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Hurricane Dog

Updated on February 3, 2012

No 16 of the world's worst hurricanes

Hurricane Dog was, without a doubt, the most intense hurricane to occur during the 1950 Atlantic hurricane season, primarily striking Leeward Islands and was considered the most severe hurricane in Antiguan records.

The death toll of the hurricane was, thankfully, minor when compared with other hurricanes, but thousands were left homeless as a result of the storm.

(c) V. L. Higgins 4/1989
(c) V. L. Higgins 4/1989

Hurricane Preparation for Hurricane Dog

Fortunately, by 1950, the technology needed to monitor hurricanes and communicate warnings was coming along, and the National Weather Bureau issued warnings of gale force winds, high tides and rough surf to Maine.

Seventeen naval ships were relocated to avoid the storm, Rhode Island state police warned coastal homeowners to prepare for possible evacuation, and officials closed a number of beaches and cancelled ferry travels.

When the hurricane drew closer, the National Weather Bureau issued further warnings to the respective governments from Cape May, New Jersey to Eastport, Maine.

Hurricane Tracking for Hurricane Dog

Hurricane Dog was first observed by the SS Sibrodine as a tropical storm with 70 mile per hour gale force winds on August 30th, with an area of low pressure 320 miles east by southeast off the coast of Antigua.

The exact origins of the storm remain unknown, but it is believed to have formed after a tropical wave off the coast of Africa on August 24th. The storm certainly became a hurricane early on August 31st, turning northwest on September 1st, and intensifying into a major hurricane during that night as it passed to the north of the Lesser Antilles. The island of Saint Martin reported pressure at 978.7 mbar at this time.

Hurricane Dog then drifted to the northwest while intensifying, attaining category 5 status on September 5th, three hundred thirty five miles to the north of the eastern tip of the Dominican Republic.

On September 6th, Hurricane Hunters, a hurricane watch group, measured peak winds of 185 miles per hour some four hundred fifty miles south by southwest off of Bermuda.

Reconnaissance technology for storm tracking was still a new development at this time, so there is a possibility that these estimations are somewhat inaccurate. Nonetheless, Dog was certainly a severe hurricane when approaching the western Atlantic, with wave heights of one hundred feet.

Hurricane Dog maintained peak intensity for an incredible eighteen hours on September 7th. The storm’s intensity finally lost strength on September 9th, when peak wind speeds decreased to 90 miles per hour. On September 10th, the storm turned northwest, briefly re-intensifying to winds of 100 miles per hour before losing strength again as it passed within two hundred miles of Cape Cod on September 12th. Shortly afterwards, the storm weakened to an extratropical cyclone, with the remnants turning to the east, then northeast, and finally dissolving near Ireland on the 16th of September.

Hurricane Track for Hurricane Dog

Hurricane Damage for Hurricane Dog

While passing through the Lesser Antilles, Hurricane Dog wound up producing a storm surge of eight feet in Antigua, with winds on Antigua and Barbuda being measured at roughly one hundred thirty miles an hour with gusts of one hundred forty four miles per hour recorded at St. John’s.

Hurricane force winds were reported on Antigua for six hours, where residents considered it the most powerful storm in their history.

Total financial damages through the Lesser Antilles were estimated at one million, or, today, around nine million dollars US. Antigua and Barbuda suffered severe hurricane damaged and destroyed homes, ruined crops, roads blocked, washouts, and fallen trees, with power outages across the islands.

Saint Barthelemy suffered hurricane damages of around seventy thousand, or, today, about six hundred thirty five thousand dollars US. Several shipwrecks were caused, and two people drowned when their small boat capsized.

There were further deaths in Bel Air, Maryland, where a car drove into GunpowderRiver. Three of the people in the car drowned and a forth was injured. Two people drowned in Lexington, Virginia.

The hurricane was blamed for high tides and rough surf throughout the East Coast of the US, with flooding reported along several beaches in Rhode Island. Several boats were capsized or damaged along the coastline, with two large vessels in Nantucket being destroyed.

Fifteen vessels from Marblehead, Massachusetts were grounded from the harbour, and commercial fishing assets in Cape Cod were destroyed to the tune of one hundred fifty thousand dollars, or, today, one point thirty six million dollars US.

In total, the hurricane caused fourteen fatalities directly and five indirectly, with property damage totalling three million USD in 1950, or, today, around twenty seven million dollars.

Hurricane Dog Aftermath and Hurricane Recovery

In newspaper reports, Hurricane Dog was referred to as “the great hurricane in the central Atlantic”, rarely called by name. In fact, operationally, hurricanes were rarely referred to by name until 1952.

Hurricane Dog still retains the record for longest continuous duration of a category 5 hurricane. Hurricane Allen actually spent more total time as a category 5, though.

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    • EQTactics profile image

      EQTactics 6 years ago from South-West Pennsylvania, United States

      Weird name for a hurricane!