1921 Tampa Bay hurricane

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Tampa Bay Hurricane of 1921
Category 4 hurricane (SSHS)
Damage in Sarasota, Florida after the hurricane
FormedOctober 20, 1921
DissipatedOctober 30, 1921
Highest winds1-minute sustained:
140 mph (220 km/h)
Lowest pressure≤ 941 mbar (hPa); 27.79 inHg
Fatalities3-8 direct
Damage$10 million (1921 USD)
Areas affectedWestern Caribbean, Cuba, Florida Keys, Florida Peninsula
Part of the 1921 Atlantic hurricane season
 
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Tampa Bay Hurricane of 1921
Category 4 hurricane (SSHS)
Damage in Sarasota, Florida after the hurricane
FormedOctober 20, 1921
DissipatedOctober 30, 1921
Highest winds1-minute sustained:
140 mph (220 km/h)
Lowest pressure≤ 941 mbar (hPa); 27.79 inHg
Fatalities3-8 direct
Damage$10 million (1921 USD)
Areas affectedWestern Caribbean, Cuba, Florida Keys, Florida Peninsula
Part of the 1921 Atlantic hurricane season

The Tampa Bay Hurricane of 1921 (also known as the Tarpon Springs Hurricane) was the third hurricane, second major hurricane, and final storm of an inactive 1921 Atlantic hurricane season. It was the first hurricane to directly make landfall in Tampa Bay, Florida[1] and one of several notable hurricanes to make landfall in Florida. The storm took a typical path for an October Atlantic hurricane, brushing past Cuba before hitting near Tampa. The hurricane was also the most destructive storm of the season, causing around $10 million (1921 USD, $92 million (2005 USD) in damage.

Contents

Meteorological history

Storm path

The storm was observed on October 21 while several hundred miles southwest of Jamaica. Its origin is unknown, though it possibly developed from an extratropical storm over Panama a day earlier. A high pressure system over Bermuda caused a north-northwest motion, allowing for the storm to intensify over favorable conditions. On October 22, the storm attained hurricane status shortly after passing 10 miles (16 km) east of the Swan Islands. On October 23, the hurricane entered the Yucatán Channel, with its eastern side brushing Cuba.

As it turned to the north in the Gulf of Mexico, the hurricane continued to strengthen, and reached a peak of 140 mph (225 km/h) on October 24. It slowly weakened as it headed to the northeast, and made landfall as a Category 3 hurricane near Tarpon Springs, Florida on the 25th with 115 mph (185 km/h) winds. The hurricane quickly crossed Central Florida before entering the Atlantic, weakening to a minimal hurricane over land. It accelerated to the southeast, briefly strengthening to a Category 2 hurricane before becoming extratropical on October 28 to the southwest of Bermuda.[2]

Preparations

Forecasters at the National Weather Service issued advisories for ships and ocean going vessels and hurricane warnings for areas in western Florida stretching from Key West to Apalachicola on October 24 and 25.[2]

Impact

Florida Keys

The hurricane passed to the west of the Florida Keys as a Category 4 hurricane. Its large wind field caused tropical storm force winds to the islands, with the highest wind report being 48 mph (71 km/h) in Key West. Rainfall from the hurricane's outer bands was intermittent, and storm tides of 5 feet (1.5 meters) were reported.[2] Because the Florida Keys were at the outer edge of the storm, there were no reports of damage.

Western Florida

The reports of rainfall from the hurricane began on October 23 as the storm was making landfall. The highest rainfall total in Tampa was at 8.53 inches (23.5 mm). When the storm made landfall, the barometric pressure fell to 28.81 inches (968 mbar), breaking a previous record set in 1910. The hurricane also brought sustained winds of 75 mph (119 km/h) and a storm tide of 10.5 feet (3 meters). In Punta Gorda, a water gauge recorded a tide 7 feet (2.5 meters) above normal. Tides 5–6 feet (1.5–2 meters) above normal were also reported in St. Petersburg and Punta Rassa.[2] The hurricane also brought a storm surge of 10–12 feet (3 to 3.5 m) to Tampa Bay.[3]

The storm surge damaged a fishing pier in St. Petersburg and destroyed a casino in Gulfport. In Tampa, much of the city was flooded, and three people were killed in drowning incidents and flying debris.[3] In Pasco County, the hurricane destroyed the Mt. Zion Baptist Church, which was never rebuilt.[4] In addition, the hurricane virtually destroyed much of Passage Key, part of which was later rebuilt.[5] In Tampa, several buildings of the historic Ballast Point Pavilion were destroyed by the storm.[6] A steamship capsized between Jacksonville and Miami and there were reports of damage to several other small boats offshore. Agricultural damage from the hurricane was high, with citrus crop losses totaling to $1 million (1921 USD). Damage to fertilizer and other materials also totaled to $1 million (1921 USD).[2] In all, the hurricane left 10 people dead (seven unaccounted for) and left $10 million dollars (1921 USD, $92.4 million (2005 USD).

Aftermath

One of the destroyed buildings at the Ballist Point Pavilion was soon rebuilt after the storm. However, the building was destroyed again by fire in 1922. In 1925 a new pavilion was built. Today, the area is a city park with a fishing pier and picnic area.[6] The Mt. Zion Methodist Church was never rebuilt after it was destroyed by the hurricane, and as a result, members attended other churches. Today, only the church cemetery is left of the Mt. Zion Methodist Church.[4]

Because of fears that the hurricane might have an impact on the Florida land boom that was in its existence during the 1920s, rebuilding and cleanup of the area commenced quickly and the land boom in the Tampa Bay region and in southern Florida continued.[4]

See also

External links

References

  1. ^ Florida Hurricane Database hurricanecity.com Retrieved:October 2, 2006
  2. ^ a b c d e National Weather Service (1921) 1921 Monthly Weather Review Monthly Weather Review Retrieved:October 2, 2006
  3. ^ a b Ballingurd, David It Could Happen Here St. Petersburg Times Retrieved:October 2, 2006
  4. ^ a b c Fort Dade Methodist Church Pasco County history Retrieved:October 2, 2006. Archived 2009-10-20.
  5. ^ Passage Key and the American Wildlife Conservation Movement U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Retrieved:October 2, 2006
  6. ^ a b Pavilion History The Pavillions Retrieved:October 2, 2006