Saturday, November 3, 2007

A Not So Merry Hurricane Noel

It's just after 10:00 p.m. here in Hillsborough, New Brunswick, not far from the Bay of Fundy coast, and so far Hurricane Noel hasn't presented much of a problem for us. Rain started this afternoon around 4:00, becoming heavy by 7:00pm. The wind is starting to pick up considerably now, but nothing too serious, yet. Our house is in the trees - this might be a good thing...or bad. We scouted around the property, looking for potential blow downs this afternoon, while putting away all the lawn furniture, plant pots and other vestiges of summer.

An hour ago, I let the dog out. She took five steps off the veranda, then did an abrupt about-face. I hope she's ready to hold it all night. We may go through an entire bottle of Bach's Rescue Remedy tonight...she hates the wind.

It's sort of eerie; this knowing something big is coming, but not knowing how big. We get a few storms here along the bay, but certainly nothing like our southern neighbours. Fortunately our high tide was two hours ago, so the flow will be ebbing with the worst of the storm.

Weather like this always brings back stories about the Bay of Fundy's Perfect Storm. It was October 4-5, 1869 when the Saxby Gale hit New Brunswick's Bay of Fundy coast. The storm was predicted, exactly to the day, one year earlier by a navigator and amateur astronomer in the British Navy, but no one paid much attention, thinking him somewhat daft.

But, sure enough, that October morning, just south of Saint John, NB, a thunderstorm coming from the west collided with a tropical storm advancing up the eastern seaboard. Wind gusting to 200 kilometers per hour caused waves that swamped unwary vessels and caused severe flooding along the Fundy Coast. The high waves combined with a high springan tide and the strong winds to create a tidal surge that flooded the low lying areas and breached the dyke system that kept out the high Bay of Fundy tides. These were the highest tides ever recorded along the eastern seaboard. Many lives were lost before the winds abated.

It should be a wild night. Probably not much sleep.

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