New inlet in Hatteras Island created by Hurricane Isabel in September 2003
In the event of a catastrophic disaster around Buzzards Bay, Cape Cod, or Massachusetts, go to these sites:
FEMA Hurricane Planning
Planning for disasters website.
The Federal Disaster Management disaster information website.
Local Planning and Preparedness
Current Storm Information
Track Storms with this IR Moisture Map of the East Coast (updated hourly)
Watch effects of local storms on local NOAA weather buoys
You can watch the approach and effects of local storms on local sea conditions by following the links or studying the graphs below.
Buzzards Bay Data Buoy BUZM3 wind and wave conditions, updated hourly
Buzzards Bay Data Buoy 44070 wind and wave conditions, updated hourly
Check also the Nantucket Buoy data for wave heights (graphs shown at bottom of this page).
Recent Wave Amplitude Period and Wave Height (previous 5 days) at the SE of Nantucket Buoy:
Wave amplitude period is a good indicator of distant, severe storms. For example, during quiet periods, the period between wave swells may be 4 seconds, and wave heights 5 feet or less. However, when Nor’easters or hurricanes and other storms persist offshore, wave height, and the time between wave swell crests can increase dramatically, and will be shown on the graphs below.
Near Real Time Wave Period at buoy SE of Nantucket (long wave periods generally coincide with large offshore storms)
Woods Hole Short Term Tide Projections
NOAA Woods Hole Hydrograph with forcasted tide
Compare this to the above Woods Hole Tide data. The same real time data is compared to a forecasted tide based on current weather conditions.
Hurricane Preparedness Information
Historic Floods and Droughts in Massachusetts
Past Hurricanes Affecting Buzzards Bay
1938 “souvenir” newspaper issue by New Bedford Standard Times (10 MB pdf file). Great photos and accounts of the Hurricane of 1938 two weeks after the disaster. The Hurricane hit Buzzards Bay on September 21.Read also this well illustrated book, NEW ENGLAND HURRICANE (1938) (25 MB pdf).
Great Hurricane of 1815
The Hurricane of 1815 was probably comparable in intensity to the Hurricane of 1938, or perhaps greater (Boldt et at, 2010; Marine Geology 275:127�”139).
Brief 1816 Account of the Great Gale of 1815
This account, was published in 1816 by the Massachusetts Historical Society.
1847 summary of various accounts of the Great Gale of 1815
This account was published in an 1846 history of Rochester and Mattapoisett.
Environmental Management Issues associated with Storms and Sea Level Rise
Storms and high seas erode the coast and flood low-lying areas. In addition, since the last ice age 10,000 years ago, sea level has continued to rise. During recent centuries, relative sea level has risen an average of 1 foot per century on the east coast, and this rate of sea level rise is expected to increase with global warming. The combination of sea level rise and coastal erosion has changed many coastal areas in the US since European colonization of North America more than 400 years ago.
For environmental managers and regulators today, construction and development in storm flood zones, and areas of high erosion is an important concern, especially in terms of threats to human safety. Also important are the high public financial costs and economic impacts associated of replacing roads, loss of personal property, and public financing of flood insurance programs and emergency response, particularly in areas repeated damaged by storms. The links to the articles below discuss some of these public policy issues.
“Major” hurricane strikes (Categories 3 to 5) and total number of hurricane strikes in the US for each decade (data from NOAA).