Pat Shingleton: "A Ship's Log and A Tragic Day..."
In July, 1795, The HMS Andromache encountered a hurricane off Barbados. Here was the ship’s log entry: “…9 o’clock, gale still increasing… At 11, a perfect hurricane of wind and rain…1/2 past 11, main topmast blown over side… ship labouring…” Weatherwise magazine noted that ancient observations differed among countries. Today, maritime agreements have uniform explanations. For example, winds designated as a 3 on the Beaufort Scale were an “easy gale” in English, a “loose wind" in French and a “light slab sail’ in Dutch. A “violent gale” in English was a “stormy” in Spanish. An English “typhoon” was classified it as a “huracan” or hurricane in Spanish and a “violent ouragon” or violent hurricane for the French. Another archived entry notes...Two days prior to the attack, 16 years ago, the Sunday edition of The New York Times noted that “fall is the city’s most glorious season with clear skies and a crackle in the air.” It proclaimed that perfect weather “means visitors pour into town…residents stay put until the moment summer evaporates.” The opening line in the official 9/11 Commission report was, “Tuesday, September 11, 2001, dawned temperate and nearly cloudless in the eastern United States.” The report stated, “For those heading to an airport, weather conditions could not have been better for a safe, pleasant journey.” One section, entitled Focus, included a write-up called “Hurricane Day,” explaining how in nine our of ten years since 1886, one tropical storm or hurricane has raged in the Atlantic on September 11th.