Hurricanes, typhoons, tropical cyclones — whatever you call them, it’s prime time for these marine storm systems. The season peaks roughly mid-August through mid-October in our neck of the woods. So let’s take a look at some of the major mile markers for how we came to understand these forces of nature.
1743: John Winthrop is the first to scientifically measure a hurricane; he gathered tidal and pressure data on a storm that passed through the northeastern U.S.
1819: John Farrar first describes a hurricane as a “moving vortex” in his published account of The Great September Gale of 1815 that struck New England.
1847: William Reid creates the Northern Hemisphere’s first hurricane warning system in Barbados.
1870: The U.S. establishes what would become the National Weather Service. The organization issues its first hurricane warning just three years later.
1944: With the help of aircraft, researchers capture radar images of a cyclone’s eye and spiral bands for the first time.
1948: The first evidence is found that water temperatures must be at roughly 80 degrees Fahrenheit for hurricanes to form.
1950: The National Weather Service officially starts naming Atlantic storm systems.
1956: Herbert Riehl and William Haggard come up with the earliest statistical hurricane forecasting system.
1971: Richard Anthes develops the first 3-D hurricane simulation.
1984: The first seasonal forecast for hurricanes is released.
2010: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration adds 12 hours of lead time for its hurricane storm watches and warnings, now 48 and 36 hours in advance, respectively.