and weather, which may be highly useful to the observing navigator.
“ 8. A due consideration of the facts which have been stated will inspire additional confidence in the indications of the barometer; and these ought not to be neglected, even should the fall of the mercury be unattended by any appearance of violence in the weather, as the other side of the gale will be pretty sure to take effect, and often in a manner so sudden and violent as to more than compensate for its previous forbearance. Not the least reliance, however, should be placed upon the prognostics which are usually attached to the scale of the barometer, such as set-fair, fair, change, rain, &c., as in this region, at least, they serve no other purpose than to bring this valuable instrument into discredit. It is the mere rising and falling of the mercury which chiefly deserves attention, and not its conformity to a particular point in the scale of elevation.
“9. These practical inferences apply in terms chiefly to storms which have passed to the northward of the 30th degree of latitude on the American coast, but with the necessary modification as to the point of the compass, which
results from the westerly course pursued by the storm while in the lower latitudes, are for the most part equally applicable to the storms and hurricanes which occur in the West Indies, and south of the parallel of 30 degrees. As the marked occurrence of tempestuous weather is here less frequent, it may be sufficient to notice that the point of direction in cases which are otherwise analogous is in the West Indian seas, about ten or twelve points of the compass more to the left than on the coast of the United States in the latitude of New-York.
“Vicissitudes of winds and weather on this coast, which do not conform to the foregoing specifications, are more frequent in April, May, and June, than in other months.
“ Easterly or southerly winds, under which the barometer rises or maintains its elevation, are not of a gyratory or stormy character; but such winds frequently terminate in the falling of the barometer, and the usual phenomena of an easterly storm."
Mr. Redfield concludes these valuable observations, by stating it as his opinion-an opinion to which we shall have occasion to recur—that the great circuits of wind, of which the trade winds form an integral part, are nearly uniform in all the great oceanic basins; and that the course of these circuits, and of their stormy gyrations, is, in the southern hemisphere, in a counter direction to those in the northern one, producing a corresponding difference in the general phases of storms and winds in the two hemispheres.
From the investigations of this transatlantic observer, we now pass to those of our countryman, Lieut. Col. W. Reid, who has pursued the inquiry with the greatest zeal and ability. His attention was first directed to the subject in consequence of his having been employed officially at Barbadoes in re-establishing the government buildings, blown down by the hurricane of 1831 ; in which one thousand four hundred and seventy-seven persons lost their lives in the short space of seven hours. In order to learn something of the causes and modes of action of these violent gales, he searched everywhere for accounts of previous storms, and was for. tunate in meeting with the memoirs of Mr. Redfield, which we have above analyzed. Impressed with the belief that Mr. Redfield's views were correct, Colonel Reid determined to verify them by making charts on a larger scale, and laying down the different reports of the wind at points given in Mr. Redfield's memoirs; and the more accurately this was done, the more did the tracks approximate to those of a progressive whirlwind. But Col. Reid was not content with thus revising in a more accurate projection the labors of his predecessor. He obtained from the admiralty the logs of British ships that had been navigating the hurricane region, and by combining the observations which they contained with those made on land, he was thus enabled to group the varying phenomena of different storms; to place beyond a doubt their rotatory and progressive character, as described by Mr. Redfield ; to ascertain that they derive their destructive power from their rotatory force; and to confirm the sagacious conjecture of the American philosopher, that the storms in southern latitudes would be found to revolve in a contrary direction (namely, from left to right) to that which they take in the northern hemisphere.
Before we proceed, however, to these discussions, we shall endeavor to give our readers some idea of a West India hurricane, by combining the more interesting parts of the description which Colonel Reid has given of the Barbadoes hurricane of 1831. In passing from Barbadoes to St. Vincent this hurricane moved only at the rate of ten miles an hour. Before it reached St. Vincent Mr. Simons observed a cloud to the north of him so threatening in its aspect, that he had never seen any thing so alarming during his residence of forty years in the tropics; and he informed Colonel Reid that it appeared of an olive-green color. Mr. Simons hastened home, and by nailing up his doors and windows saved his house from the general calamity. The water of the sea was raised to such a height in Kingston bay as to flood the streets, and several buildings in Fort Charlotte were unroofed, and others blown down. The most remarkable phenomenon, however, which took place at St. Vincent, was the effect of the storm on the extensive forest with which a great part of the island is covered. A large portion of the trees at its northern extremity were killed, without being blown down. These trees were frequently examined by Colonel Reid in 1832; and they appeared to him to have been killed, not by the wind, but by the extraordinary quantity of electric matter rendered active during the storm. This exhibition of electric fire seems to be a common accompaniment of violent hurricanes; and during that of 1671, the lightning is described as darting, not with its usual short-lived flashes, but in rapid flames, skimming over the surface of the earth, as well as ascending to the upper air. During the paroxysm of the storm of 1831, two negroes at Barbadoes were greatly terrified by sparks of electricity passing off from one of them. This took place in the garden of Coddrington College, where the hut of the negroes having been just blown down, they were supporting each other in the dark, and endeavoring to reach the main building. Another remarkable phenomenon accompanied this hurricane. In consequence of the sea breaking continually over the cliff at the north point, a height of seventy feet, the spray was carried inland by the wind for many miles, and it rained salt water in all parts of the country.* The fresh-water fish in the ponds of Major Leacock were all killed; and at Bright Hall, about two miles to the south-south-east of the point, the water in the ponds continued salt for many days after the storm.
The great struggle of the elements, which constituted the parox. ysm of the hurricane of Barbadoes, was ushered in on the afternoon of the 18th of August, with variable squalls of wind and rain, with intervening calms. About four P. M. a dismal darkness brooded around; and toward the zenith there was an obscure circle of im. perfect light subtending an angle of 35 or 40 degrees. The follow. ing description of the storm, given by Col. Reid, was published at Bridgetown immediately after the event:
“ After midnight the continued flashing of the lightning was awfully grand,
It is probable that what is called rain was only vesicles of salt-water. During the violent north-east winds which dash the sea upon the rocky coast at St. Andrews, in Scotland, the spray is carried over the city in the form of vesicles or foam, which, when it strikes the windows, or lights upon the ground, exhibits its true character from the rings of salt saline matter which remain after the evaporation of the water.
and a gale blew fiercely from the north and north-east; but at one A. M., on the 11th of August, the tempestuous rage of the wind increased; the storm, which at one time blew from the north-east, suddenly shifted from that quarter, and burst forth from the north-west and intermediate points. The upper regions were from this time illuminated by incessant lightning; but the quivering sheet of blaze was surpassed in brilliancy by the darts of electric fire which were exploded in every direction. At a little after two, the astounding roar of the hurricane, which rushed from the north-west, cannot be described by language. About three the wind occasionally abated, but intervening gusts proceeded from the south-west, the west, and west-north-west, with accumulated fury.
“The lightning also having ceased, for a few moments only at a time, the blackness in which the town was enveloped was inexpressibly awful. Fiery meteors were presently seen falling from the heavens; one in particular, of a globular form, and a deep red hue, was observed by the writer to descend perpendicularly from a vast height. It evidently fell by its specific gravity, and was not shot or propelled by any extraneous force. On approaching the earth with accelerated motion it assumed a dazzling whiteness and an elongated form, and dashing to the ground it splashed around in the same manner as melted metal would have done, and was instantly extinct. In shape and size it appeared much like a common barrel shade : its brilliancy, and the spattering of its particles on meeting the earth, gave it the resemblance of a body of quicksilver of equal bulk. A few minutes after the appearance of this phenomenon, the deafening noise of the wind sunk to a distant roar, and the lightning, which from midnight had flashed and darted forkedly with few and but momentary intermissions, now, for a space of nearly half a minute, played frightfully between the clouds and the earth. The vast body of vapor appeared to touch the houses, and issued downward flaming blazes, which were nimbly returned from the earth upward.
“ The moment after this singular alternation of lightning, the hurricane again burst from the western points with violence prodigious beyond description, hurling before it thousands of missiles—the fragments of every unsheltered structure of human art. The strongest houses were caused to vibrate to their foundations, and the surface of the very earth trembled as the destroyer raged over it
. No thunder was at any time distinctly heard. The horrible roar and yelling of the wind, the noise of the ocean, whose frightful waves threatened the town with the destruction of all that the other elements might spare—the clattering of tiles, the falling of roofs and walls, and the combination of a thousand other sounds, formed a hideous and appalling din. No adequate idea of the sensations which then distracted and confounded the faculties can possibly be conveyed to those who were distant from the scene of terror.
“After five o'clock, the storm now and then for a few moments abating, made clearly audible the falling of tiles and building materials, which, by the last gust, had probably been carried to a lofty height.
" As soon as the dawn rendered outward objects visible, the writer proceeded to the wharf. The rain was driven with such force as to injure the skin. The prospect was majestic beyond description. The gigantic waves rolling onward seemed as if they would defy all obstruction; yet as they broke over the careenage they seemed to be lost, the surface of it being entirely covered with floating wrecks of every description. It was an undulating body of lumber-shingles, staves, barrels, trusses of hay, and every kind of merchandise of a buoyant nature. Two vessels only were afloat within the pier, but numbers could be seen which had been capsized or thrown on their beam ends in shallow water.
“On reaching the summit of the cathedral tower, a grand but distressing picture of ruin presented itself around. The whole face of the country was laid waste; no sign of vegetation was apparent, except here and there small patches of a sickly green. The surface of the ground appeared as if fire had run through the land, scorching and burning up the productions of the earth.
The few remaining trees, stripped of their boughs and foliage, wore a cold and wintry aspect; and the numerous seats in the environs of Bridgetown, formerly concealed amid thick groves, were now exposed and in ruins.”
In the year 1835 two rotatory hurricanes occurred in the West Indies. One of them, which we have already mentioned as No. V. in Mr. Redfield's chart, took place at Antigua, on the 12th of August. According to the additional information obtained by Colonel Reid, the wind blew from the north during the first part of the storm, and from the south during the latter part of it; a calm of twenty minutes having intervened. Hence he conjectures that the centre or vortex passed over Antigua. The barometer fell 1.4 inches, and the trees were blown down so as to form lanes.
The second hurricane of 1835 is represented in his fourth chart by Colonel Reid, who has been enabled, by the logs of H. M. steam vessel Spitfire and ship Champion, to determine its direction and general rotatory character. About nine in the morning the sea rose in an extraordinary manner. The waves rolled at Carlisle bay of an unusual height, and about ten A. M. the wind blew so violently that persons could with difficulty keep on their feet. The wind, which was at first NNE., reered gradually more and more to the east; and then having reached the east, it continued veering toward the south, until at the end of the storm it blew into Carlisle bay. This storm abated at Barbadoes about one o'clock P.M., and had ceased by two o'clock. About half-past three o'clock the Champion was in the centre of it, and must have crossed from the right hand side to the left of the course of the hurricane. She was still in the gale at midnight, but by one o'clock A.M., of the 4th of September, it had ceased at the place she then occupied. The Spitfire lost her mainmast by six o'clock P. M. of the 3d, when she was on the left hand side of the hurricane's course; but by eight o'clock P. M. she was out of the tempest. This hurricane extended to St. Lucia, the north end of which was strewed with lumber, and pieces of wrecked vessels; but it was not felt at St. Vincent. The shortness of its course is remarkable, and it seems to have come from a point much farther to the south than usual.
In the fifth chapter, occupying above eighty pages of his work, Colonel Reid proceeds to investigate, and project, in three interesting charts, the course and phenomena of three hurricanes which marked the year 1837.
The first of these hurricanes passed over Barbadoes on the morning of the 26th of July. It reached Martinique at ten min. P. M. of the same day, when it had ceased at Barbadoes. Santa Cruz received it on the 26th at midnight. It arrived at the Gulf of Florida on the 30th, when it wrecked some vessels, and damaged others. Taking a northerly course, it reached Jacksonville, in Florida, on the 1st of August, and thence passed over Savannah and Charleston, following a course to the eastward of north.
According to the private journal of Lieutenant James, of H. M. S. Spey, then at Barbadoes, on the 26th a heavy swell rolled into the bay at 4 P. M., attended with lightning and thunder. The sky assumed a blue-black appearance, with a red glare at the verge of the horizon. Every flash of lightning was accompanied with an