CLIMATOLOGY

Storms of the Centuries

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Science  08 Jun 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5523, pp. 1801
DOI: 10.1126/science.292.5523.1801c

Although Atlantic hurricanes frequently strike the southeastern United States and the Gulf of Mexico coast, some reach as far north as New England. The most recent devastating hurricane hit New England in 1938; the storm surge covered parts of Long Island, produced widespread destruction, and devastated many coastal areas. Donnelly et al. used the historical records of major New England hurricanes, which extend back to 1635, to develop a 700-year sedimentary record from a salt marsh in Rhode Island. Hurricanes with large storm surges deposited a clear sandy layer in the marsh. Dating these layers showed that major hurricanes, which produced storm surges that flooded the marsh, have occurred about once per century during this period. — BH

Geol. Soc. Am. Bull.113, 714 (2001).

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