FIRST KEY WEST HURRICANE OF INTENSITY

A change of pace blog today. A break from Trump, coronavirus, police killings, etc.

The Hurricane of 10/11/1909.

Described as Key West’s first hurricane of intensity.

Several weeks ago, I wrote about the Hurricane of 10/9/1840. The first recorded hurricane ever. A big one. Much damage. However, nowhere near the intensity and damage of the 1909 one.

Reported hurricanes go back as far as 1493. Note reported as opposed to recorded. Based on old wives tales and Indian recollections.

These memory stories passed down through the ages told the story of religion protecting Key West and the Keys. Everyone prayed. To an Indian or Christian God.

From 1493 forward, no hurricane of any consequence hit Key West till the one of 10/9/1840. For some reason no storm got beyond Cuba or Puerto Rico. The 2 islands served as a protective buffer. The 2 islands and prayers.

Then the hurricanes began hitting the Keys. Nothing types leading upon to the one of 1840.  Then more hurricanes over a period of 100 years leading up to the intense one 10/11/1909.

Halley’s Comet played into the 1909 hurricane as it had the 1840 one. In both years, the Comet passed over and Key Westers believed the Comet had something to do with the intensity of the storms.

Although the 1909 hurricane hit on 10/11, one must go back 3 days in describing it.

For several days, the weather had been threatening. Nothing unusual, however. It was not until the night of 10/10 that the barometer fell indicating the proximity of a hurricane.

The people never secured or took any precautionary measures because the signs of the oncoming storm became apparent late in the evening. People had already gone to bed. They had no warning as they fell asleep. Boats were left lying at their usual moorings, not secured for a hurricane.

The storm hit hurricane proportion at 9 the morning of 10/11. Winds were steady at 75 mph. Gusts exceeded 100 mph.

Unprecedented rain. In a 5 hour period, 8 1/2 inches.

Fortunately, only 2 lives were lost.

Damage was major. Most buildings down, vessels here, there and everywhere except where they should have been, the few buildings left standing were roof free.

The damage of a 100 mph hurricane in 1909 did as much damage then as a Category 5 would do today. A difference about 50 mph between the 2. The reason why the damage was comparable to today’s Category 5 is that there were no building codes and structures built consistent with code requirements.

Thus was the Hurricane of 10/11/1909.

Tonight my blog talk radio show. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou.

Guaranteed, I will not be talking about hurricanes. Too much other material re Trump, coronavirus and the police. Guaranteed to be an exciting show.

Join me at 9 for a fast moving hard hitting half hour. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

Enjoy your day!

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