Hello folks this is Dale. Philip decided to let me write today's journal entry about the hurricane of 1899. I am the Cooperative Weather Observer for the National Weather Service here at Ocracoke, so he thought it would be appropriate for me to do the entry today.
One of the worst hurricanes ever to strike the island occurred on today's date (August 16), 1899. Known by most folks as the San Ciriaco hurricane, Ocracokers call it The Old August Storm. The 1899 weather observer at the Weather Bureau Office in Hatteras gives this account of the hurricane.
"The wind began blowing a gale on the morning of the 16th varying in velocity from 35 to 50 mph. On the early morning of the 17th the wind increased to a hurricane and at 4 am it was blowing at the rate of 70 mph. At 10 am it had increased to 84 mph and at 1 pm it was blowing a velocity of 93mph with occasional extreme velocities of 120 to 140 mph. The wind blew with even greater force from 3 pm to 7 pm. It is believed that between these hours the wind reached a regular velocity of at least 100 mph. At about 7:30 pm on the 17th there was a very decided lull in the force of the wind and at 8 pm it had fallen out until only a gentle breeze was blowing. The lull did not last more than a half hour, before the wind veered to the east and then south-east and began blowing at a velocity estimated to be 60 to 70 mph which continued until the morning of the 18th. During the morning of the 18th the wind veered to the south and continued to blow a gale, with heavy rain squalls all day, decreasing somewhat in the late evening and then going south-west. This day may be said to be the end of the hurricane, although the weather continued squally on the 19th, but without any winds of very high velocity".
In Philip's next newsletter he will give a more detailed accounting of the hurricane and the experiences of the Ocracoke people.
[Our current monthly Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the Old Toothbrush Man, published August 01, 2005. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news080105.htm.]