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Pat Shingleton: "Father Hurricane"

1 year 10 months 4 hours ago July 23, 2015 Jul 23, 2015 Thursday, July 23 2015 July 23, 2015 3:00 AM in Pat Shingleton Column
By: Pat Shingleton

The recent opening of the Cuban Embassy in Washington and future opening of the American Embassy in Havana suggests a renewal of relations long ago.  Meteorological relationships with Cuba and the United States were never breached following Fidel Castro's decision to align with the Soviet Union in the late 1950s. Cooperation is extended, especially during episodes of tropical storms and hurricanes. On July 22, 1893 Father Benito Vines died in Havana, Cuba. Father Vines is regarded as the preeminent hurricane scholar of the 19th century. As director of the observatory at Belen College in Havana in 1870, he catalogued meticulous weather observations and conditions, especially during tropical disturbances. His observations became a climatological catalog for future forecasts. Notations included excerpts expressing brick-red sunsets, pounding surf and evaporating cumulus clouds at the approach of a hurricane. His keen sense of weather allowed him to understand the dynamics of cyclones and by 1875 he issued accurate hurricane warnings. He is recognized as "Father Hurricane" and invented the Antilles Cyclonoscope for mariners.

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