SURPRISE 1972 STORM THAT HIT GEORGIA COAST

On May 23, 1972, a seemingly harmless subtropical depression was moving northeastward of the Carolina coast. This system lost our attention as it changed course in the mysterious Bermuda Triangle. When it intensified to storm strength on May 26, it was not given a name because in those days names were only given to storms that were entirely tropical. A subtropical was a half-breed, part of it contained cooler or drier air while the other part was very warm and moisture-laden. Since some subtropical storms had been causing damage as strong, if not stronger, than tropical storms, the National Hurricane Center started given names to subtropical storms in 2002 with one they called GUSTAV.

At the time, I wondered what effect adding these hybrid storms would do to the number of storms for each season. With all the attention on the number of storms expected each season, as well as the number of tropical storm averages, these numbers would tend to be higher after 2002 when the National Hurricane Center started naming subtropical storms. Maybe the review of previous seasons that is being done will solve this problem.

I now like the idea of naming subtropical storms because 40 years ago, the reports of high winds and many trees down in the Woodbine-Kingsland area of southeast Georgia was a shock to me. It taught me that the word “cyclone”, either subtropical or tropical, deserves respect.After all, the word comes from the Greek word “Cyclos”, which means “a coil of a snake”. I don’t know about you, but when I see a snake, it always gets my attention!

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