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Coastal Zone Information Center 12386 C2 THE STRATEGIC ROLE OF PERIGEAN SPRING TIDES In Nautical History and North American Coastal Flooding, 1635 - 1976 COASTAL ZONE INFORMATION CENTER GC 356 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE .A1 NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION W66 1978 f I Ti, ",e- A, Uk" 44 I It% n Mt.; y 0." W 4 N, f @XTVIY "Y j" f d , @_ 4' @P,@ @ il , -fl I It , " , , , 44 , @V riq 4.1 rhb 14 1 7 [email protected],! f. [email protected] V NA oill 'Pay [email protected] F 14 I-J 4 At 4 5" ujg , ME A'11,1 ZON A Ad-," A [email protected] [email protected]" 6'. e4 Wit '*W ik' PIZ y V'f'- rv, ' W'41 gg- t d In 44 [email protected] C j 31 -Auv-, % M, W MIR,, T 1;- -4 @5' RE 7ER C IN Nov z 0"1 @p v [email protected] 'I' [email protected] N tj; jw 0, 411 _j 4"to" ij , 1-71 , " @_L I It, Zi WWI @;c Ag- v t Breaching of ihefamous Steel Pier (extreme left) andformer Million Dollar Pier (extreme right) at Atlantic City, N.Y., by the great tidal flooding of March 6- 7, 1962. wow Z - V4 -A'i -AMA#. :7 -A% Al en -jr-4W 'On 4* 74. 7, tV 3- J A AA7 W Vsk- 44, 4*' [email protected] COASTAL ZONE Courtesy of United Press International IN F' 0 RuA'A T 10 N 0 E N T E R Aerial photograph showing the extreme damage to homes along the beach at Point-o-Woods, Fire Island, N.Y., created by tidal flooding associated with the coincidence of perigean (proxigean) spring tides and strong onshore winds. This active coastal flooding persisted throughout five successive high tides, March 5-7, 1962. THE STRATEGIC ROLE OF PERIGEAN SPRING TIDES In, Nautical History and North American Coastal Flooding, 1635-1976 Fergus J. Wood Research Associate National Ocean Survey Office of the Director Ln OF US [email protected]@ent of Commerce WOAAC I Services Center LibrarY 2234 South Robson Avenue Charlestor4 SC 29405-2413 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION UNITED STATES NATIONAL OCEANIC AND National Ocean DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION Survey Juanita M. Kreps, Secretary Richara A. Frank, Administrator Allen L. Powell, Director For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office [email protected] D.C. 20102 (Paper Cover) Stock No. 003-017-00420-1 Foreword Within recent years, increasing demands on the shoreline have led to its national redefinition as the "coastal zone." Thus emerged the concept of treating the area as a natural "system" in which multiple uses must somehow be accom- modated. The sociopolitico, economic, and scientific debates that ensued have resulted in what is now known as "coastal zone management." This treatise deals with the natural forces at work in the domain of the coastal zone manager, and perhaps will lead him to ponder on events of Nature that should be con- sidered in his planning. The manager must be aware that the shoreline portion of the coastal zone is a shifting triple boundary, fleeting by nature, and forever seeking a stability with sea, beach, and air that is never achieved. Here, where earth, sea, and sky meet, often to wash hands in mischief, is where the most violent physical action occurs in the coastal zone. The National Ocean Survey, and its predecessor agencies, have lived and worked in the coastal zone for 169 years. Even after so long and active a tenure it still seemed reasonable -that we should ask ourselves the question: "Have we overlooked anything that would be useful to the coastal zone manager, the planner, the developer, and the citizens who live in this increasingly popular locale?" For years we have published maps, charts, and tide tables. We have established tidal bench marks and geodetic control around the coasts and across the country, all necessary for the apportionment of appropriate jurisdictions among Federal, State, and local governments, between these governments and private landholders, and between our Nation and the rest of the world. Accordingly, we began to think of other areas that might fruitfully occupy our attention. We examined many natural occurrences including coastal sub- sidence, shoreline erosion, loss of coastal marshlands, coastal development, shifting bottom topography, coastal currents, and tide observing systems, always keeping in mind the idea that something might have been overlooked that could be useful to those concerned with the coastal zone. Coastal flooding came under our scrutiny, which led Fergus Wood to examine what is known about the tides. He kept digging and studying all aspects of the tides, ranging from our batting average on tidal prediction to the historical effects of tides on man. It was out of such analytic studies that this work was born. The tides affect man most adversely when coastal flooding occurs. Not all high tides cause flooding, nor do all coastal onshore storms. Given, however, a set of circumstances wherein uncommon tides, called perigean spring tides, coincide with strong onshore winds from an offshore storm, such as a nor'easter along the Atlantic coast, the coast will be flooded at all lowland points. The catastrophic event -of March 1962 along the mid-Atlantic seaboard was such a iv Foreword circumstance and provided a grim reminder that two strong forces of Nature acting in concert can create havoc. During the times of perigean spring tides, the controlling astronomical forces are enhanced. Sun, Moon, and Earth are aligned, the Moon is closer to the Earth, and along with the Sun, is exerting the increased and concentrated gravitational forces due to their alignment. The Moon is moving faster in its orbit, the length of the tidal day is increased, and there is created what Wood refers to as "a window for potential flooding." At these times the tides build up faster, tidal currents increase, and when accompanied by a strong onshore wind, the ocean waters pour into the estuaries faster than they can escape on the ebb. The pileup of water behind offshore bars results in a destructive breaching from the landward side, and the ocean begins to reshape the shoreline, moving whatever is in its path. Fergus Wood is an interdisciplinary scientist. He treats the astronomy, meteorology, and oceanography in this volume in a thorough manner for the. attention of the scientist. For the interested nonscientist, he has included a less technical discussion, and for the historian he has exhaustively investigated events of the past that were influenced by perigean spring tides. As a research geo- physicist, he has approached cautiously another aspect of the perigean spring situation-how it affects the solid earth. The same forces responsible for perigean spring tides in the ocean also create enhanced earth tides, the results of which are obscure. In the present state of knowledge, there seems to be no satisfactorily provable connection, for example, between perigean spring tides, earth tides, and seismic events. But curious and openminded geophysicists are beginning to examine the connections, if any, between earth tides and earth movements, especially microseismic swarms. Perhaps this book will encourage them to look carefully at what, if anything, occurred in the solid earth on past occasions of perigean spring tides, notably of the "proxigean" type, which are explained in part 11, chapters 3, 4, 5, and 8. It has been my pleasure to encourage Fergus Wood in this work and to participate with him in many discussions.on the research that went into it. I hope that the reader will find profitable the result which consumed nearly four years of his unflagging attention. AUGUsT 2, 1976. GORDON LILL, Depuo Director, National Ocean Survey. Author's Preface PERIGEAN SPRING TIDES: A Potential Threat Toward Coastal Flooding Disaster This book deals with the origin, nature, and impact of severe tidal flooding of lowland coastal regions resulting from the coincidence of astronomical and meteorological forces. On March 6, 1962, such a catastrophic occurrence struck from the sea in the darkness of predawn, and for the following 65 hours inundated the entire n-lid-Atlantic coastline of the United States from the Carolinas to Cape Cod. This disastrous event resulted in a loss of 40 lives and over $0.5 billion in property damage. As other representative examples, severe tidal floodings of similar origin occurred in regions of the Atlantic coast on December 30, 1959, March 4-5, 193 1, and April 10- 12, 1918-and at points along the Pacific coast on March 6, 1970, February 3-4, 1958, and January 3-5, 1939. Still further floodings were experienced simultaneously on both coastlines on December 11, 1973, March 26, 197 1, and January 6, 193 1. All of these instances of coastal flooding were caused by a special combina- tion and reinforcement of the gravitational forces of the Sun and Moon producing unusually higl! tides-which were concurrently lifted onto the land by strong, persistent, onshore winds. Such exceptionally high tides and their accelerated ocean currents- coupled with intense sea-surface winds-accompanied the total destruction of an offshore Air Force radar tower on February 12, 1963. The foundational erosion and subsequent toppling of the Marconi experimental transatlantic radio tower on Hatteras Island on April 4, 1915, was associated with a comparable situation of perigean spring tides and strong onshore winds. The previously mentioned astronomical alignment of Earth, Moon, and Sun-known as perigee-syzygy- also was present (although exerting a more limited influence due to the small tidal ranges encountered in the Gulf of Mexico) during the great Galveston, Tex., hurricane and tidal flooding of September 8, 1900. A computerized search of the scientific literature reveals that none of the above aspects of perigean spring tides has been analyzed and discussed in a thoroughly comprehensive manner. In a more modem concept emphasizing the ongoing risk, this semiregularly recurring type of tide-when supported by sustained onshore winds-obviously can pose a threat to the development of offshore oil storage platforms and pump- ing stations engaged in the transfer or distribution of crude oil to coastal refineries' A potential for inland as well as shoreline flooding is created by the increased amplitudes and strongly running currents associated with these tides, which may Vi Author's Preface bring saltwater far up estuaries beyond the ordinary tidewater reaches. The alternating extreme low waters, if diluted by heavy rain, may exercise a severe detrimental influence on the oyster and hardshell fishing industries. Such tides likewise may impact adversely upon coastal wildlife sanctuaries, and interfere with the normal breeding cycles of freshwater fish. At a low-tide phase occurring near a perigee-syzygy alignment, the ex- tremely low waters both preceding and following the astronomically produced extremely high waters can cause the stranding of deep-draft vessels such as modern supertankers plying coastal waterways. This situation imposes an addi- tienal threat of oilspills and irremedial damage to the coastline. These and other influences of perigean spring tides which possess a definite practical impact on maritime commerce, the coastal ecology, and the status of the marine en- vironment are thoroughly treated in this work. A definitive review of these numerous special properties of perigean spring tides and their effects constitutes the raison dY re for the present monograph. Because of the many different degrees et and grades of perigean spring tides, the documentation and analysis of a large number of examples has been necessary. In pursuit of this supporting material, a detailed investigation was insti- tuted, based upon interdisciplinary sources of data. With the cooperation of the U.S. Naval Observatory, a computer printout was prepared, indicative of the considerable variation in astronomical alignments responsible for perigean spring tides throughout the 400-year period from 1600 to 1999. With the dates of such augmented tide-raising forces duly tabulated, a systematic search was begun through heretofore uncoordinated accounts of tidal flooding on the North American coastline as presented in newspaper and other more definitive sources extending historically to the year 1635. The pieces of a complex puzzle began to fall in place. @ The documentation of more than a hundred of these major coastal flooding events of the past, and a discussion of the associated hazards to maritime com- merce, seashore habitations, and the coastal environment posed for the future by such recurring flooding events have been set down respectively in tabular and case-study form in this work. Part I summarizes the historical, practical, and environmental aspects of perigean spring tides. In the second, scientific part of the work, the precise astronomical factors causing close perigee-syzygy alignments under certain conditions are explained in detail. The associated increased perturbations of the lunar orbit which result in diminished Earth-Moon distances, enhanced gravitational forces upon the Earth's ocean waters, and augmented tidal ampli- tudes are mathematically analyzed and described. A numerical quantifier (known as the delta-omega syzygy coefficient) designed to serve as a predictor term in establishing the relative potential for tidal flooding generated by such astronomically augmented tides (when sup- ported by the necessary meteorological conditions) also has been developed. On December 26, 1973, based on the foregoing research, the first actual warning -of potential tidal flooding during a period bracketing a very close perigee-syzygy alignment of January 8, 1974, was announced to the public by NOAA through the press, radio, and television media. A counteracting high Author's Preface Vii atmospheric pressure system and calm winds prevented any further rise of the very high astronomical tides produced along the east coast on this date. How- ever, front-page headlines in the Los Angeles Times for January 9 told of the "tidal assault" supported by the strong onshore winds of the day before. The accompanying news article summarized the extent of coastal damage and the advance opportunity provided for preventing damage to homes and shoreline installations by sandbagging, backfilling, and other precautionary measures. A confirming instance of tidal flooding based on the same very close perigee- syzygy alignment (termed proxigee-syzygy throughout this work), in which the resulting proxigean spring tides were accompanied by onshore winds, occurred along the western and southern shores of Great Britain on January 11-12, 1974. The 3-day time delay is a'function of oceanographic factors. A second tidal flooding (related to a similarly announced perigee-syzygy alignment a month later) occurred along the southern coast of England on February 9. Yet another example of active astronomical tidal flooding potential, contributed to by strong onshore winds, materialized on March 17, 1976, when 5 feet of seawater flooded at Halifax, Nova Scotia, following considerable tidal erosion in lowland coastal regions of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. Again, on January 8-9 and January 11-12, 1978, perigean spring tides associated with the perigee-syzygy alignment of January 8 were reinforced by strong onshore winds. The resulting high waters caused serious flooding damage both along the lowland shores of southern California and New England, and 'those of Great Britain, respectively. On February 6-7, 1978, significantly one lunar month later, these incidents were followed by even more severe tidal flooding in nearly identical locations on the east and west coasts of the United States. The documented analysis of such major tidal flooding episodes of the past, and the rational precautionary measures to be taken to prevent extensive damage from such flooding events in the future, constitutes a considerable portion of both parts I and 11 of this monograph. An analysis of the astronomical principles underlying the production of these tides, the varying forces which create them, and the perturbations in the lunar orbit which modify the amplitude of these forces and the duration of time in which they are active, all are contained in the second, scientific portion of the work. The last chapter contains a tabulation of all dates vulnerable to especially severe tidal flooding (should the weather and wind conditions also conspire) down to the year 1999. A Definitive Scientific Study of Perigean Spring Tides, Among the results of the research documented in this publication are: 1. Correlations between more than 100 cases of major tidal flooding-sus- tained over 293 years of history-and the coincident existence of perigean spring tides. This volume also includes separate case studies of outstanding examples of tidal flooding along the North American coastline, supplemented by tidal growth curves, daily weather maps, contemporary news accounts of the flooiling damage, and other data. Viii Author's Preface 2. Discussion of certain representative cases of perigean spring tides which have altered the course of naval history. 3. Evaluation of the practical impact of perigean spring tides on such diversified areas as coastal and inshore navigation, marine engineering, hydro- logical runoff, bioecological imbalance, and erosional damage to the coastal environment. 4. Examination of various instances of ship groundings, strandings, and collisions caused by the extreme low-water phase associated with perigean spring tides-or by their accompanying strong currents. 5. Delineation of examples of unusual tidal flooding which reached far inland, as the result of the coincidence of hurricanes and perigean spring tides. A comparison is made between the flooding potential of hurricaiies with and without the association of perigean spring tides, also between the flooding damage caused by hurricanes and by onshore winds generated by winter storms occurring coincidentally with perigean spring tides. 6. Expansion of those portions of classic tidal theory involving the mean positions and mean motions of the Moon and Sun to suggest further refine- ments in computed heights and amplitudes 'based upon the true positions and motions of these bodies and the true motion of perigee. 7. Analysis of the perturbational influences of the Sun on the orbit of the Moon during the critical period resulting from the alignment of perigee and syzygy. The results incorporate entirely new concepts substantiated by U.S. Naval Observatory data which provide a considerable modification of previous theories regarding the direction and speed of motion , of the lunar perigee at these times. 8. Formulation of appropriate new terminology for the classification' of a range of intensities of astronomically produced perigean spring tides. Included among these developments is the origination of the needed additional descriptor terms Proxigee and exogee, and a system for categorizing various degrees of perigear) spring tides based upon the, lunar parallax. 9. Derivation of a numerical coefficient or index expressing tidal flooding potential-which combines astronomical, hydrographic, dynamical oceano- graphic, meteorological, and other factors. Through auxiliary tables published in the book, the astronomical portions of this multiparameter index at the time Of any perigee-syzygy alignment are immediately available to marine weather forecasters, beacliguards, harbormasters, Coast Guard officials, civil defense agencies, and others directly concerned with coastal hazards and with protection against tidal flooding. 10. Review of numerous interdisciplinary fields in which the astronomical phenomenon of perigee-syzygy-and the inc reased gravitational forces it en- tails-might show some causal connection with other geophysical phenomena. The areas cited include the known augmentation of earth tides and ocean load- ing, the possible triggering of earthquakes, influences on geodetic leveling and deflection of the vertical, and geomagnetic effects. The possible excitation of biological tidal rhythms is also considered. Author's Preface ix A Note of Caution Relative to the Interpretation of Data A brief commentary of purely objective nature is desirable in order to satisfy the author's sense of responsibility to the scientific, community concerning the content of this work. The following treatise involves, in part, a comprehensive series of case studies on perigean spring tides covering 341 years of historical record. The analytical deductions made have been rigorously tested against this complex of empirical data. Out of this research effort, certain patterns of con- sistency have emerged which are beyond the realm of random chance and which render scientifically tenable the development of appropriate principles relating to the strong flooding potential of perigean spring tides. Coincidentally, certain definite conclusions are possible concerning the strategic importance of these tides in producing tidal flooding-if reinforced by strong onshore winds. In addition, evidence from this research supports a considerable credibility in the practical significance of these tides resulting from their economic, environmental, and ecological influences. A peremptory note of caution must be sounded, however. It is essential to observe that, because of the complexities involved in tidal prediction, many technical statements in connection with the tides must be accompanied by qualifications, reservations, and limitations-and, upon occasion, by individual exclusions and exceptions. One of the easiest available pitfalls and most in- cautious professional errors it is possible to commit in presenting any aspect of the tides is to allow any overgeneralized statement in connection therewith. The empirical data and analytical procedures used in this volume for determining tidal flooding potential are those applicable specifically to lowland regions on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of North America. Likewise, although any measure of tidal flooding potential derived therefrom may pertain un- equivocably to a dozen or so related tide stations responsive to the same resonance mode, it may be totally or partially inapplicable to a location possessing different harmonic constants situated, perhaps, only a few score miles from the more consistent stations. In short, making any too general statement regarding tidal responses subject to a purely astronomical influence (in this case, a combined lunisolar influence) is, at best, a dangerous undertaking. Such astronomical forces will inevitably be modified by local oceanographic conditions, by tidal harmonics, and by such other variables as geographic latitude and longitude, sea-floor and coastal hydrography, strong hydrological runoff from the land, climate, season, and weather. In this concept, it would be totally pretentious to make unqualified state- ments for the absolute, permanent validity of either the Hfactor or the Aco-syzygy coefficient forming a part of it (cf., ch. 8) which are both subject to the need for continuing test and evaluation over time (permitting any desirable modification in their constituent parameters). A working hypothesis advanced upon the strength of evidence provided by even a large and diverse number of cases, however widely distributed in terms of time, hemispheric geography, and local conditions, is acceptable only insofar as it can adequately represent all circum- stances throughout the entire, period of past history for which observeddata are available, and be capable of similar accurate reproducibility of tidal flooding Author's Preface potential in the future-on a worldwide basis. This word of caution is not intended in any sense to weaken the analytic procedures or formulae developed in this investigation, but only to point up that ultimate definitiveness of the method requires consideration to a massive, totally representative, and globally adequate body of tide data. The groundwork, however, is at hand. The rate-of-growth tide curves alone in this project involved the computation and plotting of over 18,1100 individual data points. More than 100 years of daily tide tables were available, extending back to the original "High Water Only" predictions of the U.S. Coast Survey (which later became the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey and is now the National Ocean. Survey, a component of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminis- tration). Separate tide tables were first published by the Coast Survey in 1866, following upon a series of simple tabular. data showing the relationship of the tides to the "full and change of the moon" which were issued in the annual volumes of the Report of the Superintendent of the Coast Surve starting in 1859. All :Y) 'such basic data have come under scrutiny, as appropriate to this study, for the validation of perigean spring tides. On the meteorological, side of the research effort, 105 years of daily surface synoptic weather maps (published since 1871, successively, by the U.S. Signal Corps, the U.S. Weather Bureau, and the present National Weather Service) were reviewed for the presence or absence of strong, persistent, onshore winds at the established times of perigean spring tide. Evidences of accompanying tidal flooding were then sought from newspaper, journal and special report literature dating back to the early colonial period in American history. From the astronomical point of view, the task of correlating these tidal and meteorological data was made possible through the cooperation of the U.S. Naval Observatory in providing a computer printout of all perigee-syzygy alignments having a separation-interval less than, or equal to =i= 24h, occurring during the 400-year period from 1600 to 1999. The exact method of application of these numerous sets of data, and the principles of random selection utilized to provide a space-saving but statistically valid base of comparison throughout widespread geographic locales on both the east and west coasts of North America, in succeeding decades of history, in different seasons of the year, and distributed at variousi times of the day, is thoroughly explained on pages 10-114 and 327-331 of this work. The alphanu- meric system for coding individual tidal flooding events, making possible a ready intercomparison between the associated astronomical, meteorological, and oceanographic circumstances-as well as a comparison with documented accounts of the accompanying tidal flooding-is described in these same pages. It should be emphasized from the outset that the evaluations made in this treatise concerning the effects of perigean spring tides do not overlook the possibility that other lesser influences (such as-sufficiently strong onshore winds coinciding with ordinary spring tides) may cause tidal flooding of generally smaller degree-nor do they in any way play down the role of hurricanes as a very major source of coastal flooding. However, this study does focus upon the particularly vulnerable role of perigean spring tides, with supporting wind accompaniment, in producing such coastal flooding effects. Author's Preface Xi The inherent danger of misconstrual of scientific information on the part of sources bent on sensationalizing such potentially catastrophic events of Nature through a lack of awareness of the total forces and concepts involved has been fully noted on pages 406-408. Further education and enlightenment of the large segment of the coastal population subject to the effects of such devastating flooding is the most effective method to forestall the unnecessary and costly confusion resulting from this type of misrepresentation. The purely scientific conclusions derived from this study are summarized both in the immediately preceding section of the preface and in the abstract which precedes the main text. Finally, a note of apology is extended to professional colleagues for the, author's shortcoming in not more rigorously avoiding certain minor redundancies in the following pages of text-an inconsistency which belies previous experiences in encapsulating some 180 articles written on astronomical and geophysical subjects in seven different encyclopedias and reference sources. Such are the vicissitudes of Government agency reorganization that, early in this project, the author found himself pursuing alone, not only the necess 'ary research aspects, the writing, associated computations, compilation of tables, and drafting of diagrams, but also the editing of his own manuscript-while at the same time racing a deadline for publication before his intended retirement from Govern- ment. Under these demanding circumstances, the inevitable result was a certain duplication between the contents of small sections of different chapters, prepared variously, as the associated analyses were accomplished, over a period of more than 4 years. ' On the positive side, somewhat salving a conscientious attitude regarding such compositional refinement, these same 'technical areas of the work may, however, benefit from an additional self-containment helping to minimize cross- referrals between chapters by readers who are less conversant with the subject material. A similar occasional repetition of nomenclatural definitions-useful to a prospective student of the subject in recovering his bearings among the otherwise complex technical developinent-requires, perhaps, a lesser apology. The author naturally assumes responsibility for any errors of technical nature which may, through the very comprehensiveness of the work, have escaped attention in reviewing proofs on an accelerated time scale. Acknowledgments The number 'and variety of persons contributing to, and in a very real sense ultimately responsible for, the realization of this complex technical mono- graph over nearly a 5-year period represent a degree of individual effort making regrettable 'an inability more properly to credit the assistance of each, in fitting detail. Such extensive individual cooperation may, parenthetically, be .regarded as indicative of the wide range of personal interests in a subject so meaningful to those utilizing the coastal environment. From-the very outset of the investigation as a scientific concept suggested for further study-through its subsequent development into a full-scale project as pieces of the puzzle began to fall into place-and the intensive research Xii Author's Preface endeavor culminating in the present volume-the continuing interest, support, and personal encouragement of Dr. Gordon G. Lill, deputy director of the National Ocean Survey, and the matching confidence of its director, Rear Admiral Allen L. Powell, have provided a staunch undergirding for the work. Over this same period of monograph preparation, the close cooperation, interdisciplinary rapport, and many stimulating hours of discussion with Dr. Thomas C. Van Flandern, lunar specialist in the Nautical Almanac Office, U.S. Naval Observatory, have contributed immeasurably to the technical significance and completeness of the project. Through his assistance, and that of Dr. P. Kenneth Seidelmann, director of the Nautical Almanac Office, and Dr. P. M. Janiczek, the extensive data presented in table 16 became possible- for which the availability of the computational facilities of this observatory is also duly acknowledged. The diligent application of Mr. Aaron S. Blauer, formerly of the U.S. Government Printing Office, now retired, in copy-editing, styling, marking, and otherwise preparing the material for publication-as well as in coordinating the multitudinous aspects of readying the text proofs, graphics, tables, and photoreproducibles before release to the Government Printing Office-warrants an enormous debt of gratitude. The administrative support of Mr. John R. Morrison, deputy director of the Office of Publications, U.S. Department of Commerce, and the staff services of Mr. Armand G. Caron of this same office, are deserving of similar recognition. Mr. James L. Moore, Mr. Irving C. Brainerd, and Mr. Philip Gambino handled publication liaison through the National Ocean Survey, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the U.S. Department of Commerce, respectively. Mr. M. Kenneth Miller of the Office of Publications, DOC, coordinated with the Naval Observatory the linotron preparation of computer printout data. Special appreciation must be extended to Mr. Francis X. Oxley, formerly chief of NOAA's Photographic Section, for his meticulous reduction and com- pilation processing of weather maps and composite overlays providing many of the illustrations for this work. He was assisted by Mr. Harold M. Goodman and Mr. John A. Roseborough. These photographic reproductions were initially made possible thr iough the exacting negative copy work accom- plished by Mr. Joseph E. Bradshaw, and Mr. Robert C. Robey, Jr., under the direction of Mr. William C. Bugbee, formerly chief of the photographic labora- tory in the National Ocean Survey's (Chart) Reproduction Division. Inestimable support in the area of literature search was provided by the late Mrs. Sharlene G. Rafter, reference librarian in NOAA's Marine and Earth Sciences Library, and by Mrs. Bettie L. Littlejohn of this same facility. Mr. Robert Walter conducted a computerized literature search of seven different data banks for relevant citations. Mr. Douglas L. Stein, assistant librarian for manuscripts at Mystic Seaport, Mystic, Conn., substantially aided the project in its historical research phases, as did Mr. Thomas A. Stevens, historian of the Connecticut River, Mr. Thompson R. Harlow, director of the Connecticut Historical Society, Mr. A.W.H. Pearsall, historian, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, England, plus Mrs. Caroline Rutger and Mrs. Margery Ramsey of the library of The Mariners Museum, Newport News Va. Further assistance was Author's Preface Xiii provided by the William L. Clements Library of the University of Michigan and the Ships' Histories Branch, Naval History Division, U.S. Navy Department. Mr. Timothy C. O'Callaghan aided with the compilation of the bibliography and index. Contributions of illustrative material were made by the many organ- izations to which individual credits are given as a part of the figure captions throughout the treatise. The Library of Congress provided the source for repro- duction of many early newspaper accounts of tidal flooding. Typing and revision of the extensive manuscript through its numerous stages of preparation was accomplished by Mrs. Mary Lou Lapelosa, to whom appreciation is also due for handling the many secretarial duties attendant upon the project, and for maintaining the considerable quantity of graphic material connected with the publication. A special tribute is owing to Miss Rhonda M. LaSaine, summer employee, for a diligent research application to Library of Congress newspaper sources, and to Ms. Beatrice S. Drennan, NOS, for similar assistance with resource literature. During the early stages of monograph pro- duction, support in preparing certain of the diagrams used was provided by Mrs. Gayle Brodnax. Various members of the Tide Prediction Branch, Oceanography Division, National Ocean Survey-especially Mr. Donald C. Simpson and Mr. Samuel E. McCoy-provided tide data necessary to the project. To all of the above, the author expresses his permanent gratitude. Table of Contents Page Foreword.... iii Author's Preface.....,........ v Table of Contents... xv List of Tables. . . . XXV Abstract... .......... xxvii PART I-BACKGROUND ASPECTS Chapter 1. Representative Great Tidal Floodings of the North American Coastline The Evidences From History. . . .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. '. .. '. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. . . I Case No. 200-Perigean Spring Tides (near the time of a total lunar eclipse).. . .. .. 1 Technical Commentary.. 4 Case No. 4-Perigean (Proxigean) Spring Tides (7r=61'26.6", P-S= -61). 7 Case No. 7-Perigean Spring Tides (P-S=-17h). 8 Case No, 8-Perigean Spring Tides (P-S=+ 10h).. 8 Case No. 13-Pseudo-Perigean Spring Tides (P - S 53h) ................. 8 Case No. 36-Near-Ordinary Spring Tides. 9 Coastal Flooding as an Ongoing Risk.. 10 Methods of Identification and Evaluation of Representative Cases of Tidal Flooding.. 12 Remarks Concerning the Fundamental Astronomical, Tidal, and Meteorological Data Sources Used in Connection With Computations for this Volume. . . . . . . . . . 13 Chapter 2. The Impact of Peris-yean Spring Tides Upon Representative Events in American Nautical History Perigean Spring Tides as an Aid to Navigation..., 59 The Fate of the Frigate Trumbull. . .......... 59 Contemporary Knowledge of Perigean Spring Tides. . . 68 Tidal Analysis.. 68 Hydrographic Analysis. . . . 69 The Second Battle of Charleston Harbor. 70 Tidal Analysis.... 72 Hydrographic Analysis. . 74 The Battle of Port Royal Sound, S.C. 78 Tidal Analysis.. 82 Hydrographic analysis. 84 Data Concerning the Draft of the Wabash. 84 The Perigean SpringTide asanAgentof CoastalErosion. ...... 84 The Hatteras Campaign. 85 xv xvi Table of Contents PART I-BACKGROUND ASPECTS-Continued Chapter 3. The Practical, Economic, and Ecological Aspects of Perigean Spring Tides Page The Effectsof Extremely Low Waters... 93 Dangers of Explosive Decompression in Submarine Environments.. 93 Ship Grounding. 95 The Effects of Accelerated Currents. . 95 Impact Upon Marine Engineering Projects 96 Dangers to Navigation and Docking 96 The Influences of Improvements in Navigation Aids. . 96 The Optimum Dispersal of Engineering Demolition Products...... 97 Ecological Influences of Perigean Spring Tides.. 98 Variations in Salinity... 99 Variations in Carbon Dioxide Content, . . . . 100 Variations in Water Temperature 100 The Effect Upon Grunion Runs. . 100 Miscellaneous Environmental influences. 102 Recapitulation of the Practical Influences of Perigean Spring Tides. . . 103 Influences of Perigean Spring Tides for Which Substantiating Evidence is Available.. 103 Chapter 4. Survey of the Scientific Literature on Perigean Spring Tides Historical Origin of the Concepts of Perigee-Syzygy and Perigean Spring (Perigee-Spring) Tides. . . 109 18th Century Tidal Literature.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. _ .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ill Early 19th Century Tidal Literature... 112 The " Saxby Tide" of October 5, 1869. 112 Late 19th Century Tidal Literature. 114 20th Century Tidal Literature.. 115 PART JI-SCIENTIFIC ANALYSIS Chapter 1. General Background Considerations of Astronomical Positions and Motions Important in the Evaluation of Perigean Spring Tides Astronomical Factors Significant to Tidal Nomenclature.... . . 121 Astronomical Positions... 121 Coordinate Systems. . . 121 1. Equitorial System. 121 2. Ecliptic System. . . 123 3. Horizon System. . .......................................................... 123 General Equations for Transformation of Coordinates From the Equatorial to the Ecliptic System or the Reverse. 124 General Equations for Transformation of Coordinates From the Equatorial to the Horizon System or the Reverse. 124 Table of Contents xvii PART II-SCIENTIFIC ANALYSIS-Continued Chapter I-Continued Astronomical Factors Significant to Tidal Nomenclature--Continued Page Astronomical Motions. 124 The Diurnal Rotation of the Earth. 124 The Earth's Annual Revolution Around the Sun. 125 The Moon's Revolution Around the Earth ........................................... 125 The Motions of the Earth and Moon in Elliptical Orbits ................................ 127 1. The Anornalistic Month ............. I ........................................ 130 2. Effect of the Solar Parallactic Inequality ........................................ 131 Declinational Effects on the Apparent Motions of the Moon and Sun ...................... 132 Auxiliary Influences Affecting the Daily Rate of Lunar Motion in Right Ascension ................. 132 The Effect of Parallax on the Moon's Apparent Motion .................................... 133 Changes in Right Ascension Associated With the Apparent Diurnal Motion of the Moon ........ 133 The Relationship of the Moon's Motion in Right Ascension to Its Declination ................. 135 Chapter 2. Factors Affecting the Magnitude and Duration of the Tide-Raising Forces Principal Effects .......................................................................... 137 The Daily Lunar Retardation .......................................................... 137 1. The Lunar Day ................................................................ 139 2. The Tidal Day ................................................................. 139 Relationship of the Tidal Day to Lunar Transit Times, Hourly Differences in Right Ascension of the Moon, and Other Factors ...................................................... 140 Apparent Diurnal Motion of a Body "Fixed" in Space ..................................... 141 Apparent Diurnal Motion of a Body Possessing Its Own Motion in Right Ascension ............ 141 Variations in the Tide-Raising Force Associated With Lunar Parallax ........................ 141 The Effect of the Parallax Inequality Upon the Comparative Lengths of the Tidal Day ......... 143 Ancillary Effects .......................................................................... 147 Lunar Augmentation ................................................................... 147 Regional and Latitudinal Effects on the Tides Resulting from Changing Lunar and Solar Declinations ........................................................................ 148 1. Solstitial Tides ....................... ......................................... 149 2. Tropic Tides .............. : .................................................... 149 3. Equinoctial Tides .............................................................. 150 4. Latitudinal Effects of the Diurnal Inequality ....................................... 150 Subordinate Factors Influencing the Length of the Tidal Day ............................... 150 1. Solar Declinational Effects ....................................................... 150 2. Effects Due to Changing Parallax and the Obliquity of the Ecliptic .................... 150 3. Lunar Declinational Effects ............................................ ......... 150 4. Effect of the Moon's Orbital Inclination to the Horizon. . . . 150 5. Supplementary Influences. 151 Seasonal Factors Influencing the Production of Heightened Tides. . 151 Effects of the Phase Inequality and Diurnal Inequality. 151 202-509 0 - 78 - 2 Xviii Table of Contents PART II-SCIENTIFIC ANALYSIS-Continued Chapter 3. The Action of Various Perturbing Functions in Establishing, Altering, and Controlling the Amplitudes of Perigean Spring Tides Page The Effects of Perturbations Upon Lunar Distances and Orbital Motions. 153 The Lunar Evection .......................... 153 The Lunar Variation.. 155 1. Alternating Acceleration and Deceleration of the Moon's Orbital Motion ............... 156 2. Changing Lunar Orbital Velocity With Respect to the Earth. . . . . 157 3. Changes in Curvature of the Lunar Orbit.... 158 The Elliptic Variation. 159 The Annual Variation. 159 The Lunar Reduction. 159 Differences Between the Mean and True Astronomical Positions of the Moon and Sun.. 159 The Derivation of True and Mean Astronomical Positions. . 161 The Assumption of Mean Positions.. 161 The Special Perturbative Influences of Lunar Evection and Lunar Variation ...................... 162 Summary of the Effects of the Principal Lunar Perturbations in Differentiating Between the Mean and True Orbital Pos itions of the Moon.. 164 1. Effects of Elliptic Inequality. . . 164 2. Effects of Evection (combined with the elliptic inequality). 164 3. Effects of Lunar Variation... 165 4. Effects of the Annual Equation... 165 Corrections for Lunar Perturbations as Used in the Tidal Equations .......................... 166 Chapter 4. Identification of the Specific Astronomical Forces and Influences Contributing to the Production of Perigean Spring Tides The Principal Concurrent Tidal Forces ...................................................... 169 The Effects of a Near-Alignment of Perigee and Syzygy in Producing Tides of Increased Ampli- tude and Range ............................................................. I ....... 169 Basic Force Equation Defining the Magnitude of Tidal Uplift .... ...... ............... 169 1. Lunar Evection Effects ........................................................... 170 2. Lunar Variation Effects .......................................................... 172 3. Summary Analysis ............................................................. [email protected] The Effect of Perigee-Syzygy Alignment in Increasing the Value of the Lunar Parallax ......... 174 1. Effect of the Elliptic Inequality .................................................. 175 2. Effect of the Lunar Evection ............. I....................................... 175 3. Effect of the Lunar Variation .................................. ...... 175 4 Summary Analysis .............................................................. 176 The Concepts of Mean Motion vs. True Motion in Relation to the Earth, Moon, and Lunar Perigee ............................................................................ 177 1. The True Motion of Lunar Perigee ............................................... 177 2. Short-Period and Long-Period (Averaged) Perturbational Motions of Perigee ........... 1177 3. The Special Motion of Perigee Close to the Position of Perigee-Syzygy Alignment ....... 179 4. The Comparison of True and Mean Motions ....................................... 182 5. The Minor Sinusoidal Variation Between True and Mean Longitude ................. 184 Table of Contents xix PART II-SCIENTIFIC ANALYSIS-Continued Chapter 4-Continued Page Subordinate and Counterproductive Effects on Perigean Spring Tides ............................ 185 Effects of Declination on the Tide-Raising Forces .......................................... 186 Maximization of Declination in the 18.6-Year Period of the Lunar Nodical Cycle ............. 189 Aside From a Lack of Onshore Winds, Why Does Coastal Flooding Not Occur With Every Perigean Spring Tide? ....................................................................... 191 Combined Effect of Changing Parallax and Large Dedlination on the Moon's Hourly Motion in Right Ascension ........................................ I ............................ 192 Effects of Extreme Lunar Declination on Motions in Right Ascension ........................ 193 1. Decrease of Motion in Right Ascension, and Shortening of the Tidal Day at Times of High Lunar Inclination to the Celestial Equator ......................................... 195 2. Increase of Motion in Right Ascension, and Lengthening of the Tidal Day at Times When the Moon Is at an Extreme Declination ........................................... 196 Chapter 5. The Essential Conditions for Achieving Amplified Perige'an Spring Tides The General Concepts of Maximization of Perigean Spring Tides.. 197 Factors Increasing the Intensities of the Tidal Forces Acting. . 197 A Quantitative Evaluation of the Various Tide-Maximizing Factors .......................... 199 Summary of Relative Gravitational Force Influences. 199 Astronomical Influences Producting Uneven Heights Among Perigean Spring Tides; Lack of a Current Procedure for Variable-Intensity Classification. . 202 Perigean Spring and Other Tidal Equivalents in International Terminology ................... 203 Compensating and Counterproductive Tidal Force Influences. 204 Variation in Parallax and Orbital Curvature with Lunar Configuration. 204 Comparitive Effects of Various Lunisolar Configurations Upon Lunar Distance From the Earth and the Curvature of the Lunar Orbit. 205 1. Apogee-Syzygy..... 207 2. Apogee-Quadrature. 207 3. Ordinary Syzygy- 208 4. Ordinary Quadrature... 208 5. Perigee-Quadrature..... 209 6. Perigee-Syzygy ............... 209 A Quantitative Comparison of the Lunar Parallax at Times of Perigee and Apogee ............. 210 Causes of Variation in the Shape of the Lunar Orbit and in the Consequent Tide-Raising Forces ..... 214 Effects of the Individual Syzygies. . . . 214 1. Case One: Full Moon at Perigee. 214 2. Case Two: New Moon at Perigee..... 216 The Effect of Solar Perigee... 218 The Effect of Coplanar Lunisolar Declinations. . . . 218 The Effect of Nodal Alignment. 218 Summary Evaluation of Extreme Lunar Parallaxes. 219 xx Table of Contents PART II-SCIENTIFIC ANALYSIS --Continued Chapter 6. Conditions Extending the Duration of Augmented Tide-Raising Forces at the Times of Perigee-Syzygy Page The General Principles of"Stern Chase" Motion.. 269 Factors Increasing the Length of the Tidal Day. 269 1. Lunar Parallactic Inequality. ........... 269 2. Declination Effects. . . 270 3. The Counterproductive Influences of Solar Perigee (Perihelion). 270 4. Summary. . . 271 Reintroduction of the Concepts of the Lunar and Tidal Day. . 271 Fluctuations in the Lunar and Tidal Days. . . 271 1. Derivation of the Length of the Mean Lunar Day... 272 2. Variations in the Lunar Day. . . 272 3. Variations in the Tidal Day. 273 Causes of Systematic Variations in the Length of the Tidal Day. . . 273 The Role of the Increased Tidal Day Viewed in Perspective ................................ 274 The Effect of Increased Lunar Orbital Velocity Upon the Length of the Tidal Day ............ 274 Quantitative Evaluation of Changing Periods in the Moon's Monthly Revolution. 275 Conditions Lengthening the Synodic and Anornalistic Months... 275 Maximized Lengths of Those Months Bracketing Perigee-Syzygy. 285 Cycles of Alternation in Perigee-Syzygy Alignments.... 285 The Meaning and Relationships of High and Low Maxima in the Lengths of the Lunar Months. 286 1. Variation in Length of the Anonialistic Month. . 287 2. Variation in Length of the Synodic Month... 287 The Correlation Between Smaller Perigee-Syzygy Separation-Intervals and Longer Months ...... 287 Analysis of the Relative Gains in the Lengths of the Anomalistic Months Containing a Close Perigee-Syzygy Alignment.... 288 1. Anomalistic Month. 286 2. Synodic Month. . 288 Prolongation of a Small Separation-Interval at Close Perigee-Syzygy Alignments... . .. .. .. .. .. .288 Declinational Influences on the Length of the Tidal Day. . 299 The Effect of the Lunar Apsides Cycle. 290 Modification of the Lunar Period by the Lunar Apsides Cycle. . . . . . . . 292 Other Time-Related Factors Susceptible to Analysis by the Methods of Harmonic Analysis.. 296 Evaluation of the Principal Harmonic Constituents. . 296 The Phase Age and the Parallax Age. . 297 Variation in Tidal Range, and in the Types of Tides ......... 298 Table of Contents xxi PART 11-SCIENTIFIC ANALYSIS-Continued Chapter 7. The Classification, Designation, and Periodicity of Perigean Spring Tides, With Outstanding Examples of Accompanying Tidal Flooding From Recent History Page Comparison of Ordinary Spring Tides and Perigean Spring Tides. . . . 301 Concepts of Tidal Priming and Lagging ..................................................... 302 Lunar Phase Effects-Qualitative Evaluation. . . . . 302 Priming and Lagging as Shown in Tide Curves. . . 302 1. Tidal Priming. . . 303 2. Tidal Lagging. 303 Quantitative Analysis of the Effects of Tidal Priming and Lagging. 306 Relative Tide-Raising Forces at Quadratures and [email protected] @06 Confirmation of the Extended Duration of Peak Tide-Raising Forces at Perigee- SyZygy. 306 Examples of Tidal Priming and Lagging... 311 1. Application to Ordinary Spring Tides. . . . 311 2. Application to Perigean Spring Tides..... 312 A Proposed New System for the Quantitative Designation of Perigean Spring Tides ................ 312 Basis for the Classification of Perigean Spring Tides.. 313 1. Maximum Perigean Spring Tides (or Ultimate Proxigean Spring Tides); Maximum .Proxigean Spring Tides. . . 313 2. Extreme Proxigean Spring Tides. 316 3. Proxigean Spring Tides. 316 4. Perigean Spring (or Perigee-Spring) Tides. . . 317 5. Pseudo-Perigean Spring Tides.. 317 6. Ordinary Spring Tides.. 318 Periodic Relationships 318 The Mean Period Between Successive Occurrences of Perigee-Syzygy... 318 Short-Period Cycles of Repetition of Perigean Spring Tides. . 319 The 31-Year Cycle of Perigee-Syzygy .................................................... 321 Meteorological Aspects of Coastal Flooding at Times of Perigean Spring Tides. . . . . . . 326 Selection of Multidisciplinary Data Sources. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 327 The Correlation of Meteorological and Astronomical Data ................................... 328 Grouping of the Weather Maps. 328 Explanatory Comments Concerning the Manner of Designation of Weather Maps and the Concurrent Perigee-Syzygy Data. . . 329 1. The Tidal Flooding of 1931 March 4-5..... 331 2. The Tidal Flooding of 1939 January 3-5. . . 374 3. The Tidal Flooding of 1959 December 29-30.... 383 4. The Tidal Flooding of 1962 March 6-7..... 386 5. The Aborted Tidal Flooding of 1962 October 13 ............................... 403 6. The Tidal Flooding of 1974 January 8 (N-99) ............. 404 A Note on Storm Tide Announcement Effectiveness.. 406 Data on Tidal Flooding and Associated Damage... 408 7. Tidal Flooding in-the British Isles on 1974 January 11-12 and February 9 ......... 420 8..Tidal Flooding of 1976 March 16-17... 424 9. Tidal Flooding of 1978 January 8-9. 429 10. Tidal Flooding of 1978 February 6-7..... 430 xxii Table of Contents PART 11-SCIENTIFIC ANALYSI S-Continued Chapter 8. Tidal Flooding Potential, and the Relationship of Perigee-Syzygy to Other Oceanographic and Geophysical Factors and Influences Page Development of a Numerical Index Designating the Astronomical Potential for Tidal Flooding ....... 434 1. TheNeedfor Combined Lunisolar Representation. . 434 2. Significance dthe Aw-Syzygy Coefficient. 435 3. Evaluation of the Aw-Syzygy Coefficient. 436 Establishment of a Combined Astronomical-Meteorological Index to Potential Tidal Flooding ....... 437 Empirical Support for the Validity of the Delta Omega-Syzygy Coefficient Provided by Predicted and Observed Tidal Height Data, 440 The Lengthened Tidal Day as an Indicator of Increased Tidal Flooding Potential.... . .. . 440 Accelerated Rate of Tide Rise as an Indicator of Increased Tidal Flooding Potential 448 1. Semidiurnal Tide. . 448 2. Mixed Tides (Affected by the Diurnal Inequality). 474 An Independent Check on the Validity of the Aw-Syzygy Coefficient. 475 Summary and Conclusions A. The Tidal Aspects of Perigee-Syzygy Alignment.. 477 B. The Subsidiary Effects of Extreme High and Low Waters and Strong Tidal Currents at Times of Perigee-Syzygy.. 482 Representative Instances of Ship Groundings in Shallow Depths Produced at the Low- Water Phase of Perigean Spring Tides. 483 Representative Instances of the Effects of Strong Current Flow Associated With Periods of Perigean Spring Tides.. 485 Extreme Tide and Current Impact on Offshore Platforms in Shallow Ocean Areas.. 485 Influences of Perigean Spring Tides Upon the Ecology of the Coastal Zone .... ; .. .. 485 C. Unproven Geophysical Relationships With the Phenomenon of Perigee-Syzygy ............. 485 1. Wholly Conjectural Relationships Between Meteorological Factors and Perigee-Syzygy. 486 2. Other Possible Geophysical Influences.. 487 D. Geomagnetic Illustration of the Increase in Velocity of Tidal Currents at Times of Perigee - Syzygy- 489 Supplementary Comments, Specific Literature Citations and Case Examples in Connection with the Influences of Perigee-Syzygy Alignments and Perigean Spring Tides. 490 1. Storm Surge Models and Tidal Flooding. . 490 2. Engineering Protection Against Storm Surges and Tidal Flooding. 490 3. Possible Coincidence of Tsunamis and Perigean Spring Tides.. 490 4. Concepts of Earthquake Triggering. 490 5. Tidal Loading. . 493 6. Earth Tides. . 493 7. Crustal Tilt. 494 8. Deflection of the Vertical.. . 494 9. Geornagnetic Effects. 494 10. Ecological Aspects.., 494 11. Internal Waves. 494 12. Turbidity Currents. . 49.4 113. Fish Migration... . 494 14. Biological Rhythms 495 15. Breakup of River Ice. . . . 495 The Challefige of Geophysical Discovery: An Advocacy of Interdisciplinary Cooperation ............ 495 Table of Contents xxiii APPENDIX The Basic Theory of the Tides Introduction Page The Astronomical Tide-Producing Forces: General Considerations. 497 Origin of the Tide-Raising Forces. 497 Detailed Explanation of the Differential Tide-Producing Forces.... 498 1. The Effect of Centrifugal Force. 498 2. The Effect of Gravitational Force... . 498 3. The Net or Differential Tide-Raising Forces: Direct and Opposite Tides. 499 4. The Tractive Force... 500 5. TheTidal Force Envelope.. 501 Variations in the Range of the Tides: Tidal Inequalities.. 501 1. Lunar Phase Effects: Spring and Neap Tides... 501 2. Parallax Effects (Moon and Sun). 502 3. Lunar Declination Effects: The Diurnal Inequality ..................................... 503 Factors Influencing the Local Heights and Times of Arrival of the Tides.. 503 Prediction of the, Tides..... 506 Reference Sources and Notes. 511 Bibliography on Tides (in42 Categories). 517 Index. 531, List of Tables TABLE Page 1. List of 100 Representative Examples of Major Coastal Flooding Along the North American Coastline, 1683-1976, Related to the Near-Contiguous Occurrence of Perigean Spring Tides Coupled With Strong, Persistent, Onshore Winds .............................. 15 2. A Representative List of North American Hurricanes Occurring Nearly Concurrently With Perigean Spring Tides ........................................................... 26 3. Representative Cases of Coastal Flooding Associated With Ordinary Spring Tides, Coupled With Strong, Persistent, Onshore Winds .......................... .................. 29 4a. Representative Cases of the Highest High Waters of Record Observed at Various Tidal Stations, Within 2 Days of Perigee-Syzygy .......................................... 32 4b. Representative Cases of the Lowest Low Waters of Record Observed at Various Tidal Sta- tions, Within 2 Days of Perigee-Syzygy ............................................. 33 4c. Examples of Perigean Spring Tides Resulting in, or Contributing to, Coastal Flooding Through Impaired Hydrological Runoff .................................................... 35 4d. Illustrative Cases of Coastal Erosion Produced at Times of Perigean Spring Tides Coincident With Strong, Persistent, Onshore Winds ................. ........................... 36 5. A Representative Sample of Newpaper Articles Covering Tidal Flooding Events Associated With Perigean Spring Tides, 1723-1974 ............................................ 39 6. Comparative Tides at Charleston Harbor, S.C., October 13-19, 1974 .................... 72 .7. Apparent Daily Motion of the True Sun in Right Ascension and Longitude for Selected Dates in 1975 .................................................................. 131 8. Comparison of Geocentric Horizontal Parallax and True Geocentric Distance of the Moon for a Case of Widely Separated Perigee-Syzygy ...................................... 142 9. The Changing True Distance of the Earth From the Sun ............................... 144 10. Approximate Orbital Angular Velocity of the Moon, Expressed as a Difference in Celestial Longitude, Showing the Variation at Times of Close Perigee-Syzygy, (Proxigee-Syzygy) Apogee-Syzygy (Exogee-Syzygy), and Perigee-Quadrature ............................ 146 11. Approximate Dates on Which Maximum Lunar Declinations Occurred, According to the 6,798.4-Day Nodical Cycle ............................ )........................... 195 12. Selected Cases of Perigee-Syzygy, Showing the Relationship Between the Equinoctial Posi- tion of the Moon and the Lunar Parallax Over the 400-Year Period 1600-1999 .......... 200 13. Compilation of All Cases of Extreme Proxigee-Syzygy Occurring Over the 400-Year Period 1600-1999 .............. I................ ...................................... 201 14. Selected Cases of Perigee-Syzygy Occurring Simultaneously at a Lunar Node (Total Solar Eclipse) and Near Perihelion .......... 202 15. True Geocentric Distance of the Moon ... ...... 206 16. Computer Printout of All Cases of Perigee-Syzygy Occurring Between 1600 and 1999 Which Have a Separation Interval <_24h (With Accompanying Astronomical Data) ............ 221 17. Increase in the Lengths of the Synodic and Anornalistic Months With Proximity to Those Months Containing Perigee-Syzygy Alignments ..................................... 276 18. Variation in the Length of the Synodic Month Within the 8.849-Year Lunar Apsides Cycle. 292 19. Types of Tides (With Index and Range) at Various Locations Along the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf Coasts of North America ................................................ 299 20. Effects of Tidal Priming and Lagging (at Perigee-Syzygy) .............................. 309 21. Effects of Tidal Priming and Lagging (at Ordinary Syzygy) ............................. 310 22. Proposed Classification System for Perigean (including Proxigean) Spring Tides ........... 313 23. Examples of Scientific and Technical Terminology in the English Language Involving Inter- lingual Combinations of Prefixes and Suffixes ....................................... 315 xxv xxvi List of Tables Table Page 24. Short-Term and Long-Term Cyclical Relationships Between Close Perigee-Syzygy Align- ments ......................................................................... 321 25. Cases of Extreme Tidal Flooding Coinciding With Long-Term Astronomical Cycles of Close Alignment Between Perigee and Syzygy ............................................ 326 26. Surface Synoptic Weather Maps for'Twenty Representative Cases of Coastal Flooding As- sociated With Perigean Spring Tides and Strong, Sustained, Onshore Winds ............ 332 27. Surface Synoptic Weather Maps for Twenty Representaive Cases of Nonflooding Conditions Associated with Perigean Spring Tides Which Were Accompanied by Light and Variable Winds and High Atmospheric Pressure ............................................. 353 28a. Surface Synoptic Weather Maps for Four Representative Cases of Hurricanes Occurring in Near-Coincidence With Perigean Spring Tides ..................................... 374 28b. Representative Surface Synoptic Weather Map at a Time During Which a Perigean Spring Tide Caused Blocking and Backup of Hydrological Runoff ............................ 374 29. Surface Synoptic Weather Maps for Cases of Tidal Flooding Receiving Special Attention in the Text ....................................................................... 387 30. Examples Involving the Use of the Aco-S Coefficient in Establishing a Combined Astro- k nomical-Meteorological Index ([I) of Potential Tidal Flooding ......................... 439 31a, b, Data Used in Evaluating the Increased Length of the Tidal Day at Perigee-Syzygy (Made c, d. Comparatively More Effective by the Greater Gravitational Force at These Times) as Plotted on the National Ocean Survey Tide Tables for Breakwater Harbor, Del., January-Decem- ber,1962 ...................................................................... 441 32a, b, Data Used to Determine the Accelerated Rate, of Tide Rise at Times of Perigee-Syzygy, c, d. Superimposed on the National Ocean Survey Tide Tables for Breakwater Harbor, Del., January-December, 1962 ........................................................ 449 33. Sixteen Instances of Major Tidal Flooding Near a Time of Perigee-Syzygy, Represented (in Figs. 153-163) by Plots Showing the Predicted Rate of Rise of the Astronomical Tide at Nearby Tidal Reference Stations (Listed in the Table) ................................ 453. 34. A Checklist of the Central Dates (Mean Epochs) of Perigean Spring Tides (P-S< �24 b) Occurring Between 1 7 and 1999 ................................................ 480 Abstract Tides are caused by the gravitational attractions of the Moon and Sun acting upon the oceans and major water bodies of the Earth. Two times during each month, at new moon (conjunction) and full moon (opposition), the Earth, Moon, and Sun come into direct alignment in celestial longitude and, in the combination of their gravitational forces, enhanced tide-raising forces result. Tides produced at these times are called spring tides. Since the lunar orbit is elliptical in shape, once each revolution the Moon also attains its closest monthly approach to the Earth, a position known as perigee. Ordinarily, the passage of the Moon through perigee and the alignment of Moon, Earth, and Sun at new moon or full moon (either position being called SYZY9Y) do not take place at the same time. Commensurable relationships between the lengths of the synodic and anomalistic months do, however, make this possi- ble. On the relatively infrequent occasions when these two phenomena occur within I I/ days of each other, the resultant astronomical configuration is de- /2 scribed as [email protected], and the tides of increased daily range thus generated are termed. perigean spring tides or, simply, perigee springs. Whenever such alignments between perigee and syzygy occur within a few hours or less of each other, augmented dynamic influences act to increase sensibly the eccentricity of the lunar orbit, the lunar parallak, and hence also the orbital velocity of the Moon itself. Such solar-induced perturbations also reduce the Moon's perigee distance in each case by an amount which is greater the closer is the coincidence of alignment between these two astronomical positions, but which also fluctuates with other factors throughout the years. The tide-raising force varies inversely as the cube of the distance between the Earth and Moon (or Sun). On certain.occasions, lunar passage through perigee involves a particu- larly close approach of the Moon to the Earth. To distinguish these cases of unusually close perigee, the new term "proxigee" has been devised, and the associated tides of proportionately increased amplitude and range are designated as 44proxigean spring tides." Evidences presented in this technical monograph indicate that the appreci- ably enhanced influences on the tides produced at the time of proxigee-syzygy are revealed, not so much in increasing the height of the tide (usually a'maximum increase of about 0.5-1 foot above mean high water springs) but in accelerating the rate at which these augmented high waters are reached. This accelerated growth rate in the height of the tides, together with an increased horizontal current rnoyement, creates a sea-air interface situation particularly susceptible to the coupling action of surface winds. Although the perigean spring tides do not, of themselves, constitute a major flooding threat to coastlines, friction be- XXVII Xxviii Abstract tween strong, persistent, onshore winds and the sea surface can raise the astro- nomically produced tide level to cause extensive flooding of the coast in low- land regions. In addition, at the times of perigee- (proxigee-) syzygy, various dynamic influences combine to lengthen the tidal day, increasing the period within which the enhanced tide-raising forces, effective for some few days on either side of the perigee-syzygy alignment, can exert their maximized effects. In this monograph, covering a 341-year period of history relative to the coastal environment of North America, a large number of examples of major tidal flooding produced by the combination of the above causes have been collated to provide a detailed case study. A composite table of 100 such cases, including all pertinent astronomical and meteorological source data, has been compiled. Graphic, textual, and mathematical analysis have been used to demonstrate the individual astronomical, oceanographic, meteorological, hydro- graphic, climatological, and hydrological influences which are involved during the production of the phenomenon commonly-referred to as a "storm surge." Quantitative correlations between these various factors have been established. A proposed new index of tidal flooding potential based upon the combina- tion of astronomical influences augmenting the tides at the times of perigee- syzygy and known as the Aco-syzygy coefficient has been developed. This has been combined with other physical quantities representative of the local and prevailing tidal, meteorological, and hydrographic circumstances to establish a second index known as the nfactor. The latter term is designed to provide a quantitative measure of the probability of tidal flooding occurrences along a lowland coast- line, should strong, persistent, onshore winds coincide with perigean spring tides. In contrast to the traditional method which involves a simple consideration to the highest tides of the year to determine flooding potential when such tides are accompanied by strong onshore winds (a procedure which can be shown to be both ambiguous and erratic in numerous instances), the combination of the Aco-syzygy coefficient with appropriate meteorological indicators is demonstrated to be an effective new tool for the evaluation of tidal flooding potential at coastal stations having a daily tidal range of 5 feet or more. The usefulness of this method can be further enhanced by future empirical refinements. The particular vulnerability to tidal flooding exhibited by those perigean spring tides which possess a sharply accelerated rate of growth is one of the primary points of consideration in this monograph, inasmuch as the graphical- analytical methods applied do not appear elsewhere in scientific literature. .Separate methods for obtaining a meaningful rate of tide growth in the case of both semidiurnal and mixed tides are shown. Such rate-of-growth tide curves are presented for actual cases of tidal flooding occurring over a wide range of latitudes, on both the east and west coasts of North America. These specially analyzed instances of coastal flooding are randornly," chosen throughout all months of the winter storm season for a wide range of stations and are distributed, in each decade, over 80 years of record to permit a scientifically representative basis of correlation between the circumstances of tidal flooding and associated astronomical and meteorological data. Numerous examples of perigean spring tides accompanied by nearly simultaneous tidal flooding on both the Atlantic Abstract XXiX and Pacific coasts-and other floodings displaying a definite relationship to- various astronomical cycles of perigee-syzygy-are included. The observed and predicted hourly height tide records for selected cases of tidal flooding are compared to show the separate effects of astronomical and wind actions. A selection of daily synoptic weather maps matching the incidents of tidal flooding is used to demonstrate the contributing influence of strong onshore winds; an equal number of cases of nonflooding on occasions of perigean spring tides which were not enhanced by strong onshore winds is included to emphasize this necessary meteorological accompaniment. Supported by such winds, the far greater coastal flooding potential of perigean spring tides compared with ordinary spring tides or other tidal situations-often exceeding the inundating effects of hurricanes-is clearly pointed out. The always devastating effects of the combination of a hurricane with perigean spring tides is also discussed. Selected cloud-cover photographs made from weather satellites near the time of flooding perigean spring tides are incorporated in the treatise to reveal the exact atmospheric frontal conditions and disposition of each low pressure center responsible for strong onshore winds. In the preliminary chapters, which trace the effects of perigean spring tides upon nautical history, navigation, marine engineering, and marine science, the various practical, economic, environmental, and ecological influences of these tides are outlined. This evaluation includes the combined effects of the elevated high waters, their corresponding low-water extremes, and the accompanying accelerated flood and ebb currents. In the final chapter, various other possible geophysical effects related to the phenomenon of perigee-syzygy and the increased gravitational forces produc ing perigean spring tides are discussed. t I Part I-Background Aspects I I Chapter L. Representative Great Tidal Floodings of the North American Coastline ITTLE did our colonial forefathers know that, Indies. It began in the morning a little before day, and within 5 years after they settled in Massachu- grue not be [sic] degrees, but came with a violence in the etts Colony early in 1630, their New World beginning, to the great amasmente of many.-It con- home would be beset by disaster involving two tinued 'not (in the extremities) above 5 or 6 hours, but natural forces of a type with which they had no previous the violence began to abate. The signes and marks of it experience, but whose enon-nously destructive influences will remaine this 100 years in these parts wher it was upon life, limb, and property they and subsequent genera- sorest." tions would have occasion to witness repeatedly through- An additional account of this great coastal storm and out ensuing years. This first recorded coastal flooding of accompanying tidal flooding in colonial New England catastrophic proportions on the American continent hap- appears in a contemporary work by Nathaniel Morton pened in the fall of 1635. Like other early incidents of this titled New England Memorial in which the event likewise type, it has never been thoroughly analyzed from the stand- is described as a disaster-causing one that: point of its complex natural origins. Although purely ". . . blew down houses and uncovered divers others; meteorological factors are commonly given as the cause of divers vessels were lost at sea in it, and many more in such coastal flooding phenomena, certain specific astro- extreme danger. It caused the sea to swell in some places nomical tide-raising forces of periodic nature are also def- to the southward of Plymoth, as that it arose to 20 feet initely involved, whose specific contribution will form right up and down, and made many of the Indians to the subject of the present study. climb into trees for their safety . . . It began in the southeast, and veered sundry ways, but the greatest force The Evidences From History of it at Plymoth, was from the former quarter, it con- tinued not in extremities above 5 or 6 hours before the William Bradford, author of History. of Plimoth Plan- violence of it began to abate; the mark of it will remain tation, wrote dramatically of the impact of this early this many years, in those parts where it was sorest; the coastal flooding event which occurred on August 14-15, moon suffered a great eclipse 2 nights after it." 2 [At 9:49 1635, Old Style Calendar.' A portion of his narrative p.m., 75* W.-meridian time,' on August 27.] follows: "This year the 14[24] or 15[25] of August (being Sat- CASE No. 200-Perigean Spring Tides (ne-ar the urday) was such a mighty storm of wind and.raine as time of a total lunar eclipse). none living in these parts, either English or Indians, ever The last statement is that which has been generally saw. Being like (for the time it continued) to those Hurri- overlooked in previous accounts, attributing the flooding canes and Tuffoons that writers make mention in the entirely to winds. As noted in footnote (c), on page 7, ' For the purpose of exact comparison of astronomical, tidal, and By the 16th century, because of an astronomical phenomenon meteorological events in the historical portion of this work, all dates known as "precession of the equinoxes," the difference between the given in the Old Style or Julian Calendar must be corrected by the Julian Calendar year, invented by the Alexandrian astronomer addition of 10-11 days to give the corresponding date in the New Sosigenes, and the period of the Sun's apparent annual movement Style or Gregorian Calendar, our present usage. The New Style date with respect to the vernal equinox amounted to 10 days. Contin- is indicated in square brackets following all such early dates quoted. uing divergence threatened to throw out the existing alignment Some of the cases of coastal flooding under discussion occurred prior between the calendar months and the seasons. It therefore became to 1752. In this year, a change was made in England and through- necessary to drop 10 days from the Julian Calendar, and by a new out the British Colonies (including America) from the Julian system of accounting for Leap Years, to convert from the Julian Calendar (Old Style) to the Gregorian Calendar (New Style). This Calendar to the Gregorian Calendar. (cont. on next page) s chanze came about from practical necessity. Superior figures refer to sources listed at end of book. 202-509 0 - 78 - 3 2 Strategic Role of Perigean Spring Tides, 1635-1976 the same alignments of Sun, Earth, and Moon responsible Scotia, together with exceptionally high astronomical for either solar or lunar eclipses ' provide a geometric re- tides, their combined effects were felt over this entire inforcement of the gravitational forces of the Moon and region in severe coastal flooding and extensive damage. Sun and thereby also augment the tide-raising forces pres- At Buzzards Bay, and Providence, R.I., the tides reached ent. The tidal forces are also sometimes further amplified heights of 20 ft. by a special proximity of the Moon to the Earth resulting With consideration to all related factors, and in main- from such alignments. taining a proper perspective between the combined astro- What the inhabitants of the Massachusetts Colony did nomical. and meteorological forces responsible for coastal not know was that this great coastal storm very nearly flooding, it is necessary that the meteorological conditions coincided in time with another phenomenon of nature- at this time be carefully documented. the astronomical condition known. as perigee-syzygy (see Governor John Winthrop of the Massachusetts Colony page 5 under "Technical Commentary"). In this phe- also kept a journal in which, under the date August 16 nomenon, the average between the exact time of full [26], he cites the meteorological conditions prevailing at moon and that of the Moon's closest monthly approach to the time and notes that, at midnight of this date, a mod- the Earth occurred between August 28 and 29 (Gregorian erate southwest wind of the previous week changed sud- Calendar), within 2 days of the maximum intensity of denly to a violent northeast gale. He states that the force the storm. With a significance which will appear in later of the storm was sufficient to destroy houses in Boston, discussions (see chapter 7), the separation in time be- and to separate the cables of ships in the harbor. The tween perigee and syzygy on this occasion also was less strong gale blew steadily off the water f6r 8 hours, fur- than 42 hours. This comparatively small difference in time ther heightening the evening high tide, and then shifted between -perigee and syzygy is an indication of the com- as abruptly to the northwest, now blowing offshore. bined, nearly coincident application of the tide-raising In his diary account, corresponding to the Gregorian forces of the Sun with those of the Moon-the Moon Calendar date August 26, Winthrop relates: being at its monthly position of closest approach to the "About eight of the clock the wind came about to N.W. Earth, and in addition being brought by solar dynamic very strong, and it be then about high water, by nine the influences to an even smaller separation from the Earth. tide was fallen about three feet. Then it began to flow In consequence of these enhanced gravitational forces, again about one hour and rose about two or three feet, tides possessing an exceptionally great rise and fall known which was conceived to be that the sea was grown so high as perigean spring tides were produced. Subject to the abroad with the N.W. wind, that, meeting with the ebb simultaneous action of strong, persistent, onshore winds it forced it back again." ' (serving to reinforce water movement toward and onto The impeding and forced backing up of the outgoing the land), severe tidal coastal flooding was a near- (ebb) tide by the next succeeding incoming and wind- certainty. With onshore winds prevailing from southern driven (flood) tide resulted in two high tides within far Massachusetts through Maine to Cape Sable, Nova less than a 12-hour period-in itself an unusual phenom- (cont. from preceding page) Although this Gregorian or New Style Calendar was adopted table 16. Since the latter dates are given in the New Style Calendar, throughout most of the Roman Catholic countries in 1582, Protes- either 10 or 11 days must be added to the Old Style dates to con- tant countries held out, and only in 1752 (because of the steadily vert them to this Gregorian system. The fact that, prior to the year increasing time difference) England and her colonies dropped 11 1752, the calendar year in England and her colonies also began on days from the calendar previously used. In comparing dates prior to March 25 rather than January 1, as thereafter, also accounts for the 1752 with date's on the modern Gregorian Calendar, the difference usage of a dual year in conjunction with dates prior to 1752, where must be. allowed for, and results from the somewhat different pro- the period January 1-March 25 is involved (e.g., February 24, cedures used in determining those century years which are Leap 1722/23). Years under the two systems. In the Julian Calendar, all century years divisible by four are regarded as Leap Years. According to the b in Theodor Ritter von Oppolzer's Canon der Finsternisse Gregorian Calendar, only those century years divisible by 100 which (1887) all eclipses of the Sun between 1207 B.C. and A.D. 2161 are also divisible by 400 (or whose first two digits are divisible by and lunar eclipses between 1206 B.C. and A.D. 2163 are cata- four) are considered to be Leap Years. Thus, in the Julian Calendar, loged together with pertinent astronomical data. This lunar 1600, 1700, 1800, and 1900 are all Leap Years. eclipse of August 1635, the midpoint of whose total phase occurred Subsequent to the change in 1752, the difference between the two at 0249 G.c.t. on August 28 (New Style Calendar), is listed as systems had increased to 12 days by 1800 and 13 days by 1900. having a magnitude of 18.1 on an arbitrary 22.8-point scale repre- However, in chapter 1, only Julian Calendar dates occurring be- senting maximum central totality. This value indicates* a well- tween March 1, 1500 and February 18, 1700 (retluiring a 10-day - centered eclipse, with the Sun and Moon in closely opposite (gra- correction) and between February 19, 1700 and September 3, 1752 vitationally reinforcing) longitudes and declinations. The tidal (requiring an 11-day correction) overlap the computer printout of forces would be augmented in proportion. Representative Great Tidal Floodings of the North American Coastline 3 enon and, as will be discussed in later instances, one very has been shown in contemporary accounts of the 1635 conducive to tidal flooding (e.g., ch.. 7 "Meteorological coastal flooding event. Under the action of strong, sus- Aspects . . .," case 4. tained, onshore winds, the previously mentioned backup The sequence of wind shifts noted by John Winthrop of water between successive high tides (occurring as a new was from southwest (for a week) to a strong northeast flood tide comes in before the preceding ebbtide has had gale-at midnight of August 16[26]-swinging around an opportunity to recede) provides a natural condition for to a Strong northwest wind-at 8 a.m. on August 17[27]. land flooding. In an actual recorded circumstance more He adds that the morning high tide was depr essed 3 than 325 years later, this fact was clearly substantiated feet in I hour by this strong offshore wind. The storm is by the great east coast flooding of 1962, whose intervening described as being felt as far north as Cape Sable, Nova low tides were built up by sustained onshore winds to be- Scotia, but possessing maximum strength south of Boston. come effective high tides (see chapter 7, Case 4). William Bradford suggests its similarity to hurricanes and The preceding 1635 example typifies a case of coastal "tuffoons" of the Indies. This violent storm is, indeed, in- flooding occurring largely as the result of hurricane-force cluded among a, list of hurricanes occurring historically on winds acting upon astronomically augmented tides, which the east coast of the United States .4 in turn played a very significant role in the extent and So-called "storm-surges" and coastal flooding associated severity of the flooding. with hurricanes have been widely treated in the scientific In the following treatise dealing with coastal flooding literature from a meteorological standpoint (see Bibli- produced by onshore wind effects acting on the higher- ography) and will not, therefore, be extensively discussed than-usual waters of perigean spring tides, primary con- in this work. Hurricanes possess sufficiently strong wind sideration will be given to those cases of coastal flooding velocities to cause coastal flooding, in varying degrees, at associated with winter storms. any phase of the tides-although, as will be seen in sub- In addition, although meteorologically oriented param- sequent comparisons between various types of hurricanes eters are duly considered in all examples given, it will involved in coastal flooding, wind damage is of greater be the principal purpose of this volume dealing with peri- consequence where astronomically induced high tides are gean spring tides to analyze the astronomical causes con- not an immediate accompaniment. The present and a few tributing to severe coastal flooding. It is these astronomi- subsequent examples are included to show the extent to cal circumstances forming the principal thesis of this work which the tidal flooding influence of a hurricane may be with which the discerning reader should gradually become further augmented by coincidence with a perigean spring familiar. To permit appropriate emphasis on the astro- tide to produce coastal inundation (in addition to wind nomical forces present, the various factors creating a setup damage) of extremely disastrous and destructive 'propor- condition of unusually rapidly rising tidal waters, upon tions. The extensive tidal flooding damage experienced in which sustained onshore winds act to. produce coastal Massachusetts, Rhode Islane, and Connecticut in 1635 is flooding will, therefore, be introduced, one by one, a typical example. This strong tidal flooding is the first throughout the remaining historical examples. Signifi- which was made a matter of record in American histor,, candy, these involve, in several cases, a winter storm situa- but was by no means the last, as attested to by subsequent, tion familiaxly known today throughout New England as similarly documented examples. a "nor 'easter." The additional flooding potential resulting from the Because the fundamental astronomical causes for the combination of a hurricane with perigean spring tides- high tides which lend themselves to coastal flooding are and the extremely hazardous effects of the combination twofold in nature, the circumstances and tide-raising of perigean spring tides with severe coastal storms in forces resulting from the simple phase alignment of Moon, winter-are evaluated, in their relative significance, in Earth, and Sun at syzygy will be considered first, followed chapter 7. It is an observed fact that a fast-moving hurri- by a discussion of the combined astronomical perigee- cane does not usually provide as much time for a buildup syzygy relationship which adds appreciably to the bi- of water level by friction at the air-sea interface as does a monthly syzygian tide-raising forces. In this historical see- stagnant, offshore extratropical storm possessing a long tion-as in part 11, throughout the scientific portions of overwater wind path. the text-supplementary technical analyses and explana- By contrast, the special setup condition provided by tory footnotes are included for those interested in greater perigean spring tides which occur as a protracted, height- detail. ened water-level condition coincident with onshore winds 4 Strategic Role of Perigean Spring Tides, 1635-1976 Technical Commentary moon, the Moon and Sun in their respective real and ap- I . parent revolutionary motions with respect to the Earth, Although the scientific discussion of the cause and effect come into direct alignment with the Earth in celestial Ion- of perigean spring tides will be reserved for part 11, a brief gitude (see figs. 1-2). In this relationship, the Moon may introduction to the phenomenon of perigee-syzygy nec "essary either lie along a straight line connecting the Earth and Sun, to an understanding of its flood-producing potential will be between the Earth and Sun (at new moon or conjunction) included in this present chapter, couched in descriptive or on the far side of the [email protected] from the Sun (at full moon terms, and pointing up the relationship with various his- or opposition). If, in either case, the Moon simultaneously torical cases of coastal flooding. Such a technical explanation crosses the plane in which the Earth revolves around the is incorporated in the following 3-page section, supplement- Sun, or comes within a limiting angular distance thereof, a ing the main text and subordinated in smaller type. The solar or lunareclipse also must take place. However, these reading continuity of the main text is thereby preserved. events occur, on the average, far less often. The alignment of the Sun and Moon with the Earth in celestial longitude occurs twice in each period of 29.53 days. The astronomical tides are produced solely by the gravita- The result'ing combination of gravitational forces of the first tional attractions of the Moon and the Sun acting upon two bodies creates higher-than-average tides on the Earth. large bodies of water. Twice each month, at new and full Either of these two positions of alignment between Earth, PERIG'EE-SYZYGY ALIGNMENTS. DURING 1974 PRODUCTIVE OF PERIGEAN SPRING TIDES Earth at perihelion January 4, and at aphelion July 5 Inclination of moon,s orbit to ecliptic 509' FEBRUARY 6 SUN 8= 160 FULL MOON &=+17* SUN 6 220 JANUARY 8 --------------- FULL MOON 8=+21' 00"'S ORBIT C [email protected]@rl-,-ST AL Q1JATr01R HIS ORBIT (EC0- EART EARTH, MOON, AND SUN IN DIRECT ALIGNMENT ON ALL FOUR DAYS (within 10 of longitude in each case) JULY 19 NEW MOON 6= +20' SUN 8=+210 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - A- 0 AUGUST17 ORBIT NEW MOON 8=+13' SUN 8=+140 STIAL UATOR AM am 4fn 4fo% O_ 'S FIGURE I.-A typical series of close perigee-syzygy alignments occurring in the year 1974. Earth and Moon reach syzygy alignment with the Sun (i.e., at new or full moon) very nearly at the same time the Moon reaches its position of perigee (closest monthly approach to the Earth). The mutually reinforcing gravitational attractions of the Moon and Sun, combined with that of the Moon at its close approach, considerably enhance the tide-raising forces on the Earth's oceans. Representative Great Tidal Floodings of the North Arnerican Coastline 5 T 0 T 0 S SUN SUN S_ APOGEE-SYZYGY PERIGEE-SYZYGY D I [email protected] OF NM RECTION OF M --7 ..... . ....... NJM .......... . . ................. . .... DIRECTION SLOWER ANGULAR SUN'S APPARENT OF MOON'S SUN'S APPARENT VELOCITY AND MOTION ON ORBITAL MOTION MOTION ON AP.OG,EE SMALLER ORBITAL CELESTIAL CELESTIAL MOTION OF MOON SPHERE SPHER,E AT APOGEE DIR CTION T !All OF AR H's E REVOLUTION AROUND SUN F L 0 THE MOON'S PERIGEE-SYZYGY ORBITAL VELOCITY RECURS AT NEW MOON IS DETERMINED BY EITHER 6-1/2 OR 7-1/2 ITS DISTANCE FROM B SE -M-I-MI-NO -AAXIS 01 SYNODIC MONTHS AFTER THE EARTH AND 'ell 1 PERIGEE-SYZYGY I AT FULL MOON KEPLER'S LAW OF EOUAL AREAS. DIRECTION OF EARTH'S MAXIMUM D REVOLUTION IAMETER E A RT [email protected] . ..... . ........ LUNAR E LO ACROSS THE, :z AROUN'D S_U N ORBIT S 1 ?, 763,109 K M 10 474,173 MI A2 % [email protected] FASTER ANGULAR DIRECTION VELOCITY AND OF MOON'S PERIGEE GREATER ORBITAL A ORBITAL MOTION MOTION OF MOON M F'M AT PERIGEE [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] NOTE:FOR CLARITYOF PRESENTATION BOTH THE OR81TAL ECCENTRICITY AND DAILY MOTION OF THEMOON ARE EXAGGERATED IN SOME DIAGRAMS OF THIS WORK. FIGURE 2A.-Syzygy alignment of Moon and Sun at new. FIGURE2B.-Revolution of the Moon around the Earth in moon, with the Moon between Earth and Sun. A near- an ellipse brings it to perigee each anomalistic month, coincidence of perigee and syzygy can also occur at full averaging 27.555". It then reaches maximum orbital moon (fig. 2B). velocity. Moon, and Sun in celestial longitude is called syzygy (pro- Much less frequently-on the average not more than once nounced '[email protected]) and the increased tides thus produced are in about one and one-half years-the Moon, which is the called spring tides (which refers to their behavior as they greatest single influence on the tides, moves into a perigee CwelP or "spring" up,-not to the season of the year). position which, as the result of additional dynamic influences The Moon revolves monthly around the Earth in an orbit diminishing the distance of the Moon from the Earth, lies which is slightly "out-of-round," or eccentric, with the Earth especially close to the Earth. For purposes of distinction in occupying one of the two foci (C in fig. 2A) of the geometric tidal discussions throughout the present work, such a particu- ellipse thus produced, and located slightly to one side of its larly close perigee position of- the Moon with.respect to the center, (0). At least once a month also (the 27.55-day revo- Earth, hitherto unnamed in astronomy, will be termed a lution period can actually allow two occurrences in a calen- proxigee, and the especially amplified type of tide produced dar month), as the Moon revolves in this elliptical orbit, it as this condition coincides with syzygy will be called a proxi- reaches its position of closest approach to the Earth, known gean spring tide. as perigee (P). Such especially close (proxigean) distances between the Generally, the individual phenomena of perigee and syzygy Moon and the Earth always coincide with a very small sep- do not coincide in time but, due to numerous approximately aration in time between perigee and syzygy. This results (see commensurable relationships between 29.53 and 27.55, the part II, chapter 3) in a combination and interaction of the two events can approach each other within various intervals gravitational forces of the Sun and Earth in a manner to of close' agreement. When this happens, the additional rein- change slightly and transitorily the shape of the Moon's forcement of gravitational forces caused by (1) the solar- orbit. Because of a dynamic perturbation in the lunar orbit lunar alignment and (2) the concurrent proximity of the known as "evection," the Moon at perigee-sy7ygy draws even Moon to the Earth producestides whose high- and low-water closer to the Earth than at its ordinary perigee position and phases are even more pronounced than those associated'with recedes to a greater distance from the Earth at apogee, ap- spring tides. The increased tides thus created are termed proximately 2.weeks later. The tide-raising force varies in- perigean spring tides. versely as the cube of the distance between the Earth and E P 1A OR E.1 M. 6 Strategic Role of Perigean Spring Tides, 1635-1976 the Moon. Accordingly, as a further immediate consequence shore wind is blowing (fig. 3), a major coastal flood in low- of this closer approach of the Moon to the Earth at proxigee, lying areas is almost inevitable. A nonfrozen condition of the increased gravitational forces come into play which, in turn, surface waters in large bays or the near-shore region is, of augment the tide-raising influence exerted by the Moon course, assumed in this connection. It has been found that upon the Earth's major water bodies. over 100 cases of major coastal flooding associated with these The progressive buildup of these gravitational forces conditions have occurred on the North American coastline toward an increasingly significant tide-producing role is in the past 341 years. Such a strong, sustained, onshore wind, treated in successive stages in part II, chapters 3-6. which tends to pile up the waters along the coast and en- For various reasons, among which are the discrete reso- hance the effect of the already high, astronomically produced nance responses of each individual ocean and portions of tides, is an essential ingredient for coastal flooding. these oceans to tide-raising forces, the inertia of the moving Conversely, a continuous, strong, offshore wind tends to water mass, friction with the ocean floor, internal viscosity of lower the tidal water level and to negate the effects of a the water, and the imposition of continental land masses, the perigean spring tide. The atmosphere and the ocean act maximum heights attained by perigean spring tides do not together like an inverted barometer. As the atmospheric always coincide exactly with the times of maximum attain- pressure rises, the water level goes down; as the atmos- ment of the forces which produce them. As will be brought pheric.pressure diminishes, the water level rises. The adjust- out in later chapters, two of these very important delays are ment in ocean level in either direction is approximately known as the phase age and parallax age. 13 inches for each change of I inch in barometric pressure. These various combinations of astronomical forces acting Only lowland coastal regions and those with a sufficiently upon the ocean waters, when taken together with supporting large daily range between high and low phases of the tide are meteorological circumstances, may exert a very practical in- subject to the flooding effects noted. (The combined condi- fluence in causing flooding and erosion of, and other dam- tions of perigee-syzygy add about 40 percent to the tidal range.) Thus, the entire coast of the Gulf of Mexico and age to, the coastal environment. The associated impact of much of the southeastern coast of the United States are ex- g such coastal zone changes upon human affairs will become cluded from this particular influence, except during hurri- increasingly evident throughout part 1, chapters 2-4. canes. Hurricanes possess sufficient wind velocity to lift even If the high-water phase of either the perigean spring or relatively shallow waters onto the land. As a result of the proxigean spring tides occurs while a strong, persistent, on- continuous frictional effects made possible by the large-scale movement of wind over the surface of the water (the lateral extent of this overwater wind movement is known as the PE "fetch"), a hurricane passing even well off the coast and RIGEA14 SPRING TIDES producing a strong swell which impacts a low shoreline can MAY'@BE CONDUCIVE TO cause coastal flooding. COASTAL FLOODING In the case of the coastal storm system of August 24-26, 1635, it is difficult because of the ensuing lapse of time- NORMAL TIDES and lacking either manuscript or published weather data- to know whether this system persisted as a true tropical storm originating from energy provided by warm tropical waters, or was partially modified by a contrast of atmospheric air masses in extratropical latitudes. While seemingly maintain- ing-as indicated in the several descriptive accounts avail- -its basic identity as a true hurricane, nevertheless at able FE this high latitude of occurrence it may possibly have taken on PERIGEAN 4 some of the characteristics of an extratropical storm, such as were instrumentally recorded and plotted on the synoptic weather map, 303 years later, during the great New England hurricane of September 21, 1938.' This hurricane began as a tropical storm of comparable NO [email protected]"; intensity and possessed a similar northward movement along the Atlantic coast to New England, accompanied by strong, JAL onshore winds. It was separated by 1 day from the mean epoch of an only approximate perigee-syzygy situation. The corresponding separation between perigee and syzygy was 69 hours. The flood waters raised at Providence, R.I., in this instance were 18.3 ft above mean low water, compared with approximately 20 ft at the closer perigee-syzygy align- FIGURE 3.-Strong, persistent, onshore winds may create ment accompanying the storm of August 24-26, 1635. tidal flooding on low coasts, as friction between wind and sea lifts amplified perigean spring tides onto the land. Representative Great Tidal Floodings of the North American Coastline 7 CASE No. 4-Perigean (Proxigean) Spring Tides occurred, on February 24 (Old Style Calendar), 1722/ (-=61'27.0", P-S=-6') 23, one day after the perigee-syzygy date of February 23, At approximately 7 o'clock in the evening, 75'W.- very nearly coincided with the arrival of a very strong meridian time, on Saturday, February 23, 1722/23. O.S. coastal storm on the east coast of New England. This [March 6, 1723] the Moon in its monthly revolution storm-although of extratropical. origin (i.e., formed [email protected] around the Earth reached a position of direct alignment side of the nonrial tropical region of hurricanes) -rapidly with the Sun in the angular reference. system known in approached the wind velocities associated with such a astronomy as celestial longitude.' The result was the tropical disturbance and sent strong, sustained, onshore familiar phenomenon of new moon 'd which happens once winds lashing for many hours against the coastlines of each month and is of no unusual consequ 'ence. As an Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The ensuing ca- astronomical occurrence which preceded this one by only tastrophe was described, in the somewhat colorful lan- 6 hours on the same date, the Moon also passed through guage of the period, in a report by the contemporary its' position of closest monthly approach to the Earth, American cleric-scientist-philosopher, Cotton Mather, to known as perigee-again a regular monthly happening, the Royal Society of London: and by itself of no special significance. However, the near- It was Feb 24, 1723, when our American phi- coincidence of new moon and perigee is of particular sig- losophers observed an uncommon concurrence of all those nificance. In the combination of these two events, a far causes which a high tide was to be expected from.. The less common astronomical circumstance occurred, which moon was then at the change, and both sun and moon was made the more meaningful by the simultaneous, un- together on the meridian. The moon was in her perigee, usually close proximity of the Moon to the Earth. and the sun was near to his having, past, [i.e., the closest In the orderly astronomical cycle of events which distance between moon and sun, occurring about January govern and alter both the distances and motions of the 4] . . . finally the wind was high and blew hard and Moon, such a condition of close agreement between the long . . . Then veering eastwardly it brought the eastern time of the closest monthly approach of the Moon to the seas almost upon them [these shores] . . . They raised Earth (perigee) and the alignment of Earth, Moon, and the tide unto a height which had never been seen in the Sun responsible for the production of a new moon or full memory of man among us . . . The City of Boston par- moon (either alignment being called syzygy) is termed, ticularly suffered from its incredible mischiefs and appropriately, perigee-syzygy. The resulting forces created losses . . ." r, are manifest by their action in producing, within the It is significant that without actually being given the Earth's tidal waters, the phenomenon of perigean spring name perigee-syzygy, all of the requisite conditions for a tides. close occurrence of this phenomenon were present: ". . . On the east coast of the United States, the normal lag moon was then at the change (new phase); . . . moon time between the occurrence of such a combined astro- was then in her perigee; . . . sun was near to his having nomical event and the resulting perigean spring tides pro- past." duced is approximately 1 to I V2 days. As it happens, The Boston News-Letter of that time reported that therefore, the force-amplified perigean spring tides which the inundation in Boston looked very dread- 'Definitions of many of the astronomical and tidal terms used tance from the Earth, an annular eclipse of the Sun will result. in this publication will be found in the appendix and in part 11, As indicated earlier, a total eclipse of the Moon followed within chapter 1. To avoid any ambiguity in meaning possible through 2 days of the August 24-26, 1635 coastal flooding event. The overgeneralization, extreme caution must be exercised in the exact conditions of this eclipse resulted in a faster apparent motion of specification of terminology even in this nont6chnical introduction. the Moon, a shorter (relative) duration of the eclipse, and a greater Thus, for the phenomena of new moon or full moon to occur, only duration of the lunar and tidal days (see chapter 6) in addition the celestial longitudes of the Moon and Sun need be the same. However, if, at the time of full moon, the Moon's longitude is to more closely aligned tidal forces of the Moon and Sun. between 9'30' and 12*15' of one of the two positions (the so- As previously noted, such an alignment in longitude (or, alter- called "nodes") where, twice each month, the Moon crosses the orbital path of the Earth around the Sun (the "ecliptic") the natively, right ascension) between Sun, Earth, and Moon at either Moon will also be aligned (within the diameter of its disc) with new moon (conjunction) or full moon (opposition) is known in the Earth and Sun in celestial latitude and a total lunar eclipse astronomy as syzygy (from the Greek syn "together" and zygon, will occur. 11 yoke"). At conjunction, lost in the glare of the Sun's rays, the Similarly, at new moon, if the Moon is within 9'55' and 11 *50' of new moon is actually invisible to the eye; too often, people associate one of these same nodes, a central (total) eclipse of, the Sun will the slim crescent appearing immediately before or after the new take place-or, if the Moon is then beyond a certain limiting dis- moon with this descriptive term. Strategic Role of Perigean Spring Tides, 1635-1976 ful . . . the tide rising to a height of 16 ft . . . At and many vessels lost their fastenings, some being driven Hampton, New Hampshire, the storm caused the great on shore and others greatly damaged by being beaten waves of the full sea to break over its natural banks for against the wharves . . . miles together, and the ocean continued to pour its water "At Portsmouth, N.H. wharves were injured and sev- over them for several hours.' 1 7 eral vessels driven ashore . . . With the causes of such coastal flooding now firmly "At Gloucester the water was two or three feet deep established, additional' important historical examples will on the wharves, and much movable property was washed be considered in terms of their effects only, without ex- away, the waves being covered with articles and debris planatory comments. of all kinds . . . "The tide rose at Boston one and one-half inches higher CASE No. 7-Perigean Spring Tides than the great tide of December, 1786, which was ten (P-S= - ir) inches higher than the highest that any person then living A similar severe coastal storm struck Boston and New remembered. The water broke through the dam along the England on December 4-5 (New Style), 1786. Strong Roxbury canal . * * sweeping away fences and out- onshore winds again acted upon perigean spring tides houses, and prostrating buildings. resulting from the combination of a lunar perigee reached "Much property was set afloat at Charlestown and at 2 p.m. in the afternoon of the 4th, local time, and a Cambridgeport. The navy yard was overflowed, and the tide broke through the coffer-dam, about three feet of full moon occurring 18 hours later. water coming into the dry dock." As reported in The Boston Gazette and The Country Journal for December 11, 1786: ". . . The wind at east, and northeast, blew exceeding CASE No. 13-Pseudo-Perigean Spring Tides heavy, and drove in the tides with such violence on Tues- (P-S-- -53 h) day, as overflowed the pier,several inches, which entering Between the 14th and 16th of April 185 1, a severe the stores on the lowest parts thereof, did much damage case of tidal flooding occurred as a result of an event to the sugars, salt, etc. therein--considerable quantities which has come to be known as the "Minot's Light of wood, lumber, etc., were carried off the several Storm"--since this famous lighthouse of Boston's Outer wharfs . . ." ' Harbor was temporarily destroyed as a result. The associ- This great coastal storm, which became known as the ated tidal contribution to coastal flooding provides an December Gale of 1786-with its associated tidal flood- example of a type later to be described in this volume as ing-also was accompanied by subfreezing conditions, a pseudo-perigean spring tide (i.e., having characteristics and left a 5-6 ft snowfall throughout New England. As generally similar to, but-for lack of an equal gravita- the direct cause of numerous cases of drownings and ship- tional force acting-not precisely the same as, those of a wrecks, it was long remembered as one of New England's perigean spring tide). In this case, the two elements con- worst tidal flooding disasters.' cerned, perigee and syzygy, were more than 36 hours, but * . less than 84 hours apart-the arbitrary limits set as a CASE No. 8-Perigean Spring Tides terminology standard throughout this case study. (P- S = + 10.) With perigee occurring at I o'clock in the afternoon Perigean spring tides produced under similar circum- (local time) of April 13 and full moon at 6 p.m. on the stances (a perigee-syzygy configuration centered around 15th, the gravitational forces of Moon and Sun were not 2 p.m. in the afternoon, local time, on March 24) reached united to the fullest possible extent as when these condi- their peak on March 25, 1830. Their flooding potential tions occur within less than a day of each other. How- became manifest the next day when: ever, coupled with a strong, sustained, onshore gale-one "A cold, northeast storm of wind, rain and snow raged of the severest of the century-the tidal flooding potential along the coast of New England . . . producing a great became extremely high. A vivid account of the disaster tide, which in some parts exceeded the highest tide re- has been given in Sidney Perley's book, Historic Storms membered there. The storm began on the morning of of New England: Friday, the twenty-sixth, and continued till one o'clock "It [the storm] commenced at Washington, D.C. on in the afternoon, the tide being at its height at noon of Sunday [the 13thl, reached New York Monday morning, that day. and during the day extended over New England . . . "At Portland, Me., several wharves were carried away, The Moon was at its full, and the water having been Representative Great Tidal Floodings of the North American Coastline 9 blown in upon the shores for several days the tide rose washed over Tuck's Point and over Water Street, while to a greater height in many places than was remembered the tide in Gloucester was said to have been the highest by the people then living. It swept the w1rarves and in fifty years... The passage through Shirley Gut was lower streets like a flood, and at Dorchester, Mass., rose widened to twice its former size. . . The storm raged nearly seven feet higher than the average tide . . . all along the coast from New York to Portland, Me. "On all parts of the coast where the northeast wind The feeling was general that the storrn brought a higher could exert its force the tide rose over the wharves from tide and greater gale than any since December 1786. . . one to four feet. At Provincetown, on Cape Cod, many Damage to shipping was estimated in hundreds of thou- wharves and salt mills were swept away; and in several sands of dollars, while property all along the coast was places people left their houses, which were flooded, water destroyed. being six inches on the lower floors in some of them. "At Boston [where the tide averaged 15-62 feet] the CASE No. 36-Near-Ordin,ary Spring Tides water was three or four feet deep on Central and Long An ordinary spring tide situation in which a moderate wharfs, and the wooden stores on the latter wharf were 3V2-day proximity to the time of perigee set up an addi- completely inundated . . . tional potential for tidal flooding occurred on the mom- "Deer Island in Boston harbor suffered extensively ing of December 26, 1909, in connection with the by the great tide which made a complete breach over so-called "Christmas Gale" of that year. Full moon oc- the island, covering nearly the whole of it. The sea-wall curred at4:30 in the afternoon on December 26, preceded that had been built there a few years before by the govern- by perigee at about 4: 00 a.m. on December 23 local ment was washed away; and three buildings were carried time, a difference of 84V2 hours. This is marginal'to the out to sea, one of them being the school-house . . ." " maximum separation-interval adopted for a pseudo- Excerpted and abridged, in part, from Edward Rowe perigean spring tide (84 hours)-but the associated tidal Snow's work on Great Storms and Famous Shipwrecks flooding took place only some 36 hours from the mean of the New England Coast, and somewhat rearranged time between perigee and syzygy, computed to be approx- in terms of the importance of the tidal disaster involved, is the following description of this catastrophe: imately 10: 00 p.m. on December 24. As will be discussed "The City of Boston actually became an island during in note,t table 1, even such a 3V2-day proximity the Wednesday high tide a Is the water swept across the between the time of perigee and the time of syzygy (or, necl, cutting the city off from the mainland completely. more meaningfully, the occurence of a spring tide within On Harrison Avenue the water was four feet deep, and IV2 days of the mean epoch, or average time between the tide flowed entirely across Washington Street near perigee and syzygy) can reinforce, and provide a definite the comer of Waltham Street. In downtown Boston the amplitude contribution to, an ordinary spring tide. waves swept right up State Street, with the area around In every sense of the word, therefore, the spring tide the Custom House three feet under water . . . Brown must be regarded as the basic higher-than-usual high tide, Street was partially submerged, the waves continuing up to which the effects of a near-coincidence between peri- Central and Milk Streets. It is said that Merchants Row gee and syzygy are added. The concept of perigean tides was reached by the great tide. The record high tide standing alone without any contribution from syzygy can submerged both the Charlestown and Chelsea bridges only be realized once in any given lunation and during . . . on Pleasant Beach in Cohasset . . . a large three- certain nonconsecutive months, when the Moon is story hotel was floated right out from its underpinning, simultaneously a.t.perigee and quadrature. The concept of with almost a score of guests escaping in time . . . syzygian (spring) tides standing alone without sensible The tide at Dorchester, Mass., rose seven feet higher reinforcement from perigee, on the other hand, is valid on twice as many occasions throughout an extended than usual. . . The boys at Deer Island school . . . period of time-viz., at those apogee-syzygy positions oc- were caught in their dormitory with the water steadily curring at either new or full moon. rising around them. . . By midnight the water. had The ordinary spring tide is, therefore, more logically the risen to a height of five feet, and the roof of the building comparative standard for a greatef-than-average high fell in. . . Derby Wharf in Salem was ruined. The tide, upon which the effects of pengee-syzygy are addi- railroad track at Collin's Cove and the bridge between tionally superimposed-rather than the effects of a Forrester Street and Northey's Point were carried away, syzygian tide being thought of as impressed upon those of and the sea rushed into the tunnel. In Beverly the sea a perigean tide. 10 Strategic Role of Perigean Spring Tides, 1635-1976 The present case of tidal flooding is an example of the curring either in near-coincidence with, or comparatively sea surface being raised to comparatively high levels by close proximity to (i.e., within even several days of), new the joint action of winds and tides (either of which is sub- moon or full moon, has reinforced spring tides on many ject to varying intensities and amplitudes)-a funda- occasions and in varying degrees down through history. mental principle that will be enunciated many times in Also, in repeated examples throughout history, perigean the present volume. , spring tides, combined with intense onshore winds, have As reported in the Monthly Weather Review for provided an important source of coastal flooding. January 1910: Subsequent technical discussionswill include an evalua- "The morning tide of December 26, 1909, attending tion of the increased flood-producing potential of hurri- the severe storm of this date on the New England coast, canes which occur at the same time as perigean spring was one'of the highest ever recorded in Boston Harbor. . . tides. A proposed intensity scale also will be developed "At Boston Light the predicted time of high tide was to indicate the comparative degrees of coastal flooding 10: 20 a.m. The wind from the later afternoon of the 25th possible from various intensities of onshore wind com- until nearly noon of the 26th was from the east and north- bined with the separate categories of ( 1 ) proxigean spring east over Boston Harbor and Massachusetts Bay, rapidly tides, (2) perigean spring tides, (3) pseudo-perigean increasing in force during the evening of the 25th to very spring tides, and (4) ordinary spring tides. In the light high velocities soon after midnight, which continued un- of this intensity grouping by classes, the foregoing exam- diminished through the morning and day of the 26th. At ples (in addition to their historical significance) have Cape Cod, Highland Light, the velocity at 8 a.m. of the been chosen as being representative of each of these four 26th was 48 miles, northeast [the wind velocities stated types of astronomically augmented tides. A more mean- are. uncorrected values-not adjusted for instrumental ingful expansion from these few introductory cases is now error; corrected values are about three-fourths of the desirable. values given]; noon, 72 miles; 2:15 p.m., 84 miles; at Table I contains a list, of 100 representative examples 5 p.m., 66 miles-all from the east-northeast-and at of major tidal flooding occurring along the North Ameri- midnight was 60 miles, north. At Boston the hourly move- can coastlines between 1683 and 1976, associated with ments from midnight to noon of the 26th ranged between the near-simultaneous occurrence of perigean spring tides 25 and 39 miles,,the hourly maximum rates between 32 (as a generic term) and strong, sustained, onshore winds. and 45 mph-the latter occurring at 5: 10 a.m., from the This list includes, and distinguishes between, cases . of northeast. . . proxigean spring, perigean spring, and pseudo-pe-rigean "The increasing and high wind, occurring with the ris- spring tides according to the nomenclatural definitions ino, tide, together with a high run of tide, caused the water given in table 22 and the accompanying text. in Boston Harbor to reach approximately the record Other representative cases in which landfalling hurri- height of the tide of April 14, 1851 (The Lighthouse canes have provided a source of intense winds, resulting Storm), which at the U.S. Navy Yard was 15.0 to 15.1 in severe coastal inundation in addition to wind damage ft-the height of the tide of December 26, 1909, being, at (and a. greater degree of flooding than is experienced the same station, 14.98 ft. In general the tide in Boston in hurricanes occurring at other times than perigee- Harbor and Massachusetts Bay was approximately 3.5 syzygy) are contained in table 2. feet above the predicted height. The actual height as Surface synoptic weather maps are included in part given by the U.S. Engineers and other reliable authorities 11, chapter 7, to match more than 25 cases of tidal at the following places was as follows: Newburyport, flooding. These graphically portray the condition of Massachusetts Harbor, Black Rock Wharf, 12.68'; Sand coastal weather and distribution of the wind pattern at Bay, Rockport Harbor, 13.64'; Boston Harbor, Deer Is- the time the flooding occurred. Because of total space land, 14.56'; Plymouth Harbor, 14.8'; Barnstable Bay, limitations, these examples were chosen at random from 13.25'; Provincetown Harbor, 14.35'; the tide at all these the master lists, but include one case in each decade from stations with the exception of Plymouth and Barnstable 1890 to 1970, distributed in latitude from Halifax, Nova was approximately 5 feet above mean high water." Scotia, to Long Beach, Calif., on both the east and west coasts of North America (representing both semidiurnal Coastal Flooding As an Ongoing Risk and mixed tides), in all months from October through The detailed case-study forming a part of the preserit April (and with perigee-syzygy separations from --L I to research effort shows that the phenomenon of perigee oc- - j4 hours. Numerous illustrations of the destructive ef- Representative Great Tidal Floodings of the North American Coastline 11 fects of such coastal flooding incidents are also interspersed them especially vulnerable to tidal flooding which, throughout the latter portions of the text. paradoxically, did not occur. In this wealth of available previous examples, there As a first and most important consideration, these ex- is a pattern of recurring significance. On both the At- amples have been chosen on the basis of an extremely lantic and Pacific shorelines of the United States, wherever small difference between the times of perigee and syzygy lowland coastal regions exist, perigean spring tides coupled (less than I to a maximum of 12 hours). Secondly, each with strong, sustained, onshore winds become an all has been selected as possessing one or more special features too frequent harbinger of tidal flooding. On the east which, in terms of the exceptionally high tides produced coast of Florida, along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, thereby, should make the situation one extremely suscepti- and at certain other specific coastal locations, as will be ble to tidal flooding. seen in part 11, chapter 8, limited daily tidal ranges Among these conditions occurring either singly or in greatly reduce the attendant hazard of tidal flooding combination and contributing in various degrees to the except in the case of hurricanes. production of exceptionally high tid6s are: (1) an un- The most outstanding 20th century example of coastal usually large value of the lunar parallax, indicating an flooding associated with perigean spring tides, which oc- exceptionally close approach of the Moon to the Earth; curred on March 6-7, 1962, will be discussed at length (2) the location of the Moon directly in the zenith (i.e., in part II, chapter 7. The more recent tidal floodings, at altitude=90') ; (3) the position of the Sun very close of January 8, 1974 along the southwest coast of Cali- to solar perigee (around January 1-4 of the year) ; (4) fornia and-allowing for the appropriate tidal delays- the location of the Moon very near to the vernal or 2 to 3 days later along the southwest coasts of England autumnal equinox, around March 21 or September 23, and Wales and on the Islands of Guernsey and Lewis, respectively, thus being on the Equator and aligned with also will be treated separately in this chapter. Satellite the Sun in both declination and celestial longitude; (5) weather photographs revealing offshore cloudcover by the location of the Moon at, or very near to, one of its day and night (infrared) indicate the frontal and weather nodes (positions of crossing the ecliptic) at the same time patterns that existed during these 1974 incidents of tidal the Sun is near this same longitude, resulting in a solar flooding. eclipse (at new moon) or a lunar eclipse (at full moon); A further group of cases of coastal flooding which (6) the new moon being simultaneously at the same high have occurred at times of ordinary spring tides, supported declination, or the full moon at an opposite high declina- by the necessary wind velocities and varying degrees of tion (in algebraic sign) with the Sun, causing a force proximity to perigee, are listed in table 3. alignment in declination as well as an increase in the tidal Numerous additional instances of the highest tides of day; and (7) the presence of the Sun at the summer or record at various coastal localities are given in table 4. winter solstice (greatest an nual declination), increasing its These particular cases were all observed at times of apparent motion in right ascension, and lengthening the perigee-syzygy, but lacked-the simultaneous existence of tidal day in the same manner as a high declination of the sufficiently high or sustained onshore winds to cause no- Moon. These various effects will be completely described ticeable flooding. in part II, chapters 1-4. A system of scientific controls also has been imple- With such very favorable astronomical conditions add- mented (see table 27 and figs. 70-89), suitable for the ing their individual effects to thai of the perigean spring analysis of certain cases of strongly potential tidal flooding tide already present, the immediate question from the which failed to materialize. All such cases were associated standpoint of the premise subsequently advanced (calling with a close perigee-syzygy alignment and other astro- for a strong tidal flooding potential under these condi- nomical tide-raising factors which, although they lifted the tions) is why no reported tidal flooding actually occurred. water to unusual levels, did not produce flooding. In this And here again a very definite emphasis must be placed control system, an equal number of representative exam- upon the necessity that the two natural forces-astro- ples has been included for a wide variety of dates and nomical and meteorological-work together in close uni- circumstances agreeing in statistical randomness with the son if tidal flooding is to occur. cases of active 'flooding (table 1 ) in order to provide Neither a powerful offshore winter storm nor an excep- statistical comparability therewith. As an acid test of tionally uplifted astronomical high tide-one without the principles to be developed in part II, chapters 3-6, they, other-can produce the devastating flooding effects like the first group of cases, possess properties rendering abundantly illustrated among the many cases resulting 12 Strategic Role of Perigean Spring Tides, 1635-1976 from the combination of these factors documented in Both in the case of very early newspaper accounts and table 5. The considerably augmented astronomical high those published in relatively small coastal communities, it tide resulting from the condition of perigee-syzygy, which is necessary to consider that most of the newspapers in- will be discussed extensively in the ensuing chapters- volved are weeklies. Accordingly, the reporting time of a often supported by additional astronomical factors such coastal storm accompanied by tidal flooding which oc- as tliose listed above-provides the setup condition for sub- curred just prior to a weekly publication date and too late sequent wind action. An active coupling between strong, for inclusion at that time may be delayed as much as a sustained, onshore winds, if present, and the surface of the week. sea provides the second factor necessary to cause active It must also be remembered that, in the documenta- coastal flooding. tion of such tidal floodings, the news value of these na- The absence of flooding in these control cases is clearly tural events as determined by the news editor is at all times shown by the accompanying weather maps to be due to in competition with other news of the day, of political, high atmospheric pressure and a condition of calm-or international, economic, or other topical interest. The offshore (rather than onshore) winds along the coast, act- timing of the flooding in relation to press deadlines and ing to negate the effect of the astronomically induced high follow-on editions, as well as the writing skills, thorough- tides. ness, and even the working habits of the reporter can'all The action of negative (depressed) tides produced by affect the degree of prominence given to one story com- intense offshore winds during the low-water stage of peri- pared with another whose flooding consequences are gean spring tides is also duly considered on pages 93, 103, ostensibly as great. A lack of technical knowledge on the in terms of the threat for ship groundings and strandings. part of the reporter, a desire to achieve a sensational story, As a followup to the cases of tidal flooding listed in the or an excessive shortening of the article by a news editor- all can affect the accuracy of the pertinent data. Any tables of this chapter, and as an indication of the con- tinuing, open-ended relationship of this historical over- quantitative comparison and analysis made from newspa- view, facsimile copies of newspaper articles describing tidal per accounts is, therefore, subject to some degree of qual- floodings which have occurred widely along the North ification in keeping with these considerations. In conclusion, a brief explanation is desirable concern- American coastlines are included, in chronological order, ing the examples of tidal flooding cited in different chap- on the following pages (table 5). These serve to sum- ters of this work. marize, from an at-once historical and yet contemporary, firsthand point of view, the effects of a quite considerable Methods of Identification and Evaluation number of cases of coastal flooding resulting from the co- of Representative Cases of Tidal Flooding incidence of sustained, onshore winds and perigean spring The 100 representative cases of coastal flooding asso- tides over a period in history covering the 18th, 19th, and ciated with perigean spring tides which are listed in table early 20th centuries. Appropriate data for each occurrence I are chronologically arranged and numbered for con- are contained in the accompanying captions. The events venience in reference. In order to provide for a greater reported speak for themselves in the intensity of the tidal variety in the case-study analysis used in different portions flooding damage sustained. of the text-as permissible within space limitations-the From the standpoint of the contribution made to such cases variously chosen from among the 100 for individual events by perigean spring tides, certain of these cases of evaluation are not always the same. However, a common coastal flooding will be further individually evaluated in thread of comparison has been maintained by including part II, chapter 7. The gradual reduction in the frequency data for a single, consistent group of cases throughout the of reported cases of severe tidal flooding in more recent volume. years, as the result of an increased construction of seawalls, To permit a ready means of correlation between such breakwaters, groins, and other devices designed to prevent related sets of data covering various aspects and influences coastal flooding, will also be given appropriate attention of perigean spring tides in different chapters of the text, in this later chapter. an alphanumeric system of identifying these common In connection with these reproduced news articles from cases has been adopted. The several randomly selected a fairly extensive range of. coastal communities, and cover- listings of perigean spring tides (distributed widely in time ing a span of 251 years, several pertinent comments are and geography, and both accompanied and unaccom- in order: panied by tidal flooding) which have been mentioned Representative Great Tidal Floodin .gs of the NAh American Coastline 13 earlier in this section constitute control groups. Each of However, several possible pitfalls exist in the compari- the events in these individual groupings carries the same son of the times of tidal flooding events taking place in identifying number, allocated in chronological order, different years, particularly in the past: (I ) Prior to given to it in the first columns of tables 1-4. In addition, January 1, 1925, Greenwich mean time (G.m.t.) was for those cases which appear repeatedly among the tide used, in which the 24-hour day be-an at Greenwich mean curves, weather maps, newspaper articles, etc., published noon, rather than the preceding midnight. Although throughout the volume, a key letter has been assigned. Greenwich civil time came into use in the 1925 issue of The keying letter and/or number serve to identify a The American Ephemeris and Nautical Almanac, the des- flooding or nonflooding situation as the same tidal cir- ignation universal time did not appear until the 1939 cumstance, no matter where it appears in the text, with- edition. In converting to Greenwich civil time or universal out reference to the accompanying date. In some cases time, 12 hours always have to be added to Greenwich this is a weather map date (usually the same as the date mean time; (2) The term Greenwich mean time (but of tidal flooding), in others, it is the date of the published reckoned from Greenwich midnight) also continued in newspaper article (often a day or so later) relating to the use in the British Nautical Almanac during the same tidal flooding, and in still others represents the mean period that Greenwich civil time was being used in The epoch of perigee-syzygy. Wherever a numerical or alpha- American Ephemeris, and Nautical Almanac and before numerical designation is given in the caption accompany- they both converted to universal time and then ephemeris ing graphical or tabular material, these data form a cor- time; and (3) The designation, Greenwich mean- time is relatable set with any similarly labeled perigee-syzygy data still used today in the navigational and tide publications appearing elsewhere in the volume. of some English-speaking countries. Although this other- Due care should be exercised in making all intercom- wise abandoned nomenclatural usage implies a time 12 parisons to check the standard time zone for w hich the hours earlier, it pertains to a value which is intended to be data apply. Most of the synoptic weather map, coastal the same as universal time or Greenwich civil time, start- ing at Greenwich midnight. flooding, or related tide table data are given either for To avoid confusion with the similarly named Green- the time meridian of 75' W. (eastern standard time) or wich mean time which had been used in the United 120' W. (Pacific standard time) -depending, in the last two instances, on the coastline involved. States before January 1, 1925, the more complete desig- All astronomical and ephemeris data relating to the nation of Greenwich mean astronomical time should be Sun, Earth, or Moon (including the computer printouts assigned to any reckoning system which is based upon are referred to ephemeris time (e.t. e Greenwich mean noon. In early editions of The American . First adopted in- Ephemeris and Nautical Almanac, the meridian of Wash- temationally for use starting in 1960, and based upon the ington D.C., was also used for various astronomical posi- comparison of exact lunar, observations with gravitational tion and time determinations, and the exact designation data rather than upon the rotation of the Earth, as here- of this meridian has undergone several changes over the tofore, ephemeris time is the modem form-with some years. small distinctions and corrections-of Greenwich civil The lengths of all days (solar or lunar) specified time. Between January 1, 1939 and January 1, 1960, throughout the text are given in terms of their equivalents astronomical data were given in universal time (u.t.), in mean solar time ( t mean solar day= 1,440 mean solar otherwise known as world time or Weltzeit (W.Z.), temps minutes= 86,400 mean solar seconds), based on the ficti- universel (t.u.), or Greenwich zone time (Z)-all of tious motion of the mean Sun. which are equivalent. to Greenwich civil time (G.c.t.). Reference should also be made to the note in connec- In each case, 24 hours constitute the d ay, starting at tion with Julian (Old Style) and Gregorian (New Style) midnight (0000') and lasting until the next midnight calendars on, page 1. (2400 '). Universal time is still used instead of ephemeris Remarks Concerning the Fundamental Astronom- time in astronomical applications other than those that ical, Tidal, and Meteorological Data Sources relate to the Sun, Moon, and planets, and likewise always Used in Connection With Computations for this refers to an astronomical day starting at Greenwich mid- Volume night, no matter in what year it occurs. The times of perigee and szyygy, the separation-interval I' This abbreviation should not be confused with that for eastern between them, and the mean epoch of this combined phe- standard time (e.s.t.) also used in the text. nomenon are given for each case of tidal flooding listed in 14 Strategic Role of Perigean Spring Tides, 1635-1976 tables 1, 2. In the reductions leading to these tab ulations, tervals are involved-to the nearest half-hour. One 'excep- as elsewhere throughout the volume, the data contained in tion to this procedure exists: In order to separate and the computer printout of table 16 have been used, for con- emphasize the effects of particularly close perigee-syzygy sistency, in all instances where P - S > � I < � 24 hours. An alignmenis, where the difference P-S<�111, its precise arbitrary interval of one mean solar day has been set as the value has been computed, in minutes of time, directly from separation limit between perigee and syzygy for all cases of the data in an astronomical ephemeris. perigee-syzygy "alignment" appearing in this latter table. Within this _L24-hour limitation, table 16 (compiled from magnetic tape data by the U.S. Naval Observatory) Of significance to certain tables contained in later chap- provides the means for extending such perigee-syzy 'y data ters of this study are the earliest years in which ( 1 ) for- 9 backward in time to historical dates even prior to the exist- malized tide data were available, and (2) synoptic weather ence of published nautical almanacs and astronomical maps were issued in the United States. ephemerides. Among the earliest of such published data Between 1853 and 1867, the first rudimentary tide tables sources, the French Connaissance des Temps was first issued resulting from studies made at certain larger seaports on in 1679, the British Nautical Almanac in 1767, the Italian the east coast of the United States were contained among E,ffemeridi astronomiche (original Latin title Effemeridl the text and appendixes of the annual Reports of the Super- 1 0 intendent of the Coast Survey. These consisted, for the most astronom cae) in 1775, the German Berliner astronomisches part, of related tidal data requiring further self- computation Jahrbuch in 1776, and The American Ephemeris and Nauti- and use by the navigator. cal Almanac in 1855. In 1867, the actual prediction of high tides for 15 stations Where the P-S separation-interval is greater than 4-24 on the east coast of the United States was begun. hours, the corresponding data have been obtained from these astronomical ephemerides, within their dates of availability. Because of the special demands made necessary for safe For earlier dates, these data have been calculated retro- navigation over shoals, bars, and reefs, the prediction of actively on the computer, resorting to the same analytical daily low waters for the west coast of Florida as well as for approach involving the application of periodic terins and the Pacific coast of the continent was begun in 1868. In coefficients in the solution of the lunar disturbing function 1887, the prediction of both high and low waters for 16 which is used in the compilation of table 16. stations on the east coast also was inaugurated. Table 16 is prepared from computer-programmed equa- In 1885, the use of the first tide-computing machine in the 0 United States, devised by William Ferrel of the U.S. Coast tions and theoretical methods of analysis which differ, for and Geodetic Survey and utilizing 19 harmonic constants, example, from the standard interpolation method for de- was instituted. In 1896, such tidal predictions were extended termining the times of perigees from maximum values of the to include 70 standard reference stations throu hout the parallax, used in The American Ephemeris and Nautical Al- 9 manac and other ephemerides. Rounding-off procedures in- world, together with tidal differences for an additional 3,000 volving data truncation to the nearest significant figure also stations. have been employed in the computer printouts. In 1912, annual tide tables were computed for the first As a result, variations of up to one-half hour may exist time by USC&GS tide-predicting machine No. 2 (developed between corresponding values obtained by the several meth- by Rollin A. Harris and E. G. Fischer of this organization in ods noted above (or, if the rounding-off errors add in the 1910, and utilizing 37 harmonic constituents) - same direction, differences of up to I hour may occasion- Beginning with the tide tables for 1966, the use of an elec- ally result). These variations are the most critical when tronic computer was introduced, by which all tide predic- P-S is very small, and the solar perturbation of the lunar tions published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric line of apsides is, correspondingly, at its greatest value. Administration/ National Ocean Survey are now calculated. However, the maximum influence of the strong, onshore surface winds required to produce coastal flooding in con- In connection with the availability of various meteorologi- nection with perigean spring tides usually extends over at cal sources cited in part 11, chapter 7, the first issue of the least several hours. The influences of phase and parallax Monthly Weather Review was published (by the Signal ages, variable with location, also affect the interval between Service, U.S. Army) in June 1872; the earlir-st issue of the the occurrence of perigee-syzygy and the production of the U.S. Weather Bureau publication Climatological Data- maximum perigean spring tides. Such small differences pos- National Summary appeared in Tanuary 1950 (vol. 1, No. 1). sible in the mean time of perigee-svzygy are, therefore, not Information concerning individual coastal storms was first detrimental to the accuracy of the present study. tabulated in a section designated "Severe Storrns" in the In this same connection, a greater uncertainty exists in latter publication from January 1950 until December 1953. determining the exact time of perigee than in the case of This section was retitled "Storm Data and Unusual syzygy, and the former value is now, customarily given only Phenomena" from January 19,54 to December 1958. There- to the nearest hour, whereas the time of syzygy is given to after, and to the present, similar information has appeared the nearest minute. Carried to the accuracy of the less well- in a separate publication titled Storm Data, whose first edi- known component of the pair, the value of the mean epoch tion (vol. 1, No. 1) was issued in January 1959. of perigee-syzygy is rounded off throughout this book to The first daily surface synoptic weather map of the United the nearest hour only, or-where odd-value separation-in- States, including adjoining waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Representative Great Tidal Floodings of the North American Coastline 15 oceans (but of course lacking synoptic weather data from cal data sources and nomenclature, storm surges may or may ships at sea until the advent of marine radio) was published not be accompanied by coastal flooding. as a War Department Weather Map by the Signal Service, The arrangement of items in table I which, as a master U.S. Army, on January 1, 1871. The first representation of listing, will be referred to repeatedly throughout this volume weather fronts on these maps was not begun until Au- is: gust 1, 1941. Other data are given in the explanatory com- (1) the key number of the flooding event, as explained ments preceding the appropriate groups of weather maps in complete detail on page 13 (col. 1), and in the Ex- included in part 11, chapter 7. planatory Comments preceding table 5; Data on storm surges are also available in many sources, (2) the date(s) of tidal flooding at the locations in including those listed in the bibliography at the end of this question. Both Old Style and New Style Calendar dates are volume. However, it is important to note in connection with given where applicable, according to the procedure for the list of tidal flooding events contained in tables 1, 2 that reckoning these dates specified in the aforementioned por- the existence of*a storm surge doe-3 not necessarily imply tidal tion of the main text; flooding unless the amplitude of the surge exceeds the land- (3) the cities, towns, seaports, coastal or beach loca- flooding level at the point under consideration. A storm surge tions at which tidal floodin- is documented by the reference is defined as an additional increment to the observed tide sources as having occurred; as meteorological factors caus-- the water level to rise above (4) the date and time (to the nearest hour) of the that of the predicted astronomical tide. The specific meteoro- lunar perigee occurring closest in time to (either preceding logical contributions in this case are a strong, sustained, or following) the instance of tidal flooding. For convenience onshore wind and/or decreasing atmospheric pressure. in reference, the times given are uniformly converted from A surge therefore represents the positive residual in the the Greenwich civil time or ephemeris time of astronomical total height of the observed tide in excess of the height ap- tables to 750W.-meridian time (since 1884, designated as pearing in tide tables for that date and time! In order for eastern standard time). If a location on the west coast of coastal flooding to occur, the combined water level from North America is given in col. (3), an additional 3 hours these two causes must be higher than the level of the adjoin- must be subtracted from those given in cols. (4), (5), and (8) ing land. The height of the storm surge above mean sea to'obtain 120'W.-meridian time (Pacific standard time) level must be considered in terms of the elevation of the (5) the date and eastern standard time (spe4ed to the shoreline with respect to this same datum plane in order nearest minute) of the syzygy alignment (either new moon or to establish the possibility for coastal flooding. By the same full moon) closest to the occurrence of the tidal flooding; token, the use of observed (recorded) hourly height data (6) the algebraic difference in time between the oc- for the tides is not meaningful until referenced to the actual currences of perigee and syzygy nearest to the flooding event, flood level for the point in question. All such cases of shore- taken in the sense perigee minus syzygy, and rounded off to line inundation cited in tables 1, 2 are confirmed by pub- the nearest hour; lished eyewitness accounts. (7) the particular phase of syzygy represented-either new moon (NM) or full moon (FM) TABLE 1 (8) the mean epoch of perigee-syzygy, obtained by adding one-half the difference in hours given in col. (6) List of 100 Representative Examples of Major (without regard to algebraic sign) to the time of the earliest Coastal Flooding Along the North American of these two phenomena; and Coastline, 1683-1976 (9) documentary sources of the flooding event, given variously as a citation to a contemporary newspaper (with Explanatory Comments newspaper title coded, plus date, page, and columns) or a Table I consists of a compilation of 100 cases of severe professional journal, book, or other reference in which a coastal flooding caused by the combined action _R perigean more detailed description of the flooding event occurs. The spring tides and near-coincident, strong, persistent, onshore coding numbers used for each reference source are listed at winds. As indicated by the reference sources given in the the end of table 4d. table, almost all of these instances of tidal flooding are of a With the single exception of Case No. 70 (P- S= - 87h), magnitude to warrant mention in contemporary local or all accompanying perigee-syzygy alignments have a separa- regional newspapers and/or to be cited as of considerable tion-interval between the two components not exceeding consequence among historical accounts, monthly and annual _L84' (::L3.5 days). This is the arbitrary limit of separation meteorological reviews, coastal storm summaries, or other established in this study in order to include pseudo-perigean technical sources of marine data. The documented examples spring tides as well as perigean spring and proxig Pan spring of tidal flooding listed are, therefore, semantically distinct tides. Among the data of table 1, a comparative summary is from the more restricted category of meteorological storm available indicative of (1), the possible divergences of the surges. As described in the foregoing section on meteorologi- times of flooding from the mean epochs of perigee-syzygy Conversely, a negative storm surge refers to the depression of within which the special tide-raising influences of this dual local water levels below those predicted from the existing astro- alignment are felt, and (2) the greatest separation-interval nomical forces; it is caused by a strong, persistent, offshore wind between perigeeand syzygy at which the combined gravita- and/or rapidly increasing atmospheric pressure. tional action has a distinct effect. TABLE I.-List of 100 Representative Examples of Major Coastal Flooding Along the North American Coastline, 1683-1976, Related to the Near-Contiguous* Occurrence a) of Perigean Spring Tides Coupled With Strong, Persistent, Onshore Winds (All times given correspond to the meridian of 75*W. longitude) Separation- Ke Nearest Nearest interval: Type of Mean Epoch Notes and Reference Sources for Flood- y Perigee No. Date of Flooding Location of Flooding Perigee syzygy Minus syzygy of Perigee- ing (See key at end of table 4d.) Date Date SyZygy syzygy (h) 1 1683/84 Mar. 22 Boston, Cambridge, Charlestown 1684 Mar. 31 Mar. 30 FM 1684 Mar. 30 (18) p. 25. (O.S.). (Mass.). 0100 2100 +4 2300 1684 Apr. I (N.S.). 2 1693 Oct. 19 From Virginia settlements on the 1693 Oct. 29 Oct. 28 NM 1693 Oct. 29 (15) p. 17. (O.S.). Delmarva peninsula to Long Island 0600 2300 +7 0230 1693 Oct. 29 (N.Y.). Q (N.S.). 3 1704/05 Jan. 15 Boston, Salem (Mass.); Newport 1705 Jan. 25 Jan. 25 NM 1705 Jan. 25 (18) p. 41. (O.S.). (R.I.). 1400 0000 +14 0700 1705 Jan. 26 M (N.S.). 0 4 1722/23 Feb. 24 Boston, Dorchester, Chatham, Ply- 1723 Mar. 6 Mar. 6 NM 1723 Mar. 6 (4) p. 16; (6) pp. 41-42; (48) 2/21- (O.S.). mouth, Marblehead, Cape Cod, 1300 1900 -6 1600 28/1723 (O.S.), p. 2, col. 2; (75) 1723 Mar. 7 Salem, Mass.; Hampton, N.H.; p. 269, fn. 1. M (N.S.). Falmouth, Me, 5 1770 Jan. 8 ....... New England, especially near Boston, 1770 Jan. 10 Jan. .11 FM 1770 Jan. 10 (6) pp. 78-82. Mass. 1500 1200 -21 0130 6 1775 Sept. 9 ....... Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Newfound- 1775 Sept. 8 Sept. 9 FM 1775 Sept. 8 (5) 12/1775, p. 581; (15) p. 27t; land, Sept. 9-11. 0700 1000 -27 2030 (20) v. 2, p. 1261. 7 1786 Dec. 4-5 ..... Boston, Nantucket, Mass.; and New 1786 Dec. 4 Dec. 5 FM 1786 Dec. 4 (6) p. 124; (10) pp. 81-86; (18 pp. England. 1500 0800 -17 2330 70-71; (45) 12/11/1786 (N.S.), No. 1690, p. 3, col. 1. 8 1802 Mar. 1-2.. ... Coast of Massachusetts ............. 1802 Mar. 2 Mar. 4 NM 1802 Mar. 3 (6) pp. 161-167; (18 p. 166, col. 2. 0) CQ 2300 0000 -25 1130 9, 1830 Mar. 26 ...... Portland, Me.; Portsmouth, N.H.; 1830 Mar. 24 Mar. 24 NM 1830 Mar. 24 (6) pp. 249-251; (49) 3/30/1830, p. 2, Newburyport, Gloucester, Beverly, 2000 1000 +10 1500 col. 2. Salem, Danversport, Lynn, Boston, Charlestown, and Cambridge, Mass. 10 1839 Dec. 15 ...... Boston, Newburyport, Plum Island, 1839 Dec. 18 Dec. 20 FM 1839 Dec. 19 (6) pp. 266-272; (19) p. 34, col. 2, Salem, Marblehead, Cohasset, 1400 2100 -55 1730 p. 35, col. 1. Plymouth, and Cape Cod, Mass. 11 1846 Mar. I ...... Bodie's Island and Hatteras Banks, 1846 Feb. 24 Feb 25 NM 1846 Feb. 25 (23) pp. 37, 77. 6.5 N.C. 0900 1432 -30 0000 12 1846 Sept.7-8 .... Bodie's Wand, Hatteras Banks, N.C.; 1846 Sept. 4 Sept. 5 FM 1846 Sept. 5 (0) pp. 138, 282. Possible hurricane; coastline along Pamplico (Pam- 1700 0800 -15 0030 but see tidal backwash attribution lico) Sound; Oregon Inlet. for flooding and breaching of spit associated with q ffshore northwesterly wind in (15) p. 131; see also table 2, and text, part I, ch. 2; (23) pp. 37, 77. 13 1831 Apr. 14-16... Minot's Lighthouse, Cohasset, Scitu- 1851 Apr. 13 Apr. 15 FM 1851 Apr. 14 (6) pp. [email protected]; (10) pp. 128-138. ate Harbor, Dorchester, Deer Is- 1300 1800 -53 1530 8 land, Shirley Gut, Winthrop, Pleasant Beach, Salem, Gloucester, and Boston, Mass.; Newcastle, N.H. 14 1861 Nov. 2 ....... New Jersey coast, between Jersey 1861 Nov. 2 Nov. NM 1861 Nov. 2 (51) 11/4/1861, p. 1, cols. 5, 6. City and Newark, N.J., and north- 1200 1100 +1 1130 ward to Boston, Mass. 15 1869 Oct. 5 ....... Cobequid Bay, Burncoat Head, and 1869. Oct. 5 Oct. 5 NM 1869 Oct. 5 (8) pp. 11, 16; (13) pp. 253-259. Noel Bay, Nova Scotia; also 0200 0900 -7 0530 Probably a greatly modified hurri- northern Maine in vicinity of cane; see (16) p. 109, and text, Eastport. (Perigean spring tides part 1, ch. 4; (15) pp. 108-11. amplified by "Saxby's Gale.") 16 1870 Oct. 25 ...... Cumberland Basin, New Brunswick'.. 1870 Oct. 25 Oct. 24 NM 1870 Oct. 24 (8) pp. 15, 28, 30, 31. Q 0000 1100 +13 1730 @? 17 1873 Aug. 9 ....... Pictou, Nova Scotia ................ 1873 Aug. 9 Aug. 8 FM 1873 Aug. 8 (7) 1902, p. 12. 0600 0900 +21 1930 18 1877 Nov. 1-2.. ... North Atlantic coast ............... 1877 Nov. I Nov. 5 NM 1877 Nov. 3 (51) 11/3/1877, p. 3, col. 2. 2042 0348 -79 1230 19 1878 Oct. 23 ...... New York City and Coney Island, 1878 Oct. 25 Oct. 25 NM 1878 Oct. 25 (51) 10/24/1878, p. 1, col. 7; (57) N.Y.; Brighton Beach, Long 0100 1800 -17 0930 10/24/1878, p. 1, cols. 2, 3; (64) Branch, and Sandy Hook, N.J.; 10/24/1878, p. 1, col. 3. Chester, Greenpoint, and Philadel- phia, Pa. 20 1882 Sept. 28 ...... Long Branch, Highland Beach, Sea 1882 Sept. 26 Sept. 27 FM 1882 Sept. 26 (51) 9/29/1882, p. 5, col. 2. Bright, Atlantic Highlands, and 1400 0000 -to 1900 Asbury Park, N.J. 21 1885Nov.24...... Boston, Revere, and Winthrop, Mass.; 1885 Nov. 25 Nov. 22 FM 1885 Nov. 23 (46) 11/25/1885, p. 1, coli. 4-6. ;z- Long Island, Rockaway Beach, 0330 1630 +59 2200 Yonkers, and Peekskill, N.Y.; As- bury Park, Atlantic City, and Rahway, N.J. 22 1887 Oct.12 ...... Moncton, New Brunswick ........... 1887 Oct. 16 Oct. 16 NM 1887 Oct. 16 (7) 1899, p. 5. 1300 1800 - 5 1530 C% 23 1891 Oct. 13 ...... Atlantic City, Long Branch, Asbury 1891 Oct. 16 Oct. 17 FM 1891 Oct. 16 (51) 10/14/1891, p. 1, col. 5. Park, Sea Bright, Cape May, and 1300 0900 -20 2300 Sandy Hook, N.J. C) 24 1894 Jan. 22 ...... Cape Hatteras, N.C ................ 1894 Jan. 20 Jan. 21 FM 1894 Jan. 20 (II)pp.147-148;(54)1/26/1894,p.2, 1000 1000 -24 2200 cols. 3-4. 25 1895 Feb. 8-9 ..... Bangor, Me.; Portsmouth, N.H.; Prov- 1895 Feb. 9 Feb. 9 FM 1895 Feb. 9 (47) 2/9/1895, p. 3, col. 6; 2/11/1895, ;M3 idence and Newport, R.I.; Glouces- 0800 1200 -4 1000 p. 3, cal. 4; (51) 2/9/1895, p. 3, ter, New Bedford, Cape Cod, and cot. 4; 2/10/1895, p. 1, cals. 3-7 Boston, Mass.; Sandy Hook, N.J.; and p. 2, cot. 1. Staten Island, N.Y.; Halifax, Nova Scotia. 1 26 1896 Oct. 8 ....... Between Amherst, Nova Scotia, and 1896 Oct. 7 Oct. 6 NM 1896 Oct. 6 (7) 1899, p. 31, 1901, p. 22. 1 Sackville, New Brunswick. oooo 1700 +7 2030 27 1896 Nov. 6 ....... Pictou, Nova Scotia, and Charlotte- 1896 Nov. 4 Nov. 5 NM 1896 Nov. 4 (7) 1902, pp. 12-13. town, Prince Edward Island. 1200 0300 - 15 1930 See footnotes at end of table. 00 TABLE I.-List of 100 Representative Examples of Major Coastal Flooding Along the North American Coastline, 1683-1976, Related to the iVear-Contiguous* Occurrence of Perigean Spring Tides Coupled With Strong, Persistent, Onshore Winds-Continued (All times given correspond to the meridian of 75'W. longitude) Separation- interval: Key Nearest Nearest Per .gee Type of Mean Epoch Notes and Reference Sources for Flood- No. Date of Flooding Location of Flooding Perigee Syzygy Milnus Syzygy of Perigee- ing (See key at end of table 4d.) Date Date Syzygy syzygy (h) 28 1897 Nov. 27 ...... Pictou, Nova Scotia ................ 1897 Nov. 24 Nov. 24 NM 1897 Nov. 24 (7) 1902, p. 12. 1000 0400 +6 0700 rn 29 1899 Feb. 9 ....... New York, N.Y .................... 1899 Feb. 9 Feb. 9 NM 1899 Feb. 9 (25b) v. 27, no. 2 (2/1899), pp. 41-44; !Z 6.5 0900 0400 -19 1830 (51) 2/9/1899, p. 4, col. 3. 30 1899 Aug. 17 ...... Newport News, Va., and Va. coast.... 1899Aug. 20 Aug. 21 FM 1899 Aug. 20 (59) 8/18/1899, p. 1, col. 7. 1700 0000 -7 2030 31 1900 Oct. 11-12 ... Charlottetown and Summerside, 1900 Oct. 8 Oct. 8 FM 1900 Oct. 8 (7) 1902, pp. 15-16. Q Prince Edward Island. 0100 0800 -7 0430 32 1901 Apr. 20 ...... Between Amherst, Nova Scotia, and 1901 Apr. 18 Apr. 18 NM 1901 Apr. 18 (7) 1901, p. 22. Sackville, New Brunswick. 1600 1700 -37 1630 I min. 33 1901 May 18 ...... Between Amherst, Nova Scotia, and 1901 May 17 May 18 NM May 17 (7) 1901, p. 22. 6.5 Sackville, New Brunswick. 0200 0100 -23 1330 Z:t 31 1901 Nov. 24 ...... Asbury Park, Jersey City, Sandy 1901 Nov. 25 Nov. 25 FM 1901 Nov. 25 (31) 11/25/01, p. 1, col. 7; p. 2, cols. rn Hook, Sea Bright, and Shrews- 1100 2000 -9 1530 3,4. Z. bury, N.J.; Manhattan And Coney GrQ Island, N.Y.; New Haven, Stam- ford, and Greenwich, Conn.; Chatham and Provincetown, Mass. 35 1908 Feb. 3 ....... Port aux Basques, Newfoundland; 1908 Feb. I Feb. 2 NM 1908 Feb. 2 (35) 2/3/08, p. 4, col. 2. Harrington Harbour, Quebec. 2000 0400 -8 0000 36 1909 Dec. 26 ...... Boston, Mass ...................... 1909 Dec. 23 Dec. 26 FM 1909 Dec. 24 (11) pp. 257-258; (25b) v. 38, No. I 0348 1630 -84 2200 (1/10), p. 4; (46) 12/27/09, P. 1, cols. 1-4; p. 2, cols. 2-8, p. 5, cols. [email protected] 5-8; (75) p.,269 and fn. 1, p. 270, fn. 4. 1 37 1914 Nov. 20 ...... Quebec, Quebec ................... 1914 Nov. 16 Nov. 17 NM 1914 Nov. 17 (9) p. 14. 1 2300 1100 -12 0500 38 1914 Dec.. 17718... Long Beach, Balboa, and Los Angeles, 1914 Dec. 15 Dec. 16 NM 1914 Dec. 16 (30) 12/18/14, pt. 11, p. 1, cols. 4-5, Calif. 0912 2135 -36 0300 p. 6, cols. 3-5. 39 1915 Apr. 3 ....... Virginia Beach and Cape Henry, Va.; 1915 Apr. 1, Mar. 31 FM 1915 Mar. 31 (11) p. 191; (61) 4/4/15, p. 1, col. 1, Cape Hatteras, N.C. 1848 0038 +42 2200 p. 2, col. 7, p. 4, cols. 2-3, and p. 5, col. 3. 40 1916 July 13 ...... Charleston, S.C ................... 1916 July 14, July 15 FM 1916 July 14 (51) 7/14/16, p. 20, col. 4. 1900 0000 -5 2130 41 1917 Oct. I ....... Moncton and Sackville, New Bruns- 1917 Sept. 29, Sept.30 FM 1917 Sept. 30 (9) p. 95. r I wick; Amherst and Windsor, Nova 1306 1531 -27 0230 Scotia. L42 1917 Oct. 31 ...... Moncton, New Brunswick, and, to 'a 1917 Oct. 27, Oct. 30 FM 1917 Oct. 28 (9) p. 95. lesser degree, at Sackville, New 1748 0119 -55 2130 Brunswick, and Amherst, Nova Scotia. A-43 1918 Apr. 10-12 ... Sea Bright, Atlantic City, N.J.; 1918 Apr. 10, Apr. I I NM 1918 Apr. 10 (51) 4/11/18, p. 15, cols. 5, 6; 4/13/18, 7.5 Staten Island, Rockaway Beach, . 0500 0000 -19 1430 p . H, Col. 3; 4/13/18, p. 11, Col. 3. and southern Long Island, N.Y. 44 1918 Nov. 18 ...... New York, N.Y.; Batiscan, Quebec ... 1918 Nov. 16, Nov. 18 FM 1.918 Nov. 17 (51) 11/19/18, p. 9, Col. 3, p. 22, Col. 2230 0233 -29 1230 3; 11/25/18, p. 12, Col. 6. 45 1919 Nov. 7 ....... Manhattan and Coney Island, N.Y ... 1919 Nov. 81 Nov. 7 FM 1919 Nov. 8 (51) 11/g/19, p. 5, Col. 1; 11/9/19, 0900 1900 +14 0200 P. 10, Col. 6. 46 1922 Jan. I I ...... Sea Bright, Clifton, and Long Branch, 1922 Jan. 14, Jan. 13 FM 1922 Jan. 14 (51) 1/12/22, p. 6, cots. 4-5. N.J. 1848 0936 +33 0230 47 1923 Dec.8 ....... South Bend and Raymond, Wash.... 1923 Dec. 6 Dec. 7 FM 1923 Dec. 7 (63) 12/9/23, p. 16, HH, Col. 3. 2200 2100 -23 0930 .48 1926 Feb. 11-13 ... Los Angeles, Long Beach, San Diego, 1926 Feb. 12 Feb. 12 NM 1926 Feb. 12 (33) 2/14/26, p. 1, Col. 4; (34) 2/14/26, Capistrano Beach, and Ventura, 0700 1200 -5 0930 p. 1, cols. 6-7; (51) 2/14/26, p. 7, Calif. cols. 2-3. 49 1926 June 28 ...... Cape Hatteras, N.C ................ 1926 June 28 June 25 FM 1926 June 26 (12) p. 246. 0448 1613 +61 2300 19 B-50 1927 Mar. 3-4 ..... New England coast ................ 1927 Mar. 4 Mar. 3 NM 1927 Mar. 3 (44) 3/3/27, p. 1, Col. 3; (51) 3/4/27, - 0500 1400 +15 2130 p. 23, Col. 1. C-51 1927 Apr. 2 ....... Atlantic City, N.J." and Delaware. . @ 1927 Apr. I Apr. I NM 1927 Apr. 1 (51) 4/3/27, sec. 1, p. 19, Col. 2; (39) 1700 2300 -6 2000 4/5/27, p. 3, Col. 4. ZS 1 52 1927 Dec. 5 ....... Atlantic City, NJ ................. 1927 Dec. 6 Dec. 8 FM 1927 Dec. 7 (51) 12/5/27, p. 13, cot. 2. 2000 1232 -41 1630 53 1929 Apr. 11-12... Coastal regions of New York and 1929 Apr. 12 Apr. 9, NM 1929 Apr. 11 (51) 4/11/29, p. 60, Col. 8; 4/12/29, New Jersey. 1630 1533 +73 0400 p. 5, Col. 2; 4/13/29, p. 35, Col. 5; ;z- 7.5 4/14/29, p. 1. Col. 5, p. 14, cols. 3-8 54 1929 Nov. 18 ...... Boston and Winthrop, Mass ......... 1929 Nov. 19 Nov. 16 FM 1929 Nov. 17 (51) 11/19/29, p. 20, Col. 3. 0048 1914 +54 2200 55 1930 Aug. 23 ...... From Block Island, N.Y., to Maine ... 1930 Aug. 23 Aug. 23 NM 1930 Aug. 23 (51) 8/24/30, p. 1, Col. 6, p. 16, Col. 1. 1500 2300 -8 1900 Z. 56e 1931 Jan. 6 ........ Boston, Cape Cod, and Peaked Hill, 1931 Jan. 6 Jan. 4 FM 1931 Jan. 5 (51) 1/7/3 1, p. 2, cols. 4-5, p. BQ27, Mass.; Hampton, N.H. 0948 0815 +50 0900 Col. 8 (Last Edition); 1/10/31, p. 17, Col. 5. C) 56w 1931 Jan. 6 ....... Quinault Indian Reservation, Taho- 1931 Jan. 6 Jan. 4 FM 1931 Jan. 5 (51) 1/7/31, p. BQ27, Col. 8 (Last 2 lah, Wash. 0948 0815 +50 0900 Edition). D-57 1931 Mar. 4-5 ..... Halifax, N.S.; Boston, Salem, Win-. 1931 Mar. 4 Mar. 4 FM 1931 Mar. 4 (25b) v. 59, no. 3 (3/31), p. 127; throp, Revere, Gloucester, and 0500 0600 +6 0530 (37) 3/5/31, sec. 1, p. 2, cols. 7, Newburyport, Mass.; Portsmouth, min. 8: 3/6/31, p. 20, Col. 2; (51) 3/6/31, N.H.; Portland, Me.; New Haven P. BQ48, Col. 2; 3/9/31, p. 1, Col. 1, I and Greenwich, Conn.; Atlantic 3/10/31, p. 18, cols. 1, 4; (75) p. City, Jersey City, and Ventnor, 270, fn. 4. N.J.; Rockaway and East Hamp- ton, N.Y. See footnotes at end of table. TABLE L-List of 100 Representative Examples of Major Coastal Flooding Along the North American Coastline, 1683-1976, Related to the Near-Contiguous* Occurrence of Perigean Spring Tides Coupled With Strong, Persistent, Onshore Winds=-Continued (All times given correspond to the meridian of 75*W. longitude) Separation- Ke Nearest Nearest Interval: Type of Mean Epoch Notes and Reference Sources for Flood- y Perigee NO. Date of Flooding Location of Flooding Perigee Syzygy Minus Syzygy of Perigee- ing (See key at end of table 4d.) Date Date syzygy Syzygy (h) E-58 1931 Apr. I ....... Boston, Mass.; Flushing, N.Y.; South- 1931 Apr. I Apr. 2 FM 1931 Apr. 2 (39) 4/1/31, p. 1, col. 4;" (51) 4/2/31, 7.5 ampton, Jersey City, Atlantic City, 1700 1500 -22 0400 p. 2, cols. 2, 3. and Long Branch, N.J. C% 59 1932 Nov. 2 ....... New York, N.Y., and coast of New 1932 Oct. 29 Oct. 29 NM 1932 Oct. 29 (51) 11/2/32, p. 1, col. 3, p. 3, col. 5. 01Q I Jersey. .2200 1000 +12 1600 60 1932 Nov. 30 ...... Boston, Winthrop, Cape Cod, and 1932 Nov. 27 Nov. 27 NM 1932 Nov. 27 (37) 12/l/32, p. 7, cols. 7, 8. Nahant, Mass.; Hampton Beach, 1000 2000 -10 1500 N.H. 61 1933 Jan. 27-28. .. Atlantic City, N.J., to Bar Harbor, 1933 Jan. 22 Jan. 25 NM 1933 Jan. 24 (43) 2/l/33, p. 1, col. 5, p. 6, cols. 3, 6; Me. 2148 1820 -69 0800 (51) 1/26/33, p. 1, coIs. 2-3; 1/27/33, p. 21, cols. 1, 2; 1/29/33, p. 6, cols. 1-3. 62 1933 Apr. 12 ...... Long Island, N.Y .................. 1933 Apr. 12 Apr. 10 F M 1933 Apr. I 1 (51) 4/13/33, p. 3, col. 2. 0612 0838 +46 0800 Z. 63 1933 Dec. 17. Aberdeen, Hoquiam, Cosmopolis, 1933 Dec. 17 Dec. 16 NM 1933 Dec. 17 (55) 12/18/33, p. I, col. 2. ;2 on:1 and Montesano, Wash. 0700 2200 +9 0230 64 1934 Aug. 20-22... Newport Beach, Malibu Beach, La- 1934 Aug. 23 Aug. 24 FM 1934 Aug. 24 (27) Apr. 1935, p, 61, col. 1, par. 2; guna Beach, and Balboa, Calif. 1500 1500 -24 0300 Oct. 1940, p. 113, col. 1, par. 2; (33) 8/22/34, p. 1, col. 4. 65 1934 Dec. 8 ....... Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, and 1934 Dec. 8 Dec. 6 NM 1934 Dec. 7 (27) Apr. 1933, p. 62, col. 1, par. 1; Santa Monica, Calif. 0300 1225 -+39 0800 Oct. 1940, p. 113, col. 1, par. 2; (30) 12/8/34, p. 6, col. 4. 66 1935 July 16 ...... Oak Beach, Long Island, N.Y ....... 1935 July 17 July 16 FM 1935 July 16 (51) 7/17/35, p. 14L+, col. 7. 2142 0000 +46 2300 67 1937 Oct.21-23 ... Boston, Mass., and New York, N.Y ... 1937 Oct. 21 Oct. 19 FM 1937 Oct. 20 (46) 10/21/37, p. 1, col. 8; (51) 1100 1648 +42 1400 10/24/37, sec. 2, p. 1, col. 1. F-68 1939 Jan. 3-5 ..... Aberdeen, Hoquiam, and Neskowin, 1939.Jan. 6 Jan. 5 FM 1939 Jan. 5 (25b) v. 67, No. 1 (1/39), p. 30; (55) Wash.; Marshfield, Astoria, Coos 0600 1600 +14 2306 1/4/39, p. 2, cols. 3-6; 1/5/39, p. 1, Bay, Seaside, Tillamook, Portland, cols. 4, 7; 1/6/39, p. 1, cols. 4, 7, and Delake, Oreg.; Long Beach 15. 6, col. 1; 1/7/39, p. 3, cols. 1-5. and Hermosa Beach, Calif. G-69 1940 Apr. 21 ...... Boston (Deer Island), Cohasset 1940 Apr. 20 Apr. 21 FM I W Apr. 21 (51) 4/22/40, p. 1, col. 2 (Late City (Minot's Light and Bassing's Is- 1400 2337 -34 0700 Ed.); p. 34L, col. 1. land), Hull, Winthrop, Beachmont, and Quincy, Mass. 70 1940 Dec. 25-28... South Bend and Raymond, Wash.; 1940 Dec. 25 Dec. 28 NM 1940 Dec. 26 (55) 12/26/40, p. 1, col. 7 (Fi*al Ed.); Delake and Nelscott, Oreg.; Los 0100 1556 -87 2030 12/27/40, p. 1, cols. 1-4 (Final Ed.); Angeles, San Pedro, Redondo (56) 12/27/40, sec. 1, p. 1, col. 3; Beach, and Point Fermin, Calif. sec. 3, p. 1, col. 8; 12/28/40, p. 3, cols. 1-3; p. 7, cols. 3-5; 12/29/40, p. 6, col. 2. 71 1944 Nov. 30- New Bedford, Cape Cod, Chatham, 1944 Nov. 26 Nov. 29 FM 1944 Nov. 28 (43) 12/7/44, p. 1, col. 1, p. 8, col. 2; Dec. 1. and Provincetown, Mass.; Long 2300 1952 -69 0930 (51) 12/1[44, P. 25L, col. 1; 12/2/44, Island, N.Y.; Jersey City and Sea p. 15, col. 1. Bright, N.J.; Mt. Desert Island, H-72 1945 Nov. 20 ...... Portland, Eastport, and Machias- 1945 Nov. 18 Nov. 19 FM 1945 Nov. 19 (40) 11/21/45, p. 1, col. 8. port, Me. 2100 1000 -13 0330 1 73 1948 Jan. 2 ....... Boston, Mass ...................... 1947 Dec. 28 Dec. 27 FM 1947 Dec. 28 (51) 1/3/48, p. 3, cols. 2-5 (illustra- 1 1800 1527 +27 0430 tion), 6. 74 1948 Jan. 25-26 ... Vicinity of San Francisco, Calif ...... 1948 Jan. 26 Jan. 26 FM 1948 Jan. 26 (30) 1/26/48, p. 8, col. 6; (33) 1/26/48 0600 0200 +4 0400 p. 1, col. 7. 75 1949 Oct. 18 ...... Long Branch and Sea Bright, Nj .... 1949 Oct. 21 Oct. 21 NM, 1949 Oct. 21 (51) 10/19/49, p. 59, col. 1. 1000 1600 -6 1300 76 1951 July 17-18 ... Long Beach, Calif ................. 1951 July 17 July 18 FM 1951 July 18 (30) 7/19/51, p. 1, col. I (Final Ed.). 1800 1400 -20 0400 77 1951 Dec. 3-4 ..... San Francisco and Burlingame, Calif.; 1951 Nov. 30 Nov. 28 NM 1951 Nov. 29 (62) 12/3/51, p. 16, col. 6; p. 13, col. I Duwamish River, Wash. 0800 2000 +36 1400 2; 12/4/51, P. 1, cols. 3-6. 178 195'l Dec. 29 ...... San Francisco and San Rafael, Calif.. 1951 Dec. 28 Dec. 28 NM 1951 Dec. 28 (33) 12/31/51, p. 1, col. 4; (34) 1800 0700 +11 1230 12/29/51, p. 1, cols. 7, 8 (Final Ed.). 79 1953 Oct.22-24 ... Manhattan, Brooklyn, and New Ro- 1953 Oct. 21 Oct. 22 FM 1953 Oct. 21 (51) 10/23/53, p. 1, cols. 1, 2; p. 47, chelle, N.Y.; Wildwood and Ham- 1100 0800 -21 2130 cols. 2, 3; 10/24/53, p. 9, cols. 5, 6. ilton Beach, N.J.; Stamford, Conn.; Boston, Mass. 80 1958 Jan. 7-8 ..... Along Hampton Roads and the cast- 1958 Jan. 8 Jan. 5 FM 1958 Jan. 7 (25a) v. 9, No. 1, p. 9. ern piedmont and tidewater por- 1900 1509 +76 0500 tions of Va.; southern R.I., Cape 1 Cod, and coastal Mass. and N.H.; Wells Beach, Me. -L81 1938 Feb. 3-4 ..... S. San Diego Bay, Imperial Beach, 1958 Feb. 5 Feb. 4 FM 1958 Feb. 4 (30) 2/4/58, pt. 1, p. 1, col. 3; 2/5/58, Santa Paula, Long Beach, Alamitos 1800 0305 +39 2230 pt. 1, p. 1, cols. 4-5. 2 Bay Peninsula, Santa Monica, and Seabright, Calif. C) 82 1958 Apr. 1-2 ..... Boston, Nantucket, Winthrop, Chat- 1958 Apr. 3 Apr. 3 FM 1958 Apr. 3 (46) 4/2/58, p. 1, cols. 6-8 (Late City ham, Lynn, and Revere, Mass.; 1500 2300 -8 1900 Ed.); 4/3/58, p. 1, col. 3 (Late City Portsmouth, N.H. Ed.). 1-83c 1959 Dec. 29 ...... Atlantic City, N.J.; Long Island, 1959 Dec. 28. Dec. 29 NM 1959 Dec. 29 (25a) v. 10, No. 12, pp. 465, 466; - N.Y.; Cape Cod, Gloucester, Rock- 2000 1400 -18 0500 (25b) v. 87, No. 12 (12/59), p. 457; land, and Biddeford, Mass.; Kenne- (25c) v. 1, No. 12, p. 121; (46) bunkport, Me.; Rye, N.H. 12/30/59, p. 3, cols. 6-8; (51) 12/30/59, p. 6, cols. 3-4. 1-83w 1959 Dec. 30 ...... San Francisco Bay area, Calif ....... 1939 Dec. 28 Dec. 29 NM 1959 Dec. 29 (25c) v. 1, No. 12, p. 120; (32) 2000 1400 -18 0500 12/30/59, p. 1, col. 8. See footnotes at end of table. TABLE I.-List of 100 Representative Examples of Major Coastal Flooding Along the North American Coastline, 1683-1976, Related to the Near-Contiguous* Occurrence of Perigean Spring Tides Coupled With Strong, Persistent, Onshore Winds-Continued (All times given correspond to the meridian of - 75*W. longitude) Separation- Key Nearest Nearest Interval: Type of Mean Epoch Notes and Reference Sources for Flood- Perigee No. Date of Flooding Location of Flooding Perigee Syzygy Minus SyZygy of Perigee- ing (See key at end of table 4d.). Date Date Syzygy Sy-ygy (h) 84e 1961 Jan. 15 ...... Atlantic City and Ocean City, NJ.; 1961 Jan. 16 Jan. 16 NM 1961 Jan. 16 (38) 1/16/61, p. 1, Col. 1; (50) 1/16/61, also Delaware. (Strong surface 1800 1700 +1 1730 P. 1, Col. 8. Q winds, together with intensified subsurface currents associated with perigean spring tides, weakened and destroyed a Texas tower ap- proximately 80 nautical miles offshore, S.E. of New York City, in an area of about 180 ft water [email protected] depth, on this date as well.) 84w 1961 Jan. 15 ...... San Buenaventura State Park, Ven- 1961 Jan. 16 Jan. 16 NM 1961 Jan. 16 (22) p. 15. tura County, Calif. 1800 1700 +1 1730 -85 1962 Mar. 6-7 ..... Along entire Atlantic coast from 1962 Mar. 6 Mar. 6 -31 NM 1962 Mar. 6 (24) v. 6, No. 3, pp. 79-85; (25a) south of Portland, Me., to South 0400 0500 min, 0430 v. 13, No. 3, pp. 137-139; (25c) Carolina. v. 4, No. 3, pp. 134-139; (26) v. 15, No. 3, June 1962, pp. 117- 120; (27) Oct. 1962, pp. 4--9; (28) Dec. 1962, pp. 860-887; (51) 3/6/62, p. 24, cols. 2-5; 3/7/62, z 5 p. 1, cols. 2, 3 (Late City Ed. ; c,3 p. 24, cols. 2-4, 3/8/62, p. 1, Col . 6-7; p.. 22, cols. 3-8; p. 62, CoIs. @0 [email protected]; 3/9/62, p. 17, cols. 3-6; p. 18, cols. 2-4; (71); (72); (73) ch. 41, pp. 617-659. L 86 1962 Oct. 13 ...... Local estuaries and bay locations of 1962 Oct. 12 Oct. 13 FM 1962 Oct. 13 (14) pp. 9, 20, 43, 147; (31) 10/18/62, Wash. (e.g., Union); Oreg. (e.g., 2300 0800 -9 0330 pp. 1-3, 6-8. Coos Bay); northern Calif. (e.g., I Humboldt Bay); and central Calif. (e.g., Pacifica.and Redwood City drainage areas) L K-87 1962 Nov. 10-14... Cape May to Sandy Hook, N.J.; 1962 Nov. 10 Nov. I I FM 1962 Nov. 11 (25c) v. 4, No. 11, pp. 118-119; (5 1) (coastal erosion from Fire Island 0900 1704 -32 0100 11/11/62, see. 1, p. 44, Col. 1; to Montauk Point, L.I.); New 11/15/62, p. 39, Col. 8. York City; Bridgeport, Corm.; Cape Cod and Nantucket Island, Mass.; coastal lowlands, Maine 88 1965 Sept. 26 ...... Capistrano Beach, Calif ............. 1965 Sept. 22 Sept. 24 NM 1965 Sept. 23 (32) 9/27/65, p. A-20, cal. 5. 1800 2218 -52 2000 89 1967 Apr. 27 ...... Atlantic City, Nj .................. 1967 Apr. 23 Apr. 24 FM 1967 Apr. 23 (51) 4/28/67, p. 46-L, cols. 2-4; 1400 0700 -17 2230 4/30/67, p. 85-L, cal. 4. 7.5 90 1967 Nov. 28- Coasts of Massachusetts and southern 1967 Nov. 30 Dec. I NM 1967 Nov. 30 (24) Nov. 1967, p. 208, cal. 2, par. 3. Dec. 3. New England. 0900 1110 -26 2200 91 1969 Dec.4-14 .... Rincon Point, Ventura, Ocean Beach, 1969 Dec.10 Dec. 9 NM 1969 Dec.9 (24) Mar. 1970, p. 104, cal. 2, par. 4; Oceanside, Carlsbad, and Del Mar, 0600 0443 +25 1730 May 1970, p. 149; cols. 1, 2, par. 1; Calif. Sept. 1970, p. 259, cols. 1-2 ' 92 1970 Mar. 5-6 ..... Capistrano Beach and Newport 1970 Mar. 6 Mar. 7 NM 1970 Mar. 6 (30) 3/7/70, p. 1, cols. 1, 2; p. 10, Beach, Calif. 0500 1243 -32 2100 cols. 1, 2. L-93e 1971 Mar. 26 ..... Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and Parts- 1971 Mar. 26 Mar. 26 NM 1971 Mar. 26 (24), Sept. 1971, p. 293, cal. 1; p. 297, mouth, Va. 0400 1400 -10 0900 cal. 1; (60) 3/27/71, p. 1, cols. 2-4. L-93w 1971 Mar. 26 ..... Oxnard Shores, r1ear Oxnard, Calif. 1971 Mar. 26 Mar. 26 NM 1971'Mar. 26 (22) p. 17. 1 0400 1400 -10 0900 94 1971 Apr. 22 ...... Oxnard Shores, Calif. 1971 Apr. 23 Apr. 24 NM 1971 Apr. 24 (22) p. 30; (30) 4/23/71, pt. 1, P. 3, 1300 2302 -34 0600 cols. 1, 4; 4/24/7 1, p. I I cal. 4, 2/26/71, p. 1, cal. 1; (32) 4/23/71, p. 1, cols. 4, 5. 95 1971 Dec. 3 ....... Winyah Bay, Georgetown, and Paw- 1971 Nov. 30 Dec. 2 FM 1971 Dec. 1 (21) p. 6. leys Island, S.C. 0600 0249 -45 0430 96 1972 Feb. 18-20 ... Along Hampton Roads, [email protected], to 1972 Feb. 17 Feb. 14 NM 1972 Feb. 16 (24) May 1972, pp. 201-202; (25b) Stamford, Conn.; Old Orchard 1400 1929 +67 0430 v. 101, no. 4 (4/73), pp. 363-370; Beach, Kennebunkport, and (36) 2/20/72, p. A-1, cal. 5; (41) Portland, Me. 2/20/72, p. 1, cal. 3, p. 28A, cols. 1, 2; (42) 2/0/72 (Weather), cal. 7; 2/21/72, p. 1, cols. 6-7, p, 10, cols. 6-7, p. 14, cols. 2-6, p. 20, cols. 4-7. 97 1972 Nov. 20 ...... Rincon to Oxnard, Oxnard Shores, 1972 Nov. 20 Nov. 20 FM Nov. 20 (55) 11/24/72, p. 6, 2M (illustra ion and Hollywood-by-the-Sea, Calif. 1900 1800 + 53 1830 11/28/72, p. 4, J-4M, cols. 6-8. also, on Nov. 25-26: coastal beaches min. of Oregon and Washington; Gulf of Alaska. M-98e 1973 Dec. I I ...... Halifax, Nova Scotia ............... 1973 Dec. 10 Dec. 9 FM 1973Dec. 10 Verbal confirmation from marine 1800 2100 +21 0730 weather forecaster, Boston office, National Weather Service. M-98w 1973 Dec. 11 ...... Tokeland, Raymond, and South 1973 Dec. 10 Dec. 9 FM 1973 Dec. 10 (56) 12/12/73, p. 24 3M, cols. 4, 5; Bend, Wash.; Seaside, Astoria, 1800 2100 +21 0730 (63) 12/12/73, p. 1, cols. 1-4; (69) and Newport, Oreg. P. 1. N-99 1974 Jan. 8 ....... Santa Barbara, Santa Monica, and 1974 Jan. 8 Jan. 8 FM 1974 Jan. 8 (30) 12/26/73, p. 1, cols. 2, 3; 1/7/74, San Clemente; also Newport Beach, 0600 0800 2 0700 sec. 1, p. 3, cal. 3; 1/9/74, pt. 1, Capistrano Beach, and Malibu p. 1, cols. 5-7; p. 29, cols. 1, 2. Beach, Calif. See footnotes at end of table. TABLE I.-List of 100. Representative [email protected] of Major Coastal Flooding Along the North American Coastline, 1683-1976, Related to the Near-Contiguous* Occurrence of Perigean Spring Tides Coupled With Strong, Persistent, Onshore Winds-Continued (All times given correspond to the meridian of 75*W. longitude) Separation- Ke Nearest Nearest Interval: Type of Mean Epoch Notes and Reference Sources for Flood- rn y Perigee -i NO. Date of Flooding Location of Flooding Perigee Syzygy Minus Syzygy of Perigee- ing (See key at end of table 4d.) Qk Date Date Syzygy C% Syzygy (h) 0-100 1976 Mar. 16-17... 0gunquit, Cranberry Island, Popham 1976 Mar. 16 Mar. 15 FM 1976 Mar. 16 (25c) v. 18, No. 3, p. 8; (65) 3/19/76, Beach, Saco, and Kennebunkport, 1400 2200 +16 0600 p. 1, coIs. 1-6, (66) 3/17/76, v. 93, S, Me.; New Castle, Rye, Hampton No. 133, p. 1, cols. 1-4; (67) 3/17/76, Beach, and Portsmouth N H v. 12, No. 11, o. 1, col. 1; (68) No. 143, p. 1, col. Marblehead, Provincetown, a. 3/17/76, v. XC, 1. Plum Island, Mass.; Halifax, Nova Scotia. [email protected] *The distribution frequency for the intervals of time between each of the observed tidal floodings and the corresponding mean epochs of perigee-syzygy is significant in show- ing a strongly contributing astronomical causal relationship. This distribution in terms of numbers of cases of tidal flooding observed is: For an interval of <ld, 33; � Id, 30; �2d, 18; � V2 12; �4d, 6; � 5d, 1. Fully 81% of the cases of extreme tidal flooding cataloged therefore occur within � 2d of perigee-syzygy, 93% within �3d, and 99% within �4d. This is the basis for the � 3.5-day divergence limit for major perigee-syzygy effectiveness set throughout this volume. From this consideration, it is also obvious that there really is no such thing as a simple [email protected] tide, since when the Moon is more than the 3.5-day interval from perigee-syzygy (within which perigean spring tides exist) it is within approximately 3.5 d of quadrature, and the diminished effects of perigean neop tides are felt. In this evaluation, cases in which flooding occurs on both the east and west coasts (even a day apart, as in Nos. 83e, w) are counted as one event, having the largest ofthe two divergences from the mean of perigee-syzygy. Of significance to the analysis of major tidal flooding is the fact that, with only one exception (No. 70) in the preceding table, the separation-interval between perigee and syzygy also is less than, or equal to, � 84b (� 3.5d). For all cases of tidal flooding for which the corresponding perigee-syz'ygy data are obtained from the computer printout of table 16 (those in which P-S= :L24h and syzygy times are rounded off to the nearest hour only), the calendar day of the week may be established, where desired, from the Julian Day given in this printout. (See the Explanatory Com- ments preceding table 16.) tThe storm accompanying this perigean spring tide is of uncertain, but possible hurricane origin. That associated with No. 2 is cited in the Philosophical Transactions, 19, of the Royal Society of London, August 1697, p. 659, only as the "Great Storm at Acomack" (a part of the presently designated Delmarva Peninsula). A similarly debatable situation exists in the case of No. 6, where the observed storm superimposed upon perigean spring tides was far north of the usual region of intensification of tropical storms and hurricanes. (See the Explanatory Comments on historical hurricanes preceding table 2.) Representative Great Tidal Floodings of the North American Coastline 25 Accordingly, although a few of the examples given may California), However, the term hurricane is used in connec- seem to exceed, by a day or so, the tolerance limit in which tion with all such storms occurring in lower latitude por- the influence of perigean spring tides would normally be tions of the North Pacific Ocean, east of the intemationaI expected, a comparison with the circumstances of the astro- dateline. nomical alignment and the predicted daily tidal ranges The word typhoon characterizes similar storms found in around this time reveals that: (1) such apparently more the China Sea and in the North Pacific Ocean, west of the divergent examples are still especially close to perigee, international dateline. The term tropical cyclone properly although possibly several days removed from syzygy; (2) the refers to such storms originating in the Indian Ocean to the predicted tidal level is above that of mean high water springs; south of India, off the southeast coast of Africa, in the Bay or (3) the height predicted is of a magnitude approaching- of Bengal, or the Arabian Sea. Baguio is the expression used and therefore over a 19-year cycle of compilation, contribu- for hurricanes in the Philippine Islands. Although the four tory to-the upper limit of this averaged value of maximum preceding terms are synonymous, it is important to note high tides for the station in question. A representative few that a tropical depression has not yet reached the intensity such more divergent cases are, accordingly, included in the of any of these storms-or, alternatively, after a filling and table for completeness. These serve to show the tidal life- weakening of the low pressure center, has been downgraded span of perigean spring tides in terms of their permissible from hurricane strength. divergence from the epoch of maximum perigee-syzygy in- Gordon E. Dunn and Banner I. Miller in their @book on fluence-particularly in the case of those examples of tidal Atlantic HurricaneS4 (appendix B) have included the fol- flooding that last over several successive days., lowing relative intensity scale for hurricanes, based upon the A significant factor of event correlation between the in- maximum winds and minimum atmospheric pressure as- dividual entries of this table is indicated in col. (2) by- the sociated with them. Since both these quantities are lacking brackets connecting instances of tidal flooding related within in connection with early American hurricanes, the intensity the principal short-range cycles of perigee-syzygy alignment. ratings in these cases have been inferred or extrapolated These relationships may involve the circumstances of suc- from contemporary eye-witness accounts of the apparent cessive floodings coincident with: (1) the approximate 28.5- strength of the storm, judged from observed wind-damage day repetition of perigee-syzygy alignment, once attained and tidal flooding effects, including destruction of property (the average between the anoinalistic and synodic months) ; and any loss of life involved. The Beaufort scale for esti- (2) occasional double or triple multiples of this period; or mating relative wind intensities did not become available (3) the 6.5- to 7.5-month average interval between perigee- until 1806. syzygy occurrences discussed in chapter 6. The contributing role to tidal flooding provided by the heightened astronomi- The Intensity Classification of Hurricanes cal tide-raising influences at times of perigee-syzygy is sub- stantially confirmed by this evidence. Intensity Maximum winds Minimum central classification pressure TABLE 2 Minor ....... < 74 mph (< 64 kn) >29.40 in. (>996 nib) .A Representative List of North American Hurri- Minimal ..... 74 to 100 mph 29.03 to 29.40 in. canes Occurring Nearly Concurrently With (64 to 87 kn) (983 to 996 mb) Perigeari Spring Tides Major ....... 101 to 135 mph 28.01 to 29.00 in. (88 to 117 kn) (949 to 982 nib) Explanatory Comments Extreme ..... 5; 136 mph (5; 118 kn) 28.00 in. (!5 948 mb) In the modern precise definition of the word hurricane, only two principal criteria are involved: (1) that the sur- A list and description of "Hurricanes Affecting the face winds within the intense, low-pressure cyclonic system United States, by Sections," 1635-1963, is contained in ap- forming the hurricane shall, at the time of its being so desig- nated, have a sustained velocity equal to 74 miles per hour pendixes B, C of the aforementioned work, and hurricanes, (64.3 knots) or greater; and (2) that the incipient 'hurri- 1493-1951, are described in chapters XII-XV and ap- cane shall have an origin over tropical or subtropical waters. pendix of Ivan R. Tannehill's book on Hurricanes ". In Ad- The expression hurricane applies to storms possessing the dition, such hurricanes are discussed, and documented with above characteristics and occurring either on the east or west both contemporary and later sources, in David M. Ludlum's Early American Hurricanes, 1492-1870.' coast of North America, in the Gulf of Mexico, or the In the present work, the purpose of table 2 and itern A-2, Caribbean Sea. In all cases, the hurricane originates over "Summary and Conclusions," -chapter 8, is to consider the tropical or subtropical waters. On the east coast 'the hurri- coastal flooding potential added to hurricanes by their coin- cane may penetrate to middle or even high latitude before ci&nce or near-coincidence with perigean spring tides. With recurving eastward, moving inland, or, with a loss of ther- a few uncertain examples, table 1 likewise contains only cases mal energy at high latitudes, dissipating completely. On the of coastal flooding generated by the combination of perigean west coast, the hurricane only infrequently moves out of sub- spring tides and offshore storms. Because of the previously tropical waters to landfall on the California shoreline (usu- mentioned, often completely subjective methods of wind ve- ally not traveling farther north than the Gulf of Lowei locity appraisal, it is difficult to establish with absolute cer- TABLE 2.-A Representative List of North American Hurricanes Occurring Nearly Concurrently With* Perigean Spring Tides Separation- Key Nearest Nearest Interval: Type Mean Epoch Reference Sources for Flooding No. Date of Flooding Location of Flooding Perigee Perigee of of Perigee- (See key at end of table 4d.) Syzygy Minus Date Date Syzygy Syzygy Syzygy (h) 200 1635 Aug. 14-16 Gloucester, Cape Cod, and Boston, 1635 Aug. 29 Aug. 27 FM 1635 Aug. 28 (1) pp. 279-280; (2) entry of 8/16/ (O.S.). Mass., etc.; Buzzard's Bay and 1600 2200 +42 (N.S.) 1900 1635; (3) pp. 102-103; (6) pp. 3-10; Provi ) (10) pp. 34-46; (15) pp. 10-13. Aug. 24-26 dence, R.I.; Connecticut. (N.S.). 202 1638 Aug. 3 Rhode Island, Connecticut, and 1638 Aug. 9 Aug. 9 NM 1638 Aug. 9 (15) p. 13. (O.S.). Massachusetts. 1500 1300 +2 (N.S.) 1400 Aug. 13 (N.S.). 211 1683 Aug. 13 New Hampshire and, by blocking 1683 Aug. 22 Aug. 22 NM 1683 Aug. 22 (15) pp. 16-17. 72, (O.S.). hydrological runoff, in Connecti- 2300 0500 +18 1400 Aug. 23 cut. (N.S.). 215 1693 Oct. 19 Delmarva peninsula, and from Vir- 1693 Oct. 29 Oct. 28 NM 1693 Oct. 29 (15) p. 17. (O.S.). ginia to Long Island, N.Y. 0600 2300 +7 0230 Oct. 29 (N.S.). 238 1743 Oct. 22 Boston, Mass. etc .................. 1743 Nov. 4 Nov. 2 FM 1743 Nov. 3 (15) pp. 22-23. (O.S.). 2300 0300 +68 1300 Nov. 2 (N.S.). 253 1803 Oct. 2-3 ..... Norfolk, Va ....................... 1803 Oct. I Sept.30 FM 1803 Sept. 30 (15) p. 192. 0400 1900 + 9 2330 254 1810 Aug. 12 ...... North Carolina coast ............... 1810 Aug. 13 Aug. 14 FM 1810 Aug. 14 (15) p. 192. 2000 1700 -21 0630 255 1815 Sept. 3-5 ..... New Bern and Beaufort, N.C ........ 1815 Sept. 2 Sept. 3 NM 1815 Sept. 3 (15) pp. 112-113. co 1900 0900 -14 0200 256 1816 Sept. 23 ...... Coastal North Carolina ............. 1816 Sept. 21 Sept. 21 NM 1816 Sept. 21 (15) p. 194. 1600 1000 +6 1300 0) 257 1831 June 10 ...... St. Augustine and Atlantic coast of 1831 June 9 June 10 NM 1831 June 9 (15) p. 194. Florida. 1400 0200 -12 2000 258 1834 Sept. 4 ....... South Carolina (especially George- 1834 Sept. 4 Sept. 3 NM 1834 Sept. 4 (15) pp. 121-122; (25d) National town). 1900 0951 -33 0230 Weather Service No. 16, June 1975, p. 20. 259 1837 Aug. 16-20 .. Between N.E. Florida and North 1837 Aug. 15 Aug. 16 FM 1837 Aug. 15 (15) p. 194. Carolina. 1900 0100 - 6 2200 260 1846 Sept. 7-9. . . . Cape Hatteras Inlet and Outer Banks, 1846 Sept. 4 Sept. 5 FM 1846 Sept. 5 (15) pp. 131-132; see also backwash N.C., especially Nag's Head. 000 0800 -15 0030 tidal flooding aspects due to westerly winds noted in table 1. 261 1854 Sept. 7-8 ..... Savannah, Ga.; Charleston, Port 1854 Sept. 4 Sept.6 FM 1854 Sept.5 (15) pp. 132-134; (25d) National Royal, Beaufort, and Sullivans 1100 1618 -53 1330 Weather Service No. 16, June 1975, Island, S.C.; Sept. 10: Newark, p. 21 (Correction required in N.J. source: should read Sept. 7-8). 262 1861 Nov. 1-3 ..... Cape Hatteras, N.C., northward to 1861 Nov. 2 Nov. 2 NM 1861 Nov. 2 (15) pp. 101-102. Jersey City and Newark, NJ.; 1200 1100 +1 1130 New York City and Long Island, N.Y.; Newport, R.I.; Cape Cod, Boston, and New-Bedford, Mass.; and Portland, Me. 263 1869 Sept. 8 ..... . Cape Cod, Mass.; and southern 1369 Sept. 6 Sept.6 NM 1869 Sept. 6 (15) pp. 101-108, especially p. 104, New England 1500 0100 +14 0800 col. 2. 264 1869 Oct. 3-4 ..... Grand Manan, Campobello, Deer 1869 Oct. 5 Oct. 5 NM 1869 Oct. 5 (15) pp. 108-111, especially P. 110, (15) and Mt. Desert Islands, Eastport, .0200 0900 - 7 0530 col. 2, and p. 111; see also combi- Calais, and St. Andrews, Me.; to nation of extratropical and tropical New Brunswick, Canada. storms in (15) p. 109,, col. 1, and table 1, No. 15. 265 1874 Sept. 28 ...... South Atlantic coast, especially 1874 Sept. 26 Sept.25 FM 1874 Sept. 26 (70) 9/29/1874, p. 3, cols. 4-6, 9/30/ C1% Charleston, S.C., and Savannah, 1300 1700 +20 0300 1874, p. 1, col. 2. Ga. 266 1878 Oct. 23 ...... Richmond, Va.; Washington, D.C.; 1878 Oct. 25 Oct. 25 NM 1878 Oct. 25 (51) 10/24/1878, p. 2; (57) 10/24/1878, Cape May, N.J., and along Dela- 0100 1800 -17 0930 p. 1, cols. 2-3; (64) 10/25/1878, p. 1, ware River; Philadelphia, Pa. col. 3. 267 1894 Sept. 27-28 ... Georgia and the Carolinas .......... 1894 Sept. 26 Sept.29 NM 1894 Sept. 27 (17) p. 312. 0032 0044 -72 1300 268 1899 Aug. 17-2l... Cape Hatteras, N.C., etc ............ 1899 Aug. 20 Aug. 21 FM 1899 Aug. 20 (11) p. 164; (59) 8/18/1899, p. 1, col. 9. 1700 0000 -7 2030 276 1916 July 13-14.. . South Carolina coast ............... 1916 July 14 July 15 FM 1916 July 14 (17) p. 313. 1900 0000 - 5 2130 277 1926 July 25 ...... New Jersey coast, especially Manas- 1926 July 26 July 25 FM 1926 July 25 (51) 7/25/26, p. 1, col. 5, p. 13, cols. quan and Seagirt. 0618 0013 +30 1500 2-3. 281 1938 Sept. 21-22 ... Long Island, N.Y.; Providence, R.I.; 1938 Sept. 20 Sept.23 NM 1938 Sept. 22 (10) pp. 173-181, and illustrations (Became extra- and southern New England coast- 1900 1534 -69 0530 following p. 184; (17) pp. 272-273. tropical storm.) line. 283 1940 Sept. 2 ....... Northern New England coast, Cape 1940 Sept. 3 Sept. I NM 1940 Sept. 2 (46) 9/2/40, p. 1, coIs. 7, 8, p. 11, cols. Cod, Mass. 0100 2315 +26 1200 1-2. 286 1945 Sept. 18-19 ... Atlantic City, Nj ................. 1945 Sept. 22 Sept.21 FM 1945 Sept. 22 (16) pp. 283-284. 2300 1546 +31 0730 288 1954 Sept. 11-12 ... Coastal areas from middle Atlantic 1954 Sept. 14 Sept.12 FM 1954 Sept. 13 (17) pp. 309, 310. (Edna) States to New England, especially 1500 1519 +48 1500 Long Island and southern New England. 289 1954 Oct. 15 ...... Morehead City and Wilmington, 1954 Oct. 12 Oct. 12 FM 1954 Oct. 12 (17) pp. 245-257; (25d) National (Hazel) N.C.; Solomons, Md. 2100 0000 +21 1030 Weather Service No. 16, June 1975, p. 25; (27) April 1958, pp. 29-31; p. 30, col. 1, par. 2; (53) 10/15/54, p. 1, cols. 5-7, 8; 10/16/54, p. 1, cols. 1-3, 3-6, 7-8; p. 2, cols. 4, 7; p. 3, cols. 34. - 290 1961 Sept. 21 ...... Southern New York and New Eng- 1961 Sept. 22 Sept. 24 FM 1961 Sept. 23 (17) pp. 342-343; (25b) Vol. 90, pp. (Esther.) land. 2300 0634 -32 , 1500 107-119. 295 1971 Sept. 30- Aurora, Cherry Point, New Bern, 1971 Oct. 4 Oct. 4 FM 1971 Oct. 4 (25b) vol. 100, No. 4, pp. 256-267; Oct. 1. and Washington, N.C., as well as 1000 0700 + 3 0830 (25c) HYDRO-27 Nov. 1975, p. 8. (Ginger) along Hatteras Banks and Pamlico Sound. *Cases in which the hurricane's principal flooding effects are within 3.5d of the mean epoch of perigee-syzygy. 28 Strategic Role of Perigean Spring tides, 1635-1976 tainty the occurrence of true hurricanes in this early period taneously recorded weather observations on standardized of American history. Six factors contributed to this chart formats. Accordingly, until this time, there were also uncertainty: no means of tracing the origin of a landfalling weather dis- 1. In the 17th and 18th centuries, in which any de- turbance except, after the fact, from the reports of ships finitive scientific knowledge of the origin and nature of which had traversed the area during the period of its hurricanes was lacking, it was a common practice to label formation. as a hurricane, almost indiscriminately, any storm system 5. A frequent tendency therefore existed to consider accompanied by violent winds, inflooding tides from the sea, a disproportionately large number of such cases of extremely and catastrophic damage. A tendency toward flamboyancy active coastal storms to be of "tuffoon" nature, and to label and some exaggeration also occurs in the publication of early them unqualifiedly as hurricanes. An unfortunate inclination eye-witness accounts of these storms, which are characterized also continued, in the case of those storms which had been by a too frequent repetition of words describing each suc- wrongly described as hurricanes in earlier literature, to let ceeding coastal flooding as "the greatest tide ever beheld in these initial designations stand. the memory of man," or a close paraphrase. 6. Often, in this early period, such intense storm systems Accordingly, the use of the term "huriicane" in such may have been [email protected] defined as hurricanes because of early accounts-extending even into the mid-nineteenth their severe coastal flooding effects. The designation was century-is not necessarily reliable. This fact is especially given without any allowance for the perigean spring or obvious when, for example, it is stated in these contempo- ordinary spring tides which might have been present. And, of rary records that an east coast hurricane occurred in course, such early terminology was assigned without any mid- or high latitudes during the month of January, well out consideration to a minimum wind velocity requirement in of the ordinary North Atlantic hurricane season running accordance with the modern classification of a hurricane. from June through October-although occasionally extend- With these nomenclatural aspects of hurricanes thus his- ing into May or November. (Some few examples of known. torically evaluated, it should be clearly stated that there is deviations from this normal hurricane season are on record, no intention, in the present work, to discriminate subjectively but any such departures have occurred over tropical waters.) between (1) hurricanes (table 2) or (2) offshore storms 2. While, in this early period, many sailing ships plied (table 1) as contributing causes to coastal flooding when the hurricane-prone waters of the subtropical Atlantic and either of these two weather phenomena occurs in conjunction Caribbean, no expedient means of communication was with perigean spring tides. The emphasis on winter storms available to co'nvey a warning of any hurricane moving in this volume revolves around the fact that the flooding toward the east coast of North America before it hit the aspects of hurricanes already have been more adequately mainland. Meanwhile, an America-bound ship had either treated in other published sources. Under the appropriate met disaster in the storm, had ridden it out, usually with ac- conditions, both types of storms are strongly conducive to companying damage and delay in arrival at its destination, tidal flooding. or had been forced to return to a Caribbean port. Hence, in However, as confirmed in the accompanying bibliographic the relatively short period of time spanning the hurricane's search (see part I, chapter 4) and the bibliography at the landfall, subsequent onshore movement, and alongshore or end of this work, the effects of a coincidence between either offshore passage, there was no real way of establishing its of these wind-intensifying situations and the astronomical tropical origin. A very intense extratropical. storm formed tide-enhancing phenomenon of perigee-syzygy have not been offshore within a deepening low pressure center, or associ- discussed definitively anywhere in the scientific literature. Further, the greater length of time a winter storm is active ated with a traveling wave along a cold front just off the near any one coastal location due to a generally slower coast, and, affecting the coastal regions successively from velocity of forward movement compared with that of a hur- Cape Hatteras north, might easily have been called a hurri- ricane actually provides, in the average case, a greater poten- cane in this early period. The high-velocity winds common tial for tidal flooding. The hurricane center's movement over to the type of storm system today known as a noreaster, the sea surface is, in general, relatively fast, and the flooding which frequently invades all parts of New England from influence more transient. off the coast, likewise could have been confused with the similar winds characteristic of a hurricane. TABLE 3 3. Whether various of those early storms designated as hurricanes on the basis of apparent wind velocity and Representative Cases of Coastal Flooding Occur- damage produced actually possessed winds of the sustained ring Near the Times of Ordinary (Syzygian) 74 mph required according to the present-day classification Spring Tides, Coexistent With Strong, Sustained, system is a matter of open conjecture. A revolving-cup wind Onshore Winds instrument (anemometer) capable of recording continuous wind velocities (but still relatively inaccurate, and breaking Explanatory Comments down at 'extreme velocities) was not designed, in practical form, until 1846 (by T. R. Robinson). As described later in the text (part II, chapter 7), a con- 4. No method was available in this country prior to siderably greater statistical probability exists at ordinary January 1, 1871 (the date of the first U.S. synoptic weather spring tides than at the times of perigean [email protected] ing tides for map) to represent regional weather data by compiling simul- the coincidence therewith of strong, persistent, onshore TABLE 3.-Representative Cases of Coastal Flooding Associated* With Ordinary Spring Tides, Coupled With Strong, Persistent, Onshore Winds Key Nearest Perigee Nearest Type of Reference Sources for Flooding (See key at end No. Date of Flooding Location of Flooding Date syzygy Syzygy of table 4d.) Date 319 1878 Sept. 11 ...... Along tidewaters of Savannah and Ogeechee Rivers, 1878 Sept. 26 Sept. I I FM (52) 9/12/1878, p. 3, cot. 3. Ga. 1500 1437 321 1885 Feb. 16 ....... New York, N.Y .................................. 1885 Feb. 26 Feb. 15 NM (51) 2/17/1885, p. 1, cot. 7; p. 2, cot. 1. 0624 0912 322 1889 Sept. 10 ...... New York, Rockaway Beach, Seaside, and Coney 1889 Sept. 5 Sept. 9 FM (51) 2/11/1889, p. 1, cols. 5-7. Island, N.Y. 2006 0842 338 1914 Dec. 7 ........ Atlantic City, N.J., and New Jersey coastline; Far 1918 Dec. 15 Dec. 2 FM (51) 12/8/14, p. 1, cot. 1; p. 7, cols. 3-6. Q Rockaway, Coney Island, Arverne, and Sea Gate, 0912 1321 Long Island, N.Y. 348 1925 Dec. 2-3 ...... Coasts of New Jersey and New York; Long Island 1925 Nov. 19 Nov. 30 FM (51) 12/4/25, p. 1, cot. 6; p. 2, cols, 2-3. Sound; Coney Island, Bath Beach, Brighton Beach, 1436 0311 and the Rockaways, Long Island, N.Y. 349 1926 Oct. 25 ...... New York, N.Y ............ ..... 1926 Oct. 19 Oct, 21 FM (51) ) 0/26/26, p. 1, cols. 2-4; p. 3, cols. 2-3; p. 16, 1000 0015 cols. 2-5. 350 1927 Feb. 19-20. ... Cape May, N.J., to Cape Cod, Mass.; Atlantic City, 1927 Mar. 4 Feb. 16 FM (51) 2/21/27, p. 1, cot. 8; p. 2, cols. 1-6; 2/22/27, Perth Amboy, South Amboy, Morgan, and Long 0512 1118 p. 1, cot. 5; p. 3, cols. 2-3. Beach, N.J.; New York City and Long Island Sound, N.Y. 354 1929 Oct. 2 ........ Barnegat lighthouse near Barnegat City, N.J.; coast 1929 Sept. 27 Oct. 2 NM (51) 10/3/29, p. 1, cot. 1; p. 2, cols. 3-6. of New York; along Long Island Sound. 1942 1719 359 1932 Oct. 19 ....... Boston, Mass .................................... 1932 Oct. 30 Oct. 14 FM (51) 10/20/32, p. 44BQ, cols. 5, 6. 0918 0818 361 1933 Feb. 9 ........ Sandy Point, Newfoundland ....................... 1933 Feb. 18 Feb. 10 FM (51) 2/10/33, p. 1, cot. 1. a 0542 0800 367 1937 Apr. 27 ....... Ocean City and north coast of N.J.; Far Rockaway 1937 May 10 Apr. 25 FM (51) 4/28/37, p. 14, cot.. 4. and south coast of Long Island, N.Y. 1300 1024 368 1938 Oct. 28. West Wildwood, NJ ............................. 1938 Oct. 16 Oct. 23 NM (51) 10/29/38, p. 21, cot. 4. C1 0300 0342 369 -1939 Sept. 26 ....... Long Beach, Long Island, N.Y .................... 1939 Sept. 12 Sept.28 FM (51) 9/27/39, p. 20, cots. 1-4. 1300 0927 370 1939 Nov. 25 ....... Bay Shore, Fire Island Beach, Point o'Woods, Sal taire, 1939 Dec. 3 Nov. 26 FM (51) 11/27/39, p. 1, cot. 2. Long Island N.Y. 0200 1654 373 1947 Nov. 12 ....... Cape Cod, Mass ............. I.................... 1947 Nov. 3 Nov. 12 NM (51) 11/13/47, p. 29, cot. 7; 11/14/47, p. 46, cot. 2. 0900 1501 375 1949 Feb. 25 ....... Redondo Beach, Calif ............................ 1949 Feb. 14 Feb. 27 NM (51) 21/25/49, p. 47, cot. 5; 2/26/49, p. 8, cot. 5. 0500 1555 376 1950 Nov. 26 ....... Boston and Winthrop, Mass ....................... 1950 Dec. 8 Nov. 24 FM (25e) HYDRO-32, pp. 8-9; (51) 11/27/50, p. 16, 2000 1014 cols. 2-6. 378 1953 Nov. 7.. Southern New Jersey; Oakland Beach, Staten Island, 1953 Nov. 18 Nov. 6 NM (51) 11/8/53, p. 1, cols. 2-8; p-. 40, col. 1; p. 42, N.Y.; Southport Beach, Conn.; and south coast of 1800 1258 cols. 1-4. New England. See footnotes at end of tabIe. TABLE 3.-Representative Cases of Coastal Flooding Associated* With Ordinary Spring Tides, Coupled With Strong, Persistent, Onshore Winds-Continued Key Nearest Perigee Nearest Type of Reference Sources for Flooding (See key at end No. Date of Flooding Location of Flooding Date Syzygy Syzygy of table 4d. Date 379 1955 Oct. 14 ....... Lowland coastal regions from Cape Hatteras to Maine, 1955 Oct. 5 Oct. 15 NM (51) 10/15/55, p. 1, col. 1; p. 34, cols. 2-4. including Staten Island, N.Y.; and entire Connecti- 0600 1432 cut shoreline. 380 1956 Jan. 10 ....... Cape May, Atlantic City, and along north shore and 1955 Dec. 28 1956 NM (51) 1/11/56, p. 33, cols. 2-4. Raritan Bay, N.J. 1900 Jan. 12 2201 381 1956 Apr. I I ....... Norfolk and Hampton Roads, Va .................. 1956 Apr. 15 Apr. 10 N M (25e) HYDRO-32, p. 8. 1700 2139 398 1973 Oct. 29 ....... Monmouth Beach, N.J., to northern New Jersey and 1973 Oct. 15 Oct. 25 NM (51) 10/30/73, p. 1, cols. 5-7; p. 47, cols. 3-6. the Rockaways, N.Y. 2000 2217 Spring Tides, Plus Hurricane: 351 1927 Aug. 25 ....... From Delaware Breakwater to Cape Cod ............ 1927 Aug. 15 Aug. 27 NM (51) 8/25/27, p. 3, col. 1. 1042 0146 372 1947 Oct.15 ....... Savannah and Savannah Beach areas, Ga.; Georgia 1947 Oct. 9 Oct. 14 NM (51) 10j16/47, p. 31, col. 1. and South Carolina coast. 1300 0110 *Tidal flooding occurring within � 2d Of SyZygy (difference taken in sense Fl.-S.) or-for those cases of greater separation-always following and (allowing for phase lag), within +3.5d of the time of the highest semimonthly spring tide. For all cases noted, the perigee-syzygy interval also is >84h (3.5d), the upper limit for even pseudo-perigean spring tides. @Actually, a case of pseudo-perigean spring tides (P-S= -38h) but with the flooding occurring 5 [email protected] after the mean epoch of perigee-syzygy, and closer (+4d) to the time ofsyzygy. Representative Great Tidal Floodings of the North American Coastline 31 winds and their contribution to coastal flooding. The reason occurr ed on April 10 at 2244' e.s.t. (the additional lag due is that the phenomenon of syzygy occurs twice in each synodic to parallax age before the peak of the high waters was month (new moon and full moon) or approximately 25 reached being approximately 1.5 days). The first-quarter times in each calendar year. This frequency of disposition moon occurred on April 12 at 1933h e.S.t. Under the force of must be compared with the usual occurrence of only 2 cases a strong, northeasterly gale, tidal flooding was experienced at of perigee-syzygy in each year which possess separation- such locations 'as New Brighton, South Beach, and St. intervals of � 12 hours or less (or, at most, 5 cases which George, Staten Island, and at Riverhead and Babylon on have separation-intervals of up to _L24 hours. The possible Long Island, N.Y. range of opportunity for securing the coincidence of a sustained, strong, onshore wind is proportionately greater at TABLEs 4a-4d syzygy alone than at perigee-syzygy. Despite this fact, the number of cases actually recorded Miscellaneous Factors of Dynamic Influence Asso- involving severd tidal flooding at times of ordinary spring ciated With Perigean Spring Tides, in Cases tides is far less in terms of justified proportion to those pro- Variously Lacking, or Reinforced by, the Pres- duced at times of perigee-syzygy. This is because of the ence of Strong, Persistent, Onshore Winds greater tidal amplification occurring from the combined Explanatory Comments alignment of perigee-syzygy, and the resulting increased potential for tidal flooding if the necessary supporting mete- Tables 4a-4d quantitatively depict four supplementary orological conditions are also present. A representative group but revealing tidal phenomena associated with the predic- of examples of coastal flooding accompanying ordinary spring tion of perigean spring tides. These are: tides is given in table 3. (a) the 'attainment of water levels of record-establish- One further lunisolar configuration is deserving of com- ing height for astronomically produced tides (the corre- ment in connection with its relative tide-raising forces. This spondingly named highest astronomical tide for the locality) is the situation in which the Moon, while located at its perigee at the times of perigee-syzygy; and closest monthly approach to the Earth, is simultaneously (b) The creation of extreme low waters of record, pro- at its greatest possible orbital angular distance from either duced by the same amplified gravitational forces at the low- of the two syzygies (i.e., at one of its two positions of quad- water phases of these tides; rature). The resulting tides produced (called perigean neap (c) The occurrence of cases in which extraordinarily tides) are always of much smaller amplitude and range than high waters are raised near the times of perigee-syzygy, but perigean spring tides. do not actually produce flooding of themselves because of Thus, even in the presence of strong, persistent, onshore insufficiently strong supporting winds. However, at high- winds, it is an uncommon circumstance in which major tidal water phase, they effectively block the hydrological runoff flooding accompanies pengean neap tides. Instances of created by heavy precipitation, ice and snow melt, or simi- coastal inundation at such times are correspondingly rare lar freshets on the land. The result is a greatly augmented throughout history, unless extraordinarily high winds asso- flooding of the coastal regions. The same type of flooding ciated with an active coastal storm or a severe landfalling situation may occur as the result of tidal blocking of storm hurricane have [email protected] drairis or elevated sewerage outfalls-even those supposedly However, for the record, a typical prototype of one such remote from the land; and flooding tide uplifted by an unusually strong, onshore wind (d) The production of conditions unmarked by severe was that which took place on 1894 April 11 along the coast- flooding of the coast, but accompanied by extreme scouring line of New York State (as recorded on page 1, col. 2 of the and erosion of beaches, berms, estuaries, and inlets along New York Times for April 12). In this month, perigee wide stretches of the shoreline. 32 Strategic Role of Perigean Spring Tides, 1635-1976 TABLE 4a.-Representative Cases of the Highest High Waters of Record Observed at Various Tidal Stations, Within 2 Days of Perigee-Syzygy (Resulting from astronomically induced perigean or pseudo-perigean spring tides, without coincident strong onshore winds or significant coastal flooding.* See table I for wind-supported cases of tidal flooding.) Extreme Mean High Perigee Epoch Date Place Water Minus of (ft Syzygy Perigee- >MHW) (h) Syzygy (75- W.) ATLANTIC COAST 1932 Mar. 24 ..... Clarks Point, Mass... . ...... ...... 2.1 +21 Mar. 22 1730 1932 Apr. 21...... Rockland, Me ........................... 2.4 - I Apr. 20 1530 1940 May 20 ..... Boston Light, Lighthouse Island, Mass.. 2.3 -67 May 19 2330 1942 May 31 ..... Bath, Me ............................... 1.9 +9 May 30 0530 1942june29..... Bath,Me ............................... 1.9 -11 June 28 0130 1952 Aug. 5 ...... Boston Light, Lighthouse Island, Mass ...... 2.3 +20 Aug. 5 min. 1530 1953 Feb. 15 ..... Bar Harbor, Me ......................... 3.9 +9 Feb. 14 0030 1953 Apr. 13 ..... Deer Island (Fort Dawes), Mass ........... 3.3 -37 Apr. 12 2030 1954 June 2 ...... Port Clyde, Me .......................... 3.0 -39 May 31 0330 Extreme Perigee Mean High Minus Epoch Of Date Place Water Syzygy Perigee- (ft (h) Syzygy >MHHW) (75-W.) PACIFIC COAST 1927 Oct. 13 ..... Seward, Alaska .......................... 4.1 +7 Oct. 10 1930 1936 Dec. 27 ..... Santa Monica, Calif ...................... 2.3 -55 Dec. 26 1930 1945 Oct. 22 ..... Skagway, Alaska ......................... 5.8 +8 Oct. 21 0500 1948 Jan. 23-26. . Los Angeles, Calif ....................... 2.2 +4 Jan. 26 0400 1951 Jan. 5-6 .... Sweeper Cove, Adak Island, Alaska ........ 2.6 -31 Jan. 6 2330 1951 Nov. 30 ..... Neah Bay, Wash ......................... 4.0 +36 Nov. 29 1400 1951 Dec. 29 ..... . Crescent City, Calif ...................... 3.1 +11 Dec. 28 1230 *Note: The cast coast cases cited also occurred prior to the great n-lid-Atlantic coastal storm of March 6-7, 1962. This event, in the combination of meteorological and astronomical effects, set many new tidal height records and was accompanied by major coastal flooding (see table I and chapter 7). Note the cyclical perigee-syzygy relationship between four pairs of these maximum high tides, bracketed above. Representative Great Tidal Floodings of the North American Coastline 33 TABLE 4b.-Representative Cases of the Lowest Low Waters of Record Observed at Various Tidal Stations, Within 2 Days of Perigee-Syzvgy Extreme Perigee Mean Low Minus Epoch of Date Place Water Syzygy Perigee- (ft (h) syzygy <MLW) (75-W.) ATLANTIC COAST 1908 Feb. 2 ...... Port Hamilton, MY ...................... -4.1 -8 Feb. 2 0000 1928 Mar. 23..... Solomons, Md ........................... -2.2 +39 Mar. 22 1030 1934 June 28.... . Southport, N.C .......................... -1.9 +20 June 27 1000 1936 Mar. 24 ..... Miami Beach, Fla ....................... -1.4 +5 Mar. 23 0130 1940 Jan. 24 ..... Fernandina Beach, Fla ................... -3.7 -36 Jan. 25 1200 1940 Mar. 24 ..... Willets Point, MY ....................... -3.8 -10 Mar. 23 Boston, Mass ............................ -3.5 1000 1943 Jan. 7 ...... Eastport, Me ............................ -4.2 -37 Jan. 6 min. 0730 1953 Feb. 15 ..... Charleston, S.C ......................... -2.8 +9 Feb. 14 0030 1954 Dec. 11 ..... Morehead City, N.C ..................... -1.7 -23 Dec. 9 0830 1935 Nov. 30 ..... Portland, Me ........................... -3.5 +19 Nov. 29 Portsmouth, N.H ........................ -3.2 2130 1959 May 23 ..... Eastport, Me ............................ -4.2 -8 May 22 0400 202-509 0 - 78 - 5 34 Strategic Role of Perigean Spring Tides, 1635-1976 TABLE 4b.-Representative Cases of the Lowest Low Waters of Record Observed at Various Tidal Stations, Within 2 Days of Perigee-Syzygy-Continued Extreme Perigee Mean Low Minus Epoch of Date Place Water Syzygy Perigee- (ft (h) syzygy <MLLW) (75-W.) PACIFIC COAST 1916 Jan. 4 ...... Seattle Wash ............................ -4.6 -15 Jan. 4 1630 1919 Dec. 8 ...... Ketchikan, Alaska ....................... -5.2 -7 Dec. 7 0130 1930 Jan. 14. . Seward, Alaska .......................... -4.3 +2 Jan. 14 1800 1930jan. 16.. Astoria, Oreg ........................... -2.8 +2 Jan. 14 1800 1932 Dec. 26 ..... Los Angeles, Calif ....................... -2.6 -33 Dec. 26 San Francisco, Calif ................. ; .... -2.5 1330 1933 Dec.17 ..... San Diego, Calif ......................... -2.6 +9 Dec. 17 La Jolla, Calif ........................... -2.5 0230 Los Angeles, Calif ........................ -2.6 Santa Monica, Calif ...................... -2.5 San Francisco, Calif ...................... -2.5 1936 Nov. 29 ..... Neah Bay, Wash ......................... -3.6 -26 Nov. 27 2200 1937 Dec. 17 ..... San Diego, Calif ......................... -2.6 -5 Dec. 17 1130 1947 Jan. 7 ...... Friday Harbor, Wash .................... -3.9 -16 Jan. 6 1600 1950 Nov. 11 ..... Sweeper Cove, Adak Island, Alaska ........ -2.9 + 14 Nov. 10 0100 Nov. 1.2 .... Massacre Bay, Attu Island, Alaska ......... -2.5 +14 Nov. 10 0100 1951 June 19..... Sitka, Alaska ............................ -4.0 +1 June 19 0800 1951 Dec. 29 ..... Yakutat, Alaska .......................... -4.3 +11 Dec. 28 1230 1955 May 22..... Crescent City, Calif ...................... -2.7 +7 May 21 1930 1957 Jan. 16. . Ketchikan, Alaska ....................... -5.2 + 16 Jan. 16 Sitka, Alaska ............................ -4.0 0900 Skagway, Alaska ......................... -6.7 Juneau, Alaska .......................... -6.6 Yakutat, Alaska ......................... -4.3 1959 Dec.30 ..... Ketchikan, Alaska ....................... -5.2 18 Dec. 29 0500 TABLE 4c.-Examples of Perigean Spring Tides Resulting in, or Conhibuting to, Coastal Flooding Through Impaired Hydrological Runoff Separation- Interval: Ke Nearest Nearest Type of Mcan Epoch Reference Sources for Flooding (See Date of Flooding Location of Flooding Perigee Yerigee Syzygy Minus Syzygy of Perigee- key following table 4d.) Date Date Syzygy Syzygy (h) 458 1932 Mar. 24 ...... Boston, Mass.; New York, MY 1932 Mar. 23 Mar. 22 FM 1932 Mar. 22 (46) 3/29/32, p. 1, cols. 6-8, p. 6, cols. 0400 0700 +21 1730 2-5; (51) 3/29/32, p. 1, cols. 4-5, p. 4, cols. 2-5. 466 1936 Mar. 21 ...... Newburyport and tidewaters of Mer- 1936 Mar. 23 Mar. 22 NM 1936 Mar. 23 (40) 3/19/36, p. 1, cols. 7-8; Pictorial rimack River, Mass.; also, on 0400 2300 +5 0130 Review (14 pp.); (74) MKR-I, March 19: Kennebec and Augusta, XIII, pp. 89-93. Me. 469 1940 May 22 ...... Norfolk, Va ....................... 1940 May 18 May 21 FM 1940 May 19 (58) 5/23/40, p. 13, col. 5. 1400 0833 -67 2330 478 1952 Aug. 5 ....... Boston, Mass ...................... 1952 Aug. 5 Aug. 5 FM 1952 Aug. 5 (46) 8/6/52, p. 1, cols. 2-6; p. 24 ;i 1500 1440 +20 1500 (illustrations). min. 86 1962 Oct. 13 ...... Pacifica, Calif ..................... 1962 Oct. 12 Oct. 13 FM 1962 Oct., 13 (31) 10/18/62, pp. 1-3, 6-8. 2300 0800 -9 0330 ZI C) a) TABLE 4d.-Illustrative Cases of Coastal Erosion Produced at Times of Perigean Spring Tides Coincident With Strong, Persistent, Onshore Winds Gn Separation- Nearest Nearest Interval: Type of Mean Epoch Reference Sources for Erosion (See Key Date of Erosion Location of Erosion Perigee Date Syzygy Perigee Syzygy of Perigee- key following table 4d.) No. Date Minus Syzygy Syzygy (h) K-87 1962 Nov. 10-14... Fire Island to Montauk Point, Long 1962 Nov. 10 Nov. I I FM 1962 Nov. 11 (51) 11/15/62, p. 39, col. 8. - Island, MY 0900 1704 -32 0100 489 1967 Jan. 27-28. .. East side of Plum Island, Mass ...... 1967 Jan. 28 Jan. 26 FM 1967 Jan. 27 (29) pp. 52, 250, 256, 259. 1000 0141 +56 0600 490 1967 May 25-26 ... East side of Plum Island, Mass ...... 1967 May 21 May 23 FM 1967 May 22 (29) pp. 248, 251. 2100 1523 -42 1800 491 1969 Feb. 15-16 ... South spit of Pawleys Island, S.C .... 1969 Feb. 13 Feb. 16 NM 1969 Feb. 15 (21) p. 6. orc, 2300 1126 -60 0500 492 1969 July 29 ...... Closure of existing south inlet of Paw- 1969 July 28 July 28 FM 1969 July 28 (21) p. 6. leys Island, S.C., by erosion, and 0400 2200 -18 1300 creation of a new inlet farther north. CY) N-99 1974 Jan. 8 ....... Recreational beaches at Oceanside, 1974 Jan. 8 Jan. 8 FM 1974 Jan. 8 (32) 1/19/74, local news section. Calif. 0600 0800 -2 -0700 @0 C) Representative Great Tidal Floodings of the North American Coastline 37 Reference Sources for Tidal Flooding Reference Reference Code No. Code No. (1) William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1647, (24) National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration A New Edition, with Notes, Etc., by Eliot Morison, (NOAA), Environmental Data Service, Washington, New York, 1952. D.C.: Mariners Weather Log (2) Governor John Winthrop's journal, entry for August 16 (25) National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (O.S.), August 26 (N.S.), 1635, subsequently published (NOAA), National Weather Service (formerly U.S. as History of New Englandfrom 1630 to 1649, James K. Weather Bureau), Silver Spring, Md.: Hosmer, ed., 2 voIs., New York, N.Y., 1908. (a) Climatological Data-National Summarv (3) Nathaniel Morton, New England's Memorial, Cambridge, (b) Monthly Weather Review Mass., 1669. (c) Storm Data (4) Fitz-Henry Smith, Jr., Bostonian Society Publications, (d) NOAA Technical Reports, NWS Series vol. 11, Second Series, "Storms and Shipwrecks in Boston Bay and the Record of the Life Savers of Hull," (e) NOAA Technical Memoranda, NWS Series Boston, Mass., (n.d.). (26) Weatherwise (bimonthly publication for the American (5) The Pennsylvania Magazine, Cambridge, Mass., December Meteorological Society and others), Boston, Mass. 1775. (27) Shore and Beach (periodical publication of the American (6) Sidney Perley, Historic Storms of New England, Salem, Shore and Beach. Preservation Association), Miami, Fla. Mass., 1891. (28) The National Geographic magazine, Washington, D.C. (7) W. Bell Dawson, Survey of Tides and Currents in Canadian (29) Coastal Research Group, Department of Geology, Uni- Waters, Government Printing Bureau, Ottawa, Ont., versity of Massachusetts, Contribution No. 1, Coastal 1896-1903. (Note: The appropriate fiscal year of each Environments, X.E. Massachusetts and New Hampshire, 1972. annual survey listed among the reference sources (30) The Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, Calif. usually precedes the actual date of publication by 1 (31) The Pacifica Tribune, Pacifica, Calif. year.) (32) The Sate Diego Union, San Diego, Calif. (8) W. Bell Dawson, Tides at the Head of Bay of Fundy, (33) The San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco, Calif. Dept. of the Naval Service, Ottawa' Ont., 1917. (34) The San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco, Calif. (9) W. Bell Dawson, Tide Levels and Datum Planes in Eastern (35) The Evening Telegram, Saint John's, Newfoundland, Canada, Dept. of the Naval Service, Ottawa, Ont., 1917. Canada (10) Edward Rowe Snow, Great Storms and Famous Shipwrecks (36) Bridgeport Sunday Post, Bridgeport, Conn. of the New England Coast, Boston, Mass., 1943. (37) The New Haven Yournal-Courier, New Haven, Conn. (11) David Stick, Graveyard of the Atlantic: Shipwrecks of (38) Delaware State News, Dover, Del. TheNorth Carolina Coast, Chapel Hill, N.C., 1952. (39) Every Evening, Wilmington, Del. (12) Ben Dixon McNeill, The Hatterasman, Winston-Salem, (40) Daily Kennebec yournal, Augusta, Me. N.C., 1958. (41) Maine Sunday Telegram, Portland, Me. (13) Transactions of the Canadian Institute, vol. IX, University (42) Portland Press-Herald, Portland, Me. of Toronto Press, Toronto, Canada, 1913. (43) The Bar Harbor Times, Bar Harbor, Me. (14) Dorothy Franklin, West Coast Disaster, Columbus Day, (44) The Boston Evening Globe, Boston, Mass, 1962, Gann Publishing Co., Portland, Oreg. (no (45) The Boston Gazette and Country journal, Boston, Mass. publication or copyright date). (46) The Boston Herald, Boston, Mass. (15) David M. Ludlum, Earo American Hurricanes, 1492-1870, (47) The Boston journal, Boston, Mass. Boston, Mass., 1963. (48) The Boston News-Letter, Boston, Mass. (16) Ivan Ray Tannehill, Hurricanes, 9th ed., Princeton, (49) The New Hampshire Gazette, Portsmouth, N.H. N.J., 1956. (50) The Newark Star-Ledger, Newark, N.J. (17) Gordon E. Dunn and Banner 1. Miller, Atlantic Hurricanes (51) The New rork Times, New York, N.Y. (rev. ed.), Baton Rouge, La., 1964. (32) The Savannah Morning News, Savannah, Ga. (18) David M. Ludlum, Early American Winters 1, 1604-1820, (53) The News and Observer, Raleigh, N.C. Boston, Mass., 1966. (54) News-Observer Chronicle, Raleigh, N.C. (19) David M. Ludlum, Earty American Winters 11, 1821-1870, (55) The Oregon Daily journal, Portland, Oreg. Boston, Mass. 1968. (56) The Oregonian, Portland, Oreg. (20) William E. Clark, ed., Naval Documents of the American (57) The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, Pa. Revolution, vol. 2, Washington, D.C., [email protected] (58) The Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, Norfolk, Va. (21) U.S. Army Engineer District, Charleston Corps of (59) The Times-Dispatch, Richmond, Va. Engineers, Charleston, South Carolina, Reconnaissance (60) The Virginian Pilot, Norfolk, Va. Report on Beach Erosion, Pawleys Island Beach, George- (61) The Virginian Pilot and the Norfolk Landmark, Norfolk, Va. town County, South Carolina, October 1972. (62) The Seattle Daily Times, Seattle, Wash. (22) Beach Erosion and Damages to the Ventura County Shoreline, (63) The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Seattle, Wash. Department of Public Works, Ventura County, Calif., (64.) The Evening Star, Washington, D.C. June 1972. (65) Biddeford-Saco journal, Biddeford, Me. (23) Annual Report of the Superintendent of the Coast Surveyfor (66) Evening Express, Portland, Me. 1847, Washington, D'C., 1847. (67) York Couqy Coast Star, York County, Me. 38 Strategic Role of Perigean Spring Tides, 1635-1976 Reference Sources for Tidal Flooding-Continued Reference Reference Code No. 'rode No. (68) The Portsmouth Herald, Portsmouth, N.H. (73) Charles L. Bretschneider, "The Ash Wednesday East (69) Raymond Herald and Advertiser, Raymond, Wash. Coast Storm, March 5-8, 1962; A Hindcast of Events, (70) The Savannah Daily Advertiser, Savannah, Ga. Causes, and Effects," in Proceedings of the Ninth Con- (71) M. P. O'Brien and J. W. Johnson, "The March 1962 ference on Coastal Engineering, Lisbon, Portugal Storm on the Atlantic Coast of the United States," in (1964), 1964. Proceedings, VIIlth Conference on Coastal Engineering, (74) Massachusetts Geodetic Survey, Works Progress Ad- Council on Wave Research, The Engineering Founda- ministration Project No. 165-14-6085, "High Water tion, Richmond, Va. 1963. Data, Flood of March 1936 in Massachusetts," Boston, (72) Civil Works Branch, Construction-Operations Division, Mass., November 1, 1936. North Atlantic Division, Corps of Engineers, U.S. (75) Fitz-Henry Smith, Jr., "Some Old-Fashioned Winters Army, Report on Operation Five-High, March 1962 Storm, in Boston," vol. 65, Proceedings of the Massachusetts August 1963. Historical Society, Boston, 1940. TABLE 5 A Representative Sample of Newspaper Articles Covering Tidal Flooding Events Associated with Perigean Spring Tides, 1723-1974 Explanatory Comments The following reproductions of news articles, covering nomical conditions given in table 1, where the same serial 50 major tidal flooding events that have occurred on both numbers are used. the east and west coasts of North America in association The presence of a capital letter preceding this number with perigean spring tides, comprise one-half of the total indicates that a corresponding synoptic weather map and/ list of representative events listed in the master catalog or tidal curve relating to this event (and carrying the same, (table 1) . In practically all cases, considerable additional alphanumeric descriptor) are to be found in part 11, chap- information was contained in the original full-length news ters 7 and 8, respectively, of the text. Where tidal flooding article. These news accounts have been shortened, and occurred simultaneously on both the east and west coasts, considerable detailed material relating to individual prop- a small letter "e" or "w" following the key number indi- erty losses as the result of tidal flooding has been deleted. cates which coast is represented. The excision of material is indicated by the use of ellipses. The figures printed in the lower left corner following News photos which, in many cases, accompanied the orig- each news article provide information relating to the inal stories and illustrated the considerable extent of flood- perigee-syzygy alignment with which the reported tidal ing damage have been eliminated, for technical reasons. flooding was associated. The first such entry gives the date However, no substantive editing involving any altera- and time of the mean epoch of perigee-syzygy, specified to tion of the original content has been [email protected] Every the nearest.hour or half-hour in the respective eastern attempt has been made to preserve all possible information standard time (e.s.t.) or Pacific standard time (P.s.t.) zone on the preceding and concurrent meteorological condi- concerned. All times given are standard times, despite the tions pertinent to the tidal flooding, the observed and occasional historical intervention of daylight time or war recorded heights of the tides, and other factual data. Care time. The number in parentheses is the separation, in also has been exercised to include all newspaper datelines hours, between the times of perigee and syzygy, in the or, where these are lacking, other textual references to the algebraic sense perigee minus syzygy. This grouping of time of the flooding event (the day of the 'week, etc.) data conforms exactly with the data given in similar slant- through which an accurate correlation may be made with lettering on the reproduced synoptic weather maps, tide the corresponding perigee-syzygy data. curves, or other graphical representations throughout the The exact source of each article is identified by news- volume, with which these data may be rigorously com- paper name, day of the week and date of publication (or pared. the period of coverage for weeklies), and the page and The morning-final or evening-final editions of the news- column for each article used. The initials "O.S." stand for papers concerned were used in nearly all cases. Where Old Style Calendar and "N.S." for New Style Calendar, another edition was used and this fact is known, it is so whose exact meanings are explained in a technical note at indicated. Since many of the original newspaper articles the beginning of chapter 1. (References-to columns start were not reproducible in their aged condition, all articles with that at the extreme left hand side of the page as col. I have been uniformly reset, in abridged form. Although and proceed progressively to 'the right.) Although news- some of the earliest news accounts lack headlines, and papers may have changed their titles over subsequent other such heads have been eliminated because of their years, the contemporary title is used in all cases. The arti- multiple-column widths or large point sizes, an effort has cles are chronologically arranged. been made to retain significant headings wherever possible. The boldface number following each newspaper article Additional news articles relating to unusually large is a key number for use in cross-referencing the article to coastal flooding events which are given special attention in the listing of the flooding events and their associated astro- the main body of the text are contained in chapter 7. 39 40 Strategic Role of Perigean Spring Tides, 1635-1976 The Boston News-Letter Islands were submerged by the waves, and The Boston Herald (Now England - Weekly) many docks were so badly shattered that Wed., Nov. 25,1885 Thurs., Feb. 21-Thurs., Feb. 28, 1723 it will be necessary to rebuild them. The Page 1, Cols. 4-6 (O.S.) Harlem flats resembled an inland sea ... Page 2, Col. 2 . . . The tide rose to a great height and Boston, Fehr. 25- Yesterday, being the washed out many manufacturing places Lord's Day, the Water flowed over our . . . A MIGHTY TIDE, Wharff's and into our Streets to a very . . 1. Much damage was done to buildings surprizing height. They say the Tide rose by the wind, and to the docks by the very 20 Inche8 higher than ever known before. high tide, The meadows between Williams- The Storm was very strong at North-ea8t burg and Greenpoint were flooded by the wind backing the water up East river, and Old Neptune Baptizes a number of buildings were inundated ... ... The loss and damage sustained is very great, and the little Image of an Inunda- 1878 Oct. 25 the Sholu. tion which we had, look'd very dread- 9.5h e.s.t. (-17) ful . . . 1722123 Feb. 23 (O.S.) 1723 Mar. 6 (N.S.) An Unprecedented 16h e.s.t. (-6) Rise of Water. 4 The New York Times Fri., Sept. 29, 1882 Picturesque Commingling Page 5, Col. 2 The Boston Gazette and HIGH TIDES AT LONG BRANCH of Wind and Wave. . Country Journal Long Branch, Sept. 28-The storm on Mon., Dec. 11, 1786 (N.S.) the New Jersey coast has increased in in- Great Dami.irua to Property No. 1690, Page 3, Col. 1 tensity since midnight yesterday, the gale Boston, December 1I.-On Monday evening continuing from the north-east ... in New York. last came on, and continued without inter- ... At high tide this morning-8:30 o'clock mission until Tuesday evening, as severe -a terrific sea was coming over the Long a snowstorm as has been experienced here Branch Ocean Pier, the black waves touch- for several years past ... ing the floor of the pier 20 feet above the The Jersey Coast Strewn ... The wind, at cast, and northeast, blew ordinary tide ... with Wreckage. exceeding heavy, and drove in the tide ... The heavy sea washed over the land with such violence on Tuesday, as over- and into the Shrewsbury River, the water ... Yesterday's storm proved one of the flowed the pier several inches, which en- reaching the first floors of the elegant severest that has visited this section of the tering the stores on the lower part thereof, cottages and flooding the stables. Car- country, its effect being most perceptible did much damage to the Sugars, Salt, &e. riages were sent to higher ground on the along the coast and water front of the city. therein-considerable quantities of wood, mainland. The Pennsylvania Railroad was In the upper harbor at noon, when the tide lumber, &e. were carried off the several badly cut at Seaside Park, and passengers was full, the sight was a grand one . . . wharfs ... were sent by way of the New-Jersey Cen- tral to New-York. At Branehport, Little ... At the South city ferry the tide over- 1786 Dec. 4 Silver, and Red Bank at low tide the flowed to the entrance gates on Lewis 23.5h e.s.t. (-17) waters were within eight inches of the street on the East Boston side, and the floors of bridges, and much alarm was felt Eastern-avenue entrance in the city proper 7 as to the effects of the high tide to-night, was all awash for a short time. The ticket This tide is the highest ever known boxes on the East Boston side were sub- here . . . merged to the depth of several inches by the encroaching element. At the North . . .The high tide of yesterday morning ferry the extreme high tide made matters has not been surpassed in several years. unpleasant for the pedestrians, as the The Philadelphia Inquirer Late last evening the tide was rising water worked its way up through the east- Thurs., Oct. 24, 1878 rapidly, and there was 'every indication erly end of the new headhouse on the Bos- Page 1, Cols. 2, 3 that this morning it will reach the same ton side. The ferry employes say that the height as yesterday, if it does not surpass tide was the highest that has been known High Tide at New York and Shattered it ... here for a great many years. The tide at Shipping, Docks and Buildings. midnight was considerably higher, it rising 1882 Sept. 26 11 ft. 7 in., but owing to the decrease of NEw YORK, Oct. 23-The tide which ac- 19h e.s.t. (-10) the wind, its effects were not so severe as companied the eastern gale of today was those of the noon tide ... one of the highest remembered, and caused 20 extensive damage along the city's eastern . . . The waves at noon broke over the front. The sea walls around Ward's, Ran- high wall of the- State dock, South dall's and the upper end of Blackwell's Boston, and sent their spray high in air, Representative Great Tidal Floodings of the North American Coastline 41 the foam from which was blown several no trains are allowed to cross it. The docks all along the New Jersey coast, and par- hundred feet inland. The sea wall between at the different hotels have all been dam- ticularly between Sandy Hook and Point Jeffries point and Wood island, which has aged, and are likely to break up entirely Pleasant. For twelve hours the wind along unless the wind shifts soon. The families the seaboard has blown from forty to fifty Towered Above the Angry Waves living in small houses along the ocean and miles an hour and the sea has been un- since the destructive gale which washed bay have been obliged to move out. The usually high and strong . . . Minot's light away in 1851,-was yester- cellar of the great hotel is flooded. The day overtopped by the briny elements, and wind is blowing a gale,, . . . ... The foundation and platforms of the large sections of it were wholly submerged, Ocean Hotel bathing pavilions, just south while on all parts the sea made heavy ... At Hunter's Point, the tide rose to an of the pier, were this morning smashed breaks at frequent intervals . . . extraordinary height, water to the depth into kindling wood by the high tide and of several feet having covered the docks carried out to sea. Between the Surf Along the North and South Shores. and street for a distance of a hundred House, just north of the pier, and Chelsea yards, rendering foot travel to the ferries Avenue nearly eight feet of sand have been The tides ran unusually high at Lynn. and railroad impossible. Wagons cannot carried away, and the bluff has been badly There was much. damage at some of the get aboard the ferry boats, the latter being washed and inundated . . . wharves. The water nearly reached the several feet above the ferry bridges. The Nahant roadway. The BOStOD, Revere lower parts of Astoria and Ravenswood -Minugh's Hollow, at Seabright, is Beach & Lynn railroad's outward tracks are also flooded. The meadows at Flushing flooded by the high tide in the Shrewsbury were badly washed for a fourth of a mile are under water, and the railroad trestle River. and several small houses there have between the Point of Pines and Oak is covered in places. Several wagons and been badly undermined. The tide there is Island . . . small outhouses have been carried off and so high that the first floors in several are floating in the bay. The cellars and houses are submerged. At Highland Beach The tide was the highest at Salem that first floors in the lower part of the village the tracks of the New-Jersey Southern has been known for years. It filled the are flooded, and the inmates of the houses Railroad are covered with water ... North river canal to the top. have been compelled to move upstairs. The tide at Edgeworth and in the marsh At Atlantic City, N. J., the tide was the ... POINT PLEASANT, N. J., Oct. 13-The on Charles street was the highest ever highest for years. The damage to property high tide this evening cut the beach badly known. A large number of cellars were was considerable. Much of the board walk at Seabright. At this place the large pavil- flooded, and a lot of lumber floated off. along the oceanfront is washed away, and ions of W. T. Streets and Dr. Knox were The water covered the Saugus branch the railroad tracks are washed out near Surrounded by water and both houses were track of the Boston & Maine railroad, the inlet. Many of the streets are flooded. washed away. The seas ran down all At- causing some inconvenience to trains. The Boats are being used to convey residents lantic and Arnold Avenues and the board tide also covered Charles street, making it up and: down some of the streets walks are afloat. At Bayhead 300 feet of impassable. A large number of tons of hay bulkhead and board walks were cut out was floated off on the marshes at Welling- . . . From Barnegat bay to Sandy Hook and went to sea. At Barnegat City the ton, causing a considerable loss. the beach is covered with boards torn from railroad is torn up to the beach and rail- At Cohasset the tide was the highest bulkheads and summer houses. The ocean road communication to the city is cut off. since April 16, 1851, the day of the destrue- promenade and pavilions of James A. At Atlantic City and Ocean City the sea tion of Minot's ledge lighthouse. The Bradley, the founder of Asbury Park, 'is very high, and the railroad from Cape streets and meadows in the vicinity of the were damaged to the amount of $1000. May to Sewell's Point is under water. The harbor were overflowed, and the wharves Several elegant cottages at Elberon have sea came in like a tidal wave. It is the were covered to a depth of 18 inches. been badly damaged. Worst Surf in years. . . . At Bridgeport, Ct., the tide reached the NEW YORK AND VICINITY highest point known in that vicinity for 1891 Oct. 16 many years, wharves, warehouses and cel- 23h e.s.t. (-20) Great Damage to Property-The Highest lars along the water front being over- 23 Tide Ever Known flowed to the depth of several feet, causing much damage . . . NEW YORK, Nov. 24, 1885. Never before has such a high tide rolled in upon the 1885 Nov. 23 city, and incalculable damage has been 22h e.s.t. (+59) (lone along the water front. At 10 o'clock, when the tide was at the full, the water The New York Times ,%vas said by the ferry authorities to be Sat., Feb. 9, 1895 nearly three feet higher thaii it had ever Page 3, Col. 4 been known before. The bridges in the ferry houses on the North river were tilted up toy the tide to an angle of 30*, and the incoming boats Scraped along on the top of The New York Times TREMENDOUS TIDES ON THE COAST the rack guards. When the boats were Wed., Oct. 14,1891 made fast to the (locks, the passengers, in Page 1, Col. 5 Wharves, Streets, and Buildings Flooded many eases, had to be hoisted upon the bridge ... . . . enormous high tides prevailed along the entire coast . . . A telegram from Rockaway Beach says DAMAGE BY HIGH TIDES BIG TIDES ALONG NEW-ENGLAND. "Great dainage has been done all along the beach. The tracks of the New York, Wood- Streets, Wharves, and Buildings haven & Rockaway railroad have been LONG BRANcH, N. J., Oct. 13-The Badly Flooded. washed out, and train,,; cannot. proceed. severe northeast wind and rain storm The spite work across Jamaica bay is which has been raging for the past twenty- BANGOR, Me., Feb. 8-The tide here totally submerged, and, for safety's sake, four hours has done considerable damage today was the highest since the freshet of 42 Strategic Role of Perigean Spring Tides, 1635-1976 1846. There Is from one to three feet of large four-masted steamship Patria of the noon they made trips more regularly. At 4 water in the cellars of stores on Exchange, Hamburg-American Packet Steamship P. M. the tide was so low and the ice on the Brooklyn side became so bad that it Broad, Central, and Front Streets. The Company, while proceeding to sea this was necessary to stop running the boats damage caused is from $15,000 to $20,000. evening, grounded in the main ship chan- The tide is five feet higher than flood. nel, near the southern edge of Palestine . . . The railroad bridge across Kenduskeag Shoal . . . 1895 Feb. 9 stream is weighted down with freight cars and locomotives to prevent it from being 10h e.s.t. (-4) carried away. PORTLAND, Me., Feb. 8.-To-day's tide LOWEST TIDE IN TWENTY YEARS 25 was the highest known here for years. In some cases the water rose to the flooring of the wharves, and it flooded many cel- lars. Ferryboats Blockaded by Ice Few Lines in Operation. BATH, Me., Feb. 8-The tide to-day is The Richmond (Va.) Dispatch the highest ever recorded here, necessitat- A northwest wind, an extremely low Fri., Aug. 18, 1899 Ing the stopping of work in several build- tide-the lowest in twenty years, old boat- Page 1, Col. 7 ings along the wharves. men say-and the heavy ice conspired yesterday to tie up all the ferries on the PROVIDENCE, R. I., Feb. 8-The tide East River from the Battery to Thirty- THE TIDE UNUSUALLY HIGH at this port was the highest since the fam- fourth Street . . . ous storm of September, 1869. The water NEWPORT NEWS, VA., August 17.- ran over docks and wharves and sub- 1895 Feb. 9 (Special.) -James river at this point is merged cellars of warehouses. In some 10h e.s.t. (-4) higher to-night than it has been since the parts of the Narragansett Electric Light- great storm of 1889. It is believed the Ing Company's plant 6 feet of water were 25 tide has risen five feet above average high measured. The damage to the company will water. The water is up in the car-tracks, amount to thousands. in the bottom of the piers, and within a foot of the pier-floors . NEW-BEDFORD, Mass., Feb. 8-The tide here was never known to rise so high The New York Times 1899 Aug. 20 as it did to-day. Water covers the wharves to the depth of two feet. Front Street was Sun., Feb. 10, 1895 20.5h e.s.t. (-7) inundated to the depth of eighteen inches. Page 2, Col. 1 On Water Street the New-Bedford Ma- 30 chine Company and the Smith & Carlton ... The Staten Island ferryboats were all Iron Foundry were obliged to close, and running, but their trips to and from St. several of the mills were forced to close George were eventful. The Southfield had down because of the large amount of a severe encounter with an ice floe at 6 water in the basement. o'clock in the morning. She was on her first trip from Staten Island, and she had HIGHLAND LIGHT, Mass.. Feb. 8- a number of passengers on board. She Such a gale as swept Cape Cod'to-day has came up the bay without much trouble, but The New York Times not happened before since the great bliz- between Governor's Island and the Battery Mon., Nov. 25, 1901 zard of 1888. The wind at 9 A. M. reached she got stuck in a heavy icefield that was Page 1, Col. 7 a velocity of sixty miles an hour. swept by the current around from the The tides in the bay were higher than North River into the East River toward ever known before, washing the banks and the bridge. The Southfield tried hard to Heavy Tide Overflows East and threatening the destruction of twenty fish- escape from the ice, but her wheels were ing houses along the shore. Roads were clogged and she was forced to drift with washed in every direction. the floe . . . West River Fronts. NEWPORT, R. I., Feb. 8.-A tremen- . . . The boats of the Staten Island line . . . The northeast gale, that started to dous high tide, accompanied by great seas ran all day, but late in the afternoon the blow in this neighborhood Saturday even- and heavy ice, is doing great damage tide was so low that the ferry bridges Ing, (lid not abate to any appreciable ex- along the water front to-day. Two barges were far above the decks of the boats, and tent, until well in the afternoon of yester- are ashore. the ascent and descent were so dangerous day. Its maximum velocity was nearly At the beach, a part of the sea wall is that teamsters did not dare to risk their sixty miles an hour. It blew with unabated gone, and the roadway is washed away. horses on the steep planks, and wagon fury all night 4aturday and yesterday At the naval station, several thousand traffic had to be suspended ... morning dollars' damage was done to walls. . . . The Shackamaxon, that plies between . . . Not only the winds inade life miser- 1895 Feb. 9 Ellis Island and the Battery, made several able from a marine standpoint, but the 10h e.s.t. (-4) trips, and every one was eventful. She tides as well. According to veteran marl- encountered immense cakes of ice, through ners long familiar with everything that 25 which she had to plow her way, and the had to do with New York Harbor, a tide northwest winds that swept in gales across such as has not been seen in these parts the bay helped to impede her progress ... in nearly a -,core of years washed upon the The New York Times shores of the city and nearby islands yes- Sun., Feb. 10, 1895 . . . The Fulton Ferry boats Fulton and terday morning. It swept over the Battery Page 1, Cols. 3, 7 Farragut ran until 4 o'clock yesterday wall. deluged the piers along the river afternoon. From 6 to 9 A. M. they had fronts, finally ending in the cellars under . . .SANDY HOOK, N. J., Feb. 9-The much difficulty in getting across, but after the houses on South, West, and other af- Representative Great Tidal Floodings of the North American Coastline 43 feeted streets, soaking and in many cases The tide nwl wind swelit oyster boats northeast. meeting unusually high tides, so ruining, the merchandise or other things an(] haii0soine sloops in a wrecked mass the waves rose high, worked ' havoc with contained in them . . . upon the shore and ineadows. The Golden the strongest bulkheads, and tossed about Gate. a large sloop oAvned by Capt. boardwalks with a playful madness ren- ... In Manhattan the greatest damage, of William E. Woolley of this place, was dering then) fit only for kindling wood . course. was along the streets fronting on dashed upon the -shore here, and crashed the. river-, and in the subway. On West through :i large. storehouse building owned . . . The flood tide at 5:26 o'clock in the Street produce inerchants were busy bail- by Baner & Hopkins . . . morning came tearing in and tearing ing the water out of their cellars. From up . . . Warren Street to Park Place, on West Storehouses. docks. and bath hou,,,es Street, the shops, saloons, and restaurants were lifted from their foundations and ... The Manhattan Beach Hotel suffered were flooded. A restaurant at 165 West carried away Nvith the, tides . . . severely on its water front. The plank walks Street was so completely surrounded with were torn away, 610 feet being destroyed, water that the proprietor was unable to Thornas Brown'-,, dock at Locklm)rt was and the bathing pavilion was very nearly get to it when he arrived to open up early almost completely wrecked by the tide destroyed. At the Oriental Hotel the board- in the morning. walk Nvas torn to bits. The iron lamp posts The Fall River steamer in arriving at were twisted and bent, and the embank- Pier 18, at the foot of Murray Street, had inent cut into. It will not be possible to fix to keel) her passengers on board owing to the loss until the storm has subsided and the water, which was about two feet deep, MUCH DAMAGE ON THE an examination can be made. The waves that flooded the street outside. . . . breaking over - what was the boardwalk CONNECTICUT COASTS. rolled in ion the lawn and scattered over ... In the East River there was a serious it the debris of its earlier destruction. The amount of damage, due to a tide, which -NEW HAVEN, Conn., Nov. 24-At Shi')_ total loss at Coney Island is estimated at river men insist has never been equalled pan Point, in Stainford, several docks on- $2.1,000 . . . in their experience. The lighthouse ion the nected with Summer residences were car- CHATHAM, Mass., Nov. 24-The life north end of Blackwell's Island, usually ried away by the unusually high tide, and savers along the shore from Monomoy ,high above flood tide, was wrapped in the cellars of a number of buildings near Point to Provincetown report the gale as spray, the platform of the house being but the -water front were completely sub- very severe. -,vith a high tide which has little above the water. The entire north merged. Along the canal the water rose washed away miles of the beaches and side of the island was flooded at 9 o'clock, over the banks and a considerable part of made bad inroads into the headlands. At and several small fraine buildings were the lower end of the city was inundated. South Beach the high tide and heavy seas carried away. The freight offices of the North and East have cut away the sand embankment for In the upper west side the greatest River Steamboat Company were flooded, many years . . . damage was in the rapid transit tunnel, -is were many of the shops on the canal . . . the excavations extending through Lenox I Avenue north fron) One Hundred and . . . Milford probably suffered more than 1901 Nov. 25 Thirty-fourth Street to the Harlem River any other town on the Connecticut shore, 15.5h e.s.t. (-9) . . . and the damage there is estimated at $10 - 34 h _ 000. The seawall at Burwell's Bea( , r . ... This trench is eighteen feet wide and cently built. was completely carried away. forty feet deep, and is to go under the At Fort Trumbull Beach every bathing river at a depth of sixty feet below its house was washed away, and the banks bottom. The contractor had sunk a c0ffer and lawns of the Summer homes were dam at the river bank. This held, but the destroyed . . . water poured over it and into the tunnel, filling it. The banks were softened and . . . At Greenwich the tide.was five feet caved in at many places, but the tunnel is higher this morning than usual, and every- not seriously damaged. The loss to the thing on the low lands was carried away. contractors is about $10,000 . . . Lumber yards were flooded, and huge piles 1901 Nov. 25 of lumber toppled over and floated out. into The Evening Telegram 15.5h e.s.t. (-9) the harbor. At Belle Haven two docks Saint John's, Newfoundland owned by John P. Lafflin and John B. Barrett were swept away and carried on Tues., Feb. 3, 1908 34 to Byram shore, and the macadam roads Page 4, Col. 2 were damaged to such an extent that it The New York Times will take from $3,000 to $4,000 to repair ... The railway track was washed away them. The total damage in this vicinity about eight miles this side of Port aux Mon., Nov. 25, 1901 will reach at least $7,000 . . . Basques so that the Bruce express was Page 2, Cols. 3, 4 not able to leave there this morning. The sea swept in with terrific violence and inundated the track for several hundred HAVOC AT KEYPORT yards. The tide is not expected to subside KEYPORT, N. J., Nov. 24-The tide SCENES OF DESTRUCTION till this afternoon, about 3 o'clock . . . rose until the docks along the water front 1908 Feb. 2 were several feet below the water. More Oh e.s.t. (-8) than a hundred large sloops were in Key- AT OLD CONEY ISLAND port harN)r. besides a large number of smaller cr- Iks 35 aft. Owners of the vessels stood Bulkheads and Boardwa upon the shore this morning and were Smashed Into Kindling Wood. poiverl"s to save their property, as the vessels dragged their anchors and burst Coney Island breezes yesterday were froni*their moorings. of the cyclonic sort, and came from the 44 Strategic Role of Perigean Spring Tides, 1635-1976 The Los Angeles Times The Virginian-Pilot and the Fri., Dec. 18, 1914 Norfolk Landmark Pt. 2, Page 1, Cols. 4, 5 Norfolk, Va. Sun., April 4, 1915 Destructive. Page 5, Col. 3 SEAS LASHED BY GALE STORM SEVERE AT BATTER COAST TOWNS VIRGINIA BEACH . . .More damage was inflicted by the storm at Virginia Beach than that resort has suffered in the past 30 years. Swept by the 75-mile gale of Friday night and Houses Destroyed, Bulkheads Shattered, Se2ver and Gas early yesterday morning, the beach front suffered in a number of places, both from Mains Severed by Pounding Breakers on Crest of High wind and water . . . Tide-More Trouble Feared Today-Loss of Property ... Practically all of the board walk in Many Thousands-No Casualties. front of the site of the old Princess Anne hotel was torn up by the surf which broke over the sea wall 1915 Mar. 31 Lashed to a furi,- by a. heavy on-shore bags of sand and timbers, they cannot bope 22h e.s.t. (+42) gale that lent impetus to an unusually to stem the huge tide expected ... high ti([email protected] the sea battered the southern 39 coast early yesterday morning with fury 1914 Dec. 16 and destroyed property worth many thou- Oh P.s.t. (-36) sands of dollars. From all along the shore came the same 38 story. of huge, waves leaping over barriers and carrying destruction with them. At The Los Angeles Times The New York Times Long Beach $80,000 damage was done, Fri., Dec. 18, 1914 Thurs., April 11, 1918 while. at Balboa the loss was als:) heavy. Railway tracks were washed out at the Pt. 2, Page 6, Cols. 3-5 Page 15, Cols. 5, 6 harbor and traffic delayed for hours. One fatality due to the storm was reported PENINSULA INUNDATED. Sixty-Mile Blow from the East from the sea. There were no casualties In the wake of a forty-five mile gale, ashore. the tide rose to unprecedented height at Piles Twelve-Foot Tide Over The off-shore breeze that accompanied Balboa Beach yesterday morning, broke Piers and Streets. the rain of Wednesday night switched to over the bulkheads, cut 100 feet off the tip the southeast early in. the day, and blew end of the peninsula, inundated Collins at places forty-five miles an hour. No Island, damaged or wrecked a score of Beach Hotels. and Bungalows damage was (lone here. residences and receded, leaving many Flooded and New Cement Shore Further trouble at coast points is feared thousands of dollars damage in its wake Walk Undermined for this morning's high-tide period. TERROR AT LONG BEACH. A sixty-mile easterly gale, blowing ... Although the storm was accompanied directly from the sea, pushed a tremen- Washing houses into the sea, tearing up by a gale from the southeast and the high- dous tide against the whole length of the concrete bulkheads and cement promen- est tide in nearly twenty years, there was south shore of Staten Island late yesterday ades, and spreading terror and damage no damage to shipping at the harbor ... afternoon, submerging piers from four to along the ocean front, the wind, aided in six feet, inundating streets and business its work of destruction by an extremely ... The tide at 8:50 a.m. reached 7.5 feet, property, and tearing several small ves- high tide and heavy rain, paid a terrifying and with the storm behind it backed up sels from anchorages and throwing them the water in the channel and the bay to a ashore. It was estimated that the property visit to Long Beach early in the morning. hitherto-unknown height. loss would reach $100,000 . . . Many persons had narrow escapes from drowning in their seaside bungalours, one About 200 feet of the Salt Lake track at of which was completely destroyed, and Ostend was washed out by the high tide, ... All along the waterfront from Simon- four are partially washed away. and train service was demoralized for son Avenue, at Clifton to Fort Wadsworth, Great anxiety is felt along the Nvashed- several hours. Repairs were completed a distance of two miles, the piers were out portions of the beach over this morn- last night and service resumed . . . under water, and the ships which had been ing's high tide, when more buildings and loading or discharging cargo had to be works are expected to go. A tide of 7.3 1914 Dec. 16 moved to outside anchorage last night to feet is expected at 9:15. Many of the Oh P.S.t. (-36) prevent them pounding to pieces. In Clifton houses on the east beach are hanging over the water was four feet deep in the a bluff caused by the waves, and, although streets, and boats were used to move the owners and occupants of these build- about. ings worked feverishly last night with Summer hotels and bungalows at South Representative Great Tidal Floodings of the North American Coastline 45 Beach and Midland Beach were damaged water. Families, fearing the water would makes a difference of, say, a couple of feet severely. The flood swept over the first rise above their living quarters, sought as compared with moon at the quarter. On floors of most of these places. Long refuge in the upper stories. Finucan's the 18th, then, wind and moon favored an stretches of the new concrete walk at Hotel, facing the sea, was so undermined exceptional high tide. both beaches were undermined by the tide by water that it was feared, it would On Nov. 18 my barometer showed a sea- . . . collapse. The boulevard at Edgemere was level reading of approximately 28.7 inches, covered with water and several bungalows perhaps, with one exception, the lowest I . . . At 10 o'clock last night it was said were washed away. have ever happened to observe. When the the tide had reached ele ven feet above barometer is low-that is, when the air normal high tide, the highest for years ... ... According to the city gauge at Pier A, pressure on top of the water is lessened- North River, at 10 o'clock Thursday night the water tends to rise. In support of this . . . SEABRIGHT, N. J., April 10-Row the card registered a height of water of let me quote from William M. Davis's boats were used in Ocean Avenue tonight eight and fifteen-hundredths feet above book 'Whirlwinds, Cyclones, and Torna- at high tide. The crest came at 11:30 after mean low water. This is the highest tide does,' where he speaks of this-phenomenon which it subsided a little after threaten- since the records were established in in the Bay. of Bengal. - -- ing to inundate several buildings ... 1886 ... "The diminished atmospheric pressure about the storm centre allows the heavier 1918 Apr. 10 SEA FLOODS ATLANTIC CITY surrounding air to lift the water, and for 14.5h e.s.t. (-19) every inch that the mercury falls in the ATLANTIC CITY, N. J., April 12.-A barometer the water will rise a foot. . . . A-43 record tide did much damage along the and if a strong tide conspires with these sea front today. For the first time in years other causes a great flood is produced." the sea flooded the lawns of the big hotels, The same rule that works in the Bay of The New York Times smashed doors and flooded cellars, drown- Bengal works in New York Bay, I should ing out fires in some of the apartment think. Sat., April 13, 1918 houses and causing loss of property in CHARLES VEZIN, Jr. Page 11, Col. 3 store rooms. The water put the plant of Yonkers, Nov. 22, 1918. the electric company out of service, and 1918 Nov. 17 Unusually High Tide Drives the entire city was in darkness last night. 12.5h e.s.t. (-29) Water to Station Entrances 1918 Apr. 10 in Jersey City. 14.5h e.s.t. (-19) 44 Homes at Sea Bright Inundated- A-43 $50,000 Damage at Sea Gate. ... The high east wind and the unusually high tide yesterday caused great damage all along the Atlantic Coast . . . The New York Times Sat., Nov. 8, 1919 ... On the waterfront the water piled up Page 5, Col. 1 by the wind flooded streets, undermined The New York Times houses, interfered with ferry traffic, and Mon., Nov. 25, 1918 caused discomfort to thousands of persons. Page 12, Col. 6 In New Jersey the water came up so high HIGH TIDE nows that it flooded the waiting rooms of the Remarkable Tides on Nov. 18 railroad stations and interfered with the To the Editor of The New York Time8: handling of freight In the Erie and Penn- Your issue of Nov. 19 contained this STREETS AT FERRIES sylvania railroad yards. paragraph: When the tide came up water began to "The south wind caused an unusually run down the steps of the entrance to the/ high tide. Many of the ferry bridges were Hudson tunnel in the Lackawanna station lifted until vehicles had to go up a sharp Unusual Rise Causes Delays on in Hoboken. It soon became so bad that incline to make the boats, and in some the Jersey Side for More the entrance had to be closed to the public, cases the water flooded the ferry houses." Than Three Hours and a barricade of boards was hastily Your issue of the 20th reproduced a raised to stop the water from flooding into dispatch from Quebec, dated Nov. 19, the tube and interfering with the traffic. which read in part as follows: As the tide came higher the water rose "The tidal wave . . . swept up the St. UPPER PLATFORMS USED in the ferry houses and more poured into Lawrence last night, causing damage esti- the tunnel . . . mated at $1,000,000. Part of the village of Batiscan was submerged by the flood Pilots Make Slips with Difficulty . . . Wind and tide wrought destruction tide." -Water Enters Cellars on along the shore from Long Beach to Sea The above accounts went on to ascribe New York Side Gate. At Coney Island, Brighton, and Sea the abnormal tides to the south and east Gate the police last night estimated the winds, which, of course, had an effect, but damage at $50,000 . . . there were two otlier unmentioned causes -the moon, and the low barometer pres- ... In the, district around Par Rockaway sure. An extraordinarily high tide on the streets were flooded, small buildings car- The moon was full Nov. 19, and it is a North River yesterday morning, said by ried away, and larger ones damaged. Train familiar phenomenon that, other things the water front experts to have been and trolley service was practically stopped. being equal, tides always run higher and caused by the northeast wind and the full Near Howard Beach parts of the Long run lower at full moon. Frequenters of the moon, flooded the streets and cellars of Island Railrokli-tracks were covered by seashore inay have noticed that this the houses, interfered with the power 46 Strategic Role of Perigean Spring Tides, 1635-1976 'plants of the Grand and Desbrosses The San Francisco Examiner various places attained a velocity of 75 Streets surface car lines, and partially Sun., Feb. 14, 1926 miles an hour, lashed practically the entire tied up the Hudson River ferry services, Page 1, Col. 4 New England Coast line last night and. which caused a good deal of inconvenience this morning, compelling ships to seek to the early morning commuters. shelter, and wharves to be submerged, and The passengers managed to board the causing much damage . . . ferryboats from the upper platforms on COAST TIDES . . . an exceptionally strong, high tide the Jersey shore, but the water was so swept in at 10:46 this morning. The tide deep in the streets below that trucks had M reached such a height that the water was to wait two hours.before it subsided ... on a level with the base of the caplogs of practically all the wharves along Atlantic ... The Brooklyn shore suffered, too, from ATTACK FIL av. the exceptionally high tide, and two men At Long Wharf, T. Wharf and several were marooned all Friday night on a jetty others the water seeped underneath the running from the Municipal Baths . . . caplogs and the floorings, flooding the wharves with water that averaged about The pilots on the Brooklyn ferryboats STARS' HOMES one foot deep . . . had considerable difficulty in making their slips on account of the tide, and many of Ventura Wharf Crumples Tide 13 Feet or Higher the piers along the front were flooded. In Under Battering Newtown Creek the water rose three feet Under normal conditions the tide today in the early forenoon and flooded both Highways and Bridges Blocked; should have,risen 11 feet at its highest, shores. Pilots said these exceptionally high but the indications were that it went to tides come about once every five years, Long Beach Sea Wall Is Washed Out the 13-foot mark or higher. Large, docked and the exact cause has never been deter- ships loomed high above the wharf strue- mined . . . LOS ANGELES, Feb. 13-(AP)-South- tures . . . ern California was slowly emerging tonight 1919 Nov. 8 from the three day raging of elements, in 1927 Mar. 3 2h es.t. (+14) which gales and driving rains vied with al- 21.5h e.s.t. (+15) most unprecedented high tides, leaving in 45 their converging wakes death, injury and B-50 property damage estimated in tens of thou- sands of dollars . . . ... mountainous seas, whipped into fury by off-shore gales, have resulted in three deaths by drowning, one injury and the The New York Times destruction of one wharf, damage to num- Sun., April 3, 1927 Seattle Post-intelligencer erous piers, beaching of many small fish- Page 19, Col. 2 Sun., Dec. 9, 1923 ing craft, and wholesale undermining of Page 16 HH, Col. 3 dwellings, cabins and strand walks on the Atlantic City Streets Flooded- water fronts . . . ATLANTIC CITY, N. J., April 2- The loss of the Ventura wharf ties up Driven up the beach and over the bulk- shipping activity entirely at that city, all heads by a fifty-mile northeaster, a heavy PACIFIC COUNTY ca- r-goes having been discharged on the one sea flooded parts of the Inlet section, at wharf. Six hundred feet of the structure high tide tonight. collapsed . . . Although the high seas did not reach the ... The Coast highway to San Diego was proportions of the February flood. water IS HIT BY TIDE ts stood a foot deep in sections of Maine rendered impassable by washou near Avenue; waves lashed across the trolley San Juan Capistrano and farther south tracks at the Inlet loop and gigantic comb- near Oceanside . . . ers washed over the bulkheads at the SOUTH BEND, Dec. 8.-Pacific County 1926 Feb. 12 ocean ends of Vermont, Rhode Island and is still estimating its losses and trying to 6.5h P.S.t. (-5) Gramercy Avenues . . . repair them after the worst combination storm and tide the Willapa Harbor district 48 1927 Apr. 1 has known for more than fifteen years ... 20h e.s.t. (-6) . . . The long and narrow Willapa Bay 0-51 acted as a gigantic funnel with the wind and tide pushing the water far above the scheduled 10.5 mark and inundating tide- Every Evening lands, the lower lying farms of the co6nty The Boston Evening Globe Wilmington, Del. and portions of South Bend and practically Thurs., March 3, 1927 the entire city of Raymond . . . Page 1, Col. 3 Tues., April 5, 1927 Page 3, Col. 4 1923 Dec. 7 6.5h P.s.t. (-23) Wharves in Boston Under LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER 47 Water Foot Deep MAROONED BY WATER High, rough seas, whipped into fury Due to the heavy tides caused by by a h6avy northeasterly gale, which at unsettled weather conditions of the past Representative Great Tidal Floodings of the North American Coastline 47 few weeks, the river embankment, 300 The flood condition lasted for two hours, The New Haven Journal-Courier yards above the lighthouse, on the gov- an hour before and an hour after the tide Thurs., March 5, 1931 ernment reservation at the junction of the reached its peak. Half the length of Long Sect. 1, Page 2, Cols. 7, 8 Delaware and Christiana rivers, suffered Wharf from Atlantic Avenue was covered a break and the rush of water through the with seven inches of water . . . fissure virtually made the keeper, W. H. Johnson, a prisoner. . . . The Eastern Avenue approach to REVERE HARD The water, at high tide, is two feet deep South Ferry was inundated with more on the reservation than a foot of water and foot passengers unable to board the ferries were taken HIT BY EXTRA 1927 Apr. 1 aboard on trucks. 20h e.s.t. (-6) Winthrop's seaside suffered much dam- age as the big waves battered the break- RISE OF TIDES C-51 water and crashed over the Shore Drive The tide was the highest ever wit- Many Homes Flooded, Forcing nessed at the Boston airport, rolling up 200 Persons To Seek Shelter .over the southern bulkhead and covering Elsewhere. The New York Times about a third of the runway . . . Fri., April 12, 1929 1929 Nov. 17 Revere, Mass., March 4(AP)-The Red Page 5, Col. 2 22h e.s.t. (+54) Cross tonight came to the aid of civic HIGH TIDE CARRIES OFF (See also chapter 7.) authorities in supplying food and shelter A JERSEY BUNGALOW 54 to more than 300 persons left homeless by the battering of a storm tossed ocean. With more than 75 cottages and homes ... Although the southeasterly wind which flooded or demolished, scores of persons prevailed most of the day showed a maxi- sought refuge from the city mum velocity of twenty-four miles an hour in the city, it did considerable damage The New York Times . . . About 25 pupils at the cities schools along the Jersey coast. Accompanied there Wed., Jan. 7, 1931 (Last Ed.) were forced to appeal to police when the by unusually high tides, it drove the sea Page BQ 27, Col. 8 unchecked tide inundated their homes or waters inland for several hundred feet at tore them to wreckage. some places. At Point Pleasant Coast Tides Cause Huge Damage All police and fire reserves were called Guards and volunteer workers put in a on duty and stationed at Revere Beach bu,,y day trying to save bungalow colonies ... Dense fog delayed vehicular traffic and for the purpose of aiding sufferers and threatened by the rising waters. But de- harbor shipping and caused several mis- watching for further damage by the re- spite their efforts one bungalow was carried haps in and near New York yesterday, turn tide. Police believed the midnight tide out to sea, while five others were wallow- while the highest tide in a score of years, would be at least as severe as that of the ing fti shallow water close to shore and stirred up by a full gale which battered (lay ... 600 feet of boardwalk was converted by the New England coast, caused extensive the %vaves into driftwood. The damage damage . . . ... Representatives Augustine Airola and there is estimated at $30,000 ... Thomas F. Carroll told the governor the New England Coast Battered damage here was estimated at $1,000,000 1929 Apr. 11 and that greater loss was anticipated with 4h e.s.t. (+73) ... All along the New England coast the the rising tide ... angry seas pounded wharfs, undermined 53 cottages and flooded storehouses, The As- 1931 Mar. 4 sociated Press reported. Occupants of of- 5.5h e.s.t. (-1) fices along the Boston waterfront were (See also chapter 7.) forced to use ladders to get in and out of their places of busixiess, while those using the harbor ferryboats were forced to use D-57 The New York Times improvised gangplanks. Tues., Nov. 19, 1929 Several cottages were washed from The New York Times Page 20, Col. 3 their foundations at Hampton, N. H., Fri., March 6, 1931 where the tide was the highest known Page 130 48, Col. 2 since 1909, and between thirty and forty 13-FOOT TIDE SWEEPS Summer homes were surrounded by water BOSTON'S WATERFRONT THIRD GREAT TIDE . . .The streets of the Indian village of BOSTON, Mass., Nov. 18.-A record tide, Taholah on the Quinault Reservation in driven four feet beyond its normal height Washington 'were flooded by the highest by the easterly storm, inundated Boston's tide ever known there . . . LASHES BAY STATE waterfront today, causing heavy damage. 1931 Jan. 5 The tide reached its highest point in BOSTON, March 5-Towering seas con- many years with a rise of 13 feet 6 inches 9h e.s.t. (+50) tinued to lash the coast of New England at 11:45 A. M. An unusual rise had been early today despite the fact that the wind expected, but the water rose two feet 56e and snow storm which accompanied'yes- beyond the mark predicted, flooding cellars terday's record-breaking tides had moved and food stores piled up in wharf sheds. off-shore ... 48 Strategic Role of Perigean Spring Tides, 1635-1976 . The waves of the third consecutive The New York Times abnormal tide, though somewhat abated, swept in at noon today and toppled several Boston, March 5, (AP)-The storm Tues., March 10, 1931 beach houses which had been weakened which yesterday lashed the northeast Page 18, Cols. 1, 4 by the previous more savage onslaughts. coast, causing damage estimated in the The loss is expected to run into the millions, blew itself out today. There was PORTLAND, Me., March 9 (AP).-A millions ... no recurrence of the extreme high tide, howling overnight southeaster, bringing which was responsible for the greater part heavy snow, sleet, rain and lightning, to- The finale to the most destructive of the destruction. day had caused some damage along the storm since 1898, today's tide ripped apart As the sea rolled back it left in its wake Maine coast . . . crumbling seawalls, again inundated sev- a shore line streamed with splintered eral communities and tore more cottages dwellings and summer cottages and up- ... An unusually high tide switched the from weakened foundations . . . rooted and undermined seawalls and break- mouth of the Goose Fair River, dividing great swells broke over seawalls an waters. Highways and roadbeds of electric line of Old Orchard and Saco, 100 feet to hour before high tide' . . . and steam railroads were washed out in the south . . . : * . Firemen started pumping out the many places and road gangs labored to re- . . . NEW HAVEN, Conn., March 9- inundated section of Beachmont, where pair the damage. Although the force of the Damage to the Connecticut shorefront water lay from three to seven feet deep, tidal storm was felt all along the North from yesterday's storm will total $1,000,- surrounding scores of houses. The Atlantic states the most destructive blows 000, according to estimates compiled from nearest estimate of the loss is $3,000,000 fell on the Massachusetts and New Hamp- reports received today. The shorefront . . . shire coasts. suffered heavily from Greenwich to Madi. ... HALIFAX, N. S., March 5-Damage Numerous summer cottages were demol- son. Record-break!Dg high tides were re- estimated at a million dollars has been ished at Revere, popular greater Boston corded over this area. In practically every caused by the violent storm and record summer resorts, and at Hampton Beach, colony cottages or bath houses were wash- high tides along the coast of Nova Scotia N. H. ed away and wreckage was strewn over during the last thirty hours . . . Fear that today's tide would approach lawns and roads ... ... Wharves were carried away, at least the record high of yesterday to multiply one deep-sea cable twisted and torn, and the damage already inflicted was found ... For the first time in recorded history bridges were smashed when a peaceful without foundation. The wind that had the Housatonic River overflowed its banks countryside received the worst battering been blowing from the northeast, driving . . . by mountainous seas in the memory of its the sea upon the land, shifted to the north- oldest inhabitants. west, serving to abate the heavy seas. ... Beachfront communities in New York Devil's Island, standing like a sentinel Many sections that were flooded yesterday and -New Jersey were busy repairing the off Halifax Harbor, where the snug homes remained comparatively dry . . . damage done by the tides and gale over the week-end. On Fire Island bar, opposite of its fishermen nestle together, appeared Revere Hard Hit Centre Moriches, the new inlet cut by the to have borne the brunt of the attack. The raging seas seemed to be filling in tide was unusually high and as the spray, The Beaehmorit district of Revere, bat- again . . . borne before the fierce wind, drove clean tered by three successive tides, tonight across the island, the women and children escaped further assault. The after mid- (See also chapter 7.) of the place fearfully watched the island night tide officials believed would be minus men hauling their boats to safety. the fury of its predecessors which left the 1931 Mar. 4 Seas swept over the sheds housing the greater part of the district under water. 5.5h e.s.t. (-1) lifeboats, there being a life-saving station Acre upon acre of land on which homes on the island, and for a time inhabitants or summer cottages rested were covered D-57 of the island feared for their lives as the tonight with black placid water. The land giant seas threatened to carry away the being of the marsh variety failed to soak breakwater . . . up the water . . . N 1931 Mar. 4 Travel by Rafts 5.5h e.s.t. (-1) Those families who declined to leave their water surrounded homes were forced D-57 to go about on rafts or in row boats. The water in some areas reached a depth of The New York Times six feet . . . Thurs., April 2, 1931 The New Haven Journal-Courier ... At Highland Light, Mass., a shift in Page 2, Cols. 2, 3 Fri., March 6, 1931 wind saved the Peaked Hills Coast Guard Page 20, Col. 1 station and four cottages at Ballston Beach from tumbling into the sea. The beach was battered incessantly from Tues- HIGH TIDES MENA CE NEW ENGLAND EASTERN COAST day night until this noon when the change WITH A HEA VY GALE BL OWING in wind was noted. The tide there was higher than anytime during the past ten STORM PASSES years BOSTON, April 1.-April rode in to New England on the crest of a northeaster 1931 Mar. 4 which tonight caused uneasiness along 5.5h e.s.t. (-1) shore for fear of damage by high tides. AF1 ER DAMAGE Three high tides are scheduled in eight- D-57 een hours. The first this noon ran a foot higher than the predicted stage, despite Millions Of Harm Done By High the fact that the wind was only just be- Tides Sweeping Far Ashore ginning to rise. As the day advanced the Upon Towns. gale increased . . . Representative Great Tidal Floodings of the North American Coastline 49 High Tides Wreck Summer waters and piers along the New England trict, Grays Harbor attempted today to coast causing damage estimated at thou- take stock of damage done by a great Home at Southampton sands of dollars. Scores of persons em- storm driven tide which flooded major por- ployed in Boston waterfront offices were tions of Aberdeen, Hoquiam and Cosmo- . . . Blinding sheets of rain swept the marooned during the peak period of the polis Sunday. streets of New York and its vicinity yester- tide and in Winthrop, flooded streets kept A survey of the business district this (lay, while high tides and a strong north- students in a school during the noon lunch morning indicated a loss in merchandise east wind caused damage along the north- period. and fixtures of between $50,000 and $100,- eastern coast of the country . . . At Truro on Cape Cod and along the 000. Flooded homes, street damage and New Hampshire coast in the Hampton road washouts will augment the total loss. . . . The Summer home of William F. Beach area, damage to cottages was re- The port of Grays'Harbor tidal gauge Ladd, member of the New York Stock ported. The summer cottage of Osborne measured the rise at 15.8 feet, four feet Exchange, at Southampton, L. I., was Ball of Boston at Truro tumbled into the above the predicted high tide mark and wrecked when a heavy sea undermined sea when the thundering surf undermined nearly a foot higher than any previous the house, which had been pounded by the eliff on which it stood. tide in history here . . . waves for several weeks. At high water time, about 12:30 p. in., the tide reached a height of 13.66 feet and the chief cause was declared to be . . .All along the Jersey coast bulkheads unofficially was reported to have reached the great tide, supplemented by the 90- were battered and Summer homes dam- a height of more than 15 feet. The normal mile southwest gale aged by the wind and tide . . . tide is 11 feet, four inches . . . ... Eastbound traffic was threatened again ... Trains on the North Shore division of ... In Boston the tide inundated the low this morning when another tide of over the Long Island Railroad were held up for lying piers of the Atlantic avenue section. 11 feet began backing water over the low- eighteen minutes by an open drawbridge The water seeped into the approaches at land road between Aberdeen and Monte- at Main Street, Flushing, which had been many of the famous old wharves, includ- sano. The series of 11-foot tides will con- opened to permit the passage of a tug and ing Central, India, Long and T., and many tinue until Thursday then could not be closed at once because trucks were stranded on piers. Perry boat of the wind and tide . . . slips were flooded and many passengers 1933 Dec.16 were delayed for a short time. until the 23.5h P-s.t. (+9) Tides Shatter Bulkheads. water receded. LONG BRANCH, N. J., April I (AP).- A sight that attracted much attention 63 Pounding waves, driven before a forty- was that of ships lifted almost to street five-mile northeast gale, shattered portions level by the rising waters. Meanwhile, of bulkheads today between here and crews worked vigorously to keep mooring Highlands, threatening hundreds of cot- ropes from snapping under the strain. , tages. A sudden shift of the wind to south All along the north and south Massa- before high tide, saved coast resorts from chusetts shores beach cottages were sur- greater damage . . . rounded with water and in many instances serious damage was done to the structures The San Francisco Examiner 1931 Apr. 2 by the beating of the surf. Wed., Aug. 22, 1 .934 4h e.s.t. (-22) For the first tinie since 1909, the town Page 1, Col. 4 of Nahant was isolated when the waters E-58 of Lynn harbor inundated the narrow pe- ninsula connecting the town with the mainland . . . -0- HUGE MYSTERY 1932 Nov. 27 15h e.s.t. (-10) The New Haven Journal-Courier 60 Thurs., Dec. 1, 1932 WAVES FLOOD Page 7, Cols. 7, 8 Huge Tide In Lo A. BEACHES The Oregon Daily Journal Mon., Dec. 18,1933 Boston Area Page 1, Col. 2 Forty-foot Water Walls Strike; Two-Story Apartment Swept Does Damage Coast Area From Foundations; No Wind Pounded by NEWPORT BEACH, Aug. 21.-(AP)- Water Rushes Over Roads A strangely acting Pacific Ocean, which And Shore Towns Are has been running waves 30 and 40 feet Rains, Tides high during the day, got out of bounds at Partly Submerged. high tide at 6:10 tonight and swept a two-story apartment building from its foundation and damaged other buildings. Boston, Nov. 30 (AP)-The highest tide Aberdeen, Dec. 18.-(AP)-While soggy Part of the city was inundated a few of the season today swept over break- skies continued to pour rain on this dis- feet 202-509 0 - 78 - 6 50 Strategic Role of Perigean Spring Tides, 1635-1976 . . . The waves threatened for a time to backing into Hoquiam streets through Tide gauge readings at Delake during cut a new channel across from the ocean sewers also ... the storm and high tides which ensued, to Newport Bay, ripping out a large cut were 15 feet Wednesday, when most dam- in the sand under the apartment building Storm Floods Neskowin; age was inflicted; 14 feet yesterday, and and across Central avenue . . . 12 feet today. A normal high tide reading Many Homes Damaged of 9.8 had been scheduled for today. . . . Portions of the Central avenue pave- Two lives are known to have been lost ment, the only connecting link between Neskowin, Jan. 4.-A heavy sea follow- in theaugmented. tides which hammered the city and the fashionable residential ing in the wake of a stormy night which the Oregon coast yesterday . . . section on Balboa Peninsula, were torn up, saw the wind reach a 75-mile-an-hour isolating for a time the residents on the velocity, flooded -Neskowin Tuesday morn- Resorts Flooded Again peninsula . . . ing, causing an estimated damage to homes Fog prevailed this morning at Astoria and buildings of from $50,000 to $75,000. and south as far as Wheeler. Nelscott re- ... No wind was reported and no explana- The turbulent sea water, which poured ported the sun shining. There was no wind tion for the unusual waves could be given into the city between 9 and 11:30 a. m., either point ... by weather officials wrecked the community kitchen, restau- at rant and warehouse and undermined the ... Damage Nvas less yesterday than dur. 1934 Aug. 24 Neskowin store. Neskowin apartments and ing Tuesday's storm, the tide being as Oh P.s.t. (-24) about 30 per cent of the homes were high, but not driven by a gale. The Tilla- 64 damaged mook beaches seemed to be harder hit ye- terday. but resorts again were flooded as 1939 Jan. 5 far south as Coos Bay 20h P.s.t. (+14) The Oregon Daily Journal F-68 Fri., Jan. 6, 1939 The New York Times Page 1, Col. 7 Wed., July 17, 1935 Page 14 L+, Col. 7 The Oregon Daily Journal Thurs., Jan. 5, 1939 Highest Seas in Years Page 1, Cols. 4, 7 Sea Unruly, Threaten Oak Beach, LJ ... Four women were injured, one perhaps fatally, Thursday noon near Seaside as ... OAK BEACH, L. I., July 16-One of the northern Oregon coast suffered a re- the highest seas in years, driven by a currence of attacks by huge swells accom- in (alifornia strong southeast wind for two days, pound- panying a high tide. The women were ed this village of twenty homes on the standing on a log when a swell picked it Three Homes Washed Into outer bar tonight, partly undermining the up and slammed it about Pacific; Others Damaged foundations of three cottages ... . . . 'XIarshfield, Jan. 5.-(AP)-A tide so . . . After 10 P. M., when high tide had high that many persons described it as a Long Beach, Cal., Jan. 6-(AP)-Three passed, the danger lessened. An automo- "tidal wave" moved houses, damaged small modest beach homes in the Alamitos pe- bile parking space on the beach was under craft and destroyed cabins in the Coos iiiiisiila area southeast of Belmont shore more than a foot of water. The waves had Bay area Thursday. were washed to sea today as giant break- dashed up within forty feet of the Coast Three houses were shifted on their ers, riding in from the Pacific on high tide Guard station here . . . foundations at Charleston and 15 cabins ground swells. crashed over the low sea wrecked ... wall . . . 1935 July 16 . . . High water forced the International ... The tide also bronght extensive dam- 23h e.s.t. (+46) Cedar Mill to shiat down here ... age to Manhattan and Hermosa beaches, where the highest water in years flowed 66 1939 Jan. 5 as far as 180 feet inland. 20h P.S.t. (+14) But the Alamitos peninsula below Long Beach was hardest hit. F-68 William E. Ross, boat builder there, said the tide was the worst in his 35 years' ex- perience. The Oregon Daily Journal Mrs. D. H. Collins stood by and watched Wed., Jan. 4,1939 The Oregon Daily Journal the tide carry her two-story dwelling into Page 2, Cols. 3-6 Fri., Jan. 6, 1939 the Pacific . . . . . . Aberdeen, Jan. 4.- (AP) -A sudden Page 1, Col. 4 . . . Alore than two feet of water roared halt in the southwest gale and rain del- . . . Apprehension felt regarding, another in at some Santa Monica bay points, uge which had hammered Grays Harbor high tide along the coast today was al- sweeping out the board walk along the for 48 hours until shortly before noon layed when the first community reporting, strand between Manhattan and Hermosa Tuesday temporarily ended a serious flood Nelscott, announced that the Lincoln beaches . . . threat in Aberdeen and Hoquiam. county crest had passed shortly before I Water had backed up through sewers in p. m. and that the extreme height of the (See also chapter 7.) parts of South Aberdeen and had just tide was 12 feet, two feet lower than that 1939 Jan. 5 started over the Chehalis river dikes in of yesterday. 20h P.s.t. (+14) two places, when the rain and wind halted It is believed this relative figure will and the high tide which had been pushed indicate the situation at other points, as F-68 four feet above its predicted 10Y2 foot the tide visitations yesterday were similar peak started to recede. Water had been at all of them. Representative Great Tidal Floodings of the North American Coastline 51 The New York Times who recently refused to let it be dredged ocean rainbows, today estimated damage Mon., April 22, 1940 out because anti-aircraft guns might have of a two-day Christmas beating by wind, Page 1, Col. 2 (Late City Ed.) to be rushed to the island overland in rain and high tides. event of war. Taft had the worst, with damage to the seawall that protects Pacifle street along Tip of Maine Is Isolated Siletz bay. Mountainous waves drenched GIANT WAVES LASH BOSTON. April 21-The northeast tip of that street, littered door yards, dug holes Maine and i6 7,000 residents were isolated in lawns and removed 200 yards of filling tonight as a 50-mile-an-hour northeaster back of the wall. sent a high surf pounding against New Nelseott reported damage to the seawall, NORTHEAST COAST England waterfront roads and property ... removal of stairways to beach from Over- took property and piling of logs on the An incoming tide, driven by the gale, ramp . . . flooded Quincy Shore Boulevard, main Hundreds Marooned in Towns highway between Boston and Cape Cod, Near Boston-Blizzard Hits for three miles and halted automobile Maine and Vermont traffic. Squantum, a Quincy peninsula of 1,500 residents and home of a Naval Reserve Angry Seas air base, was cut off temporarily as the tide swept across its only outgoing high- BOSTON, April 21-Scores of persons way . . . were marooned today and the coast was 1940 Apr. 21 still Batter hammered by mountainous waves whose 7h e.s.t. (-34) spray washed over Minot's Light, 114 feet high, and lifted surf to a height of 130 G-69 feet at Deer Island, as a northeast storm, continuing from yesterday, brought to New England heavy rain, sleet, hail, snow and California a gale blowing fifty-one miles an hour The Oregon Daily Journal LOS ANGELES, Dec. 27.-'(AP)-An Thurs., Dec. 26, 1940 angry ocean continued today to pummel Page 1, Col. 7 (Final Ed.) "a coastline, aim- A family of four and three other per portions of the Californi sons on Bassing's Island off Cohasset Har- ing its severest blows at the little town of bor fled to the mainland in dories when High Tide, Wind Redondo Beach. the sea swept over the island for the first A house and a liquor store, normally, time since the storm of '98, in which the even at highest tide, 50 feet away from the steamer Portland went down ... Create Damage water, were undermined in today's assault. Both collapsed. . . . The sea, lashed by the gale, sur- In Coast Region Two houses which were dropped into the mounted seawalls, undermined streets and surf yesterday by the gnawing action of flooded cellars. . . . A nine-foot tide Wednesday, pushed 25-foot combers and ground swells were Hundreds of persons were temporarily by a 50-mile-an-hour wind, damaged sea- being battered into debris today. , marooned in churches in Winthrop and walls and flooded Tillamook farms and the Damage estimates run as high as $250,- Beachmont by flooded streets, and services Coast highway. 000 . . . had to be called off tonight at one in Hammond, on the Columbia estuary be- Winthrop low Astoria, reported today that the tide 1940 Dec. 26 washed out the approach to the Hammond 17.5 P.s.t. (-87) . . . Several hundred Summer homes at beach road Wednesday, but that there was Hull were damaged by wind and sea. The no other damage 70 tide late tonight was 11 feet 3 inches, six inches higher than. the morning tide and 1940 Dec. 26 the continuing gale increased the floods 17.5h P.s.t. (-87) and coastal damage, driving waves and The Oregonian surf against cottages many yards from the 70 Sun., Dec. 29, 1940 ocean front ... Page 6, Col. 2 1940 Apr. 21 7h e.s.t. (-34) The Oregon Daily Journal Fri., Dec. 27, 1940 Coast Awaits G-69 Page 1, Cols. 1-4 (Final Ed.) New Storms The New York Times HIGH TIDES SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 28 (AP)- Mon., April 22, 1940 The Pacific seaboard, battered by recent Page 34 L, Col. 1 SPECTACULAR ON storms, braced itself for more onslaughts of wind and rain Saturday night, while Shirley Gut, formerly a strait between OREGON COAST high water flooded many roadways . . . Winthrop and Deer Islands, but long since closed by storms, was nearly reopened by DELAKE, Dec. 27.-North Lincoln resi- Winter tides were at high peak. Salt the sea, to the concern of army engineers dents, under bright skies and a span of water stood so deep on highway 101 south 52 Strategic Role of Perigean Spring Tides, 1635-1976 of San Rafael that many cars were stalled, Thousands of New York commuters were age in Eastport alone was estimated un- and high-wheeled trucks were used to delayed in reaching work when high tides .--officially at $100,000. tow or push them to higher ground . . . stranded them in Long Island and New When the water flooded the Northern Jersey. Long Island Railroad service was Herring Company wharf at Eastport, five 1940 Dec. 26 discontinued between 8:50 and 11:25 A. M. women employes of the U. S. Customs and 17.5 P.s.t. (-87) over Jamaica Bay between Hamilton and Immigration offices in a three-story wharf Howard Beaches when the tides covered building were taken down ladders to 70 the railroad trestle. Trains between Long safety. Beach and Island Park were delayed. Tidewaters of the Machias River wash- The tide backing up into the Erie Rail- ed out the Maine Central railroad tracks road yard in Jersey City covered road at four places between Machias and East approaches to the ferry line with three Machias, interrupting travel from.Bangor feet of water, and for the first time in to Calais. Rails were torn up for a dis- eighteen years ferry service was suspended tance of 600 yards at one place. A paral- at 8:30 A. M., resuming at 10 o'clock. leling highway was damaged but remained Water rose more than two feet above the passable. ferry slips and flooded Pavonia Avenue, Reports of extensive damage to wharves, The New York Times stalling many buses and trucks. fishermen's "shops," and industrial plants Fri., Dec. 1, 1944 While the Central Railroad of New came from Cutler, Camden, Bar Harbor Page 25 L, Col. 1 Jersey said that it had had no difficulty in and other "downcast" points ... loading its ferryboats, high tides north of Sea Bright overflowed tracks at several 1945 Nov. 19 points, resulting in delayed service. 3.5h e.s.t. (-13) HIGH WINDS, TIDES The high tide in Jamaica Bay cut off vehicular traffic o. the C,.ss Bay Park- H-72 way and Rockaway Boulevard routes from LASH THE CITY AREA the peninsula to the mainland, which were flooded from 8 A. M. until noon . . . Third Wettest November Bows 1944 Nov. 28 Out With Gusts Hitting 57 9.5h e.s.t. (-69) The San Francisco Examiner Miles and Snow Flurries 71 Mon., Jan. 26, 1948 Page 1, Col. 7 Commuters Delayed as Tracks, Ferry Slips and Roads Are Tides Flood Flooded-Planes Grounded The Daily Kennebec Journal ... The third wettest November on record Augusta, Me. blustered to a close amid snow flurries Wed., Nov. 21, 1945 yesterday as winds reaching fifty-seven Page 1, Col. 8 Bay Area miles an hour swept the metropolitan area, disrupting railroad, ferry and air services. The tempestuous weather, the Weather Bureau predicted last night, would con- Record Tide, tinue in strong to gale strength until some time today . . . ... The wind velocity started to increase 70 Mph Gale, S.F. BOYDROWNS., about 9 A. M.. when it was measured at R OA DS BL 0 CKED 23 miles an hour, and ranged between 45 Heavy Snow and 50 miles an hour in, the afternoon, with gusts up to 57. It had subsided last night to 32 miles an hour and was expected Portland, Me., Nov. 20--(AP)- to range about there throughout the night A fierce southeast gale whipped An unprecedentedly high tide flooded por- tions of three Bay area counties yesterday . . . the Maine coast today causing and was blamed for the drowning of a . . . The sea was whipped into almost waterfront damage running into San Francisco boy . . . record tides along New England's coast, hundreds of thousands of dollars. causing damage estimated in the millions ... Small craft warnings were hoisted on of dollars. Cape Cod bore the brunt of the Sweeping tip the coast, the gale, which the Bay for northeasterly winds up to storm. Coast Guardsmen evacuated per- recorded wind gusts of 70 miles an hour thirty-five miles per hour due this morning. sons on Nantucket Sound from Falmouth here, drenched southwestern Maine ... to Chatham, and dozens of homes that FLOODS ROADS have withstood the September hurricane . . . In Machiasport, numerous sardine were wrecked. Provincetown reported boats, hauled up for the winter, were set The tide spilled onto several Marizi eleven-foot tides inland, the worst in forty adrift by the high tide. County roads, including Highway No. 1 at years. In New Bedford, floods crippled An estimated 28-foot tide at Eastport, Dolans Corner, south of Mill Valley, and several industrial plants. In many coastal on Passamaquoddy Bay, exceeded a preii- a service road between San Quentin and communities electric and telephone lines ous high there of 27.1 feet, moving build- San Rafael. Some autos stalled on the were down. Fishermen suffered large ings from their foundations and Wrecking latter. The water almost overlapped High- losses in gear. wharves and waterfront bulkheads. Dam- way 101 just south of San Rafael. Representative Great Tidal Floodings of the North American Coastline 53 In San Francisco, sewers backed up in ... A battery of pumps.worked throughout The Seattle Daily Times the south of Market area, flooding several the day yesterday to eliminate sea water Mon., Dec. 3,,1951 streets which rushed into the area affected by Page 13, Col. 2 the earth's subsidence. ... The tide rise, six feet eight inches, was More than 100 homes in a six-block- described by the Coast Guard as the high- square area of the district were flooded SP ills est due this year, although today's high following the third record high tide in Tide tide, at 10:52 a. m., will reach six feet three nights. seven inches . . . Tides of 7.2 feet swept through harbor area storm drain systems Tuesday night Over Bank Of 1948 Jan. 26 and sent water gushing through streets to 1h P.s.t. ([email protected]) flood small homes with as much as 14 Duwami*sh inches of water . . . 74 Some automobiles were left in the A high tide of 12.7 feet spilled over the flooded streets and others were pushed or west bank of the Duwamish River about towed out of the path of the water. 9 o'clock this forenoon. Water inundated Each day since Monday, residents said, lawns of three residences in Riverside the tides sent water into the area between Drive, a foot deep near Webster Street. Seaside Blvd. and Water St. . . . Occupants said little damage resulted, and the water receded by noon. Another ... The piers at Berth 32 and Berth 33 on 12.6-foot tide is due about the same time The New York Times the harbor waterfront also were flooded tomorrow Wed., Oct. 19, 1949 by sea water during the high point of the Page 59, Col. 1 tide. 1951 Nov. 29 The flooding is basically due to the land 11h P.s.t. (+36) Jersey Shore Streets Flooded subsidence in the harbor area, although failure of some sandbag dikes and the 77 LONG BRANCH, N. I., Oct. 18 (AP)- plugging of pumps in the area also are Rising tides and high waves pounded blamed for the condition ... beaches and flooded some streets in the Shore area tonight. 1951 July 18 Thirty-foot-bigh waves were reported at 1h P.s.f. (-20) The San Francisco Chronicle Seabright, where water inundated parts of Sat., Dec. 29, 1951 Ocean Avenue six to eight inches deep. 76 Page 1, Cols. 7, 8 (Final Ed.) Police said that not much damage was done but that Ocean Avenue was expected to be closed to traffic for about twenty- Bay Area Gets a Soaking four hours. 1949 Oct. 21 13h e.s.t. (-6) High-Tides Flood Marin; 75 The Seattle Daily Times Valley Situation Eases Mon., Dec. 3, 1951 Page 16, Col. 6 Except for I the few dozen Bay Area families, whose homes have been flooded, New Storm Causes this will be a wonderful week end to stay home. Flood Damage In The storm so far has been persistent, The Los Angeles Times but relatively benign. Heavy rainfall has Thurs., July 19, 1951 North California been general, but temperatures have been Page 1, Col. 1 (Final Ed.) mild for this time of year, even in the mountains, and there have been no de- SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 3.-(AP)-A structive winds. new storm, on the heels of one which Tide Floods closed the Golden Gate Bridge Saturday High tides and a break in the dike north for three hours, caused flood damage in of San Rafael flooded Railroad avenue Northern California today . . . which leads to fhe San Francisco Bay Airport. The tide rose 6.9 feet above mean Water stood three feet deep in sections low tide. Long Beach; of -Sonoma, 35 miles north of San Fran- The road to Mill Valley was under water eisco, A dozen ra.,hes 1. Sonoma County at Dlan's Corners, So was Highway 101 were isolated. Eight schools were closed. South of Richardson's Bridge during the Flood waters entered Burlingame, 15 miles high tide. Boat Saves 9 South of San Francisco, and marooned people in stores . . . 1951 Dec, 28 ... Two expectant mothers and five chil- 9.5h P.s.t. (+11) dren were among a number of persons 1951 Nov. 29 evacuated by lifeguard boats from homes 11h P.s.t. (+36) 78 flooded by sea water at record high tide last night in the Long Beach Harbor area. 77 54 Strategic Role of Perigean Spring Tides, 1635-1976 The New York Times ramps, while the rejected cars went to Fri., Oct. 23, 1953 Manhattan by bridges and tunnels. High Page 1, Cots. 1, 2 (Late Ed.) water also hampered commuters on the Lackawanna ferryboats and Hudson and Manhattan tube trains in Hoboken. Lower Manhattan Wetted by Tide 150 in Jersey Evacuated The police and Coast Guardsmen evacu- ated a dozen residents and 150 employees As Full Moon Pays Us Close Call of oyster-shucking sheds when the surf invaded Wildwood, N. J. Two schools in Union Beach, N. J., and one in At- lantic City were closed for part of yester- Early commuters in downtown New incidence of perigee with the beginning day by flood conditions. Five square blocks York found the water curb-deep in a few of a full moon-the moment when the of Atlantic City were flooded by Absecon spots off South and West Streets yesterday earth, the sun and the moon are in a Inlet backing up in storm sewers and morning. A high perigee tide, possibly straight line so both the sun's and the trolley service was disrupted there. aided by the winds, had pushed sea water moon's gravitational pulls work together Artists living in converted sail-lofts on up into lower -Manhattan storm sewers on the oceans---occurs twice each year, the Boston wharves had to evacuate yes- and out into the streets ... Joseph M. Chamberlain of the Hayden terday morning with hip boots or in row- Planetarium explained boats as salt water came over the sea wall. A few cellars were flooded downtown There were overflowing tides all along the and in coastal Brooklyn, and traffic was ... The Coast and Geodetic Survey which Maine coast, but that is an old story there. delayed by deep water in several New calculates for each day a tide forecast, The United States Coast and Geodetic Jersey points. But there was no report of had placed the tide yesterday morning at Survey predicted that the great tides damage from the unusual tide . . . the Battery at 5.9 feet above the mean would taper off today. This part of the low water level, which is the "normal" coast was spared much damage, the ocean- ... The high tide at 7:34 yesterday morn- low water level for the day. Low water ographers said, because we did not have ing coincided with the full moon at 7:56 yesterday was 0.8 feet below normal, so strong east winds A. M. and came only a few hours after the range of the tide yesterday morning the moment when the moon was in perigee was 6.7 feet, a figure far above average, 1953 Oct. 21 -its closest approach to the earth. the agency reported . . . 21.5h e.s.t. (-21) The moon travels an irregular path as it 1953 Oct. 21 79 moves around the earth. At perigee, the 21.5h e.s.t. (-21) closest point, when the moon's gravita- tional pull on the oceans exerts its great- est influence, the tides are high. The co- 79 The New York Times Thurs., April 12, 1956 The New York Times strongest gravitational pullon the oceans. Page 63 L+, Col. 2 Sat., Oct. 24, 1953 The full moon entered perigee on Thurs- Page 9, Cots. 5, 6 day morning, while the semimonthly HIGH TIDES CAUSING spring tide occurred yesterday. The Army Corps of Engineers meas- FLOODS IN NORFOLK ured high tide at 8:22 A. M. yesterday off TIDE AGAIN SPILLS Fort Hamilton at the Narrows at 8.2 feet. This was 2 feet above average and I one- NORFOLK, Va., April,11 (AP)-The half foot above high tide on Thursday highest tides in twenty years started flash INTO CITY STREETS morning. floods in low-lying Hampton Roads areas tonight and isolated two communities. Water Backs Up Drains The rising water halted ferry service across Hampton Roads, blocked highways, Floods Caused by a Full Moon High water in the harbor backed up forced closing of the James River Bridge storm drains into Grand Street; West at Newport News and seriously interfered Close to Earth Disrupt Rail Broadway and West and Barclay Streets. with coastal shipping. and Ferryboat Service Between one and two feet of water lay in The towns of Poquoson and Willoughby the cellars of 200 homes along Jamaica were cut off. Bay in Hamilton Beach and Howard The Army dispatched a fleet of amphibi- For the second day, a perigee spring tide Beach in southern Queens. The Long ous vehicles from Fort Eustis on an emer- caused tidal waters to overflow some city Island Rail Road could not run trains to gency mission to restore communications streets and low acres in the suburbs. those stations until 10:20 A. M. because of with them. In addition to a few downtown Man- flooded tracks. The floods were precipitated by strong hattan streets, the water affected areas The Long Beach Bridge to Island Park, northeast winds that raged up to seventy along the New Jersey coast, both shores of L. 1. was closed at 8 A. M. as Reynolds miles per hour in gusts ... Long Island and occasional points along Channel overflowed the northern approach the New England coastline as far as East- road 1956 Apr. 13 port,'Me. 7.5h e.s.t. (+ 115) A perigee spring tide occurs twice every . . . Ferryboats of the Erie Railroad year, when the full or new moon (a spring floated sohigh above their slips in Jersey tide) happens to be nearest to the earth City, N. J. that no automobiles could 80 (Alternate) (the point of perigee). At this time both board until 11:25 A. M. Commuters on sun and moon simultaneously exert their foot, however, embarked by using upper N_ Representative Great Tidal Floodings of the North American Coastline 55 The Los Angeles Times Mayor Cecil Gunthorp telegraphed Gov. N. H., were flooded, but damage was less Tues., Feb. 4, 1958 Knight that "the City Council has declared than feared. Part 1, Page 1, Col. 3 a local emergency, wherein all cash re- Revere street in Winthrop and Wessa- serves have been used and financial as- gussett road in Weymouth were among in- sistance is needed." undated thoroughfares between 8 and 10 Under Knight's proclamation, the State p.m. when the seasonably high tides were Tide, Surf Hit will provide aid ... pushed three feet higher by the storm. 1958 Feb. 4 19.5 P.s;t. (+39) Water on T Wharf 81 During the storm evening tides in Bos- San Diego Bay ton ran several feet higher than normal. More than 50 residents of apartments on T Wharf were marooned when the. tides swept over wharf stringers. Community Fishing boats tied up to the wharf, and The Boston Herald at adjacent wharfs were at doorstep level By a Times Correspondent Wed., April 2, 1958 while the tides were high. Page 1, Cols. 6-8 (Late City Ed.) A number of automobiles parked on the IMPERIAL BEACH, Feb. 3-High tides wharf were also marooned by the excep- and pounding surf smashed at homes and tiona Ily high tides and some of them had the boardwalk at the height of today's Giant Waves, 82-mph their electrical systems soaked as high storm, creating an emergency condition winds swept the water across the wharf that led to proclamation by Gov. Knight of Waves Lash Coast Cape planking . . . a state of disaster in this South San Diego Bay community. 1958 Apr. 3 At least four families -were prepared to A roaring northeast storm at sea sent 19h e.s.t. (-8) evacuate their ocean-front homes. One was wind,,, up to 82 miles an hour through Nan- partly undermined as the boardwalk in tucket last night and pounded waves 82 front collapsed. against the Winthrop sea wall that tow- City crews rushed truck-loads of rock ered 50 to 75 feet into the air. The Boston Herald and sand to the beach front in an effort to Low roads in several coastal communi- Thurs., April 3, 1958 protect property. ties between Chatham and. Portsmouth, Page 1, Col. 3 (Late City Ed.) The Los Angeles Times Wed., Feb. 5, 1958 2 Big Tides Part 1, Page 2, Cols. 4, 5 Rip Walls H*Igh T*1des Batter at Main Roads The 18th northeast storm since Decem- Southland Coast Areas ber kept hammering at New England last night, causing coastal damage from tides four feet above normal that marooned High tides, lashed by the same Pacific caused the flooding. City crews piled sand- communities and smashed waterfront storm that brought heavy rains to the bags atop the seawall in preparation for a property twice in one day. Southland, battered at Southern California similar tide peak this morning. Again at 9 o'clock last night high tides coasts yesterday. In Seal Beach, bulldozers piled up an thrashed exposed locations, casting up At Oxnard Beach, northwest of Port 8-foot sand dike along Seal Way east of more sand, rock, sections of cottages, fish- Hueneme, Navy helicopter and crash-boat Municipal Pier to guard a row of apart- ing and lobster gear and other debris. The crews reported they failed to find the body ment houses. unusually high morning tide was whipped of a 17-year-old Santa Paula girl who was In San Diego County, work crews labor- by 70-mile-an-hour winds. washed into the sea late Monday. The ed in a rainstorm to pile rocks along a teen-ager, Judith Lou Nasalroad, was section of Imperial Beach waterfront Nahant Isolcited caught by a huge wave while walking on where four homes were undermined by I the beach. The tumbling waves swept her high tides Monday. Gov. Knight declared Nahant again was isolated as Lynn into the sea. the beach front a disaster area to make Shore Drive, leading to this town from On the Alamitos Bay Peninsula near -State funds available to work crews . . . Lynn and the only means of getting to Long Beach, two feet of salt water dam- Nahant, was under three feet of water for aged lawns from 56th to 59th Place along 1958 Feb. 4 a second time at 9 p.m. the bayfront. Crews blocked off Ocean 19.5h P.s.t. (+39) . Nearly 100 families were marooned in Blvd. at 50th Place after a high tide their homes on Surfside and Beach roads pushed water over a 30-inch cement sea- 81 in Lynn by last night's high tide. wall. Water again was licking the sides of A U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey team the Metropolitan Police station and the said a 7.1-foot peak tide at 9:50 a.m. amusement stands on Revere Beach Boule- 56 Strategic Role of Perigean Spring Tides, 1635-1976 vard, which was closed to traffic, and was The New York Times gushing downward into Ocean avenue, in Wed., Mar. 7,1962 the rear of the beach area. Page 1, Cols. 2, 3 (Late City Ed.) Winthrop Shore drive was closed and 400 families in the Point Shirley s ti of Winthrop were marooned, as were more in the Beachmont area of Revermea-Y Snow, Rain,'Gales, Tides 1958 Apr. 3 19h e.s.t. (-8) Lash Mid-Atlantic States 82 The New York Times A savage storm lashed the mid-Atlantic Railroad and ferry travel was hampered Wed., Dec. 30,1959 states with snow, rain, gales and high in New Jersey and Long Island. A Hudson Page 6, Col. 4 tides yesterday from Virginia into New and Manhattan Railroad train with 494 England. At least nine persons were killed passengers, many of them standing, was and six were missing last night. stalled for more than three hours at Flooding forced thousands of persons Kearny, N. J., by the flooding of the NEW ENGLAND HIT out of their homes and electricity was cut Passaic River . . . off from 85,000 users. The damage in the Atlantic City area alone was estimated at 1962 Mar. 6 BY SAVAGE STORM more than $1,000,000 ... 4.5h e.s.t. 31 min.) ... winds up to sixty miles an hour roared in between 2 P. M. and 2:50 P. M. J-85 Near-Record Tides Strand Scores The Weather Bureau warned that high (See also chapter 7.) winds would continue today, bringing tides three to five feet above normal and caus- BOSTON, Dec. 29 (UPI)-A savage ing new flooding of low-lying areas. storm swept into New England from the Midwest today. Carrying snow, sleet and rain, it churned up the highest tides in The Los Angeles Times 108 years and stranded hundreds of per- Fri., March 6, 1970 sons. Page 10, Cols. 1, 2 Boston harbor's tide rose about two and a half feet above normal. Wind-lashed WINDS, HIGH TIDES breakers surged over beaches and seawalls on the highest tide since 1851 when an April storm carried away a stone light- house. The unofficial reading by the Coast and Geodetic Survey was 14.3 feet above mean Two Beach Areas low tide as compared with the 108-year- old record of fifteen feet. Huge seas, born of gale-lashed winds, pounded the coast and inundated low sea- side areas. Roads and cellars were flooded. Pounded by Surf Two bridges in Maine were awash and telephone and power lines were knocked Two sections of the Orange County smashed it into splinters. out. coastline suffered heavy damage Thursday Breakers then chopped away beach sand Boats Rescue 300 morning from a combined attack by high and sloshed against the foundations of tides and storm winds. several residences . . . Three Coast Guard boats rescued 300 Seawalls valued at more than $75,000 men, women and children from flooded were battered down by waves which then Anticipating another high tide of homes in Hull on Massachusetts' south chewed at the foundations of several lux- about 6.4 feet this morning, residents or- shore. ury homes on the shores of Capistrano dered an emergency haul of rocks and The sea surged over two bridges at Beach. boulders to replace the seawall. Kennebunkport, Me., marooning some At Newport Beach, heavy surf again Orange County Weather Central said, eighty families. Two feet of water covered took a mile-long bite of sand from an area however, Thursday's strong winds should the bridges but officials said the families of which the pier is the center, and threat- be diminished by today . . . were in no danger. ened to undermine lifeguard headquarters at the foot of the pier ... 1970 Mar. 6 1959 Dec. 29 18h P.s.t. (-32) 5h e.s.t. (-18) . . . High tide, cresting at 6.3 feet just (See also chapter 7.) before 8 a.m. Thursday, was pushed by 92 westerly winds of 25 to 30 m.p.h. Heavy 1-83e surf at 6pistrano Beach pounded against several hundred feet of wooden seawall protecting homes on Beach Road and Representative Great Tidal Floodings of the North American Coastline 57 The Virginian-Pilot towns before spreading slowly across the water a foot deep throughout town. Norfolk, Va. rest of the state . . . Flooding caused by the tide and winds Sat., March 27, 1971 also was reported at nearby Raymond and ... The famed pier at Old Orchard Beach, South Bend. Police said water reached Page 1, Cols. 2-4 for example, gave way before the rolling depths of four feet in the streets of the ... The season-mocking snowstorm which sea. The large arcade section at the end two communities. No injuries were re- ,ushered in the sixth day of spring for of the pier was torn away and the wreck- ported. much of the Atlantic Seaboard pushed age washed up on the beach. tides above normal and plunged thermom- The touchy period caLe between 2 and eters below average Friday. In Kennebunk, selectmen will seek state 3 p.m. at the peak of the high tide when Tides crested at Sewells Point at 9 p.m. aid for what they describe as a disaster winds of 75 miles per hour were reported at 6 feet, 2.8 feet above normal and the area. at Seaside. highest since the Ash Wednesday storm About 30 families were evacuated along of 1962, the weatherman said. Kennebunk Beach and in the Great Hill The wind-caused flooding at Tokeland High tide at Virginia Beach measured section near the beach. Severe flooding pushed a large trailer house out into a 7.6 feet, or 4 feet above normal. washed out roads, and high seas crushed a street and washed another house off its Willoughby and Ocean View appeared portion of the granite and wood sea wall foundation. hardest hit by the wind-driven tides, al- along the Kennebunk beaches. Waves breaking over the.seawall near though scattered flooding was reported A couple was rescued from their Kenne- the general store and post office threw logs throughout the area from Colonial Place bunk Beach home after surf began pour- against the store and littered the road in Norfolk to Wolfsnare Plantation in ing through the front windows . . . with rocks, driftwood and debris. Virginia Beach. 1972 Feb. 16 1973 Dec. 10 Water was knee-deep in the parking lot 4.5h e.s.t. (+67) 4.5h P.s.t. (+21) of the Quality Court Motel at Willoughby Spit. The wooden pier at Virginia Beach 96 M-98W reportedly suffered damage . . . ... Norfolk police said the worst flooding Friday occurred at Ocean View, on May- flower Road in Colonial Place, Olney Road, West, Main Street, Boush Street, and The Los Angeles Times Mowbray Arch. The 7900 block of Hamp- Wed., Jan. 9,1974 (CC Ed.) ton Boulevard was impassable for a time Part 1, Page 1, Cols. 2, 3 because of high water, police reported ... The Oregonian 1971 Mar. 26 Wed., Dec. 12,1973 9h e.s.t. (-10) Page 24, 3M, Cols. 4, 5 Giant Waves Pound L-93e Tidewaters flood Southland Coast, Maine Sunday Telegram Washington towns; Undermine Beach Homes Portland, Me.-Final Ed. Sandbag Barriers Erected Sun., Feb. 20, 1972 winds to ease off to Ward Off Tidal Assault. Page 1, Col. 3 Giant wind-driven waves riding on surg- A wild northeast blizzard, with snow Strong coastal winds Tuesday blew ing high tides battered the Southern Cali- taking a back seat to high tides and winds, water from a near-record 16-foot tide over fornia coast Tuesday, damaging homes and wreaked havoc on southern Maine coastal the seawall at Tokeland, Wash., leaving flooding nearby areas. Occupants of many beachfront homes from Santa Barbara to San Clemente The Los Angeles Times Fri., April 23, 1971 Part 1, Page 3, Cols. 1, 2 erected sandbag barriers throughout the day in preparation for the next high tide Heavy Surf, Tides and Winds Batter at 10:08 a.m. today. The wave and tidal assault came as Oxnard Shores Homes rainfall from a five-day storm tapered off after dropping 7.69 inches in the Los A combination of unusually high tides, the ocean. Angeles -Civic Center. heavy surf and strong winds Thursday The damage left the six homes, valued caused considerable damage to six expen- at between $60,000 and $80,000, either In Orange County, supervisors proclaim- sive homes along a three block stretch of hanging over a weak, sandy cliff or strand- ed a "local emergency" for wave-battered Mandalay Beach Road at Oxnard Shores, ed on pilings that have "only 5 feet of coastline sections. north of Oxnard Beach. sand to go before there's nothing to hold them up," Police Capt. Jack Snyder said (See also chapter 7.) According to officials, the crescent- . . . 1974 Jan. 8 shaped beach area, which is annually 1971 Apr. 24 4h P.s.t. (-2) pounded by the wind and sea, has been 3h P.s.t. (-34) under its latest, and perhaps greatest, on- N-99 slanght for several days. Thursday, a section of beach 60 feet 94 wide and 12 feet deep disappeared into Chapter 2. The Impact of Perigean Spring Tides Upon Representative Events in American Nautical History Without pragmatically asserting a total and absolute The quantitative information provided by accompany- causality of relationships in any of the following circum- ing eyewitness accounts, when coupled with supporting stances, there is, nevertheless, ample justification for the data from modern tide tables, point realistically to the fact fact that, on certain occasions, perigean spring tides have that occurrences of this particular type involving perigean played a significant role in determining or altering the spring tides do not necessarily require the alignment of course of nautical history. A few episodes researched from perigee and syzygy within the close limits of agreement American naval annals will serve to indicate the strategic in time possessed by the cases of severe coastal flooding importance of these tides. Since the increases in ampli- previously described. tude ' associated with these tides (and winds) may occur in rather widely varying degree, the influences of such The Fate of the Frigate. Trumbull amplitude variations can be either detrimental or desir- At the outset of the Revolutionary War, the American able. colonies had no organized navy, and much of the burden Perigean Spring Tides as an of the war effort was bome by privateers and by ships provided by the individual new States. However, limited Aid to Navigation funds were shortly authorized by the Continental Con- gress for the establishment of a small complement of Numerous cases have been mentioned in the preceding Federal Navy vessels, and existing shipyards, along the chapter in which destructive coastal flooding resulted coast were given the task of constructing these new ships from perigean spring tides that occurred in conjunction of war. with strong onshore winds. Additional instances also can Early in the year 1776, at the Connecticut River be cited in which moderate but navigationally important increments in tidal heights have had a direct impact upon (Brainerd Quarry) shipyard of John Cotton in East Mid- historical events. These lesser increments were provided by dletown, Chatham Township (then consisting of several perigean spring tides reinforced by light but steady on- parishes ranging from present-day Portland to East Hamp- shore winds, generally insufficient to cause flooding. Ap- ton), work was started on the frigate Trumbull of 28 propriate examples are given below. guns. L Iofting was begun near the end of February ' and 'The term "amplitude" is sometimes used in this volume in a the ship was launched on September 5.' The ensuing general physical sense to designate the magnitude of either a positive activity can only be described as involving the ultimate in or negative displacement of the tide with respect to mean water misplanniing as well as a classic blunder in shipbuilding. level, in preference to the more restrictive words "rise" or "fall" of In the lack of present-day information concerning the the tides. The expression "increased amplitude" collectively allows for the algebraic increment in both the high and low waters asso- exact outboard profile of this ship, the body plans used in ciated with perigean spring tides. construction of the Trumbull can only be assumed to be Strictly defined in tidal nomenclature, the value of the amplitude those specified for the official design of a Continental is equivalent to one-half the range (see fig. 6 in appendix), and may differ quantitatively from either the rise or fall (the vertical frigate.' If this conjecture is correct, the Trumbull had a displacement of the surface of the sea respectively above or below full-load draft of IS ft 4 in. which, allowing for an addi- the local chart datum) at times of high or low water. The word tional navigational safety factor of 2-3 ft of keel clear- amplitude is also used as a mathematical coefficient (i.e., "ampli- tude of a constituent") in the harmonic analysis of tides. ance, was still in excess of the minimum water depth at 59 60 Strategic Role of Perigean Spring Tides, 1635-1976 the mouth of the Connecticut River at any ordinary high until the publication date of the chart is given as 5.4 ft. tide. The Trumbull ran aground on a bar b From modem data, the mean range of ordinary spring The original of the accompanying early chart of the tides at Saybrook'jetty at the mouth of the Connecticut mouth of the Connecticut River (fig. 4), titled "Captain River is 4.2 ft, and that at Old Saybrook Point is 3.8 ft. Parker's Chart of Saybrook Barr" [sic], with engraving With consideration to the preceding ship-draft and done by Abel Buell, Connecticut's first engraver, is in the hydrographic sounding figures, together with others to be possession of the Connecticut Historical Society. A helio- discussed later in this same section, the Trumbull obvi- type copy made from a very exact tracing of the fragile ously could not get off the rivermouth bar on which she chart (from which published version fig. 4 was repro- had grounded at any ordinary high waters (including duced) occurs in "The Public Records of the Colony of spring tides). As a result, she was prevented from taking 11 4 Connecticut, May 1768-May 1772. any part in naval actions throughout the entire early por The date printed on Captain Abner Parker's chart is tion of the Revolutionary War. 17 7 1. However, information provided by the Connecticut Although those in,@olved were repeatedly prodded by Historical Society and published in a professional paper admonishments from militarily interested parties in Con- of the society ' dealing with this early chartmaker reveals gress' and in Connecticut,' including an appeal to presi- that the Governor's House shown on the chart was not dent-to-be John Adams (at that time delegate to the actually built until 1784. Accordingly, the chart must have Continental Congress" from Massachusetts and member of been several times revised and updated from its original the Board of War), all efforts to get the Trumbull off the publication date, which the Connecticut Historical Society bar were without success. An indication of the existing states could not have been earlier than 1784.' state of despair and of the fact that the shoalness of the A further search reveals that no earlier British or Amer- water constituted the principal problem to be overcome ican chart exists in the Geography and Map Division of showed in this same letter from William Vernon to John the Library of Congress, and even the contemporary Adams, dated December 17, 1778. The letter quoted the Atlantic Neptune charts do not extend west of Newport, opinion of a New England mariner aspiring to command R.I., in this sectionlof Long Island Sound. the new frigate, one Captain Hinman. This authority With these explanatory comments, it may safely be as- claimed that only by the use of a "camel" (the name sumed that Abner Parker's chart provides an accurate given to a type of special flotation gear) was there appar- and at least very representative contemporary indication ently any hope of clearing the bar.' With the Trumbull of water depths in the vicinity of Saybrook Bar during the a firm captive within the Connecticut River, the vessel period under discussion. On this chart, the shallowest was in danger of "sitting out" the entire Revolutionary water depth in the principal navigation channel at the War. mouth of the Connecticut River is given as 6-8 ft, with On August 11, 1779, an unusually high water occurred that over the closely adjoining bars being only 4-7 ft. associated with a perigean spring tide. The tide was pro- The earliest available nautical chart (fig. 5) for which duced by a close alignment (difference, - 20 hours) be- detailed hydrographic soundings were made of this river tween perigee and syzygy, with the mean incidence of the mouth and its associated ban by the Coast Survey (the two phenomena taking place at approximately 7: 00 a.m., forerunner of the present National Ocean Survey) is 75' W.-meridian time, on that date. The resulting peri- chart No. 360 (1st edition) of the Connecticut River, gean spring tide could, of course, have been enhanced by published in 1853. Soundings on this chart (figs. 6-7) sustained, strong, onshore winds. Although contemporary clearly show that the least depth of water anywhere weather records from this immediate vicinity are lacking, directly along the designated ship channel or over im- a diary account of local weather conditions at New mediately adjacent ban is 5V2-7 ft, which is quite similar Haven, Conn., during the Revolutionary War period, to that shown on Captain Parker's chart 79 years later. preserved in the vault of the National Climatic Center, On-the Coast Survey chart, the height of mean low water NOAA, indicates that the wind conditions were calm above the chart plane of reference is 0.6 ft, and the rise there on this date in 1779. This would tend to indicate the Of highest tide observed above this plane of reference up presence of high atmospheric pressure over the area. Simi- lar contemporary records show that no strong hydrologi- Considerable confusion seems to exist in modern reference cal runoff from recent severe rainfall, or melting snow or sources concerning whether the Trumbull actually grounded or ice, occurred to swell the height of the waters at the river was simply blocked by the rivermouth bar; however, compare the direct contemporary quotations in references 14 and 16 which follow. mouth. _7 7 - ---- ---- Otlic VENOR 'kh HN 14 YN" `[email protected] "At uw A, N k 4 1_441" It pp, t-, @# , ,2- ir, f'_ I 4 y 4 lk 3F 'WIN'i n, Q, 5 N* MTO I n:0 k", w @@% , .' '- '' -, p K'Q21TRIA I i @3 5Y 6F 'igx C JR, iWr :!2 RI 54V V"@ W'7 NO\, gr Jr, 51 ki I, I- -II - , 31 V, 4 A IF 311 3 @A 61 $p 2F 3F ge W , " - 11 j kons 3r , 5 zi xv j @tll Z, Courtesy of Library of Congress and the Connecticut Historical Society Fic;URE 4.-Captain Abner Parker's chart of Saybrook Barr [sic] at the mouth of the Connecticut River, engraved by Abel Buell and dated 1771, but probably revised to at least 1784 (see text). 62 Strategic Role of Perigean Spring Tides, 1635-1976 Existing historical accounts" reveal that, precisely on A book titled The Record of Connecticut Men in the this day of welling perigean spring tides, the Trumbull Military and Naval Service During the War of the Rev- cleared the bar. In view of Captain Hinman's earlier state- olution, 1775-1783 gives both support as well as several ment, it is quite probable, although only permissible by clues to this supposition that the Trumbull's stranding and inference-lacking any detailed account of the actual resulting shore problems with, and desertions by, the floating-out procedure-that the process of clearing the ship's crew lasted from the latter portions of the year bar was aided by supplementary flotation gear. Of greater 1776 to the early portion of 1779: certainty, with consideration to the exact agreement be- cc * *. Of 109 officers and crew variously assigned to tween the dates of ship flotation and perigee-syzygy, is the the Trurn- bull between Sept. 15, 1776 and Jan. 22, 1778, fact that the sensible increase in tide height produced by some 35 deserted, 'run' or left the ship without liberty this very close alignment between perigee and syzygy was mostly in July 1777, but some in Aug. 1777 and lasting a definite contributing factor in release of the ship. until Feb. 9, 1778. . ." " Due care must be exercised in substantiating this asser- ". . . Its first Captain, Dudley Saltonstall, being trans- tion. Conceding, from the quantitative evidence later to ferred to the Warren, Capt., J. Nicholson of Penn., took be presented, that ordinary spring tides were not adequate command in latter part of 1779. to this purpose (very nearly 60 cases of ordinary spring One official mention of the Trumbull's stranding, and tides having occurred during the total of 1,071 days the activities of the British fleet in the area, occurs in the since ship launching) it must fairly be noted that, in the Colonial Records of Connecticut: cycle of astronomical events, 13 cases of perigean spring ". . . During. 1778, Deshon of the Boston [Navy] tides also had been passed over during that same 3-year Board spent much time in Conn. attending to the naval period. This circumstance requires further evaluation. business of that state. This had to do chiefly with freeing Following the ship's original September 5, 1776 launch- the Trumbull frigate from a sandbar upon which she had ing date, completion of the rigging and top hamper would grounded. During the same year Vernon was for a time undoubtedly have taken some months, and considerable at Providence endeavoring to get to sea the Continental additional fitting time would have been required before vessels which the British had blockaded in that port ' * *" 14 the vessel was ready to proceed to New London for load- Various resolutions passed by the Council of Safety or ing of stores. The continuous slippage of ship-readiness the Board of War during the period 1778-1779 also pro- dates.through delays caused by such factors as nonavail- vide a chronological account of certain postlaunching ability of spars, desertions among the ship's crew, change activities in connection with the frigate Trumbull and in- of command, etc., indicated in the documents quoted dicate that, as of January 1778, the Trumbull had not below, can readily account for the fact that possible other yet been outfitted with spars: opportunities offered by any of these 13 previous perigean "At a Meeting of the Governor and Council of Safety spring tides for a tide-assisted escape from the sandbar Holden at Hartford in and for the State of Conn. on the were not used. 29th day of Jan. A. D. 1778. Voted-That an order be Also at issue is the exact date on which the Trumbull drawn on the committee of Pay-Table to draw an order first made the trip from Chatham down the Connecticut on the Treasurer for the sum of E250, in favour of Capt. River and ran aground on a sandbar at the mouth. Al- John Cotton for procuring spars for the use of this though no discoverable record covering this precise episode State to be in account. exists, experts on C ,onnecticut's history seem to feel that, Ordered delivered Jan. 29, 1778." Same "on the 25th Day of Feb. 1778. because of the pressing need for the frigate's services, the "W Ihereas the Hon"e Congress of the United States journey down river and the subsequent stranding occurred have authorized and requested his Excellency the Gov- during the late autumn of this same year." Of consider- ernor and this Board to cause the *continental frigate able significance in this connecti n is the earliest date on Trumbull, now lying near the mouth of the river Connec- which river ice might interfere with the vessel's passage ticut and there detained by reason of an apprehended downstream. Years of climatological records show that at difficulty of getting over a bar of sand, call'd Say Brook least the upper reaches of the Connecticut River are cus- Bar, to be removed and got over said bar ready to proceed tomarily frozen over during some portions of, and occa- to sea &c. Therefore, sionally most of the time between, November and "'Resolved and ordered by his Excellency the Governor March. and this Board, That Capt. John Cotton of Middletown Impact of Perigean Spring Tides on American Nautical History 63 =Z 'N; 110 t L' ip- - V "k %L W, t Q-1 7" ."Zw. h Ni 11 h4' % Ij 0 M 0 V 11, 11F CONNECTICUT It I NVE R SURVEY OF THE COAST OF THE UNITED STATES v, 0 J FIGURE 5.-U.S. Coast Survey Chart No. 360 (Ist ed.) of the mouth of the Connecticut River, published in 1853, including basic tidal data. Boxed areas are enlarged in figs. 6 and 7. 64 Strategic Role of Perigean Spring Tides, 1635-1976 .......... .... ... . ....... wJil.s ...... [email protected] ........ ... ..... @7: 4 4 . . . . . . . 42 41 '01 4 . ......... ............... 4i ........ .. S 37L F . ..... ..... .. . ....... ....... J q ... .. ..... .-F .. ........... .. ........... . ..... ... 3 3 007 ...... . . . . .. . . . . . ..... .................. ... ..... ... I........ 44,"[email protected] 7PO . . . . .-- ---- House,: V. e. e -sea tt 811!ryt. V A l* sil I N 57MR: 0. FIGURE 6.-Enlarged section of the U.S. Coast Survey Chart No. 360 (Ist ed.), showing soundings at the mouth of the Connecticut River between Fort Fenwick and Lynde's Point made in 1849 and 185 1. Impact of Perigean Spring Tides on American Nautical History 65 N t.02 . ...... .... TON . ..... iYed. Agbt Ts. 12 the Se.1 Mile* -4 ... 62 ......... ... . .. ........ )4 i4. 7-- 4 CY4 . .... ..... ... . . .......... ............... ..7 .(V4 "S2. ... ......... ...... ..... -42.. ............ 4 7A 1:32, :j q Z 32 31 3:4; m S 3 .14 [email protected] 3 4 4- -4 3:'t 4 h1d.S- 32&- .4 32 FIGURE 7.-Enlarged portion of U.S. Coast Survey Chart No. 360 (Ist ed.), indicating the hydrography executed along the outer navigation channel at the mouth of the Connecticut River beyond Lynde's Point in 1849 and 185 1. 202-509 0 - 78 - 7 66 Strategic Role of Perigean Spring Tides, 1635-1976 being and he is hereby fully authorized, impowered and "The English at Saybrook Point protected the land directed, forthwith to endeavour by all proper and practi- approach with a palisade drawn across the narrow cable means in his power, to cause the said continental isthmus, which very high tides overflowed and isolated frigate to be remov'd and got over said bar and into the from the main-land. Their corn-field was two miles dis.- Harbour of Newlondon, and for that end to employ such tant from the fort, and skulking Pcquotes were always on help and assistance of men and materials as he shall find the alert to waylay and murder them." and adjudge proper and necessary. And Dudley Salton- And so, likewise, astronomically reinforced high tidal r stall, Esq , commander of said ship, and all other officers waters played an important role on several occasions and men belonging to said ship, are hereby requested, during the Revolutionary War. The impact on history ordered and directed, to afford said Capt. Cotton every of the particular tide-related circumstance under dis- aid, help and assistance in their power, to effect this im- cussion involved not only the subsequent somewhat portant and necessary object and which Congress have so limited naval action of the Trumbull, but also the in- much at heart. And said Capt. Cotton is to use his best triguing question of just what her potential contribution prudence and discretion in prosecuting this important might have been to the small and hard-pressed elements business to prevent said ship falling into the hands of the of the Continental Navy during the earlier phases of the enemy, or any other misfortune; and to make report as Revolutionary War had greater advantage been taken soon as may be to his Excellency the Governor of his doings of the intervening cases of perigean spring tides. in the premises together with the expence attending the Captain James Nicholson was chosen to command the execution thereof that the same may be defrayed and Trumbull on September 20, 1779. Cruising orders were proper information immediately made to said Hon" issued to him on April 17, 1780, and the ship saw active Congress. duty during the remainder of the war." "Same "On the 27th Day of February A.D. 1778. On June 2, 1780, she took up the chase of the Watt, "Resolved, That the Committee of Pay-Table be di- a British vessel serving under letter of marque, with whom rected to draw on the Treasurer in favour of Capt. John she fought a valiant battle. Significantly, in terms of Cotten [sic] from the sum of 100 pounds towards defray- the hypothetical question of her previous untried contri- ing the expence of getting the ship Trumbull over Say- bution 23 to the war effort, it has been authoritatively Brook Bar &c., and charge the same to said Cotten to be stated that, throughout the entire period of the Revolu- in account for the purpose aforesaid. . ." " tion,.this particular conflict ranks a close second in the "Same . . . "On Tuesday [corrected, this should read severity of the battle to the fierce naval encounter between Thursday] the 3rd Day of February 1780. the Bon Homme Richard and the Serapis, a classic, naval "Upon the request of the Board of War, of the 18th engagement. December 1779 for two tuns of powder to supply the two Again, quoting from the Colonial Records of Connecticut: frigates the Trumbull and Burbon now lying at the port "In June, 1780, one of the most hotly contested engage- of New London. . ." 18 ments fought at sea during the Revolution occurred to the It is a well-known historical fact that the blockading northward of the Bermudas between the Trumbull 28, activity of elements of the British Fleet " together with Captain James Nicholson, the ranking officer of the Con- harassing activities by scattered land forces " were for- tinental navy, and the Liverpool privateer Watt 32, Cap- ever present during the war, and recurrent occupancy of tain Coulthard. After a fight of two hours and half both Long Island Sound by British ships could have prevented vessels withdrew seriously disabled, and with difficulty escape of the Trumbull on previous occurrences of favor- made their ways to their respective ports . . . the Trum- able perigean spring tides. However, arguing against any bull to Boston and the Watt to New York.' 1 24 major deployment of land forces, during the period fol- On August 8, 1781, while escorting 28 merchant ships, lowing the evacuation of British troops from Boston to the Trumbull encountered the British Iris, a 32-gun frig- Halifax, the British were primarily concerned with de- ate of [email protected] strength, accompanied by two support fending New York City. vessels. In the ensuing one-sided engagement (fig. 8) she In a 19th century book titled Nooks and Corners of the was compelled to strike her colors. The -engagement as New England Coast, a curiously opposite situation occur- recounted in the Colonial Records of Connecticut reads: ring during the French and Indian War, but also show- "In July, 17 8 1, he [Robert Morris, director of the Con- ing an historical dependence on the tides, is brought out: tinental Fleet] ordered the'Trumbull,' 28, Captain James % [email protected] JZ"4, - (Z co 0 w cr v it"T- V. CL 0 o -t,j tj .41 lkr tj 100- CD look C-D NO 00 WA CD 0 0 CD '41 > ]4f ri 49 d-iOls?H Iv.?zlnvAT uvouatuV uo sap!j ffuutiy un9guaj jo l9qui, 68 Strategic Role of Perigean Spring Tides, 1635-1976 Nicholson, to proceed to Havana with despatches, letters, tions of Nathaniel Bowditch's American Practical and a cargo of flour, The 'Trumbull' had scarcely cleared Navigator, the generally accepted epitome of navigational the Capes of the Delaware on August 8, when she was knowledge in this country, first published in 1802. How- chased by the frigate 'Iris' 32, Captain George Dawson. ever, the basic principle of these tides is described, together Encountering a storm, the 'Trumbull' was dismasted, and with their practical advantage to navigators in getting thus crippled she was overtaken by the 'Iris'. The 'Trum- in and out of shallow harbors, in John Hamilton Moore's bull's' crew were a sorry lot; some of them were British The New Practical Navigator, a British mariner's hand- deserters, and others were cowardly and disaffected. It book which, although having gone through 12 English was late in the evening when the fight began. Many editions by 1796, was first published in the United States of the crew now put out their battle lanterns and flew only in 1799. Although this work contains errors in its from their quarters. Captain Nicholson and his officers, tables which Bowditch subsequently sought to correct, with a handful of seamen, bravely defended their ship Moore precisely summarizes the nature of perigean spring against . impossible odds for an hour before they tides in the following words which, because of their direct surrendered. application to navigation, are appropriate both to the ". . - A letter from New York dated Aug. 111, 1781, immediately preceding and succeeding examples of the informs us that 'this day arrived the celebrated rebel practical importance of these tides: frigate named the 'Trumbulr." " This terminated'her "When the moon is in her perigaeum, or nearest ap- war service. proach to the earth, the tides rise higher than they do, under the same circumstances, at other times; for, ac- CONTEMPORARY KNOWLEDGE OF cording to the laws of gravitation, the moon must attract PERIGEAN SPRING TIDES most when she is nearest the earth . . . Some of these In considering various other reasons why a possible effects arise from the different distances of the moon frorn practical advantage was not taken of earlier perigean the earth after a period of six months, when she is in the spring tides to accomplish the release of the Trumbull same situation with respect to the sun; for if she be in from Saybrook Bar, it is important to recognize the gen- perigee at the time of the new moon, she will, in about six erally rudimentary knowledge of the tides in this colonial months after, be in perigee about the time of full moon. period. These particulars being well known, a pilot may chuse First and foremost, there should be taken into account [sic] that time which will prove most convenient for con- the almost certain lack of technical awareness of either ducting a ship out of any port, where there is not a suf- the causes or effects of perigean spring tides at this early ficient depth of water on common spnrig-tides." date. To,this must be added a rather limited familiarity Other references indicating an awareness of perigean by navigators with the technical principles underlying spring tides by early philosopher-scientists-although a even ordinary spring tides. This knowledge rarely ex- knowledge not necessarily shared by navigators-are given tended beyond the fact that, in accordance with a well- in a survey of pertinent tidal literature in part 1, chapter known rule-of-thumb, higher (spring) tides were associ- 4 of the present work. The fact remains that, whether the ated with the "full and change of the Moon." Therefore, Trumbull's rescuers knew the exact cause of this tidal any case of perigean spring tides would not likely have phenomenon or not, they took advantage of it, with posi- been regarded as being any different from ord* mary spnng tive results. tides, which already had presented repeated opportunities TIDAL ANALYSIS for floating the ship free, without avail. Whether those It will be observed that the portion of the previously concerned actually knew in advance of the favorable op- mentioned condition of tidal enhancement used occurred portunity presented by this particular perigean spring on exactly the same day as perigee-syzygy. In the light of tide in tenns of a water level considerably above that of subsequent discussions in this volume concerning "phase ordinary spring tides is, accordingly, very much a matter age" and "parallax age" in relation to perigean spring of conjecture. tides (see chapter 8), it is desirable to point out that each In evaluating the comparative dearth of tidal knowl- tidal situation possesses its own local timing response to edge in this early period, it is worthy of note that neither gravitational forces which must always be individually the astronomical phenomenon of perigee-syzygy nor the considered. This circumstance, as will'be repeatedly em- practical effects resulting therefrom in the form of peri- phasized throughout this volume, prevents the application gean spring tides are anywhere mentioned in early edi- of any too positive, all encompassing or generalized rules Impact of Perigean Spring Tides on American Nautical History 69 in connection with even closely adjoining coastal areas high water) at Saybrook Light around the preceding subject to the same tidal action. Such "station differences" 1920 date was pred icted for July 15, 1920 and was 4.8 become a function of harmonic constants (table 19), ft, which is 0.5 ft in excess of the mean spring range, 4.3 which are representative of local tidal responses to astro- ft, for this station. On July 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18 the nomical effects. Additional deviations from the tidal con- predicted maximum daily ranges for this station were 4.5, ditions which prevail at certain standard or "reference" 4.7, 4.8, 4.8, 4.7, and 4.5 ft, respectively-above the mean tide stations, expressed as time and height variations in spring range for 6 successive days, and still in excess of this the high and low waters, also may be either positive or value even 3 days after the occurrence of perigee-syzygy at negative. 5:24 a.m. (e.s.t.) on July 15. Tides at the mouth of the Connecticut River initially It is noteworthy that, in this very comparable case to react more rapidly in their response to the influence of that of 17 79, the perigean spring tidal range not only was perigee-syzygy than do coastal locations farther south predicted to remain above the mean spring range for 3 (compare with the tidal analysis following "The Battle days after perigee-syzygy, but the first case in excess of of Port Royal Sound, S.C.," below). The peak of the this range occurred even 2 days before perigee-syzygry. perigee-syzygy tidal influence at the Connecticut River (Within this series, the first case of such a condition in outlet actually occurs sometime prior to the near-coinci- excess of the mean spring range for Saybrook Light oc- dence of perigee and syzygy. curred at 7:54 p.m., e.s.t., on July 13, approximately I A modern example based on actual data available from 33V2 hours before the mean epoch of perigee-syzygy.) tide tables appropriate to this location for a situation As indicated earlier, the first instance of a maximum daily corresponding to the same time of the year, possessing tidal range in this series was predicted for July 15, or on nearly the same separation in time between perigee and the same day as perigee-syzygy. This situation provides a syzygy, a similar declination of the Moon, and other contrast with the longer phase and parallax ages noted in factors will serve to substantiate this statement. The peri- connection with Port Royal Sound, S.C., on page 84. gean spring tide involved in the'Trumbull's release oc- HYDROGRAPHIC ANALYSIS curred on August 11, 1779, in connection with a near- An additional technical evaluation of the Trumbull's alignment between perigee and syzygy which took place at approximately 8:00 a.m. (75' W.-meridian time) design draft and the actual water depth necessary for this on this date. The time difference between perigee and ship to have crossed the bar at the mouth of the Con- syzygy was -20 hours (with perigee preceding syzygy) necticut River is in order. The previously mentioned 1771 and the Moon, at new phase, was in declination +21.4. chart (fig. 4) of the Connecticut River shows the least A closely similar circumstance existed at the entrance of depth of water along that portion of the channel (indi- the Connecticut River at approximately the same time of cated by anchorage symbols) between the present light- the year, with almost exactly the same interval between house on Lynde's Neck and Fort Fenwick on Saybrook perigee and syzygy (-20 hours), with perigee preceding Point to be 18 ft (3 fathoms). However, the water depths syzygy, and the new moon in nearly the same declination over the bars located just outside the mouth of the river ( + 17.60) at the time of perigee-syzygy on July 15, are much less. To the southeast of the ship anchorage, the 1920-for which date tide tables are, of course, readily water depth averages 10 ft, and over numerous bars out- available. side the entrance it shallows to 4-7 ft. Although shifting bottom sands make the water depth In practice, the predicted tide heights for Saybrook 11) Light, at the entrance to the Connecticut River, and a so- at the river entrance extremely subject to change, possibly called "subordinate" tide station, are referred to the pri- even within a few days, the sounding data given on this mary tide station at New London, Conn., at which regular early chart of 1771 ( 1784) are at least broadly representa- tidal measurements are made. As a further source of data, tive of the situation as it existed on the Connecticut River in 1776. The hydrographic data of this chart, indicating the earliest available hydrographic chart of the Connec- navigational impediments subject to a partial offsetting by ticut River (chart No. 360 of 1853) previously referred high tides, are further reinforced by data on the Coast to (fig. 5) indicates that the rise of the highest tide ob- Survey chart of 1853, which indicate a, similar least depth served above the chart plane of reference prior to the of 7 ft at many places along the outer portions of the chart's publication date was 5.4 ft. channel. From appropriate annual tide tables, the first of two The chart datum for the 1853 chart corresponds to the maximum daily tidal ranges (lower low water to higher mean low water of spring tides which, because of the ad- 70 Strategic Role of Perigean Spring Tides, 1635-1976 ditional depression of the low-water stage produced in but spars, sails, and other heavy gear would subsequently these tides, is a little lower than the mean of all low waters again increase the draft in the sea-ready condition in used in the compilation of present-day nautical charts. which she grounded on the bar. However, this datum is considerably more representative From a consideration of the tidal data specified earlier, in the case of perigean spring tides. The height of mean the maximum depth of water available across the bar at high water with respect to this.spring tide datum plane as the river mouth, even at ordinary spring tides, would be noted on the 1853 chart is 4.5 ft, and the height of mean 12 ft. - low water is 0.6 ft, giving a mean range of 3.9 ft. By con- Assuming a forward trim and negligible pitch move- trast, the mean spring range is listed as 5.0 ft, and, since ment of the ship, it would still be necessary, in these only the mean low water of spring tides has been set as the poorly sounded and as yet basically unsurveyed waters, to arbitrary zero point on this 1853 chart, the rise of ordinary ahow 2 to 3 ft of keel clearance to accommodate local mean high water springs according to these chart data is channel-bottom variations and to ensure a safety precau- 5.0 ft. tion avainst ffroundiDg. Considering the extra buoyancy Thus, realizing that the Trumbull would have to that could have been provided by a "camel," a rudimen- navigate water depths shoaling at the places previously tary calculation shows it would have required more than mentioned to Within 7 ft or less of the latter datum plane, 250 water-tight hogsheads (63-gallon capacity) first par- and allowing for a mean rise of spring tides to 5.0 ft above tially filled with water, and then successively submerged, this datum, only a ship having a draft of 12 ft (7 ft+5 ft) lowered into position beneath the ship, and pumped com- or less could cross these bars even at ordinary spring tides. pletely free of water, to raise the Trumbull by only 1 ft. Although profile plans for the Trumbull have been Even allowing for the buoyancy provided by such an ex- determined by the present writer to be unavailable from tensive flotation gear, therefore, it is evident that the addi- either U.S. Navy or British Admiralty sources (late in the tional water depth created by a perigean spring tide would Revolutionary War, as previously noted, the ship was be necessary to allow the Trumbull to clear the bar-and captured by the 13 'ritish) it is stated in Howard 1. this is, obviously, the opportunity that was utilized in Chapelle's The History of the American Sailing Navy that 1779. it may be assumed she was of the standard design for a 28-gun frigate approved by the Marine Committee of the 0 Continental Congress." A sister ship of this class was the The Second Battle of Charleston Harbor frigate Virginia constructed at the shipyard of George The bar outside the harbor at Charleston, S.C.,-like, Wells in Ba!timore in 1776, and which, after being that of the previous example (and another at the entrance blockaded by the British for more than a year, also ran aground in the Chesapeake Bay in 1778. Outboard pro- to New York Harbor)-was instrumental recurrently files for this vessel are available in Chapelle's previously throughout the Revolutionary War in impeding the sail- mentioned book. Scaling from the waterline on these ing. activities of deep-draft men-of-war. In the case of plans gives a full-load draft (ready for service) of 18 ft Charleston, tidal circumstances connected with the astro- 4 in. Without stores, provisions, or armament, and nomical phenomenon of perigee-syzygy played an im- ,stripped of all extraneous weight other than that neces- portant role in the second siege of this city in 1780. (The sary to make the ship sailable, the draft, in the opinion first British attempt to lay siege to Charleston on July 4, of a NO-AA naval architect, would probably have been 1776 had failed.) Although a matter not directly ac- reduced to a maximum of 14 ft. counted for in history, the second attempt by the British to capture this southern port was undoubtedly aided by a However, in the narrow confines of the upper reaches perigean spring tide. of the Connecticut River, the square-rigged vessel, if Arriving off Charleston Harbor at the beginning of under sail, would not be able to tack, and a following wind March 1780 after needed ship repairs at Savannah, Ga., would also mean an offshore wind which, if strong, would the British found that, because of the deep drafts of their depress the height of the tides at the river entrance. To vessels, the depth of water in the entrance channel (fig. negotiate the narrow, curving portions of the river, she 9) was such that it was impossible to cross the offshore- would have to be towed by small boats. This would pennit bar. They were compelled to stand off the coast for more the ship to be initially stripped of top hamper, rigging, and than 2 weeks, hopefully awaiting a better opportunity at sailing gear (some control ballast would have to be re- the next high water springs. Probably unaware of the tained), and would reduce her draft to about 12 ft 8 in., special nature of the circumstance, but taking advantage Impact of Perigean Spring Tides on American Nautical History 71 of the augmented high waters resulting from a pseudo- we lay in that situation on the open coast in the winter perigean spring tide occurring on March 20, 1780, they season of the year, exposed to the insults of the enemy for succeeded in negotiating the bar with a major naval attack 16 days before an opportunity offered of going into the force, including a 50-gun frigate, two 44's, and four 32's. harbour, which was effected without any accident on the The significant aspects of this naval engagement were 20th of March, not withstanding the enemy's galleys con- told in a subsequent report by Vice-Admiral Marriott tinually attempted to prevent our boats from sounding 11 28 Arbuthnot to the British Admiralty, dated May 14, 1780: the channel . . . 99 - -. Preparations were next made for passing the The perigean spring tides of which use was made on squadron over Charles-town bar, where [at] high water this occasion occurred as a result of a pseudo-perigee- spring tides there is only 19 feet water. [Compare with syzygy situation having a mean date of March 19.65, 1780, actual sounding data appearing on the two charts (figs. with a separation between perigee- and syzygy of approxi- 10 and I I ) compiled by different sources shortly after this mately -37 hours. Significantly, the British had been un- siege.] The guns, provision and water were taken out of ;able to make use of the preceding set of spring tides about the Renown, Roebuck, and Romulus to lighten them, and March 6, which would have occurred near lunar apogee AL- @'7 4, -IN i Srolrr 8 4 /J1, M ..... 5 4 A B 0 U IR k"Z 0 b 4, "R, CIA V 11;@ Al S -4 tv A X A- C 0 It Y Courtesy of William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan FIGURE 9.-Hydrographic chart of Charleston Harbor, S.C., prepared by the British engravers, Sayer and Bennett, as a documentation of the tide-assisted penetration of harbor shoals and second siege of Charleston by the' British, 1780. 72 Strategic Role of Perigean Spring Tides, 1635-1976 and whose high-water levels would, therefore, be even It is noteworthy that even this considerably larger somewhat less than those of ordinary spring tides (the separation-interval (selected purposely, in this early average situation at perigee-quadrature, discussed at chapter, as a test case for the practical range of perigean length in part II, chapter 5). The March 6 tides were also spring tide influence) is still sufficiently small to produce accompanied by quartering offshore winds, as noted significant amplitude increments in the tides. This may below. be seen by comparing the high water and daily range The attendant circumstances were described in editions data of table 6 with the corresponding values for mean of the Pennsylvania Packet for April 25 and May 2, 1780: high water springs and mean spring range in the second "March 19.-The British under General Clinton, now following paragraph. encamped on James Island, seem to wait for the shipping The wider separation-interval in the test case, com- which lay off the bar, dnd have been disappointed at the bined with other dynamic factors is, in turn, responsible last springs by south-west winds, which kept down the for the circumstance that the lunar geocentric horizontal tides so that they cannot get over. This day the springs parallax at the mean epoch of perigee-syzygy on Octo- are at the highest, but the weather so hazy that they will ber 13.88, 1974 was only 59'48.55" compared with scarcely attempt it, and it will probably clear up with 60'43.8" on March 19.65, 1780. unfavorable winds. We begin to hope that Province [Prov- These facts give tacit but demonstrable support to the idence] has interposed a second time to prevent their assumption of yet further increased tide-raising effects getting over until we are ready. If they should get over from the smaller -37" interval which occurred in March either now or hereafter, there will probably be the hottest 1780. As will be established in subsequent chapters, the contest that has happened this war, just off Fort Moultrie. Moon's proximity to the Earth and the astronomical The British ships destined to come in are said to be the factors which lessen this distance are the foremost causes Renown, fifty guns; Ro'ebuck, forty-four; Blond, thirty- for augmentation of tidal heights. The data of table 6 for )) 29 two; Perseus, twenty and Camilla, twenty . . . October 1974 are, therefore, values safely on the small "March 20-This morning the British got their ships side in terms of the enhanced astronomical tidal situation over the bar. They consist of ten vessels of force, from in March 1780. twenty guns to a sixty-four, as some say, others a At Charleston Harbor, the corresponding predicted fifty. . . ." 30 higher high waters (HHW's), lower low waters (LLW's), This successful passage over the Charleston bar and and maximum daily ranges given in the tide tables were: subsequent victorious attack by the British upon the TABLE 6-Comparative Tides at Charleston Harbor, S.C. American fleet confined within the harbor-followed by October 13-19, 1974 the second Siege of Charleston-resulted in the capitula- tion of the American ground forces under General Ben- Maximum jamin Lincoln on May 12, and the capture of the Con- Date Time HHW LLW Daily tinental ships Providence, Boston, and Ranger, compos- Range ing major elements of Commodore Whipple's squadron. American naval vessels destroyed and sunk were the (e.s.t.) October 13 ........ 0542 6.4 -0.2 6.6 Briscole, 44 guns, General Moultrie, 20 guns, and Notre October 14 ........ 0634 6.7 -0.4 7.1 Dame, 16 guns. October 15 ........ 0725 6.8 -0.5 7.3 TIDAL ANALYSIS October 16 ........ 0815 6.8 -0.5 7.3 October 17 ........ 0901 6.7 -0.4 7. 1 A modern 1974 tidal circumstance possessing conditions October 18 ........ 0948 6.4 -0.1 6.5 approximately comparable to those encountered in the October 19 ........ 1034 6.1 +0.2 5.9 second Siege of Charleston will serve to illustrate the tacti- cal importance of the tides in this 1780 occurrence for It will be observed that the first of two maximum which tide tables are not available. heights (HHW's) for these perigean spring tides was pre- Around the date October 13, 1974, a pseudo-perigean dicted for October 15 at 7:25 a.rh. (e.s.t.), approximately spring tide similar to that of March 20, 1780 occurred, 34 hours after the perigee-syzygy that occurred at 9:06 related to a phenomenon of perigee-syzygy whose mean p.m. (e.s.t.) on October 13. This accords very closely alignment took place at 9:06 p.m. (e.s.t.), on October 13, with the circumstances under which the British crossed the with a separation of -68 hours (perigee preceding Charleston bar at HHW on March 20, 1780, the next syzygy by this amount). day after the pseudo-perigee-syzygy on March 19. Impact of Perigean Spring Tides on American Nautical History 73, t;, [email protected] N @r V qh A T Q -V h -S: d, 14- (-A, @F Zir X" Qq - 71 CZ. A ".4 J" V n; T4, q A" 4- Courtesy of Library of Congress FIGURE 10.-Hydrographic chart of Charleston Harbor, S.C., published by the House of Fayden in Philadelphia, May 27, 1780, 2 months after the successful navigation of the entrance shoals by British frigates at the time of a perigean spring tide, March 20, 1780. On the chart (fig. 10) published by the House of coast of South Carolina are, consistently, 0.0 ft. The mean Fayden in Philadelphia on May 27, 1780, 2 months after spring tidal range at Charleston is 6.1 ft. the second Siege of Charleston, the datum for mean high In this comparative situation, the predicted higher high water spring tides at Charleston is given as 5.6 ft above water at Charleston Harbor therefore remains in excess the mean low water chart datum. Corroborating this early of the value for mean high water springs-and even above value, the figure given for mean high water springs at that representing mean spring range-for periods of 7 Charleston (Custom House Wharf) in modern tablesis and 6 days respectively, around perigee-syzygy. Likewise, also 5.6 ft above the same chart datum. The corrections the maximum predicted tidal range at Charleston remains to the height of HHW for North jetty, at the entrance above the mean spring range for 5 days after perigee- to Charleston Harbor and nearby points on the outer syzygy, even under these conditions involving a compara- 74 Strategic Role of Perigean Spring Tides, 1635-1976 tively large (-68-hour) separation in time between the confirmed on the same portion of the earliest Coast Survey two components. The separation-interval for the 1780 chart of Charleston Harbor published in 1855* (figs. 12, example was somewhat smaller, approximately -37 13), where the minimum channel depth is shown to be hours, a factor contributing still further in this case toward 3V4 fathoms. Despite the constantly drifting bottom sand, the raising of high tides. both inside and outside the harbor, these charts provide Closely supporting the above analysis is the footnote an interesting comparison of the general bottom config- of tidal information contained on the earliest chart of uration at two epochs 75 years apart. Their general Charleston Harbor prepared by the Coast Survey (Chart similarity is also germane to the assumption of an average No. 432, Ist edition, 1855) where the highest tide of reproducibility of sea-level datums over extended periods record at Castle Pickney on Charleston Harbor up to that of time, necessarily employed throughout these various date is given as 7.32 ft (observed on April 15, 1851- analyses. accompanying another pseudo-perigean spring tide). On To provide the most accurate information possible con- this same Coast Survey chart, the mean daily tidal range cerning the ships involved in this siege, an inquiry was at this location is given as 6.01 ft. The level of mean low directed to the National Maritime Museum in Green- water springs is specified to be - 0. 19 ft below that -of wich, England, relative to the drafts of the ships Renown, mean low water (the chart datum), and the mean range Roebuck, and Romulus. The report indicates that: of spring tides is given as 5.81 ft. Hence, the rise of mean "Unfortunately, the official lists of ships in possession high water springs above mean low water is 5.82 - 0.19 = of the Admiralty do not give the drafts of 1780, but do 5.63 ft. The minimum navigable water depths past the so in the 1790's, by which time the Renown was out of bar outside Charleston Harbor just prior to the second service. Her sister ship, the Portland-, is stated in a list Siege of Charleston can now be correlated with these tidal of 1795 . . . to have a draft of 10'6" forward, 15'7" data. aft. . . . The Roebuck and the Romulus were somewhat HYDROGRAPHIC ANALYSIS similar ships, draft 10'8V2" forward, 141V2" aft. It is not, A second chart (fig. 11 ), of the water depths inside and however, specified exactly what these measurements de-. outside Charleston Harbor, prepared by the British en- scribe, except that they are 'light'." " gravers Sayer and Bennett in 1780, within a few months The latter statement would imply an out-of-service after the second siege of this city, is more specific in its draft, discounting -any load of gunpowder, stores, shot, hydrographic data than is the Fayden chart. According or cannon. The previously quoted memorandum from to a premetric practice in nautical chart representation, Vice-Admiral Arbuthnot indicates that guns, provisions, all water depths up to 18 ft are given on the chart in units and water were taken out of these ships before Charleston of feet; depths in excess of 18 ft (3 fathoms)-and, spe- to lighten them. No mention is made in Admiral Arbuth- cifically, those along designated navigation channels-are not's account relative to the ships making rendezvous to specified in fathoms (1 fathom=6 ft). However, the refit, for example, in the available Five-Fathoms Hole depths of water over shallow bars or submerged reefs after crossing the bar. Inasmuch as a combat status,was (which are indicated on the chart by stippled areas out- resumed immediately on crossing the bar, it is unlikely lined by dotted lines) are also given in feet, printed along- that more than the bare minimum of tactical gear, shot, side the submerged features. Having been prepared long and ordnance was removed, and that the major portion before this standard procedure went into effect, the two of the ship's heavy combat-readiness equipment remained. 1780 charts utilize a slightly different manner of presenta- Certainly it would be impractical, under the contingen- tion. With the exception of a few shoal-water passages cies of time and a hostile environment, to remove more where the water depth is specifically indicated as being than the guns located on the top deck. in feet, all soundings thereon, regardless of location, are It is, therefore, clearly mandatory that (in a directly given in fathoms. opposite case to that of the Trumbull) an additional 1 to . Thus, the shallowest Iwater depths between two bars 2 ft must be added to the previously specified light drafts bracketing the designated Ship Channel (which the of the Renown, Roebuck, and Romulus under such con- British used) leading into Charleston Harbor are seen ditions of near-combat readiness, to compensate for their to range from 2 to 3 fathoms (12.0 to 18.0 ft), with considerably stripped-down conditions when out of serv- the water depths over the bars being only 8 ft. The first ice. A minimum operational draft for the Renown before values appear on the chart shown in fig. 10; the second Charleston of 16V2 to 17 ft aft can, therefore, safely be value is given in fig. 11. These quantities are also generally assigned. Impact of Perigean Spring Tides on American Nautical History 75 h' CK 1P, @A X1 9 '2 @5 IL A' B 0,-U b 6' r T ..... rts n... .3, _* ............... 7 96 N 7-7 T 44, & 6 -N _7 '7 Courtesy of William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan FIGURE I I.-Enlarged portion of Sayer and Bennett chart of Charleston Harbor (fig. 9), emphasizing the shoals at the entrance through uhich the deep-draft British frigates were forced to pass. Comparison of water depths with those of figure 10 shows a close agreement between these charts published respectively in England and America. In addition, subject to the small-boat harassment which opportunity for crossing the bar, in contrast to a permis- Vice-Admiral Arbuthnot mentions, and to prevent anV sible period of waiting for favorable conditions in the further buildup of resistance by American forces, there Connecticut River example. was the necessity for the British to accept those weather Choppy seas coupled with a possible light ground swell and tide conditions which offered the earliest possible might readily be produced by the unfavorable winds men- -El oan&j ui p2jujua ijuqz) QTp jo uoiliod QTp sQvexpui uQjL- pQxoq llems QLjj [email protected] uinjup puu vlep lepp iuvaglusis SululujuOD lgqRj UT AQAznS ISUOD -S-fl Qql Aq pQqsi [email protected] (I -oN -pa IlEt -oN ljeiqo S-j-* 0) s;njz)poiddL, sli puu ioqiE*H uois3jmLjo jo ii-eqj Ajuuiuupjj--Zj aunoij .lq T 1 r 5 t i7l '0 A lzw -All 7 8-1 4A ta" f- 45k Z, A A w ILI -4v Z 'T ji 77 1H B8; q Z'. % % vt N"VIS aull.1411 3ul jo IWO 2411 so A141,11AN 71 S'4 H @lv 0 Rd @tv IS1 I U N V, f JIN-F-g- =ii-,R a PIE 9Z61-901 's,9P!.L ?uz-"ig uv-9419cf 10 9109 929,91MIS 9L Impact of Perigean Spring Tides on American Nautical History 77 [email protected] - "-- ";-..-'-.'-'-: ".' -....... @' Ia..... -.---V.-."'.-.--...: . 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[email protected]:-:'@[email protected] .."."",; '[email protected]:.::.--- ....:- .:' [email protected] @@[email protected]'... -, -,. .*I... , . .. @:.. - : :.4;L: . [email protected]";:4';@L::: @:: '@'.:[email protected] ..:. Fic;URE 13.-Enlarged section of C & GS Chart No. 43 1, ed - No. 1, of Charleston Harbor (fig. 12), showing soundings in the southern portion of the main ship channel, with a minimum depth of [email protected]'4 fathoms.. ' ' - .:@ - :: .. . @' tt . ". :F ... - . , . . . . . .,I : : . :- . - . . , * - . I ..:F I : i i . . . . : . . @ .: --l . I . . @ I . 78 Strategic Role of Perigean Spring Tides, 1635-1976 tioned in the previously quoted Pennsylvania Packet ar- determined by the Federal Government to have the great- ticle. The movement of this swell over the prominent est possible strategic value in pushing the war against the shoals in this area could cause "blind rollers." These, in South. turn, would cause the entering ships to heave and pitch The armada was peremptorily scattered en route by the and would require additional keel clearance to prevent first lashings of a violent coastal gale (some historical running aground. Thus, in order to ensure a reasonable sources have variously described it as a hurricane)' margin of safety in these little-known waters, the largest which, moving northward, subsequently struck inland and British ship, the Renown (even with a partially lightened caused severe tidal flooding along the New Jersey coast. condition) would have needed a water depth of at least (See the list of historic tidal floodings of North America 20 ft to negotiate the channel. in table 1 under the date November 2, 1861.) Choosing, for the sake of impartiality, that contempo- The date of mean perigee-syzygy upon this particular rary British chart which shows even the greater of the two occasion (with only I hour separating the two compo- values (2V4 fathoms or 13.5 ft) for the shoal-water depth nents) was November 2, 11.5 hours, 75' W.-meridian in the channel, the required tidal height above mean low time (eastern standard time not yet being in use). This water for safe navigation must, therefore, have been very near-coincidence of perigee and syzygy was com- 20 - 13.5 = 6.5 ft. This is a condition which, according to bined with an extremely close proximity in the distance of the data appearing on the 1855 Coast Survey chart, is the Moon from the Earth at the time, represented by the not attained even at ordinary -spring tides, whose mean large geocentric horizontal parallax of 6 F2 7.6" (see table height at Castle Pickney on Folly Island is given as 5.63 ft. 16) -yielding a proxigean spring tide. Modem tide tables indicate that the difference in high As explained in the subsequent tidal analysis of this waters between Folly Island and Sullivans (Sulivan's) event, because of the normal "phase age" and "parallax Island on the outer coast is 0.0 ft. The necessary additional age" between the close alignment of perigee and syzygy rise in tide height to provide a navigable water level and the associated increased tidal effects in these southern of 6.5 ft (or 8.0 ft, according to the second British chart) coastal waters, the maximum augmented tidal effects above mean low water could have been provided only by could be expected approximately 1 day after perigee- the perigean spring tide at this second Siege of Charleston. syzygy-or in the early morning hours of November 3. As further confirmed by data taken from modern tide tables Two further episodes in U.S. naval history, the one available for this location, the accompanying increased similar, the other involving a different operational appli- tidal ranges caused by the perigee-syzygy alignment cation, but both related to the amplitude-increasing as- would also continue for several days thereafter, through pects of perigean spring tides, occurred during the Civil November 4, 5, and 6. War. Thus, paradoxically, the same perigean spring tides The Battle of Port Royal Sound, S.C. which, in conjunction with strong onshore winds, resulted in tidal flooding and severe coastal damage in New Jer- This third instance in which perigean spring tides un- sey, served an advantageous purpose in the attack on questionably exercised an important influence upon an Forts Walker and Beauregard, commanding Port Royal event in American history forms a desirable technical ex- Sound. This advantage resulted from the relatively high tension of the preceding example. It is characteristic of navigational waters associated with these perigean spring a tidal property derivable from table 19 that, on the south Atlantic coast of the United States, perigean spring tides tend to follow, by I to 1 Y2 days in time, the near- In the interests of scientific objectiveness, reference should be coincidence between perigee and syzygy which produces made to the discussion concerning the necessary uncertainty in desig- nation of early North American hurricanes-and the often more-or- them. less arbitrary classification thereof by experts (among whom opin- On October 29, 186 1, a contingent of the Union Fleet, ions . differ)-th.at precedes table 2. it is not the purpose of this known as the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, sailed treatise to exercise any partiality. The disturbance in question had moved on northward from the southward from Norfolk, Va., subject to sealed orders. scene of action in the present case. Hence, the exact type of storm This largest naval armada ever constituted in American earlier represented has no direct bearing upon the navigational im- history, up to that time, consisted of 50 fighting ships portance of the astronomically produced perigean spring tides. These alone aided the tactical circumstance at Port Royal Sound described under the command of Flag Officer Samuel Francis Du above. Remotely produced swell or waves were not a contributing Pont. Its destination, Port Royal Sound, S.C., had been factor. Impact of Perigean Spring Tides on American Nautical History 79 tides as approximately 40 ships 'which were not too badly The R.B. Forbes came to me [on Monday, No- scattered or disabled by this same storm off Cape Hatteras vember 4] to say that the Augusta and Dale, steam made rendezvous some 10 miles off Port Royal Sound gunboat and sloop-of-war, were outside. I reported the early on Monday morning, November 4." (Several other- fact to the commodore, and he expressed so earnest a wise reputable historical reference sources give this date wish to get them in before the attack that I determined as November 5 and the date of crossing the bar as Novem- to bring them in at once, though night had already come ber 7, both of which are incorrect.) All artificial aids to on. The Augusta draws 15 and the Dale 16 feet. We navigation (position-fixing targets, buoys, lighthouses, ran down about 8:00 p.m., and anchored a boat, with etc.) already had been removed by the rebel forces and, a Fresnel lantern in it, at the entrance of the channel. on this low coastline, no significant features of natural I then went to the two vess& and communicated the topography were available, to serve as identifying navi- commodore's orders. Both captains were ready to go in gational landmarks. if I would take the responsibility of leading them. The Much battered by the gale, the remnants of the original Augusta took the Dale in tow, and we passed in without fleet assembled one by one, and anchored outside Port trouble, having no cast less than 19 feet [the evening Royal Sound (fig. 14), where the passage of these deep- lower high water associated with the perigean spring draft ves'sels across the bar at the entrance now posed a tide would have been about 9:25'p.m. on this date], serious operational problem. In the months of prepara- and I had the satisfaction of reporting to the flag-officer tion that had preceded this great combined deployment their arrival at half past eleven p.m. Running outside of naval and army forces to the south, it obviously had again I anchored the Vixen at the entrance in readiness been planned to arrive and enter the harbor at the time to bring in the Ericcson and the Baltic, drawing 20 and of the spring tides associated with the new moon of No- 22 feet vember 2. It is questionable whether, in the existing state ". . . At sunrise [Tuesday, November 5] we anchored of knowledge, it was recognized, or definitely brought into a large, spar buoy at the, entrance of the south channel. consideration, that this date also represented an occasion Mr. Platt and Mr. Jones, Ist and 2d officers of this of perigean spring tides. vessel, were then sent on board of the Baltic and Ericcson, The storm had delayed the mission by 2 days. Al- respectively, and I led in with the Vixen at half flood rthe morning higher high water for the perigean spring ready the lifespan of the presumed ordinary spring tide L (which normally reaches a maximum and declines within tide of this date would have been about 9:50 a.m.]. a day or two) was fast disappearing. This undoubtedly We had no cast less than 27 feet, and I can say with explains the sense of urgency for immediate passage across certainty that vessels drawing 25 feet may come in at all ordinary tides [an oblique reference to the fact that, at the bar indicated in the eyewitness account given below. 27 feet and more, the existing tides were in excess of However, as shown in the subsequent tidal analysis of "ordinary" (including spring) high tides-see be- this episode, perigean spring tides last considerably longer. low] . . . The hydrographic survey vessel Vixen, a side-wheel ". . . The Wabash started for the batteries at 8:30 steamer which had been obtained by the Union Navy a.m. 33 from the Coast Survey for inshore sounding operations, As recounted above, during the lower high water in was ordered into action. It had been brought along to the late evening of Monday, November 4, the Vixen Port Royal Sound (then known as Port Royal Bay or guided two smaller ships over the bar. On the morning simply Royal Bay) for just such a contingency as they of Tuesday, November 5 (with higher high water about now faced. During the ensuing activities of making sound- 9:50 a.m.), aided by the effects of the perigean spring ings by leadline, buoying the channel, and leading the tide, she led the remainder of the large-draft vessels of fighting ships across the bar, the influence of the perigean the fleet, with the flagship Wabash (fig. 15) second in spring tide soon became known, as is referred to obliquely line, across the bar, "with only a foot or two to spare." 34 and without elaboration in the official reports of the ex- ". . . As they ran past vessels that already had crossed, pedition. Charles 0. Boutelle, Assistant, U.S. Coast Sur- cheers rang out over the water. After this came some vey, was in charge of these sounding activities and, in delay until buoys could be placed around the dangerous a letter dated November 8 from Port Royal Bay, he shoal. . . Even then, as the next succeeding low tide wrote to the Superintendent of the Coast Survey [deepened by the effect of perigean springs] ap- as follows: proached . . . the Wabash, trying to fix the outlines of .80 Strategic Role of Perigean Spring Tides, 1635-1976 Ai .1 P., fj "0 0 to GO 0. *% AAM t 0 FT WALKER, < W [email protected] FTBEADRIGARD 20 G A. t nbprrta Tr& j fell" 4 0, -4 % Sketch, of PortHoyaz, S.C, sent to theNavyTep! from,thcFlut. Mov.186 11. Autoyrapht& Copy by RLtndertkda, Coast [email protected] ONUe. Fic;URE 14.-Sketch of Port Royal Sound, S.C., and the Union naval maneuvers before Fort Walker, prepared by a Coast Survey technician aboard the hydrographic survey ship Vixen during this Civil War engagement in November 1861. The chart shows the location of the entrance channel between Gaskin's Bank and Martin's Industry depicted in greater detail in figure 16. 8 OL 0 609-WE a_vXv 4 0 t'j C_n 4A z o j, C) [email protected] A 0 --'4 A @'v A W N, R .1 0 CD 0 4., r I (D 4w, [email protected]@kk- [email protected] A4 0 (D 71 P .:Z -A CC cr 0 A p Rt (D0 0 Cfq 0 0 0 to P aq to f"D @l 0 M, ev 5tlm I(.10MH Ivo,zlnvN Uv-')z.'9u'y uo sgp?l ful4s uVagpod 10 lqv4wj 82 Strategic Role of Perigean Spring Tides, 1635-1976 the fort before dark, pushed on too rapidly and grounded. spring tide would provide only 19.5 + 6.4 = 25.9 ft at By the time she was free again, Du Pont decided it was mean high water springs. too late to proceed, and the squadron was signaled to with- As before, actual tide data for Port Royal will be taken draw out of gunshot for the night. from available modern sources for a situation having ex- Although the planned attack was delayed on the next actly the same time difference between perigee and syzygy day by bad weather, on November 7 Fort Walker 'was as occurred on November 2, 1861. A comparison of the captured, and later, Forts Royal and Beauregard. data for Port Royal and Saybrook Light will reveal, for Through this success at Port Royal, the Federal Navy these respective cases, a basis for individual analysis of ( 1) secured access to, and control of, all inland waterways the lag-time influence between perigee-syzygy and the oc- between Savannah and Charleston. The naval blockade currence of the maximum influence of perigean spnng of the South was thereby greatly enhanced. tides, and (2) the total duration of time over which the TIDAL ANALYSIS effects of these perigean spring tides are felt. These two factors are the combined result of geographic location, The depths of the actual soundings made on Novem- hydrography, and astronomy. ber 4-5 empirically confirm that a pengean spring tide In order to establish tides at Martin's Industry at the was present and that its effects extended several days after mouth of Royal Bay which are similar to those of Novem- the time of mean perigee-syzygy at this particular loca- ber 2, 1861, a closely comparable perigee-syzygy situa- tion on the east coast of the United States. tion occurring on January 8, 1974, has been chosen. On Supplementary tidal data contained on the contempo- this date, perigee-syzygy had a separation of - 2 hours, the rary nautical charts mentioned in the next section sup- geocentric horizontal parallax was 61'30.0", and the dec- port this statement. Descriptive notes accompanying the lination of the Moon was + 20.4'. Very closely spaced preliminary chart, of which fig. 16 "is an enlarged section, timesbetween perigee and syzygy and close proximities of indicate that the mean rise and fall (i.e., the mean range) the Moon to the Earth, among other factors, are seen to be of high water springs in Port Royal Sound is 7.3 ft. The common to both the 1861 and 1974 instances. Both will average fall of low waters associated with spring tides later be described as proxigean spring tides. below the chart datum (plane of reference) of mean low Daily high- and low-water predictions for Martin's In- water i's - 0.9 ft. This gives a reduced value for mean high dustry are calculated by re 'ference to Savannah River En- water springs of 7.3 - 0.9 or 6.4 ft above the chart datum trance'the most representative tidal station at which reg- of mean low water. The rise of the highest observed high ular measurements are made. From the tide tables, the water above the chart datum prior to the date of the mean spring range at Martin's Industry is 7.6 ft. However, chart is given as 8.6 ft, and the fall of the lowest tide responding to the effect of the close perigee-syzygy which observed below this same plane of reference is -2.0 ft, took place on January 8 at 6:48 a,m. (e.s.t.), the predict- indicating arise of 8.6-2.0 or 6.6 ft above mean low ed maximum daily ranges for the perigean spring tide occurring at Martin's Industry on January 8, 9, 10, 11, water. The latter values provide an [email protected] accurate 12, and 13 were, respectively, 9.6, 9.8, 9.6, 9.1, 8.3, and means of determining the incremental variations (8.6- 7.3 ft. The corresponding predicted high waters for these 6.4 = 2.2 ft) and ( - 2.0 - ( - ) 0.9 = - 1. 1 ft) caused by dates were, respectively, 8.0, 8.0, 7.8, 7.5, 7.0, and 6.5 ft. perigean spring tides. These differences were probably The value of mean high water springs previously given is supplemented in the extreme instances noted above by the 6.4 f t. effects of onshore and offshore winds, respectively. Therefore, for this almost exactly comparable situation Based on the sounding data provided for mean low to that of 1861, the higher high water would have re- wateron the aforementioned preliminary chart, the sum mained in excess of mean high water springs on, and for of this low water depth and the height of the high water, fully 5 days after, the date of perigee-syzygy. This accounts both subject to the effects of a perigean spring tide (i.e., for'the fact that the necessary height of waters required 19.5 + 8.6 @ 28.1 ft) is, in fact, necessary to account for for navigation over the bar at Port Royal still existed on the water depth measured by the Vixen at Royal Bay near November 5, 1861, a full 3 days after perigee-syzygy, a the time of higher high water on the morning of November situation which would not have occurred in the case of an 5. The statement contained in the hydrographic report ordinary spring tide. C4 nowhere less than 27 feet" also conforrns with, and con- Similarly, at Martin's Industry, the maximum response firms the existence of, a perigean spring tide. An ordinary in tidal range to the phenomenon of perigee-syzygy took Impact of Perigean Spring Tides on American Nautical History 83 7- A 777,777777 *41 T15, 31 Jil 3A % A r 34 -34 ..4 -17 1 '00 *Ivor t7p 34 -A 3 r+ 47 C/o 4z 15 -73* L j, 41 34 16 34, '17 3 ,10 '34. '16 0 7 "V-` 47 @ @:,h . 0" 4 U -34 4., 14- -15 34 `4 0, 14 k. JA ? r+ -17 :- Ot ;A FiGURE 16.-Enlarged section of aPreliminary Chart of Port Royal Entrance .(Sketch No. 26 in the annual Report of the Superintendent of the Coast Survey for 1862 based on soundings executed in M5, 1856, and 1862. The area represented is in the South Channel lying between Gaskin's Bank and Martin's Industry. 84 Strategic Role of Perigean Spring Tides, 1635-1976 place, a day later, on January 9, 1974. The first of two to the keel was then given " as 22 ft 9 in., which is maximum higher high waters in this series occurred on matched by statistical data on Civil War ships contained January 8, at 7:04 a.m. (e.s.t.), approximately V4 in Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies hour after perigee-syzygy-whose mean epoch was 6:48 in the War of the Rebellion." Here the draft figures are a.m. (e.s.t.) on January 8. Even this small delay is in given as "loaded, forward, 22"6"; aft, 23'." These values contrast with the situation at the mouth of the Connect- are obviously low, however, when the weight of guns icut River in the previous example, where the first maxi- and armorplate is considered. Top hamper also would mum higher high water occurred 33V2 hours earlier than have added considerable displacement, bringing the full- the mean epoch of perigee-syzygy. The fact that the pre- load draft of the Wabash certainly somewhere more ne .ar- dicted high tides at Port Royal Sound remained in ex- ly in the range of 24 to 26 ft. cess of the value of mean high water springs (6.4 ft) for The South Channel traversed by the Union Fleet is 10 a full 5 days after perigee-syzygy also illustrates the effect miles to sea from the entrance to Royal Bay. In intensified of perigee-syzygy in extending the duration of spring swell at such offshore distances, the heave and pitch of tides, and corroborates the similar 5-day extension at the vessel alone would require a safety margin of several Saybrook Light, Conn. (MHWS = 3.8 ft). feet for keel clearance. Thus the total depth of water HYDROGRAPHIC ANALYSIS required for safe passage of the Wabash over the bar A Preliminary Chart of Port Royal Entrance published would have been at least 28 ft. With the exception of hurricane-lifted seas, this water depth is available only in 1862 by the U.S. Coast Survey and based upon sound- as the result of the perigean spring tide conditions de- ings executed in 1855, 1856, and 1862 (of which fig. 16 scribed in the section on "Tidal Analysis," together with is an enlarged portion) shows the least depth of water favorable onshore winds. (for a chart datum corresponding to mean low water) along both the South Channel and the Southeast Chan- nel at the entrance to Port Royal Sound to be 3 Y4 The Perigean Spring Tide as an fathoms (or 19.5 ft). The South Channel was used by the attacking fleet. The Southeast Channel is somewhat Agent of Coastal Erosion narrower and contains contiguous shoals shallowing to. 3 fathoms. Because of the added onslaught against the land pro- The bar itself is about 10 miles from the headlands duced both by increased current velocity and greater forming the entrance to Royal Bay. A major shoal just to range in water level associated with perigean spring tides, the east of the South Channel and lying between it and low-lying and potentially submersible coastlines are sub- the Southeast Channel forms the most seaward part of ject to greater erosional influences under these circum- the bar, and is called Martin's Industry. The water shoals stances. The actions of strong onshore winds, high waves, to a depth of 6 ft here at mean low water (even less, if and swell may likewise tear at coastlines wherever these offshore winds prevail) and, because of the effects of in- meteorologically produced factors are present. When creased range, falls to 4 ft at low water associated with such wind-induced conditions also reinforce a higher- ordinary spring tides. To the west of the South Channel than-usual tide, a greatly increased erosional influence is lie the Gaskins Banks, with depths as shallow as 14 ft, almost certain to occur. Marked coastline attrition may decreasing to 11 ft (at mean low water) further north then result from both astronomical- and wind-accelerated where the two entrance channels converge. tidal current velocities, larger sedimentary particles main- DATA CONCERNING THE DRAFT tained in suspension in the water, and enhanced transport OF THE WABASH of eroded sediment away from the shoreline. The effects of tidal erosion also are related to more Precise figures on either the full-load or lightened drafts forceful water impact against the shoreline, and wave of the ship Wabash, flagship and largest in the fleet which scouring at greater heights and distances onshore than us- crossed the bar on the morning of November 5, are not ual. These influences may be combined, during each re- directly available. The only draft figures obtainable in duced stage of the tides, with foreshore-undercutting at connection with this vessel are those established in 1897 points which are lower, farther offshore, less compacted when the ship was stripped down and housed over as a through constant shifting, and herice less resistant to ero- receiving ship in the Boston Navy Yard, with her gun sion. Because the same intensified astronomical forces as- batteries and deck armament removed. The mean draft sociated with perigean spring tides act upon both the low - Impact of Perigean Spring Tides on American Nautical History 1 85 and high waters, this phenomenon is characterized by ex- commanded by Lt. George M. Bache, brother of the sec- ceptionally low tides as well as exceptionally high tides. ond superintendent of the Coast Survey, together with 10 When these are combined with powerful wind action, the seamen, were lost in this storm off the coast. Although re- erosional effects of such an alternation of extreme high and ferred to in some historical sources as a hurricane, neither low waters may be highly destructive, or even catastrophic, Ivan R. Tannehill in his book Hurricanes (8th ed., 1952) in contrast with the steady, degradational action of the nor Gordon E. Dunn and Banner 1. Miller in their work sea which occurs continuously on all coastlines during or- Atlantic Hurricanes (rev. ed., 1964) include this storm dinary tides. If perigean spring tides are accompanied among their comprehensive catalogs of true hurricanes and by strong, onshore winds and swell, large portions of tropical storms.' The accompanying gale swept the coast- beachline, as well as sections of the foreshore, may be line, adding its effects to a perigean spring tide whose max- gouged and torn away. imum rise on this occasion had occurred less than I day An interesting example of the effect of coastal erosion before, as a result of a perigee-syzygy alignment having upon an important episode in history occurred during the a mean date of September 5.0 (with components sepa- Civil War. rated by only - 15 hours). A sustained gale-force wind from the northwest on the 7th and 8th, coupled with high The Hatteras Campaign perigean spring tides, lifted the waters of Pamlico (then Both the bold planning and ultimate success of the spelled "Pamplico") Sound to a height of 2 or 3 ft over Hatteras Campaign undertaken by Union forces at the almost the whole of Bodie's Island." In consequence of very outset of the Civil War are a matter of detailed his- this violent flooding action, Oregon Inlet was forrned. torical record. It is not generally known, however, that This inlet is still called "New Inlet" in the first edition certain definite portions of this planning, as well as a con- of a nautical chart of Pamplico Sound, compiled by the siderable degree of success in the operational aspects of U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey in 1883 (fig. 17). the campaign, were the indirect consequence of two earlier Portions of the barrier spit to the south similarly were astronomical occurrences of perigee-syzygy and their as- breached at a point where a comparison map of North sociated perigean spring tides. These precursory factors Carolina prepared by Brazier and MacRae in 1833 (fig. will be briefly reviewed. 18) shows no previous permanent passage. Near Hatteras On March 1, 1846, as documented in the annual Re- village, a variably inundattd tidewater area was rendered port of the Superintendent of the Coast Survey for 1847," navigationally passable overnight by the force of the ram- a severe coastal storm swept the vicinity of Bodie's Island, paging waters washing back from Pamplico Sound. Still N.C., and the resulting tidal flooding produced several another severe coastal storm occurred during October, breaches on the seaward side of this narrow spit-one of further scouring this southern inlet. Previously, the waters a line of barrier islands composing the Hatteras Outer forming this narrow channel had been too shallow to per- Banks. mit the passage.of deep-draft vessels. The larger inlet The sea piled onto the land and inundated numerous formed now possessed a sufficient depth of water to ac- portions of the Hatteras Banks. This first of a series of commodate rather sizable vessels, a circumstance condu- three severe coastal storms in the same year followed some cive to the development of active maritime commerce. 3 days after the maximum influence of a perigean spring Hatteras village provided a port for the transshipment of tide centered around February 26 (allowing for a 1-day goods to smaller intracoastal craft more suited to ply the phase- and parallax-age at this location, as normally ex- coastal waterways and rivers. Accordingly, Hatteras Inlet, perienced). This tide was associated with a condition, of as it was called, gradually came to outrank Ocracoke In- perigee-syzygy having an approximate alignment very let and its commercially declining town of Portsmouth in early in the morning of February 25, and a difference in shipping importance. The least depth of water at the en- time between its astronomical components of just over trance to this newly created inlet (which persisted, despite -30 hours. Because of at least a 3-day separation in time shifting sands, over the intervening 15 years until the Civil from the maximum of the perigean spring tides, the flood- War and thereafter) was 14-16 ft. Fig. 19 is an enlarged ing produced on March I only started to form the pre- portion of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic chart of 1883. viously mentioned breaches in the land. However, a second major coastal storm occurred on Again, with objective awareness that the defining conditions and September 7-8, 1846, as mentioned also in the Coast Sur- criteria for hurricanes have varied widely over history, see the Ex- planatory Comments preceding table 2. Cf. also David M. Ludlum's vey annual report." The Coast Survey brig Washington, Early American Hurricanes, 1492-1870, pp. 131-132. 86 Strategic Role of Perigean Spring Tides, 1635-1976 R -nr . -4 -D P'.A'[email protected] Sou'N NORTH CAROLINA v,% A ON WR [email protected] 7 T :j ji 7 FiGURE 17.-Coast and'Geodetic Survey Chart No. -142 (ed. 1) of Pamplico Sound (now known as Pamlico Sound), N.C., published in 1883. The small boxed area indicates the location of the present Hatteras Inlet, enlarged in much greater detail in figure 19. Impact of Perigean Spring Tides on American Nautical History 87 14 Jig 4 g V 6, N A 9Em -_3 - - - - - - - -Al -j& "M x A '4 Courtesy of Library of Congress FiGURE 18.-Enlarged portion of a "New Map of the State of North Carolina" drawn by Brazier and MacRae in 1833. At this time, although Ocracock (Ocracoke) Inlet is clearly present, there was no breach in the Outer Banks at the present location (indicated by the curved arrow) of Hatteras Inlet. Compare with figure 19. As acknowledged in various historical reference ing artery of communication which made possible a con- sources .... .. Hatteras Inlet had, through this single for- siderable flow of needed supplies through Virginia, North mative process of Nature occurring a decade and a half Carolina, and other States of the South in almost com- earlier, achieved a tactical significance which would en- plete defiance of the Union naval blockade. able it to play a definite role in the Civil War. With ready Toward the end of August 1861, the Union forces access to the open sea provided for privateers and block- were in need of a bold maneuver to counteract the in- ade runners through this inlet, Pamplico Sound became glorious defeat suffered at Bull Run some 5 weeks earlier. an integral part of a network of inland waterways main- In an active planning stage was the first major offensive tained. by the South to transport supplies to the Confed- by the Federal Navy in the Civil War. Hatteras Inlet erate Army. These waterways, in turn, formed a connect- became a key element in a coordinated plan to invade this 88 Strategic Role of Perigean Spring Tides, 1635-1976 A:, d ,:M d V* ... ...... ... N ID .4W: .......... b a 4. q. p MA: . .... . Q7. P.. .3 F b4 it. S I Olt On t FIGURE 19.-Enlarged section of C &GS Chart No. 142, ed. No. I (fig. 17), showing the hydrography of Hatteras Inlet in 1883. Breaching of the barrier spit was caused by the combination of strong eshore winds and severe backwash flooding from Pamlico Sound on September 7-8, 1846, accompanying perigean spring tides. Impact of Perigean Spring Tides on American Nautical History 89 Southern center of commerce by both land and sea. This manded by John P. Gilliss, tortuously warped into Hat- decision by Northern planners had been reinforced from teras Inlet." Through the combined efforts of the fleet a strategic standpoint through information provided by and land forces, and the expedient access provided by the captains of several Union brigs which, earlier in the this inlet, Fort Hatteras, Fort -Clark, and the waters of war, had been captured by the Confederate forces. Im- Pamplico Sound, were secured by the Northern forces prisoned near Hatteras Inlet, and subsequently escaping (fig. 20). through the assistance of privateers, they had confirmed This daring entry into the shoal-infested waters of to the Northern forces the existence of the new Hatteras Hatteras Inlet, subject to continuous fire from Southern access channel, and reported that as many as 100 blockade guns, provided a strong moral victory for the Nor-them runners were escaping through it each month. forces. The immediate consequence of the capture of The Federal Navy Department concluded that a land- these Confederate forts also gave -the North a strong base ing of troops from the sea on the beach near Hatteras of operations in Southern waters and a supply depot for Inlet, followed by a penetration of this inlet by ships to their blockading vessels. InsecuAng the principal means secure the two key forts which guarded it, was a move of ingress to Pamplico Sound, the North had blocked a demanding the highest priority and worthy of the first tactical lifeline vital to the war efforts of the Confederacy. major naval expedition into Confederate waters. The perigean spring tide which had, in conjunction with On Monday, August 26, 1861, the Union fleet set sail from Hampton Roads, Va., under the command of Flag strong winds, created Hatteras Inlet, also made possible Officer Silas H. Stringharn. Troops were landed on shore, an event of considerable importance to the Civil War in as planned, although under very adverse conditions of sea the subsequent passage of the Burnside Expedition and weather. On August 28, the screw steamer Monti- through this inlet (fig. 21), leading to the Battle of Roa- cello, of 655 tons, drawing 12 ft of water and com- noke Island on January 22-26, 1862. oil Xv Jf- Qrq 0 GQ ci 1 0 49-1 rt po CM ilt A, crq 10 z MI-ScOl 's'9P!.L Du'.4S' uvdD'I-IL9c[ 10 9109 Ozffdlv-'IS' 06 M0 CD 0 V1 C fe L qJ 4 CD C'D J, 0 U61 0 t7 0 0 71, FL 0 n ::j No muq @c 2 U14 k -0 0 "A"TAL.% W A, 0 0 G'Q IN C(Q [email protected] C) gs Id ;z CD d, P.-L yiv 4ilt, 4ilt, 46t, [email protected] Z5 p IS 0 -45 1A T6 [email protected] jv9.zjnvN uv.?!'Iazuv UO S.,gp!,L @[email protected]' UV922.0d 10 JOV4JUl Chapter 3. The Practical, Economic, and Ecological Aspects of Perigean Spring Tides In addition to the previously demonstrated potential desirable, and will serve to emphasize their far-reaching for coastal flooding, many outstanding examples exist in importance. Such examples of international nature in- which the production of perigean spring tides or their cluded among the following may readily be extended by accompanying phenomena (such as strong tidal currents) analogy to the coastal waters of North America. has exerted a prominent influence upon projects in coastal engineering, shoreline reclamation, seawall or groin con- The Effects of Extremely Low Waters struction, and other functions, activities, or events of a technological nature. In the historical development and The same augmentation of astronomical tide-raising continuing application of both marine and maritime forces which, at times of perigee-syzygy, produces above- technology, in particular, as well as in various phases of average high tides is responsible-in the low-water stages intracoastal and harbor navigation, numerous circum- approximately 4-8 hours preceding and following-for stances have arisen in which the occurrence of perigean the production of tides which are exceptionally low. In spring tides has exerted a special impact. Typical of such the first case, enhanced tractive forces amass additional an historical tidal influence upon engineering projects quantities of water near the sublunar point on the surface was the complete destruction of Guglielmo Marconi's of the Earth (and its antipodal position) to create the in- experimental transatlantic radio tower by th6 combination creased high waters of perigean spring tides. At the same of a windstorm and perigean spring tide in 1915. This time, these increased forces draw additional quantities of incident occurred as the result of erosion and unden-nin- water from source regions along a great circle approx- ing of the tower by tidal flooding at Cape Hatteras, N.C., imately 90' from the common meridian of the first two on April 4 of this year (see table 1, chapter 1). positions. All points on this second great circle are sub- Although the role of these tides may have been ob- scured in the details attendant upon a particular activ- Ject to low tides. Because of the rotation of the Earth, these ity-or the tides may have affected only a partial phase exceptionally high and low waters alternate, some 4-8 thereof-their practical contribution to the ultimate suc- hours apart, at the same location during appropriate por- cess or failure of the activity can only be described as of tions of the tidal cycle. I major significance. Among the wide range of available Dangers of Explosive Decompression in examples, a representative few will suffice, and these are Submarine Environments given below. As in all previous instances cited of relationships de- The building of bridges across bays, inlets, or tidewater pendent upon the existence of perigean spring tides, it estuaries and rivers connecting to the sea is an activity must be remembered that the astronomical forces respon- much affected by such possible alternations of extreme sible for their production are worldwide in scope. Accord- high and extreme low waters, and as such constitutes an ingly, although the present work deals geographically area of extreme practical importance in connection with with the influence of perigean spring tides in North pengean spring tides. In the construction of large bridges, America, the addition of a few appropriate examples supported by piers whose foundations extend deep into to retain these tides in their proper global perspective is the soil beneath and along the water channel in order to 93 94 Strategic Role of Perigean Spring Tides, 1635-1976 reach bedrock, an engineering procedure is used which is another mechanical hazard exists which relates to the op- particularly sensitive to tidal changes. eration of the caisson itself. This is the possibility of "blow- In these projects, a device known as a pneumatic cais- outs," or violent reductions of air pressure in the caisson son is customarily employed to provide a pressurized at- caused by an improper seal and the sudden escape of the mospheric environment in which bridge construction air contained therein to the surrounding environment. workers, familiarly called "sandhogs," can work at nec- The open bottom of the caisson must at all times be kept essary depths below the waterline without being flooded immersed in the underlying soil to provide such an air seal. out by infiltration of water through the soil and into the Ordinarily, the buoyancy provided to the caisson by open bottom of the caisson. The pressure of the water is the contained air is balanced by the weight of the caisson. exerted equally in all directions, and increases directly (The hydrostatic pressure of the overlying water to which with depth according to the hydrostatic formula Pd - Ps the caisson is subject at any depth is noneffective in this =PgAd, where P., and Pd are the existing pressures at the surface of the water and at any depth "d" below the sur- regard since it is exerted equally in all directions.) How- face; "p" is the density of the water; "g" is the accelera- ever, should the hydrostatic pressure undergo sudden tion of gravity; and Ad is the change in depth involved. fluctuations due to marked changes in tide level, and be Since hydrostatic pressure is a function principally of "d", uncompensated by corresponding adjustments in caisson an identical pressure exists at any uniform depth in the air pressure, bubbles of air may escape beneath the bottom water, as well as throughout any water-satu Irated earth edge of the caisson and ensuing erosion of the soil may materials situated at this same depth. Thus, as a simple break the air seal. An overpressurized and overbuoyant example, an increase of but 16 in. in the height of the wa- caisson may lift free from the bottom and tilt hazardously, ter overlying a point (easily possible in the case of perigean or possibly float toward the surface.' As compressed air spring tides) results in an increase in hydrostatic pressure escapes from the caisson and is replaced by water, buoy- of 0.58lb/in' at all levels beneath. Even this compara- ancy is reduced and the caisson plunges downward again tively small rise in water level thus represents an increase under its own weight, embedding itself in the mud. Since in hydrostatic pressure amounting to nearly 8.5 times that caissons, like the pontoons used to float bridge beams into of the value of standard atmospheric pressure (0.068 place, also are buoyed into position on the tides, yet lb/in'). It is evident that such an increase (or decrease) another possibility exists for a mishap resulting from in hydrostatic pressureis possible through a corresponding marked tidal variation at times of perigee springs. rise or fall in any estuarine water level which is subject to Such an accident happened during the construction of the action of a strong tidal influence. the Firth of Forth Bridge, in Scotland, in consequence of To compensate for the increased hydrostatic pressure a perigean spring tide associated with a perigee-syzygy caused by additional amounts of overlying water (and to alignment of January 1, 1885 (at 5: 00 a.m. Greenwich- prevent water from 6ooding into the caisson) the work- meridian time, with a separation between perigee and men must breathe air which is compressed in excess of syzygy of - 13 hours). As is usual in the case of perigean the standard atmospheric pressure by an amount propor- spring tides, the occurrence of an extremely high tide was tional to the depth of the caisson. At a depth of 30 ft, the followed by an extremely low tide. As a result, as the water water pressure has increased to 13 lb/in', equivalent to a level fell rapidly, the massive caisson being maneuvered pressure 191.2 times that of the atmosphere. The atmos- into place for the northwest comer of the Queensferry pier pheric pressure within the caisson must, therefore, be in- dropped too suddenly and imbedded itself deep in the creased to allow for the extra pressure produced by a rise mud. Construction of this great bridge was delayed for 10 in water level at times of ordinary high tides and requires months since, despite extensive engineering efforts, the caisson could not be freed from the bottom until Octo- a still greater increment, of the magnitude indicated above, to offset the additional height of perigean spring ber 19, 1885.' tides. In SCUBA diving operations by NOAA, small adjust- Aside from the ever-present danger of a physiological ments in scheduled underwater activity and decompres- syndrome described as the "bends" produced by too rapid sion times are now made to permit adequate periods of depressurization (decompression) of the workmen's decompression for divers operating beneath the increased breathing air (with consequent excruciatingly painful re- depths (or incrementally changing depths) associated lease of inert nitrogen gas bubbles into the bloodstream), with perigean spring tides. Practical, Economic, and Ecological Aspects of Perigean Spring Tides 95 Ship Grounding I It must be emphasized again that extreme perigean Ship groundings and strandings likewise may be spring tides do not occur often enough in any one year affected by the unusually low water accompanying peri- that their influence becomes anything like a controlling gean spring tides. Although ships ordinarily do not enter one in ship groundings. Certainly, there is no intention, or leave ports during low water, in coastwise traffic they in presenting this factual record, to imply that ship often cruise just offshore where shoals and sandbars groundings occur only at perigean spring tides or subject exist-especially at the mouths of.bays and outside en- only to the conditions occurring around these times. Of trance channels. In such locations, unless proper precau- the extremely large number of strandings which have tions are taken, an active possibility exists for unexpect- occurred along the 86,000 mi of American coastline dur- ing the past 300 years, those mentioned are but an insig- edly running aground subject to the exceptionally low- nificant sample. However, should even one stranding have water conditions associated with the minimum stages of been caused, or be caused in the f ture, by a lack of perigean spring tides. The danger is amplified by the u strong ebb currents also present around these times. Un- awareness of this particular tidal phenomenon, it is a mat- questionably, a considerable number of ship strandings ter of concern to maritime commerce.' Because of a po- have occurred throughout American history which are tential loss of life, or the vessel and its cargo, a knowledge attributable to such circumstances. Representative in- of the inherent dangers becomes vitally important, par- stances of ship grouLadings occurring almost exactly at ticularly in an era of increasingly larger supertankers and the times of perigean spring tides, and which are, there- other deep-draft vessels. fore, at least suspect as to their probable or contributing An interesting historical example illustrating a side cause, are given in part II, chapter 8. effect of the extremely low waters associated with peri- The special significance of perigean spring tides for gean spring tides is contained in the facsimile (page modern supertankers and other deep-draft vessels will be 42) of an article from the New York Times of February considered in this same chapter. 10, 1895, relating to the considerable difficulty in loading It would be a somewhat fatuous effort to attempt to and offloading cargo from a ship at dock due to the isolate those cases . in which . the existence of perigean sharply inclined gangplank made necessary under such spring tides might be held to be totally responsible for the conditions. These circumstances still continue today in grounding of ships, because often so many other attendant connection with automatic loading ramps or conveyor and possibly contributory causes (such as fog, navigator's belts, and are of special consequence where the daily tidal error, mechanical failure, etc.) exist at the times of such range is exceptionally high, such as at Eastport, Me. strandings. However, the inclusion, in chapter 8, of some previous cases in which ships are definitely known to have The Effects of Accelerated Currents stranded around the times of penigean spring tides will As will be described in greater detail in part II, chapter serve to point up the special dangers both for nonpowered, 8, a corollary phenomenon resulting from, the perigee- deep-keeled sailing vessels and ships which, through their syzygy relationship is an increase in the velocity of hor- very ponderous nature or deep-draft design, are of cum- izontal (tidally induced) water currents. This is directly ,bersome maneuverability. related to the enhanced vertical rise and fall in water level Whether, in the cases documented, a navigational or produced by pcrigean spring tides. Such strengthened piloting error may have existed, coincidentally-whether currents pose a special problem because of their retarding a possible overlooking of updated nautical chart informa- influences (when opposed to the direction of a vessel's tion may have occurred-or an adverse condition of motion) on the headway of small, slow-speed, and cum * weather or other cause may have contributed-the fact bersomely towed craft, such as barges. Through their remains that the extreme low waters and strong currents accelerating or deflecting influences (when moving in known to be present in each case claimed their ultimate the same direction as, or across the course of an underway toll where the grounding otherwise might not have hap- craft) they likewise impair navigational control and, in pened. These accidents obviously took place at times and all cases, may engender a threat to the grounding of ves- locations where, had not low-water tidal conditions pre- vailed which were more severe than those ordinarily antic- 'An an .alysis of U.S. Coast Guard statistics covering ship ground- ipated, the shipmasters involved never would have ings over a period of 10 years reveals a total of 892 casualties to dreamed of running their ships aground, commercial vessels in which the cause was reported as "a water depth less than expected." 96 Strategic Role of Perigean Spring Tides, 1635-1976 sels, large or small. They also strongly influence marine may occur in these special areas in the case of tropical engineering operations which necessitate work at or below hurricanes.) the waterline., Even in these low latitudes, however, tidal currents run strongly and swiftly subject to the same increase in gravi- Impact Upon Marine Engineering tational forces responsible for the heightened perigean Projects spring tides. Current-produced groundings of ships are Typical examples of this kind exist in the laying of common, for example, in the near-shore waters of both foundations, cofferdams, and caisson supports for the Florida and the Gulf coast. piers of the large bridges which cross estuaries, bays, or Since the accompanying purely horizontal movement inlets affected by tidal waters. A noteworthy exampl e of of water involves both a time-related inertial buildup and the special problems presented by perigean spring tides frictional drag different from these same factors asso- during such a construction project is illustrated in the ciated with tides, the occurrence of the peak of tidal cur- difficulties encountered during the building of the Britan- rents can either precede or follow the peak of perigean nia (Railroad) Bridge across the Menai Straits between spring tides by several days. Periods of ebb currents Anglesey and Caemarvonshire Counties in nor-them usually last longer than periods of flood currents. As will Wales, Great Britain. Here the daily range of the tides be seen on page 98, the times of ebb and flood tidal varies from 2.6 to 24.3 ft, even at ordinary spring tides.. currents often differ considerably with respect to the times The same increased gravitational forces responsible for of high and low tidal waters. this large daily rise and fall in water level become the A typical example of an ocean liner breaking its moor- basis for a further strongly activated current flow accom- ings due to the strength of currents associated with peri- panying (but not a function of) the increased range of gean spring tides is given in the following excerpt from the perigean spring tides, New York Times of August 6,1925: On June 20, 1849, this tube-type railroad bridge was "The strong flood tide in the North River last night ready for the installation of its first span. The span was caught the stern of the White Star liner Olympic at Pier floated into place on pontoons, secured by lines to a 59 as the passengers were starting to go down the gang- giant capstan on shore. But the builders had not allowed ways with such force that the bow rope parted with a loud for the tremendous forces involved in the fast-moving report and the ship slid back about 13 feet. No one was stream associated with perigean spring tides on this date hurt. [The] captain who had given a whistle to make fast perigee-syzygy had to direct towboats again to push the big liner back in- at 9:30 a.m. Greenwich-meridian time, with a separation between components of -9 hours). to her former position." The current caught the pontoons, and the entire span The Influence of Improvements in was in imminent danger of being tom away from the Navigation Aids flailing capstan. Only the prompt and spontaneous action of the viewing bystanders, who applied their combined Alternate possibilities have been cited above, both of strength to the restraining lines, prevented this bridge strandings in the extraordinary shallow waters associated tube from floating out to sea.' with the low-water stage of perigean spring tides, and of ships drifting ashore or aground subject to the strong cur- Dangers to Navigation and Docking rents accompanying these tides. The preponderance of The effects of augmented tidal current flow around the such cases which occur in an early period of American time of perigee-syzygy are also evidenced in active dan- history is, of course, the result of several factors: gers to navigation. It is here important to emphasize (I) The common use, in these early times, of square- that the intensity of tidal currents is not necessarily directly rigged ships which, because of their unwieldiness, were in- related to the magnitude of the local tidal range. It will be capable of working readily against the wind; subject to seen in part II, chapter 7, that almost universally at low- strong onshore winds, these square-rigged vessels were latitude-and at certain mid-latitude stations along the often helpless against being driven into shallow waters and east coast of the United States-as well as in the Gulf of aground by the force of the wind. Mexico, the tidal ranges are very small. In general, these (2) The subsequent development, in an evolution- limited tidal ranges will not support extensive coastal ary process, of fore-and-aft rigged vessels such as schooners flooding where strong onshore winds prevail at the same and ketches-and the combined forms represented by time as perigean spring tides. (Although coastal flooding barks, barkentines, brigs, and brigantines-involving sig- Practical, Economic, and Ecological Aspects of Perigean Spring Tides 97 nificant refinements in hull and sail design; these vessels and whirlpools in the presence of strong currents, render- were capable of beating against the wind, and this, im- ing passage extremely dangerous to smaller craft and a proved maneuverability made them less liable to being matter of close concern to larger vessels. driven aground on bars or reefs, or ashore. The presence of this rock had been known ever since (3) The innovation of steam-driven vessels provided the voyage of Captain George Vancouver in HMS Dis- the necessary power to make sea room even in the face of covery in the year 1786, and is recorded in his journal. adverse conditions of wind and current and thus reduce The first reported major ship disaster attributed to this the possibility of grounding. (Although, even today, die- rock involved the U.S. Navy ship Saranac, a 1,484-ton sel-driven but ponderous and only slowly maneuverable paddlewheel steamer which struck the rock on June 15, supertankers may be forced aground by strong tidal cur- 1875, and became a total loss. Subsequently, and before rents.) the rock was destroyed in 1958, some 25 large vessels and (4) The invention of echo-sounding devices pro- several times as many smaller vessels collided with the vided navigators with a means of securing expedient, ad- rock, with damage ranging from 'Partial to total loss, and vance knowledge of approaching shoals, and submerged at a cost of 114 lives. Included among these ship losses ,bars or reefs. was the stranding of the U.S. cable ship Burnside, which (5) When a vessel is subject to the influences of occasioned a formal memorandum from the American strong tidal currents at night, or under conditions of fog to the Canadian Government recommending, on the or impaired atmospheric visibility, the availability of mod- strength of the cumulative record of disasters, the elimina- em shipbome radar reduces the danger of collision with tion of this hazard to navigation. other vessels, manmade structures, or natural features Technical studies were made in the years 1921 and above the waterline. 1931, and the first attempt at removing the rock was begun in 1942 as part of the war effort in connection with The Optimum Dispersal of Engineering militaxy shipping to Alaska. However, the extremely Demolition Products strong currents present in the passage prevented attempts Seymour Narrows, B.C., is a narrow strait, approxi- to destroy the rock which were made both in this year and mately 2.4 km (1.5 mi) in length, which lies on the east- in 1945. These currents tore away, or caused excessive ern side of Vancouver Island in that portion of the vibration in, the equipment and facilities used in an at- shipping route from Vancouver to Alaska known as the tempt to bore into the rock and to set explosive charges Inland Passage. Through this passage, barely 660-1,100 from a barge anchored above the obstruction. m (2,200-3,600 ft) wide, and flowing between Maud Such preliminary tests revealed the impracticability of Island on the east and Wilfred Point on the west, are either drilling holes or retaining a position in the vicinity some of the swiftest currents in the world. Even at neap of the rock for any extended period of time because of tides, the usual surface velocity is some 14.8 km/h (8 kt) the very high current velocities attained even at ordinary while, at the times of ordinary spring tides, the velocity spring tides. Similar attempts to work from a barge moored increases to 18.5-22.2 krn/h (10-12 kt), making normal to two strong steel cables running from one side of the pas- handling of a ship very difficult against the current flow. sage to the other and anchored to heavy bolts secured At times of perigean spring tides, the flow of water is ac- in the rocks ashore also met with failure as the cables celerated even more, and becomes a real hazard to the pulled loose under the intense strains to which they were maneuvering of ships. subjected by the forces of the currents upon the barge. Compounding the navigation problems, from the very Finally, it was determined that a procedure for drilling earliest days of sail between Vancouver and Alaska until into the rock from below by means of a shore-based access the year 1958, there existed, nearly centrally within this shaft and horizontal tunnel connecting to two further passage, a very distinct hazard to shipping known as vertical approach shafts extending upward to the individ- Ripple Rock. Oriented in a generally north-south direc- ual parts of the rock would be necessary.' / tion, and a little closer to the western shore of the passage, Such a project was inaugurated late in the year 1955 this rock originally constituted a hogback-shaped, under- and, the drilling work was completed early in 1958. The water obstruction whose two peaks rose to within 2.74 m time chosen for the exp losion of the charges imbedded (9 ft) and 6. 10 rn (20 ft), respectively, of the sea surface in the rock pinnacles was April 5, 1958, at 9:31 a.m., at mean low water. Because of this proximity to the sur- Pacific standard time (P.s.t.) - The reasoning behind this face, the submerged formations created both turbulence choice of time is a factor of direct importance to the preS- 202-509 0 - 78 - 9 98 Strategic Role of Perigean Spring Tides, 1635-1976 ent discussion. In order to obtain the highest current ve- A previous, somewhat lower tide (1.6 ft) on January locities possible and to ensure a quick dispersal of the ex- 6 (aided by the Earth's proximity to perihelion) oc- plosion products, a favorable compromise in circum- curred at 2116 P.s.t. But this was a nighttime extreme stances was selected. This included both extremely low low water, unsuited to the project-as were those asso- tides to permit increased rock dispersal (rather than lift- ciated with similar lunisolar alignments in the next follow- ing a huge mass of overlying water), and a strong ebb- ing perigee-syzygy series, October 14-November 12-De- tide to carry the detonation products northward and cember 11, averaging 7 months later. The only other lower thus avoid possible wave damage from the blast at docks tides in the year also followed after the April 5 date, and to the south. formed a part of the same perigee-syzygy series, 1.0 ft at The compromise plan involved the optimum use of 0900 on May 4, 0.9 ft at 0846 on June 2, and 1.6 ft at several specific tide and cur-rent factors close to the time 0831 on July 1. of the explosion. These were predetermined, and the proj- Finally, to the above conditions was added: ect scheduling was ostensibly adjusted to achieve a balance (3) One of the highest tides, although not actually of the most favorable tidal conditions as well as appropri- the highest tide, of the year. The time chosen for the ate weather and other operational factors. The tidally explosion followed a higher high water of 15.3 ft at 0401 contributing factors were: on April 6, with an immediately preceding lower high (1) A condition following, within some 26 hours, water of 13.9 ft at 1648 on April 5. The combination of the strongest ebb current predicted for Seymour Narrows these above-average high and low waters provided a during the entire year. This current of 26.5 km/h (14.3 greater hydrostatic head and a resulting hydraulic action kt) was predicted for 0805 P.s.t. on April 4, 1958. At contributing to a more efficient flushing of the naviga- 0846 on April 5, the predicted current was still 26.1 tion passage after the detonation. The mean higher high km/h ( 14.1 kt). Its strong northerly set acted to carry the water at this location is 14.3 ft; the mean lower low water wave front propagated from the blast, as well as the is 4.4 ft. waterborne products of the explosion, in a direction away The principal tidal advantage sought for this project from the nearest port facilities to the south. obviously related to the strong current flow. The some- Allowing for phase- and parallax-ages, the time chosen what less-than-maximum high- and low-water conditions for detonation was 41 hours after a perigee-syzygy situa- utilized, compared with the annual extremes, represented tion whose mean epoch occurred on April 3 at 1622 P.s.t., a compromise between the various requirements. with a separation between perigee and syzygy of only - 7 Although the- tides in the Inland Passage are of a mixed hours. and highly complex nature, extremely sensitive to solar The only other 26.1-km/h (14.1 kt) ebb current in and lunar declinational influences, and not as sharply the year was predicted for 2022 P.s.t. on October 13, responsive to the perigee-syzygy effect as are those on the 1958. This followed by 29 hours, and was similarly asso- northeast coast of North America, tidal currents in the ciated with, a perigee-syzygy situation having a mean channel obviously are subject to this latter effect. epoch of 1526 P.s.t. an October 12, with a perigee-syzygy The example given is illustrative of yet another case separation of +5 hours. The relationship between these .0 astronomical and perigean spring tidal circumstances *in where perigean spring tides have been used for a practical producing the highest current velocities of the year is purpose and with successful results. This largest non- clearly established. nuclear explosion on historic record was safely detonated at a propitious time, and the hazardous obstruction to This strong current situation was combined with: navigation represented by Ripple Rock was removed to (2) The selection of the first early morning tide of the great benefit of intracoastal navigation in this area. the year predicted for Canoe Pass, Seymour Narrows, which, at its low stage, was only 1.8 ft above the stand- Ecological Influences of Perigean ard datum Plane for the area. (Chosen timewise for its Spring Tides convenience in connection with the operational aspects of the explosion, this low-water level was also a feature Numerous of the physical, chemical, and biological particularly sought after in the project; with a very shal- properties of inshore waters which form a part of bays, .low depth of water overlying the rock, a more effective harbors, and inlets, and estuaries discharging thereto, are dispersal of the products of the explosion would be pos- especially subject to change as the result of both the,ex- sible.) tremely high and extremely low waters produced at the Practical, Economic, and Ecological Aspects of Perigean Spring Tides 99 time,of perigean spring tides. These changes, in turn, may key factor in the growth of many species of diatoms is the have a pronounced impact on the ecology of the estua- establishment of an appropriate rate of osmosis between rine environments contiguous to these coastal water the body fluids of these basic organisms and the water in bodies. Representative effects upon various of these pa- which these organisms live. It is known that the salinity of rameters as the result of the greater rise and fall of the seawater plays a significant role in providing the necessary tides, and the intrusion of seawater to greater distances partial pressure for osmosis to occur, and in the continued into the tidewater zone (and especially into regimes which preservation of this osmotic relationship. normally consist of freshwater) around the time of peri- Some species of (stenohaline) marine animals-usual- gee-syzygy will now be considered. ly, but not always, residents of the deep sea-are extreme- Variations ,In Salinity ly sensitive to changes in salinity. Other (euryhaline) ani- mals display a wide tolerance to saline variations, or can Because of (1) the continuous (and sometimes flood- make necessary adjustments thereto-but not under ex- level) discharge of freshwater from coastal rivers into treme conditions. estuaries, and its possible retention therein by a backup A phenomenon known as entrainment in estuarine of unusually high tides: (2) occasional very heavy rains waters is also a function of changing relative salinity with combined with very low tides; (3) inshore intrusion of, depth. Entrainment is that process by which the fresh- seawater as the result of unusually high tides; and (4) water outpouring from streams into an estuary, being less the evaporation of water in the shallow capture basins dense than saltwater, overrides the latter, and moves off- of tidelands and wetlands, estuarine regions are espe- shore through the estuary at a level near the water sur- cially vulnerable to significant changes in salt content, or face. At the same time, in compensation, more dense salt- salinity. All of. the foregoing conditions may occur in water moves into the estuary from the ocean to form the direct consequence of perigean spring tides. These changes bottom waters of the estuary, the so-called "saltwater may seriously affect the marine inhabitants of such in- wedge." The direction of currents may thus differ by as shore waters. Through associated changes in the density much as 180' between the surface and bottom water in and specific gravity of seawater, salinity is also of con-, the estuary. sequence in altering its relative buoyancy. This factor, A characteristic accompaniment of the estuarine en- in turn, may influence the depth to which marine life vironment is the production of "saltflats," "marshlands," forms (including eggs and larvae) sink-sometimes out and "tidelands" by the tidally induced inflow and out- of their life-sustaining environments. flow of saltwater. The biological regimen is usually quite In this same consideration of factors conducive to the closely controlled by the saltwater, in which, among plants, preservation and development of desirable forms of ma- only marshgrasses will grow. Extreme high tides such as rine life, various types of marine animals used for human those produced at times of perigee springs, with conse- consumption have been shown to be reduced in size and quent isolation of water in shallow pools, cancause evap- maturation in habitats of lesser salinity. Fish respiration is oration basins to develop. The local salinity increases, easier in saltwater than in freshwater, and greater schools marine life is choked out, and waterfowl and seashore of fish are usually found in waters of increased salinity. On wildlife. are affected, Pollution and noxious odors aJso the other hand, decreased salinities may support the exist- result from the decaying grass and fauna. ence of marine shipworms such as.Teredo navalis. Marine life is ordinarily protected against any quick From a marine biological standpoint, the zoo-plankton- change in salinity in a closed-basin environment by the phytoplankton relationship is an inverse one; where min- high latent heat of evaporation, which also means that an ute marine animals are reduced in numbers by low salin- existing low-saline water mixture does not suddenly chill ity, marine plants which often serve as their food source as evaporation occurs from its surface. However, such may proportionately increase to the point of fon-ning marine life is not protected against marked increases in a dense, navigation-fouling mass, particularly where nu- the relative salt concentration of the water such as may tritional salts are available from sewerage waste materials. occur by sudden intrusion in the case of windblown and Water contamination inevitably results. flood-producing perigean spring tides. Thus, specifically, a class of algae known to marine biol- Increased salinity of seawater may also variously act to: ogists as diatoms may either serve beneficially as good (I) exert a greater corrosive influence on ship hulls (with grazing (herbivorous) marine animals, or may destruc- an accompanying increase in the production of rust) ; (2) tively foul estuaries by their too prolific development. A discourage the growth of green algae in coastal waterways 100 Strategic Role of Perigean Spring Tides, 1635-1976 along docks, piles, and piers; and (3) provide a source of- through a colder -surrounding environment. As the tem- incrustations and vegetation-killing salt_qcposits wherever Perature. rises, the capacity of the water for absorbing evaporation occurs in shallow marshland pools. In this oxygen from the air also decreases, starving the fish of latter respect, "increased salinity may also have an effect needed oxygen. The production of temperature extremes on the use of estuarine water husbanded in the tidewater is not frequent in the case of the encroachment of peri- zone for irrigation projects. gean spring tides from the open sea. However, the pro- duction of their associated strong currents may change the Variations in Carbon Dioxide Content temperature of the surface water considerably by horizon- The presence of carbon dioxide in seawater is vital to tal advection of warm water, or replacement of warm sur- both marine flora and fauna because of the necessity for face water by cold water from below if upwelling or over- these marine lifeforms to absorb quantities of carbon into turning and mixing, produced by -density differences, their systems and, through synthesis, to convert carbon, should occur simultaft-e-ously with the intensified flood or oxygen, and hydrogen into carbohydrates. In the case of ebb currents. marine flora, this is accomplished through the process of As will be seen in chapter 7 of part 11, the dynamic photosynthesis; in the case of marine fauna, the action is impact of the unusually high water levels and strong accomplished through respiration and metabolism. The currents associated with perigean spring tides is a pow- necessary source of carbon in each case exists in the abun- erful one when these tides are accompanied by strong, dant carbon dioxide found in seawater. persistent, onshore winds. Often resulting in major struc- On the other hand, the presence of plantlife, absorbing tural damage along the coastline, the physical effects of certain limited quantities of carbon dioxide and leaving these two concurrent factors are also of importance in the seawater slightly alkaline, favors the synthesization of connection with: (I) the diffusion or turbulent dispersion carbonates by hard-shell animals dependent upon the of pollutant wastes as a function of concentration (den- building up of their shells by absorption of these carbon- sity) ; (2 ) the resulting relative buoyancy within the water ates. A balanced ecobiological condition is thus main- environment; and (3) the presence or absence of ver- tained which is very sensitive to -changes in carbon dioxide tical currents. content of the seawater. The-stability of the carbon diox- Estuarine pollutants of comparatively high density ide content is a necessary aspect in the -Cxistence of many with respect to the water will normally sink to the bottom forms of marine life, and the existence of an exact carbon because of their weight. Here they can become trapped in dioxide-oxygen balance is extremely important to all, ma- the cold and dense water below a thermocline surface rine life'forms. (possibly accompanying a "saltwater wedge") in the es- The quantities of carbon dioxide dissolved in seawater tuary in the same general manner that smog pollution is held down beneath a temperature inversion in the atmos- can be increased as the result of strong evaporation, or by an increase in salinity. In an action opposite to that of phere-but with different effects. A temperature inversion most gases dissolved in a water solution, the amount of in the atmosphere (warm air above cold) is a stable con- carbon dioxide absorbed by the water also increases as the dition which prevents mixing and supports pollution of temperature decreases. Any of these properties of the vol- the atmosphere by ground smoke. Conversely, a situation ume of seawater associated with, or resulting from, the in- of warm water above cold (while also a stable one) holds cursion of perigean spring tides far up into the tidewater heavy pollutants near the floor of estuaries where they are area may produce the variations noted, with consequent least bothersome. effects on the ecobiology. However, the presence of a sharp temperature gradient Variations in Water Temperature between cold water near the surface and warm water below a thermocline can result in turbulent mixing and Many forms of marine life are extremely sensitive to lifting of the pollutants to the surface. The altered thermal temperature variations, are incapable of adjusting rapidly conditions produced by the strong influx of cold water in to marked changes in the temperature of the water en- a wind-driven perigean spring tide can give rise to this vironment, and may expire if these temperatures are al- situation. tered suddenly or if temperature extremes are imposed The Effect Upon Grunion Runs upon their habitats. Increased water temperature, through the resultant expansion of the water, is associated Along the southern coast of California, from southern with reduced densities which can cause water to rise Baja California to Monterey Bay, a familiar source of Practical, Economic, and Ecological Aspects of Perigean Spring Tides 101 nighttime sport fishing on the beaches (and, to a limited and at new moon when perigee lies nearest to this alternate extent, commercial fishing from near-shore boats) is the position of syzygy. member of the silverside family (resembling smelt) @ The perigee position (representing the closest prox- known popularly as grunion. These fish, which are gifted imity of the Moon to the Earth) provides an extra grav- with a very remarkable "biological clock," are found itational force lifting each such set of reinforced spring nowhere else in the world. tides to an even greater height. As a further consequence, During their regular spawning season, from February the uplift of this one spring tide in each monthly pair is through August of each year, thousands of these fish ride greater the smaller is the separation in tirne (and hence the crests of incoming waves which occur less than an hour the closer is the geometrical alignment) between perigee after the maximum high-water stage of ordinary spring and syzygy, culminating in the condition known as tides (i.e., tides associated with either the new or full perigee-syzygy. phase of the Moon). The fish are washed ashore by the In addition, the greater of these two monthly peaks breaking waves. As each female fish is carried well up alternates between new moon and full moon once in each onto the beach, she lays her eggs in the sand just below 6.0-6.5 to 7.0-7.5 months (see chapter 6). This maxi- the maximum high watermark reached in the current mum tidal peak also rotates with respect to the seasons cycle of high tides. Here the eggs are simultaneously fer- during successive years as a function of the net forward tilized by the males.' motion of perigee in the lunar orbit (see chapter 4). A The eggs remain in the soft, moist sand during the complete reversal from a maximum tidal peak at full period of time required for [email protected] corresponds moon to a maximum peak at new moon during a given almost exactly with the one-half lunar month required month of the year takes place in a period equal to one- for the Moon to reach the opposite phase of syzygy (i.e., half the time (8.85 years) required for perigee, subject to from new moon to full moon or the reverse). If the eggs solar perturbations, to rotate once around its orbit. (Com- were laid even a short time after the crest of higher high pare, for example, in west coast tide tables the greater of water, they might easily be reached and gouged out by the the two higher high water (nighttime) syzygian tides at higher high water of very nearly the same height occur- San Diego, Calif. at full moon during the spring of 1976 ring slightly more than 24 hours thereafter, or by the next and those at new moon during the spring of 1972, ap-, succeeding lower high water some 12 hours later-in proximately one-half perigean cycle earlier.) either case far too early in their 2-week hatching cycle. If As a general rule, grunion tend to avoid the higher of the eggs were laid too soon, before the crest of higher high the two syzygian tides in each lunar month in favor of water, they might be gouged out again at the peak of this either the immediately preceding or following smaller HHW stage. Ile same principle applies to the necessity spring tide. Were the fish to deposit their eggs at the for spawning at the highest of the two daily high tides, higher peak of the two spring tide maxima in each luna- since if eggs were laid at lower high water, they would be tion, it would mean the lapse of a full month before the washed out to sea again during the higher high water of tide reaches the height of the eggs once again. the same 24-hour day. The exact moment selected for Laying of the eggs at the time of the lesser maximum spawning is, therefore, very critical, and the grunion ob- in each cycle ensures the certainty that the following viously possess some undetermined sensory ability to higher maximum at syzygy some 2 weeks later will isolate an interval of time occurring immediately. follow- reach them again and wash them back out to sea. Ten ing the downward turn of an appropriately selected spring days to 2 weeks is the normal hatching period for grunion high tide. eggs and represents the optimum time at which they During the peak of the grunion spawning season, should be returned to the sea for continuing existence. March through June, spring tides produced at full moon For various reasons, any extension of this period reduces may be either. slightly higher or slightly lower than those their probability for survival. produced at new moon. The particular syzygy configura- Similarly, readily granting the ability of grunion to tion associated with the highest tides depends upon which sense, in advance, the differences between growing tidal of these two lunisolar alignments agrees most closely in heights, these fish would be expected to avoid egg laying time with that of perigee. Thus, the highest tidal peak in at the peaks of perigean spring tides. This is because it any one month occurs at full moon on those occasions would be 6 or 7 months before sufficiently high tides once when the time of perigee is closest to this lunar phrase, again reached the spawning grounds to return the eggs 102 Strategic Role of Perigean Spring Tides, 1635-1976 to the sea (and possibly not then-depending upon the of each 'tidal cycle. Ordinarily, such ice floes require sev- relative heights of the two tides). eral days and successive tidal cycles to make the down- In fact, among the limited available data tabulating stream journey leading to the point of outflow to the grunion runs by actual dates,-it has not been possible to open sea. The collision of ships with these ice floes is pos- find such runs occurring at the maximum crests of peri- sible anywhere en route. gean spring tides. However, they do occur in the lesser 3. In navigational channels and at dockside facilities high waters of syzygies preceding or following a peak located above the normal tidewater mark, the increase perigean spring tide-or in the declining stage of this tide, in water level resulting from perigean spring tides is also as happened at Ocean Beach, Calif., on February 8, 1978. combined with an increased buoyancy caused by the salt- water intrusion and its greater density in comparison Miscellaneous Environmental Influences with freshwater. As a result, any vessel will ride propor- An historic ancillary effect of perigean spring tides tionately higher in the water. This fact may add to the steepness of the more conventional run-out angles be- which is no longer of any consequence was the influence of tween gangplanks or cargo conveyor belts and piers (see these tides in causing the penetration of saltwater up tidal pp. 42, 54, arts. N.Y. Times 2/10/1895, 10/24/1953). rivers alternately for several days, sufficient either to cause Waterline or load-line readings likewise must be obtained the breakup, or prevent the formation and cutting of, from the saltwater Plimsoll marks rather than the fresh- blocks of ice for storage and sale at ice houses alongside water Plimsoll marks. - the river. However, this same influence continues today 4. The relative freedom from po Ilution of an estuary as then in the action of such tides in bringing saltwater into which waste products and sewage arc regularly dis- .far up coastal rivers to points well beyond the normal charged is, in part, a function of the amount of flushing tidewater mark. Numerous related effects may result from which occurs within the estuary subject to the action of the intrusion of these tongues of saltwater variously into successive high and low tides. As a consequence of the agricultural, sports fishing, or ecobiological environments higher HHW, lower LLW, and stronger currents asso- unsuited to receive them. Adverse effects also may result ciated with a perigean spring tide, the flushing action is from the overflowing of river banks not built to withstand increased, resulting in an improved dispersal of pollutant the accompanying tidal increase in water level-or floods wastes. produced by blocking of the downstream hydrological 5. A sample instance of the practical impact of peri- runoff resulting from any coincident, excessively heavy geari spring tides upon fishing activities involved the oc-' precipitation. Some of these effects are described below: currence of this type of tide on July 19, 1974. The case 1. Because the presence of salt in water lowers the reported related to the failure of a small commercial fish- freezing point of the solution compared with that of ing enterprise to find any schools of flounder in their freshwater, the incursion of such saltwater tongues is customary deepwater haunts in Chesapeake Bay on this very effective in preventing the freezing of a river at points particular day-threatening to negate the entire day's upstream which would normally be covered with ice at catch. (Flounder customarily f avor the sidewalls or comparable temperatures. For example, under such hard- ledges of deeper channels and prefer sandy, rather than freeze conditions, portions of the Hudson River, usually muddy, estuarine bottoms.) The fish were finally ac- icebound, would remain open to navigation for the same cidentally discovered, movirg upstream in the shallower reason that the saltwater of New York Harbor remains and quieter waters close to the extreme outer banks of free of ice c'over. the bay, a location which they chose in order to avoid 2. Subject to the influence of perigean spring tides, fighting their way against the unusually strong down- the subsequent breakup of a sheet of river ice already stream currents in the deeper parts of the channel, caused formed can also create a navigational hazard as the ice by the perigean spring tide. floes are propelled by much stronger surface currents 6. Vacationers are also apt to find beaches on which associated with perigean spring tides. A danger of ship they are accustomed to sunbathe-and which are gen- collision with these ice floes occurs as falling tides and erally dry and sufficiently broad above the- waterline to their outgoing (ebb) currents carry the ice blocks down- accommodate crowds even at high tides-completely stream and the return (flood) currents created by rising covered with water and unusable during times of in- tides carry them partially back, in the respective portions creased perigean spring tides. Practical, Economic, and Ecological Aspects of Perigean Spring Tides 103 Recapitulation of the Practical (2) Elevation of high-water level above that Influences of Perigean Spring Tides of sewerage outfalls, causing impairment T and improper distribution of pollution A fairly representative listing of the practical and eco- runoff (Pacifica, Calif., December 20, nomic effects of perigean spring tides, both adverse and 1972.) beneficial, is summarized below. These influences are (3) Retardation of hydrological runoff (re- grouped by category, with prototype examples being given sulting from intense rainfall, snowmelt, in all cases where substantiating evidence is available. freshets, etc.) to the sea, thereby increasing In addition, to provide proper balance, there are included the coastal flooding potential from these a select number of instances of the contributions made to sources; this blocking of runoff at high scientific research in related geophysical projects by the T water adds further to the flooding impact enhanced gravitational forces associated with perigee- of landfalling hurricanes (including syzygy. typhoons, tropical cyclones, or baguios), and both tropical and extratropical coastal Influences of Perigean Spring Tides for storms, if perigean spring tides occur Which Substantiating Evidence Is Available coincidentally therewith (Boston, Mass., (Representative examples, by date and locality, are March 21, 1936.) given in parentheses following the description of each (4) Buoyant uplifting of small craft (or their mooring buoys) to the limits of their influence which has been corToborated in one or more anchor lines. This may result in a dragging instances to date. In those cases preceded by the letter of anchors and/or shearing, of mooring "W," the effects noted are made possible only when the W cables, with loosing and dispersal of the astronomical high and low waters, amplified by the coin- small craft to the forces of wind and sea. cidence of lunar perigee and syzygy, are also accompanied (Severe threat at Avalon Harbor, Catalina by strong, persistent, onshore (or offshore) winds, respec- Island, Calif., January 8, 1974.) tively. As the winds increase in velocity, the indicated (5) Subject to the exceptional tide rise, a effects are increased in proportion. In those cases preceded possible buoyant uplifting of [email protected] by a "T," the intensified astronomical high or low waters docked in boathouses to the point of alone are sufficient to produce the observed effects.) W impact of nonretractable mastheads with 1. Increased Tidal Rise, at High Water the roof overhang. a. Adverse Effects (Avalon Harbor, Catalina Island, Calif., (1) Coastal flooding, with damage to beach January 8, 1974.) homes and condominiums, shoreline struc- (6) With the same marked rise in water level, tures, wharves, docks, and -marinas; occur- a potential inability for the mastheads of rence of shore and beach erosion, wave tall, lightly loaded (and nonballasted) gouging, scouring, of berms, scarps, and W vessels to pass beneath the nonraisable foreshore; breakover and undercutting of or nonrotable trusses of bridges spanning seawalls, bulkheads, and waterfront road- bays, sounds, straits, or estuaries. ways; inundation of saltflats, drainage (7) Inundation and concealment of bars, swamps, and tidewater marshes; destruc- sunken wrecks, rocks, or pinnacles usually tion of marine fauna and flora in the exposed under high tide conditions and W intertidal zone; ravaging of waterfowl T at ordinary spring tides but, with the refuges, coastal wildlife sanctuaries, and high waters of perigean spring tides, national seashore parks; damage to inshore posing a potential navigational hazard. fishing grounds, and to oyster, mussel, and (Execution Rocks, Long Island Sound, other hardshell beds; disturbance of the N.Y.-numerous occasions.) natural ecological balance. (More than 100 (8) In implanting the pneurilatic-type cais- representative instances of severe tidal sons used in the construction of piers for flooding occurring along both the Atlantic bridges across estuaries, coastal embay- and Pacific coasts of North America over ments, etc., an increase of only 16 inches a period of 341 years are listed in tables,l -2.) in the depth of the overlying, or the sat- 104 Strategic Role of Perigean Spring Tides, 1635-1976 urated interstitial ground waters requires T Connecticut River, August 11, 1779; an increase of approximately 8.5 times Second Siege of Charleston, S.C., March the atmospheric pressure within the cais- 20, 1780; Battle of Port Royal Sound, S.C., T son in order to prevent water infiltration. November 5, 1861.) A definite danger exists for serious seepage (2) Breaching of new inlets or channels, into, or flooding of, the caisson if the permitting ship passage through previously ambient pressure in the caisson is not W impassable offshore barrier spits. increased to compensate for the additional (Hatteras Inlet, N.C., September 8, 1846.) hydrostatic head of water associated with (3) Increased flushing of bays, harbors, and perigean spring tides. estuaries as the result of the greater (See also the opposite, occasionally en- water-intermixing and mass-transporting countered "blowouts" under 2a(4).) capabilities of perigean spring tides and (9) A small but quantitatively significant T their associated stronger tidal currents; adjustment must be made in decompres- this causes a greater dispersal of the sion and/or bottom times of divers engaged effluent pollutants which are discharged in activities which entail a close observ- into these water bodies and an optimum ance of the operational parameters of diffusion and attenuation of water depth and time. Because of the increased contaminants. hydrostatic pressure to which the divers (4) Provision of necessary test conditions T have been subjected at all depths, the for pursuit of quantitative investigations extra height of perigean spring tides in the field of physical oceanography (and the sensible variation in the column and for enhancement of knowledge of of overlying water from low to high T the ocean environment; e.g., the observed tide) may necessitate going to a new destabilization, destratification, and decay diving schedule. influences produced in internal waves by (Considered in NOAA/MUST diving pro- excessively high tidal waters. grams since the perigean spring tide of (Meteor Expedition, April 13-16, 1937, January 8, 1974.) Pioneer Expedition, June 12, 1964.) (10) Extraneous influences may be induced in (5) A means for possible updating and refine- Earth-tide measurements. These take the ment of classical geophysical experiments, form of tilting or deformation of the such as: Earth's crust (together with possible short- (a) Empirical checks on the mass of the period subsidence effects) caused by tran- Moon (although this method as orig- sient but appreciably increased tidal inally used is not very accurate) loading along the coast, Leveling obser- (William Ferrell, Boston Harbor, T vations conducted around the times of 1871). these extraordinarily high tides, as well (b) Determination of the rigidity of the as deflection of the vertical in astronomic T Earth from varying attraction of the observations, and systematic gravity anom- Moon. aly measurements, all may be affected (Albert A. Michelson, Yerkes Observ- thereby. atory, University of Chicago, March (See part 11, chapter 8.) 1914.) b. Beneficial Effects (c) Isohaline undulations in the deep- water layer (the "Moon-waves of (1) Possibility for navigation over otherwise the Gullmar fiord" directly related too shallow and impassable bars, reefs, or to extensive herring catches along other underwater features. (Release of the Scandinavian coasts). frigate Trumbull from the mouth of the (Otto Pettersson, Denmark, 1912.) Practical, Economic, and Ecological Aspects of Perigean Spring Tides 105 2. Decreased Low Tides, at Low Water (the effects 3. Strong Tidal Currents thereof are intensified where the existing astronom- a. Adverse Effects ical low tides are accompanied by strong, persistent, (1) Difficulty in maneuvering heavily loaded offshore winds). cargo ships, tankers, and barges, or tugs a. Adverse Effects and ferries; danger of collision with bridge (1) Causing supertankers and other deep-draft supports, pier pilings, and docking vessels (especially those engaged in coast- facilities, as well as intercollision with wise traffic) to strand as the result of T other boats; accompanying threat of en- W unusual and unexpectedly low water in virODmental pollution by oilspills, etc. shoals and shallows, or because of sharply (2) Increased transport of bottom sands and reduced water levels over bars and reefs; sediment; shifting of bottom features and poses an associated danger of oilspills and T alteration of hydrography through silting, other environmental pollution. deposition, or scouring. (2) Causing boats at dockside or moored to (3) Accelerated diffusion of oilspills, waste buoys in estuaries which are normally products, sludge, and other contaminants, subject to a large tidal range to settle T and possible shoreline pollution before T aground on their keels-necessitating a appropriate protective measures can be special scaffolding or "mattress" at some taken. locations to prevent them from cap:.izing. (4) Danger to boats, both channel-moored (A frequent occurrence in the tidewaters and underway-and to bridge supports, of the Bay of Fundy.) piers, moles, and shoreline bulkheads, (3) Requirement for unusual and difficult T from rapidly drifting ice floes ("harbor T adjustments in gangplanks, offloading masters.") (New York Harbor, February 9, belts, etc., at low tide (and high water.) 1895.) (New York Harbor, February 9, 1895; (5) Difficulty in emplacing caissons, in floating Jersey City, N.J., October 23, 1953.) bridge trusses into place, and in con- (4) A potential hazard from "blowouts" in T summating other marine engineering or connection with pneumatic caissons used diving operations subject to the strong current flow. in construction of bridge piers across (6) Maneuvering difficulties experienced in T tidal estuaries, etc., if suitable atmos- deepwater diving operations involving pheric pressure adjustments are not made lightweight one- and two-man submers- for the lower hydrostatic pressure resulting T ibles;, perigee-syzygy as a possible con- from the lesser weight of overlying water tributing cause of "turbidity currents." at extreme low tide. (NOAA two-man submersible operations b. Beneficial Effects in Oceanographer Canyon, July 17, 1974; (1) Exposing of portions of the seafloor encounter with turbidity current.) ordinarily covered by water-a boon to (7) Formation of "tide rips" (as distinguished marine biologists, marine archeologists, from "rip currents") offshore. In the shipwreck hunters, beachcombers, etc. formative process, the progress of ocean T (Pacifica, Calif., December 20, 1972; waves is slowed down and their height is Dunwich, Suffolk, England, January 11, increased by encounter with an oppositely 1974.) flowing current of considerable strength T (4-5 kt). The wave slopes are steepened, (2) Opportunity to undertake repairs to fixed and the formerly smaller waves develop T marine structures at low levels not usually into larger, breaking waves of short permitted, but now accessible above the wavelength,' offering considerable resist- waterline. ance to, and retarding the passage of, 106 Strategic Role of Perigean Spring Tides, 1635-1976 small vessels. The strengthened tidal cur- uary 15, 1961, nearly coincided with a rents associated with perigean spring very close perigee-syzygy situation of tides may provide the adverse currents January 16 (17.5b e.s.t.). producing such "tide rips." b. Beneficial Effects (Tide rip and internal wave observed (1) Strong currents Associated with perigean aboard US &GS Ship Pioneer in Andaman spring tides may act as a deterrent to Sea area off northwest coast of Sumatra the formation of sheet ice in extremely on June 12, 1964.) T frigid weather. This function will tend 3. a. (8) Disturbance of the thermohaline balance to keep narrows and other navigational usually present in estuaries. When an channels open and clear of solid ice when inmoving tidal current is large in com- such passage (for transportation of fuel parison with the outgoing flow resulting and supplies, etc.) is essential. from discharge of rivers, etc., an increased (2) These same currents can also cause solid mixing of fresh- and saltwater occurs. shields of ice, formed during protracted This action destroys the stabilizing effect cold spells and impairing all navigation, T of an existing wedge of heavier saltwater T to break up mechanically before more along the bottom, tapering upstream, favorable weather arrives which is with overlying freshwater flowing down- sufficiently warm to produce thawing. stream. Such mixing can both overturn (Documented case, February 13, 1687. See the stabilizing entrapment of cold bottom table 1, Ludlum Is p. 25.) water-bringing this colder water to the (3) A contribution to oceanographic and surface-and eliminate the existing geophysical knowledge (e.g., more precise thermocline. quantitative investigations of the electrical (9) Production of dangerous navigational cur- T current flow generated by the motion of rents due to hydraulic gradients formed strong tidal currents through the Earth's within basins interconnected by a narrow magnetic field). channel or strait, where the exceptionally 4. Other Potentially Correlatable Geophysical In- T high perigean spring tides occur at differ- fluences ent times at opposite ends of the channel Establishment of a possible gravitational (e.g., in Deception Pass, Puget Sound, relationship between the astronomical con- Wash., or in Seymour Narrows, east of ditions responsible for oceanic perigean Vancouver Island, B.C.). spring tides and any similar reinforcement .(10) Creation of extremely intense erosional of atmospheric tides-e.g., a conceivable currents by the "resurgent" action of correlation between the astronomical con- perigean spring tides as the high water dition of perigee-syzygy and the property breaks over offshore spits and low barrier of dynamic convergence in atmospheric islands. The accumulating head of water pressure systems producing low-pressure is trapped in lagoons, shallow bays, or centers. Only such low-pressure cells sounds and, as the external tide lowers, possess sufficiently tight pressure gradients attempts to discharge again to the sea to produce the strong, persistent, onshore through existing narrow channels or by winds -necessary for active coastal flooding resurgence over the barrier spit. Exten- in connection with perigean spring tides. T sive scouring and breaching may result. A tantalizing but statistically uncertain Oceari-floor erosion may also occur in zone of agreement exists between these the shallow waters of the Continental two phenomena throughout the more Shelf, due to accelerated ocean currents than 100 years of joint tidal and meteoro- associated with a condition of perigee- T logical records intercompared in the [email protected] syzygy. It is noteworthy that the entirely ent study. wind-attributed destruction of a U.S. (From the meteorological viewpoint, an Air Force radar (Texas) tower 60 mi off analytic study made in the Meteoro- the coast from New York City on Jan- logical Statistics Group, ERL, involving Practical, Economic, and Ecological Aspects of Perigean Spring Tides 107 62 years of record, shows an apparent nomena. All of these studies involve positive correlation between U.S. pre- tidally induced effects, in one form or cipitation-generally associated with low- another. pressure centers-and the times of lunar (Cf. Nature, May 28, 1966, p. 893; syzygy.) Nature, November 10, 1972, p. 91; A significant and increasing Dumber of Irish Astronomical journal, December 1972, scientific investigations are now being p. 298; journal of Geophysical Research, undertaken into the possible interrelation- November 10, 1973, p. 7709; New ships between various gravitational force Scientist, January 10, 1974, p. 54, Geo- influences acting throughout the solar physical journal of the Royal Astronomical system and terrestrial weather, earthquake [email protected], May 1976, p. 245; also part H. production, and other geophysical phe- chapter 8.) Chapter 4. Survey of the Scientific Literature on Perigean Spring Tides In tracing the earliest beginnings of knowledge con- est fere duplum ejus, quod ex variata diametro superius cerning perigean spring tides, it is noteworthy that a erat inventum." clear awareness of the concepts of lunar perigee and Consistent etymological, if somewhat inadequate sci- syzygy (conjunction or new moon, and opposition or full entific descriptions of perigee and syzygy also appear moon) -as well as the possibility of their near-coincidence variously in ancient Arabic, Hindu, and Greek treatises in time-existed even in a very ancient period of astron- on the heavenly bodies. References to these specific terms omy. Such empirically deduced lunar orbital positions are 'contained, for example, in such classic works as have been documented in various primary reference Mey&X77 [email protected]@[email protected] [email protected] [email protected] (Great System of As- sources, as noted below. tronomy) or Almagest of Claudius Ptolemaeus, Alex- andrian astronomer (c. A.D. 100-170). The principles Historical Origin of the Concepts of Perigee- enumerated in this magnum Opus a were disseminated Syzygy and Perigean Spring (Perigee- widely in subsequent Latin translations (e.g., in Theorica Spring) Tides planetarum, by Camparrus of Navara, 13th century and The Greek astronomer Hipparchus (c. 125 B.C.), later, Section IV, Theory of the Moon),' and other from observations of the apparent angular size of the eclectic sources. Moon as a measure of its distance from the Earth, pos- Mention of these same orbital configurations further occurs in several medieval lunar treatises (e.g., those of sessed a basic knowledge of the variability of the lunar distance during the course of the month. From these same Johannes de Sacrobosco and Robert Grosseteste)-al- data, he was also aware of the effect of the near-coinci- though perigee is incorrectly defined in those works which dence between perigee and syzygy in bringing the Moon carried over the Ptolemaic theory of epicenters. Among closer to the Earth, as described in part II, chapters 4-5 early contributors to a knowledge of,varying lunar dis- of the present volume. This closer distance of the Moon tances and gravitational force influences as they affect the becomes one of the causes contributing to the greater tides was Johann Kepler, German astronomer (1571- heights of perigean spring tides. 1630). With reference to the specification of lunar posi- This early knowledge of changing lunar distances is tions in orbit according to a- s ystern repeatedly used clearly brought out, for example, in Johann Kepler's throughout the present volume, it was he who first estab- Astronomia Nova (1609),' in his discussion of Hippar- lished the relationships between the position of perigee chus' rudimentary determination of the,distance of the and the anornalistic angle (of the Moon) in orbit. The Moon, specified in units of the Earth's semidiameter. The anornalistic angle is, in this case, defined as the angular considerably closer distance of the Moon (expressed as a distance of the Moon from perigee. smaller number of Earth-radii) at the position of perigee- Despite such early, a priori manifestations of astronom- syzygy compared with that at apogee, and at the Moon's ical knowledge, the increased gravitational forces result- mean distance is indicated in the words: ing from the simultaneous occurrence of perigee-syzygy- "Hoc itaque pacto Hipparchus. (ut habes Cap. VIII, and the effect of this concurrent astronomical alignment Opt. page 313) Lunae distantiam in syzygiis perigaearn upon the Earth's tidal waters-did not become a matter of particular notice until, with the development of naviga- exhibuit 71 semidiametrorurn Terrae, apogaeam 83, mediocrern 77, igitur eccentricitatern 6, hoc est, qualium '@ut cf., R. R. Newton, "The Authenticity of PtoIerny's . . . radius orbis 100000, talem eccentricitatern 7792, quod Data'." Q. J. R. astr. Soc. (1973), 14,'367-388; 15, 7-27, 107-12 1. 109 110 Strategic Role of Perigean Spring Tides, 1635-1976 tion and commerce, actual tide observations were made. resentative, using the tidal situation at Bristol, England. Significantly, the discovery of the special nature of peri- The analysis is based upon a previous example involving gean spring tides took place only when the increased only the solar component of spring tides, in which Newton tide-raising influences of these coinciding lunisolar posi- derives (Proposition XXXVI, Problem XVII) the height .tions were observed in mid-latitude regions removed from to which the tidal waters will rise acted on by the Sun the Mediterranean-since, in the latter regions, tidal alone (at points both directly beneath and on the oppo- ranges exhibited but minor daily variations. The mathe- site side of the Earth from the Sun) in excess of that at matical development of tidal theory during the 18th cen- places which are 90' removed from the Sun. tury further substantiated the relationship between peri- [Note: In this connection, an important, but uncor- gean spring (or perigee-spring) tides and the astronom- rected typographical error (for "113%0 inches" read ical occurrence of perigee-syzygy. " 1 11/3o inches") occurs in the numerical value given on The earliest discoverable published reference in the page 479 in the 1729 edition of the Principia translated English language to the phenomenon of perigean spring from the Latin by Andrew Motte, as extensively revised tides and their potentially destructive capacity when as- by Florian Cajori (1946).' A comparison between the sociated with strong, persistent, onshore winds is a pub- 1803 edition of Motte's English-language translation ("as lished letter of [email protected] transmitted to the Royal Society of carefully revised and corrected by W. Davis") and the London, titled "Arrimadversions on Dr. [John] Wallis' primary Latin source reveals that this error has been car- Hypothesis of Tides." Dr. Wallis' "Essay About the Flux ried forward, both unrectified and unannotated, and de- and Reflux of the Sea" had been communicated and read spite several successive editings, for 143 years into the to the Society in- 1666. After requesting a copy of this es- Cajori text.] Newton's original, true. comparison (the say from Henry Oldenburg, member of the Society, original is in Latin) is (page 48 1 ) : Joshua Childrey, rector of Upwey, England, and an ar- "Cor. 1. Since the waters attracted by the sun's force dent observer of natural phenomena, commented on the rise to the height of t foot and, 11 %0 inches, the moon's essay in the above-mentioned letter relayed through force will raise the same to the height of 8 feet and 7%2 Bishop Seth Ward, in which he refers to an earlier pub- in