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Tag: hurricane

Herald of the Storms: Isaac Cline

Today’s post comes from Ashley Mattingly, an archivist at the National Archives at St. Louis.

Photograph of Isaac Cline. (National Archives at St. Louis)

Photograph of Isaac Cline. (National Archives at St. Louis)

During a time when formal scientific weather forecasting was in its infancy, Isaac Cline was a man with a penchant for predicting disasters.

Born in 1861, Cline was a perpetually driven man who joined the U.S. Signal Corps’s weather service in 1882. In 1891, when meteorologists were transferred to Department of Agriculture, Cline moved to the newly created U.S. Weather Bureau.

Cline had a medical degree from the University of Arkansas in 1885, a Ph.D. from Texas Christian University in 1896, and a passion for the study of weather conditions. He spent years observing and writing about the affects of weather and climate on people’s health and mortality.

In 1895 Cline shifted his focus to the practice of more accurately predicting temperature readings to benefit crop production. He also began to focus on disaster prediction, and during the Spanish-American War (1898) he established a storm-warning system along the Mexican coast to help protect the U.S. Naval fleet from hurricanes.

In April 1900, while Cline and his expectant wife, Cora May Ballew Cline, were living in Galveston, TX, with their three children, he successfully predicted the rupture of the Colorado River dam in Austin, TX, saving countless lives.

That September he predicted another impending disaster: a … [ Read all ]

Archives Spotlight: National Archives in Boston

The National Archives holds millions of cubic feet of permanently valuable records relating to the Federal Government. Laid end to end, the papers in our holdings would circle the Earth more than 57 times.

But they are not kept in one place. Instead, we have archives in different regions of the United States. The records held there are related to the geographic area. Each of these archival facilities has a research room, where you are welcome to get a researcher card and do some work in our records.

This photograph was taken in Winthrop, MA, during the height of Hurricane Cindy and shows the heavy waves slamming into the flood walls in Winthrop Harbor. Records of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, RG 77, Construction Photographs.

The National Archives at Boston holds about 30,000 cubic feet of records dating from 1789 to the 1970s. These documents were created or received by the Federal courts and over 90 Federal agencies in New England.

If you are interested in maritime history, this is the place for you. There are records from the Boston Navy Yard and Portsmouth Navy Yard as well records on lighthouses, life saving stations, and other coastal facilities. Researchers can find information on private vessels by looking into the U.S Customs Service records; descriptions and measurements, names of owners and masters, and mortgage information may be … [ Read all ]

Tornado saves capital, scares British

The Taking of the City of Washington by the British Forces Under Major General Ross on August 24, 1814... the public property destroyed amounted to thirty Million of Dollars. (148-GW-478)

"The Taking of the City of Washington by the British Forces Under Major General Ross on August 24, 1814... the public property destroyed amounted to thirty Million of Dollars." (148-GW-478)

One hundred and ninety-six years ago today, the British sacked the District of Columbia. They were, in turn, sacked by a tornado.

In 1814, the British wanted revenge. U.S. troops had burned the legislative building,  government structures, and private warehouses in the Battle of York (modern-day Toronto), and the Brits were inclined to teach their former colonies a lesson in how to properly sack a city.

Their charge on the American capital city was led by British Maj. Gen. Robert Ross and Adm. George Cockburn, who burned the Capitol, the White House, the Treasury Department, and plenty of other government buildings without losing a single soldier.

Cockburn was, well, a cocky fellow. Aside from burning much of the District, he did it with an unapologetic gusto. He supped on the dinner that had been prepared for President James Madison before burning down the White House.

While marching back through the city, he also made a stop at the National Intelligencer, where the editor had been “telling some tough stories” about him, and later had all the c’s removed from the press so the editor could no longer spell his name. As a testament to Cockburn’s ego, when he … [ Read all ]