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Hazardous Heat in the Western U.S.; Heavy Rain and Flooding Potential in the Southern Rockies

Widespread high temperatures in the 90s with heat indices exceeding 100 degrees will persist across the western U.S. this weekend into next week. Some daily high temperature records are forecast to be tied or broken. Monsoon conditions continue to linger across the Southern Rockies posing a heavy rainfall threat which may lead to additional flash flooding concerns. Read More >


Hurricane Bob

Hurricane Bob developed in the central Bahamas on August 16, then steadily intensified and reached hurricane status on the evening of August 17. Bob continued to strengthen during the next 48 hours, as it began an acceleration north-northeastward, paralleling the East Coast. The eye of Hurricane Bob passed over Block Island, Rhode Island at approximately 1:30 PM, and made landfall over Newport, Rhode Island shortly before 2 PM.

Hurricane Bob brought sustained hurricane force winds to the immediate coastal communities of Rhode Island and most of southeast Massachusetts. Strong tropical storm force winds blew across the remainder of the region, with many areas receiving gusts to hurricane force east of the Connecticut River. Wind damage to trees and utility poles was common and resulted in numerous power outages. Over 60 percent of the residents across southeast Rhode Island and southeast Massachusetts lost power. Damage was also extensive to apple and peach orchards across these areas.

Coastal communities bore the brunt of the storm, with sustained winds between 75 to 100 mph. Peak wind gusts to 125 mph were recorded on Cape Cod in the towns of Brewster and North Truro, as well as in Wethersfield, Connecticut. The highest sustained wind of 100 mph, was recorded in North Truro. Block Island reported sustained winds of 90 mph, with gusts in excess of 105 mph (maximum speed of equipment). Wind gusts to near 100 mph were recorded in Newport and by the Navy Ship Samuel B. Roberts, which was riding out the storm on the east passage between Newport and Jamestown, Rhode Island. Additionally, there were four reports of tornadoes as Bob came ashore. The lowest barometric pressure was recorded by the USS Valdez while in the east passage of Narragansett Bay, with a reading of 28.47 inches.

Hurricane Bob caused a storm surge of 5 to 8 feet along the Rhode Island shore, but drove a surge of 10 to 15 feet into Buzzards Bay. The Buzzards Bay shore east to Cape Cod was hardest hit. The highest surges, of 12 to 15 feet, were observed in Onset, Bourne, Mashpee and Wareham, at the head of Buzzard's Bay. Cove Road, in Mattapoisett, Massachusetts had 29 of 37 homes destroyed, while Angelica Point, Massachusetts lost 32 of 35 homes along the shore. Boat damage was significant, as many boats were torn from their moorings. Extensive beach erosion occurred along the shore from Westerly, Rhode Island eastward. Some south facing beach locations on Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket islands lost up to 50 feet of beach to erosion.

Significant rainfall of 3 to 6 inches fell across all but southeast Rhode Island and eastward to Cape Cod, where less than 1 inch fell. The heaviest rainfall of over 7 inches affected western Rhode Island and extreme eastern Connecticut. Foster, Rhode Island had the highest amount of rain with 7.01 inches.

Bob was responsible for seventeen deaths along the eastern sea board. In southern New England, six deaths occurred in Connecticut. This includes two children who died from a fire started by a candle. Total damage in Southern New England was approximately 680 million dollars.

This information was taken from "Southern New England Tropical Storms and Hurricanes, A Ninety-eight Year Summary 1909-1997", by David R. Vallee and Michael R. Dion, National Weather Service, Taunton, MA.

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Above: Doppler radar at 11 AM EDT on August 19th 1991. Above: GOES visible satellite image of Hurricane Bob at 4 PM on August 18th 1991, as the eye was becoming distinct. Above: GOES visible satellite image of Hurricane Bob during the early morning on August 19th 1991.
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Above: The track and categories of Hurricane Bob. Above: Hurricane Bob's track and rainfall distribution. Above: Satellite photo as well as the track of Bob
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Above: Plotted isotachs from Hurricane Bob. There was an unofficial wind gust of 125 mph at Cuttyhunk Island. Above: Plotted storm surge heights in feet. Above: Graph of Woods Hole, MA water levels. Woods hold tide gage measured a 6 foot surge.
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Above: A view of boats washed ashore between Northon's Boatyard in Warwick, and Chepuwanoxet Island. Image by the Providence Journal. Above: Aerial view of the Coast Guard Restaurant along Narragansett's Ocean Road after the storm hit. Image by the Providence Journal. Above: Workers remove the mast from the vessel Fulis a Peux on the Jamestown waterfront the day after Hurricane Bob. Image by the Providence Journal.
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Above: Hurricane Bob damage in Falmouth – wind 80 mph with gusts to 120 mph. Picture courtesy of Doc Taylor. Above: East Falmouth seawall damage. Picture courtesy of Doc Taylor. Above: Hurricane Bob damage at Marthas Vineyard state park.
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Above: Before and during at a house in Menauhant, MA. Pictures courtesy of Doc Taylor. Above: Before and during view from Menauhant Yacht Club. Pictures courtesy of Doc Taylor.
Above: Before and during Hurricane Bob near East Falmouth, MA. Pictures courtesy of Doc Taylor. Above: Before and during Hurricane Bob, the view from Menauhant Yacht Club. Pictures courtesy of Doc Taylor.