Pat Shingleton: "The Season Ends..."
Hurricane Season 2015 will end this Monday, November 30th. The season concludes with eleven
named storms, four hurricanes and two major hurricanes. Seasonal averages offer twelve,
six and two. Many hurricane seasons have lasted into December. Thanksgiving traditionally
signals the end of the season except for the year 1898. This is an example where calm weather,
the Saturday after Thanksgiving, rapidly deteriorated. A New England nor'easter quickly advanced
to a tropical storm and hurricane status, resulting in 90-mile-per-hour winds and 30-foot-seas.
In those days, steamships made regular runs from port to port, transporting supplies and
passengers to various locations. These vessels were designed for speed, especially within
bays and coastal areas. One steamship, "The Portland," was a well-known ship with an equally
well-known Captain known as a "storm racer." It was advised that he remain in port, instead his
ship sank that fateful Saturday at 9:30 pm a time that was verified by pocket watches that came
ashore. The storm was named, "The 1898 Hurricane" and claimed 190 lives and was one of the
worst in New England history. One hundred and fifty ships went down or were scuttled on that
fateful evening. In August, 2002 the wreckage of the Portland was located.