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Episode 683             Episode 685
Episode 684

1896 Cedar Keys hurricane
Wed, 2019-Mar-20 01:08 UTC
Length - 5:44

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Welcome to featured Wiki of the Day where we read the summary of the featured Wikipedia article every day.

The featured article for Wednesday, 20 March 2019 is 1896 Cedar Keys hurricane.

The 1896 Cedar Keys hurricane was a powerful and destructive tropical cyclone that devastated much of the East Coast of the United States, starting with Florida's Cedar Keys, near the end of September 1896. The storm's rapid movement allowed it to maintain much of its intensity after landfall and cause significant damage over a broad area; as a result, it became one of the costliest United States hurricanes at the time. The fourth tropical cyclone of the 1896 Atlantic hurricane season, it formed by September 22, likely from a tropical wave, before crossing the Caribbean Sea just south of the Greater Antilles. It entered the Gulf of Mexico as the equivalent of a major hurricane on the Saffir–Simpson scale, and struck the Cedar Keys—an offshore island chain that includes the island and city of Cedar Key—early on the morning of September 29 with winds of 125 mph (205 km/h). The area was inundated by a devastating 10.5 ft (3.2 m) storm surge that undermined buildings, washed out the connecting railroad to the mainland, and submerged the smaller, outlying islands, where 31 people were killed. Strong winds also destroyed many of the red cedar trees that played an important role in the economy of the region.

The cyclone continued inland over the Suwannee River valley, causing widespread destruction in dozens of communities across interior northern Florida; in the hardest-hit settlements, intense winds left few trees or buildings standing. The hurricane razed 5,000 sq mi (13,000 km2) of dense pine forests in northern Florida, crippling the turpentine industry. Crops and livestock were destroyed, and thousands of individuals were left homeless. The storm killed at least 70 people in mainland Florida, while inflicting approximately $3 million in property damage across the state. Speeding north, the hurricane ravaged southeastern Georgia and the Sea Islands. In Savannah, a 45-minute onslaught of fierce winds unroofed thousands of structures. Parks, cemeteries, and streets in the city were littered with fallen trees, and the Savannah River saw dozens of wrecked boats. At least 37 people in Georgia lost their lives. Strong winds and high tides battered southeastern South Carolina, ruining rice crops and peeling off roofs. The storm then tracked through mostly rural sectors of North Carolina and did significant wind damage in the Raleigh–Durham area.

Although the hurricane was weakening and transitioning into an extratropical cyclone late on September 29, its rapid forward movement contributed to high wind velocities across parts of the Mid-Atlantic states, with gusts approaching 100 mph (160 km/h). Additionally, torrential rains fell west of the storm's track. In Virginia, cities and agricultural districts alike suffered extensive damage. Flash flooding in the Shenandoah Valley culminated in the failure of an earthen dam upstream from Staunton, unleashing a torrent of water that swept homes from their foundations and ravaged the town's commerce district. In Washington, D.C., thousands of trees were uprooted or snapped, communications were severed, and localized streaks of violent gusts damaged many public and private buildings. The White House grounds were left in disarray. High tides in the Chesapeake Bay triggered flooding in coastal cities. In Pennsylvania, flooding rains and powerful wind gusts produced widespread destruction. Railroads in western parts of the state were plagued by washouts and landslides, while in southeastern areas, hundreds of barns were destroyed. The storm totally demolished a 5,390 ft (1,640 m) bridge over the Susquehanna River, while the Gettysburg Battlefield lost hundreds of trees, a few of which struck and damaged historical monuments. Strong winds extended as far east as Long Island. Heavy rainfall reached west into Ohio, and the hurricane's extratropical remnants wrought havoc on shipping in the Great Lakes. Along the storm's path, it caused at least 202 deaths and wrought more than $9.6 million in damage.

This recording reflects the Wikipedia text as of 01:08 UTC on Wednesday, 20 March 2019.

For the full current version of the article, see 1896 Cedar Keys hurricane on Wikipedia.

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This has been Kimberly. Thank you for listening to featured Wiki of the Day.


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