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Hurricane Ginger

By Wikipedia

Hurricane Ginger was a hurricane during the 1971 Atlantic hurricane season. It is a classic example of a subtropical wanderer; that is, a tropical storm in the subtropics with weak steering currents. Hurricane Kyle in 2002 is another example of one. The hurricane's 29 days as a tropical cyclone makes Ginger the longest-lived Atlantic system.

Origins and the first week

In early September of 1971, a series of upper level lows existed in the western Atlantic. A trough of low pressure existed across the Gulf of Mexico through the Bahamas, and various tropical systems formed from this, including Fern, Heidi, 2 tropical depressions, and eventually Ginger. As one upper level low sat over the Gulf Stream, it extended towards the surface and became tropical. On September 5, a tropical depression formed while located about 350 miles east of Nassau, Bahamas. For the next four days, it drifted to the east without strengthening. Gradually it got better organized, and on September 10, the storm was named Ginger. As it picked up forward momentum, so did its winds. On September 11 Ginger became a hurricane while located 315 miles south-southeast of Bermuda.

Stalling and the second week

Ginger reached her peak on September 14 of 105 M.P.H. winds, but weakened soon after. A building high pressure system to the northeast forced the system to the southwest. Steering currents were weak in the area, resulting in a drifting Ginger to the west. From the 19th to the 20th, Ginger executed a small loop while located 750 miles east of Bermuda. During this time, upwelling lowered the winds to minimal hurricane strength, but it remained a hurricane.

Moving westward and the third week

After looping, Ginger appeared to pose a threat to Bermuda, but it passed 100 miles to the south on the 23rd. The next day, it again began drifting to the southwest, where it moved a little over 200 miles over four days. During this time, Reconnaissance aircraft continually reported winds of hurricane strength, as well as a large eye, at times up to 80 miles wide.

Landfall, loss of tropical characteristics, and the fourth week

As it moved northwestward towards North Carolina, it gradually re-strengthened. On the 29th it reached its second peak, this time of 100 M.P.H. winds, but steadily weakened prior to landfall. On September 30, Ginger hit Morehead City, North Carolina as a minimal hurricane. It brought heavy rains to North Carolina, causing $10,000,000 in damage, but no deaths. As it moved inland, it continued to lose strength, and on October 3, while located near Williamsburg, Virginia, Ginger lost her tropical characteristics. The extratropical low moved off the coast, finally dissipating on October 5.

Records

  • Tropical Cyclone Longevity: Ginger was a tropical cyclone from September 4th to October 3rd, a total of 29 days. This record has been unsurpassed in the Atlantic Ocean, though Hurricane John in the 1994 Pacific hurricane season lasted a little longer.
  • Hurricane Longevity: Ginger was a hurricane from September 11th to September 30th, a total of 20 days. This is one of the longest for a hurricane.
  • Number of tropical cyclones on a single day: On September 11th, there were 5 active tropical cyclones at once; Tropical Storm Edith (later a hurricane to hit Louisiana), Tropical Storm Fern (over southeast Texas), Hurricane Ginger, Tropical Storm Heidi, and a tropical depression that would later become Hurricane Janice.)

 

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DISASTER DETAILS

The bizarre storm track of Ginger

Courtesy of NOAA

Date(s): September 10 - September 30, 1971

Location: Atlantic Coast

Deaths: 0

Injuries: Unknown

Damage: $10M


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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from this Wikipedia article, which is probably more up to date than ours (retrieved August 12, 2005).

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