Friday, October 05, 2007

Bay of Fundy today in history

It's an anniversary of sorts today around the Bay of Fundy. A tropical storm, known as the Saxby Gale, struck our region 138 years ago today. Now I know you may be thinking 'big deal' but the Saxby Gale tale is still very much alive in local folklore. Fundy folk are known to comment (such as when we had our big Fall equinox tide last week): "yes, well, that was a really big tide but nothing compared to the Saxby Gale!"

From October 4 to 5, 1869, a Category 2 hurricane with winds 105 mph coincided with an unusually high tide to create the perfect storm. The hurricane and an additional 6.5 foot surge of tidal waters caused extensive destruction to port facilities and communities along the Bay of Fundy coast.

The hurricane also produced waves which, combined with the storm surge, breached dykes protecting low-lying farmland in the Minas Basin and the Tantramar Marshes, sending ocean waters surging far inland to inundate farms and communities. Sailing ships in various harbors were tossed about and/or broken up against wharves and breakwaters which were also destroyed. And over 100 people lost their lives. Fortunately such a storm has never again occured on the Bay of Fundy...

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