1926 Miami Hurricane
Overview
 
The 1926 Miami hurricane (or Great Miami Hurricane) was a Category 4 hurricane
Tropical cyclone
A tropical cyclone is a storm system characterized by a large low-pressure center and numerous thunderstorms that produce strong winds and heavy rain. Tropical cyclones strengthen when water evaporated from the ocean is released as the saturated air rises, resulting in condensation of water vapor...

 that devastated Miami in September 1926. The storm also caused significant damage in the Florida Panhandle
Florida Panhandle
The Florida Panhandle, an informal, unofficial term for the northwestern part of Florida, is a strip of land roughly 200 miles long and 50 to 100 miles wide , lying between Alabama on the north and the west, Georgia also on the north, and the Gulf of Mexico to the south. Its eastern boundary is...

, the U.S. state
U.S. state
A U.S. state is any one of the 50 federated states of the United States of America that share sovereignty with the federal government. Because of this shared sovereignty, an American is a citizen both of the federal entity and of his or her state of domicile. Four states use the official title of...

 of Alabama
Alabama
Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...

, and the Bahamas. The storm's enormous regional economic impact helped end the Florida land boom of the 1920s
Florida land boom of the 1920s
The Florida land boom of the 1920s was Florida's first real estate bubble, which burst in 1925, leaving behind entire new cities and the remains of failed development projects such as Aladdin City in south Miami-Dade County and Isola di Lolando in north Biscayne Bay...

 and pushed the region on an early start into the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

.
The Cape Verde-type hurricane
Cape Verde-type hurricane
A Cape Verde-type hurricane is an Atlantic hurricane that develops near the Cape Verde islands, off the west coast of Africa. The average hurricane season has about two Cape Verde-type hurricanes, which are usually the largest and most intense storms of the season because they often have plenty of...

 formed on September 6. Moving west-northwest while traversing the tropical Atlantic
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

, the storm later passed near St.
Encyclopedia
The 1926 Miami hurricane (or Great Miami Hurricane) was a Category 4 hurricane
Tropical cyclone
A tropical cyclone is a storm system characterized by a large low-pressure center and numerous thunderstorms that produce strong winds and heavy rain. Tropical cyclones strengthen when water evaporated from the ocean is released as the saturated air rises, resulting in condensation of water vapor...

 that devastated Miami in September 1926. The storm also caused significant damage in the Florida Panhandle
Florida Panhandle
The Florida Panhandle, an informal, unofficial term for the northwestern part of Florida, is a strip of land roughly 200 miles long and 50 to 100 miles wide , lying between Alabama on the north and the west, Georgia also on the north, and the Gulf of Mexico to the south. Its eastern boundary is...

, the U.S. state
U.S. state
A U.S. state is any one of the 50 federated states of the United States of America that share sovereignty with the federal government. Because of this shared sovereignty, an American is a citizen both of the federal entity and of his or her state of domicile. Four states use the official title of...

 of Alabama
Alabama
Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...

, and the Bahamas. The storm's enormous regional economic impact helped end the Florida land boom of the 1920s
Florida land boom of the 1920s
The Florida land boom of the 1920s was Florida's first real estate bubble, which burst in 1925, leaving behind entire new cities and the remains of failed development projects such as Aladdin City in south Miami-Dade County and Isola di Lolando in north Biscayne Bay...

 and pushed the region on an early start into the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

.

Meteorological history

The Cape Verde-type hurricane
Cape Verde-type hurricane
A Cape Verde-type hurricane is an Atlantic hurricane that develops near the Cape Verde islands, off the west coast of Africa. The average hurricane season has about two Cape Verde-type hurricanes, which are usually the largest and most intense storms of the season because they often have plenty of...

 formed on September 6. Moving west-northwest while traversing the tropical Atlantic
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

, the storm later passed near St. Kitts on September 14. By September 17 it was battering the Bahamas, impacting the Turks and Caicos Islands
Turks and Caicos Islands
The Turks and Caicos Islands are a British Overseas Territory and overseas territory of the European Union consisting of two groups of tropical islands in the Caribbean, the larger Caicos Islands and the smaller Turks Islands, known for tourism and as an offshore financial centre.The Turks and...

 with winds estimated at 150 mph (241.4 km/h). Then, in the early morning hours of September 18, it made landfall just south of Miami between Coral Gables
Coral Gables, Florida
Coral Gables is a city in Miami-Dade County, Florida, southwest of Downtown Miami, in the United States. The city is home to the University of Miami....

 and South Miami
South Miami, Florida
South Miami is a Miami suburban city in Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States. The population was 10,741 at the 2000 census and as of 2007, according to the U.S...

 as a devastating Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale
Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale
The Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale , or the Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale , classifies hurricanes — Western Hemisphere tropical cyclones that exceed the intensities of tropical depressions and tropical storms — into five categories distinguished by the intensities of their sustained winds...

. The storm crossed the peninsula
Peninsula
A peninsula is a piece of land that is bordered by water on three sides but connected to mainland. In many Germanic and Celtic languages and also in Baltic, Slavic and Hungarian, peninsulas are called "half-islands"....

 south of Lake Okeechobee
Lake Okeechobee
Lake Okeechobee , locally referred to as The Lake or The Big O, is the largest freshwater lake in the state of Florida. It is the seventh largest freshwater lake in the United States and the second largest freshwater lake contained entirely within the lower 48 states...

, entered the Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is a partially landlocked ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. In...

, and made another landfall near Mobile, Alabama
Mobile, Alabama
Mobile is the third most populous city in the Southern US state of Alabama and is the county seat of Mobile County. It is located on the Mobile River and the central Gulf Coast of the United States. The population within the city limits was 195,111 during the 2010 census. It is the largest...

 as a Category 3 hurricane
Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale
The Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale , or the Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale , classifies hurricanes — Western Hemisphere tropical cyclones that exceed the intensities of tropical depressions and tropical storms — into five categories distinguished by the intensities of their sustained winds...

 on September 20 before hooking westward along coastal Alabama and Mississippi, eventually dissipating on September 22 after moving inland over Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

.

Impact

In Florida, winds on the ground were reported around 125 mph (201.2 km/h) and the pressure measured at 935 mbar (27.61 inHg) — though all such data is suspect. Most of the coastal inhabitants had not evacuated, partly because of short warning (a hurricane warning was issued just a few hours before landfall) and partly because the "young" city's population knew little about the danger a major hurricane posed. A 15 feet (4.6 m) storm surge
Storm surge
A storm surge is an offshore rise of water associated with a low pressure weather system, typically tropical cyclones and strong extratropical cyclones. Storm surges are caused primarily by high winds pushing on the ocean's surface. The wind causes the water to pile up higher than the ordinary sea...

 inundated the area, causing massive property damage and some fatalities. As the eye of the hurricane crossed over Miami Beach
Miami Beach, Florida
Miami Beach is a coastal resort city in Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States, incorporated on March 26, 1915. The municipality is located on a barrier island between the Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay, the latter which separates the Beach from Miami city proper...

 and downtown Miami, many people believed the storm had passed. Some tried to leave the barrier islands, only to be swept off the bridges by the rear eyewall. "The lull lasted 35 minutes, and during that time the streets of the city became crowded with people," wrote Richard Gray, the local weather chief. "As a result, many lives were lost during the second phase of the storm."

Inland, Lake Okeechobee
Lake Okeechobee
Lake Okeechobee , locally referred to as The Lake or The Big O, is the largest freshwater lake in the state of Florida. It is the seventh largest freshwater lake in the United States and the second largest freshwater lake contained entirely within the lower 48 states...

 experienced a high storm surge
Storm surge
A storm surge is an offshore rise of water associated with a low pressure weather system, typically tropical cyclones and strong extratropical cyclones. Storm surges are caused primarily by high winds pushing on the ocean's surface. The wind causes the water to pile up higher than the ordinary sea...

 that broke a portion of the dikes, flooding the town of Moore Haven
Moore Haven, Florida
Moore Haven is a city in Glades County, Florida, United States. The population was 1,635 at the 2000 census. As of 2004, the population recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau is 1,726. It is the county seat of Glades County...

 and killing many. This was just a prelude to the deadly 1928 Okeechobee Hurricane
1928 Okeechobee Hurricane
The Okeechobee hurricane, or San Felipe Segundo hurricane, was a deadly hurricane that struck the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, and Florida in September of the 1928 Atlantic hurricane season...

, which would cause a massive number of fatalities estimated at 2,500 around the lake.

Coastal regions between Mobile and Pensacola, Florida
Pensacola, Florida
Pensacola is the westernmost city in the Florida Panhandle and the county seat of Escambia County, Florida, United States of America. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 56,255 and as of 2009, the estimated population was 53,752...

 also suffered heavy damage from wind, rain, and storm surge, but this paled beside the news of the destruction in Miami. According to the Red Cross there were 373 fatalities. Other estimates vary, since there were a large number of people listed as "missing". Between 25,000 and 50,000 people were left homeless, mostly in the Miami area.
The damage from the storm was immense; few buildings in Miami or Miami Beach were left intact. The toll for the storm was $100 million ($  USD). It is estimated that if an identical storm hit in the year 2005, with modern development and prices, the storm would have caused $140–157 billion in damage. After the hurricane, the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

 started in South Florida, slowing recovery.

In response to the widespread destruction of buildings on Miami Beach, John J. Farrey was appointed Chief Building, Plumbing and Electrical Inspector. He initiated and enforced the first building code in the United States, which more than 5000 US cities duplicated.

Aftermath

The University of Miami
University of Miami
The University of Miami is a private, non-sectarian university founded in 1925 with its main campus in Coral Gables, Florida, a medical campus in Miami city proper at Civic Center, and an oceanographic research facility on Virginia Key., the university currently enrolls 15,629 students in 12...

, located in Coral Gables, had been founded in 1925 and opened its doors for the first time just days after the hurricane passed. The University's athletic teams were nicknamed
Athletic nickname
The athletic nickname, or equivalently athletic moniker, of a university or college within the United States is the name officially adopted by that institution for at least the members of its athletic teams...

 the Hurricanes
Miami Hurricanes
The Miami Hurricanes, of Coral Gables, Florida, are the varsity sports teams of the University of Miami. They compete in the Coastal Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference . The university fields 15 athletic teams for 17 varsity sports...

 in memory of this catastrophe. The school's mascot is Sebastian
Sebastian the Ibis
Sebastian the Ibis is the official mascot for the University of Miami. He is an anthropomorphized American White Ibis with a Miami Hurricanes football jersey, number 0.-History:...

, an ibis
American White Ibis
The American White Ibis is a species of wading bird in the ibis family Threskiornithidae. It occurs from the mid-Atlantic and Gulf coast of the United States south through most of the New World tropics...

. The ibis is a small white bird that can be seen around south Florida and especially on the UM campus. An ibis was selected to represent the Hurricanes because of folklore
Folklore
Folklore consists of legends, music, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, fairy tales and customs that are the traditions of a culture, subculture, or group. It is also the set of practices through which those expressive genres are shared. The study of folklore is sometimes called...

 in which it is typically the last bird to leave before a hurricane strikes and the first to return once it's gone.

See also


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK