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Hurricane “Amanda”: Rediscovery of a Forgotten U.S. Civil War Florida Hurricane

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  • 1 Independent scholar, Elkridge, Maryland
  • | 2 Department of Geography, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina
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Among the most unusual and unexpected hurricanes in United States history is the only hurricane to make landfall in the month of May. This recently rediscovered storm that struck northwest Florida on 28 May 1863 created a natural disaster in the area that became lost to history because it was embedded in a much larger and important manmade event—in this case, the U.S. Civil War. The authors document the arrival of this storm both historically and meteorologically and anachronistically name it “Hurricane Amanda” in honor of the Union ship driven ashore by the hurricane. The hurricane revealed deficiencies and strengths in combat readiness by both sides. Meteorologically, the storm nearly achieved major hurricane status at landfall and its absence from modern databases of tropical cyclone activity is a useful reminder to users of important gaps in our knowledge of tropical cyclones even in the best-sampled storm basins.

CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: Michael Chenoweth, 6816 Ducketts Lane, Elkridge, MA 21075, E-mail: mike.chenoweth@verizon.net

Among the most unusual and unexpected hurricanes in United States history is the only hurricane to make landfall in the month of May. This recently rediscovered storm that struck northwest Florida on 28 May 1863 created a natural disaster in the area that became lost to history because it was embedded in a much larger and important manmade event—in this case, the U.S. Civil War. The authors document the arrival of this storm both historically and meteorologically and anachronistically name it “Hurricane Amanda” in honor of the Union ship driven ashore by the hurricane. The hurricane revealed deficiencies and strengths in combat readiness by both sides. Meteorologically, the storm nearly achieved major hurricane status at landfall and its absence from modern databases of tropical cyclone activity is a useful reminder to users of important gaps in our knowledge of tropical cyclones even in the best-sampled storm basins.

CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: Michael Chenoweth, 6816 Ducketts Lane, Elkridge, MA 21075, E-mail: mike.chenoweth@verizon.net
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