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bubba

"Hurrcun Wisdom" and Hebert's Boxes

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bubba

Horrible unspeakable tragedies have been experienced throughout the Caribbean that marginalize any particular hurricane observations by individuals. However, long-time Floridians did have ideas and criteria that they used to judge hurricanes that may have an effect on their area.

"Hurrcun Wisdom" from my Granddad and other similar long-timers in the Palm Beaches, viewed a specific time-frame ( Aug.15-Sept. 15) as the period known for the incredibly vicious hurricanes that moved eastward towards Florida. We now know that these are the powerful Cape Verde's that are born as thunderstorms off the African coast that passed through the Cape Verde Islands. My Granddad and his buddies also believed that if a hurricane was in proximity to Puerto Rico, then the Palm Beaches could be exposed to the wrath of one of these monsters during the Aug.15-Sept.15 window

Thereafter, came the less powerful but many times destructive "Sidewinder's". When old-timers in the Palm Beaches became aware of a hurricane that was located south of Jamaica in the later season, they went on high alert. These were hurricanes that were spawned deep in the Caribbean and when they affected the Palm Beach area, with few exceptions, they moved from west to east across the state. It should be noted that these are simple rules of thumb and there are exceptions. Hurricanes that affect the Keys dance to a logic all their own. The narrow parameters of the Palm Beach area observations do not even necessarily apply to Miami. Also, while it is the Sidewinder's that crossed the state of Florida from west to east after the passing of Cape Verde season, a large number of these later storms went on to become severe October Gulf of Mexico storms.

My Granddad lived through numerous major hurricanes during his life. Specifically, 1926, 1928, 1933, 1935, 1947, 1949,1960 (Donna),1965 (Betsy) and 1992 (Andrew). Andrew was a Homestead/Miami storm that had no effect on this area whatsoever. Even the 1926 Miami Hurricane had limited effect upon the Palm Beach area. However, the 1928 Palm Beach/Lake Okeechobee Hurricane, which did pass through Puerto Rico, was the most devastating hurricane that he directly experienced. I listened to him and five of his long time buddies, who were then in their 80's, who lived through it and spoke of their experiences.

The 1928 Hurricane struck the Palm Beach area in the late Sunday afternoon of September 16, 1928 (minor exception). Reports state that the winds ranged between 125 and 145 miles an hour sustained from the east side of the hurricane for two hours before the passing of the eye wall of the hurricane. To a man, they all believed the estimated wind speed to be grossly less than what they experienced. The eye lasted approximately 30 minutes and all described it as lending a greenish tint to the dark night. All experienced variations of severe nausea, vomiting, severe headaches and ear popping during the eye of the hurricane. These maladies may have been lucky because fewer people ventured out during the lull of the eye. Those who did were never accounted for.

After the passing of the eye wall, the strongest and most devastating wind of the storm came from the exact opposite direction. After all structures had been greatly weakened, they were hit by the highest winds from the opposite and unsuspecting side. This is when the real damage transpired and when all parties uniformly watched their structures collapse. All hell broke loose. After that, all agreed that it was pretty much hanging on for their lives until the winds finally subsided.

Once again, to a man, they all shared approximately the same experience. Whatever structure they occupied was largely destroyed, each was injured in various degrees and as quickly as possible, they all journeyed towards the Glades after tending to their injuries because this is where the real hell took place. The weather remained terrible and the roads were virtually impassable but by combinations of trucks, boats and canoes they eventually arrived where the real tragedy had occurred. Their hopes of saving people were quickly diminished when they witnessed the destruction and understood their role to be body bag collectors. Some of these gentlemen had served in World War II and agreed that what they witnessed in the Glades was far more horrific.

The 1928 Hurricane remains classified as a Category 4, but some things don't add up. According to the record books, the highest wind experienced in Palm Beach County took place in the August 1949 Hurricane and the wind speed was clocked by the anemometer at the Jupiter Lighthouse to be 153 MPH. However, during the 1928 Hurricane, the anemometer at the Jupiter Lighthouse was blown away and the structure of the lighthouse was moved 11 inches off its foundation. One would guess logically that a wind sufficient to move the structure would certainly be greater than the official highest wind speed existing in the record book.

Interestingly, the old-timer "Hurricun Wisdom" apparently has gained some support of real scientists at the National Hurricane Center. In the late 1970's, National Hurricane Center forecaster, Paul Hebert, formulated a prognostication tool that he applied to identify Hurricanes that would affect South Florida. He located two separate regions that became known as Hebert's Box 1 and Hebert's Box 2. For the earlier season Cape Verde's, he identified a 335 mile x 335 Square mile geographic region between Latitude 15-20 North and Longitude 60-65 West. This coordinates with an area between the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. If a hurricane passes through this area (Hebert's Box 1), South Florida should be on high alert. Hurricane Irma passed through this region on September 6, 2017. Hurricane Marie also passed through this region but did so on September 23, 2017, beyond the time-frame for Palm Beach area concern

The Hebert's Box 2 was utilized for the later season hurricanes that could affect South Florida (Sidewinder's). This is a similar box located near the Cayman Islands between 15-20 North latitude and 80-85 West latitude. Hebert theorized that if a hurricane passed through this geographic region, South Florida should be on high alert. Hurricane Wilma, which affected Palm Beach County and many nearby areas, passed this region on October 18, 2005. This is also a location that may also lead to a later season hurricane, possibly severe, that is experienced in the Gulf of Mexico between the Florida Panhandle and Texas. By the way, Hurricane Nate passed through Hebert's Box 2 several days ago.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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DoomsDave

Thanks for sharing.

I'll bet that the discrepancies in reported wind speeds might be at least in part the result of anemometers getting destroyed by the winds, as happened in Andrew in 1992.

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Yunder Wækraus
On 10/6/2017, 2:22:05, bubba said:

Horrible unspeakable tragedies have been experienced throughout the Caribbean that marginalize any particular hurricane observations by individuals. However, long-time Floridians did have ideas and criteria that they used to judge hurricanes that may have an effect on their area.

"Hurrcun Wisdom" from my Granddad and other similar long-timers in the Palm Beaches, viewed a specific time-frame ( Aug.15-Sept. 15) as the period known for the incredibly vicious hurricanes that moved eastward towards Florida. We now know that these are the powerful Cape Verde's that are born as thunderstorms off the African coast that passed through the Cape Verde Islands. My Granddad and his buddies also believed that if a hurricane was in proximity to Puerto Rico, then the Palm Beaches could be exposed to the wrath of one of these monsters during the Aug.15-Sept.15 window

Thereafter, came the less powerful but many times destructive "Sidewinder's". When old-timers in the Palm Beaches became aware of a hurricane that was located south of Jamaica in the later season, they went on high alert. These were hurricanes that were spawned deep in the Caribbean and when they affected the Palm Beach area, with few exceptions, they moved from west to east across the state. It should be noted that these are simple rules of thumb and there are exceptions. Hurricanes that affect the Keys dance to a logic all their own. The narrow parameters of the Palm Beach area observations do not even necessarily apply to Miami. Also, while it is the Sidewinder's that crossed the state of Florida from west to east after the passing of Cape Verde season, a large number of these later storms went on to become severe October Gulf of Mexico storms.

My Granddad lived through numerous major hurricanes during his life. Specifically, 1926, 1928, 1933, 1935, 1947, 1949,1960 (Donna),1965 (Betsy) and 1992 (Andrew). Andrew was a Homestead/Miami storm that had no effect on this area whatsoever. Even the 1926 Miami Hurricane had limited effect upon the Palm Beach area. However, the 1928 Palm Beach/Lake Okeechobee Hurricane, which did pass through Puerto Rico, was the most devastating hurricane that he directly experienced. I listened to him and five of his long time buddies, who were then in their 80's, who lived through it and spoke of their experiences.

The 1928 Hurricane struck the Palm Beach area in the late Sunday afternoon of September 16, 1928 (minor exception). Reports state that the winds ranged between 125 and 145 miles an hour sustained from the east side of the hurricane for two hours before the passing of the eye wall of the hurricane. To a man, they all believed the estimated wind speed to be grossly less than what they experienced. The eye lasted approximately 30 minutes and all described it as lending a greenish tint to the dark night. All experienced variations of severe nausea, vomiting, severe headaches and ear popping during the eye of the hurricane. These maladies may have been lucky because fewer people ventured out during the lull of the eye. Those who did were never accounted for.

After the passing of the eye wall, the strongest and most devastating wind of the storm came from the exact opposite direction. After all structures had been greatly weakened, they were hit by the highest winds from the opposite and unsuspecting side. This is when the real damage transpired and when all parties uniformly watched their structures collapse. All hell broke loose. After that, all agreed that it was pretty much hanging on for their lives until the winds finally subsided.

Once again, to a man, they all shared approximately the same experience. Whatever structure they occupied was largely destroyed, each was injured in various degrees and as quickly as possible, they all journeyed towards the Glades after tending to their injuries because this is where the real hell took place. The weather remained terrible and the roads were virtually impassable but by combinations of trucks, boats and canoes they eventually arrived where the real tragedy had occurred. Their hopes of saving people were quickly diminished when they witnessed the destruction and understood their role to be body bag collectors. Some of these gentlemen had served in World War II and agreed that what they witnessed in the Glades was far more horrific.

The 1928 Hurricane remains classified as a Category 4, but some things don't add up. According to the record books, the highest wind experienced in Palm Beach County took place in the August 1949 Hurricane and the wind speed was clocked by the anemometer at the Jupiter Lighthouse to be 153 MPH. However, during the 1928 Hurricane, the anemometer at the Jupiter Lighthouse was blown away and the structure of the lighthouse was moved 11 inches off its foundation. One would guess logically that a wind sufficient to move the structure would certainly be greater than the official highest wind speed existing in the record book.

Interestingly, the old-timer "Hurricun Wisdom" apparently has gained some support of real scientists at the National Hurricane Center. In the late 1970's, National Hurricane Center forecaster, Paul Hebert, formulated a prognostication tool that he applied to identify Hurricanes that would affect South Florida. He located two separate regions that became known as Hebert's Box 1 and Hebert's Box 2. For the earlier season Cape Verde's, he identified a 335 mile x 335 Square mile geographic region between Latitude 15-20 North and Longitude 60-65 West. This coordinates with an area between the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. If a hurricane passes through this area (Hebert's Box 1), South Florida should be on high alert. Hurricane Irma passed through this region on September 6, 2017. Hurricane Marie also passed through this region but did so on September 23, 2017, beyond the time-frame for Palm Beach area concern

The Hebert's Box 2 was utilized for the later season hurricanes that could affect South Florida (Sidewinder's). This is a similar box located near the Cayman Islands between 15-20 North latitude and 80-85 West latitude. Hebert theorized that if a hurricane passed through this geographic region, South Florida should be on high alert. Hurricane Wilma, which affected Palm Beach County and many nearby areas, passed this region on October 18, 2005. This is also a location that may also lead to a later season hurricane, possibly severe, that is experienced in the Gulf of Mexico between the Florida Panhandle and Texas. By the way, Hurricane Nate passed through Hebert's Box 2 several days ago.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I LOVE this! Thank you for sharing!!!! Perhaps your grandad saw my granddaddy (father's father) and his brothers in the Glades. They had survived the 1928 storm largely unscathed and were immediately trying to gather survivors (= bloated corpses stripped by wind and chewed up by sawgrass). My father's mother and her parents were in Dania, I believe, for the '28 storm. I think that great grandfather also headed toward the Glades for the fruitless rescue efforts. (My father's mother's younger brother's future wife lost a lot of family in that storm.)

I agree: the 1928 herricken (as my uncle would say) was more powerful than is officially recognized. We'll never know the true power it had, but your family's memories and my family's memories make no bones about it: in 100+ years of combined family memories of hurricanes, there never has been another like the '28 storm. I sure hope we never get another one like it.

I appreciate your saying that survivors who later saw war acknowledged that the death and destruction in 1928 were comparable. I was told that the survivors in the Glades all had what we would now call PTSD from the storm and the carnage they all witnessed thereafter. I know I don't understand what they felt, saw, and smelled, and I hope I never experience something that makes me understand what they endured :-(

Regarding folk wisdom in Florida: it was hard earned, but as fast as it was acquired by families, the vast numbers of newcomers diluted it. When my granddaddy built his first (and only) house in South Bay in the early 30s (probably about 1934), he was not far from the 1928 storm. He insisted that the house be built of Dade County pine (a now-endangered native pine that somehow turns to a hardwood once it cures) and that the boards be nailed in diagonally. The belief was that doing this would make them stronger in the face of winds. I wonder if there's any truth to that. I can say this, though: the house still stands after more than 80 years of Florida storms.

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bubba

Yunder,

My Grandad was a contractor and all houses he built after his experience of the 1928 event included “Dade County Pine” crisscrossing all structures. A Brother-In-Law of mine lives in one of his houses and we saw it when he was doing some renovations. Made him feel safe! Sounds like our family members were simpatico!

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Yunder Wækraus
1 hour ago, bubba said:

Yunder,

My Grandad was a contractor and all houses he built after his experience of the 1928 event included “Dade County Pine” crisscrossing all structures. A Brother-In-Law of mine lives in one of his houses and we saw it when he was doing some renovations. Made him feel safe! Sounds like our family members were simpatico!

Did he build in the Glades? A few years ago, a lying roofer tried to swindle my aunt out of the Dade pine in the house. He offered to remove all that bad old wood :-) The family knew better. 

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bubba

Yunder,

To my knowledge, he did not. He did a great deal of building in the north-end of PB. He did 10 other houses on my brother-in-law’s street (most of which were demolished and replaced by mega-mansions). Think about all that Dade County Pine that was thoughtlessly thrown away.

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