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Mock, C.J., M. Chenoweth, I. Altamirano , M.D. Rodgers, and R. García-Herrera.  The Great New Orleans Hurricane of 1812.  Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 91: 1653-1663.
Mock, C.J., M. Chenoweth, I. Altamirano , M.D. Rodgers, and R. García-Herrera. The Great New Orleans Hurricane of 1812. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 91: 1653-1663.

Continued: Hurricane

“A hurricane like the one in August 1812 would rank among the worst Louisiana hurricanes in dollar damage if it occurred today,” said Mock. “Hurricane Betsey was 100 miles to the west. Katrina was to the east. A 1915 hurricane came from the South. By knowing the track and intensity, as well as storm surge, of the August 1812 hurricane, we have another worst-case-scenario benchmark for hurricanes. If a hurricane like it happened today -- and it could happen -- it would mean absolute devastation.”

Mock has spent the last decade conducting research and creating a history of hurricanes and severe weather of the Eastern U.S. that dates back hundreds of years. Using newspapers, plantation records, diaries and ship logs, he has created a database that gives scientists the longitudinal data they’ve lacked. His research has been funded by nearly $700,000 in grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Mock began researching the August 1812 hurricane along with other early Louisiana hurricanes in 2006. It took 18 months for him to reconstruct the 1812 storm’s complete track.

Newspaper accounts, which included five from Louisiana and 17 from other states, described hourly timing of the storm’s impact, wind direction and intensity, rainfall, tide height and damage to trees and buildings.

The Orleans Gazette description of the impact of storm surge on the levees is one example:

“The levee almost entirely destroyed; the beach covered from fragments of vessels, merchandize, trunks, and here and there the eye falling on a mangled corpse. In short, what a few hours before was life and property, presented to the astonished spectator only death and ruin,” reported the newspaper.

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