Tropical Storm Carrie (1972)

Tropical Storm Carrie
Tropical storm (SSHWS/NWS)
FormedAugust 29, 1972
DissipatedSeptember 5, 1972
Highest winds1-minute sustained: 70 mph (110 km/h)
Lowest pressure993 mbar (hPa); 29.32 inHg
Fatalities4 direct
Damage$1.78 million (1972 USD)
Areas affectedNew England, Atlantic Canada
Part of the 1972 Atlantic hurricane season

Tropical Storm Carrie was the third named storm of the 1972 Atlantic hurricane season. Carrie formed in late August and persisted into September, dissipating on September 5. The second named storm to make U.S. landfall, Carrie made landfall in Maine on September 4 after reaching a peak intensity of 70 mph (113 km/h). After landfall, Carrie dissipated over Atlantic Canada the following day.

Carrie left $1.78 million dollars (1972 USD, $8.12 million (2005 USD) in damage across New England, mainly from flooding and four fatalities.

Meteorological history

Map plotting the track and the intensity of the storm, according to the Saffir–Simpson scale

A tropical wave moved off the coast of Africa on August 15 and moved across the Atlantic Ocean without development. The wave almost dissipated north of the eastern Caribbean Sea due to an upper level low pressure system forming over Hispaniola. By August 28, the remnant low continued moving westward where it became stationary east of Florida. Thermal map charts by the National Hurricane Center suggested that the remnant low should remain a cold core system. On August 29, the low continued to move northward as the storm began to develop an area of low level circulation. Post 1972 best track data indicated that the low may have developed into a subtropical or tropical depression at that time period.[1][2]

On August 31, military hurricane hunters reported winds up to 60 mph (93 km/h) and a barometric pressure of 1002 millibars. The system was upgraded to tropical storm status and was named Carrie by the National Hurricane Center. After formation, Tropical Storm Carrie encountered strong wind shear while centered east of North Carolina. The wind shear caused Carrie to weaken to a 45 mph (72 km/h) tropical storm and the barometric pressure rose to 1007 millibars as the storm abruptly turned northwest.[3] The following day however, a trough in the westerlies caused the tropical storm to restrengthen. The interaction of the trough caused Carrie to become extratropical as its pressure dropped to 992 millibars. Carrie made landfall near Eastport, Maine as an extratropical storm on September 4 and continued moving northward before dissipating on September 5.[1]

Preparations and Impact

Small craft advisories and gale warnings were issued for the North Carolina coast although forecasters suggested that Carrie posed no serious threat for North Carolina. In New England gale warnings were issued from Cape May, New Jersey to Eastport, Maine.[1][4]

Sustained winds of 52-63 mph (83–102 km/h) were reported across Cape Cod. A weather station in coastal Massachusetts reported 70 mph (113 km/h) sustained winds. Cape Cod also received 6 inches (152.4 mm) of rain. Martha's Vineyard received 10 inches (254 mm) while the town of Chatham, Massachusetts also received 6 inches (152.4 mm) of rain. In Boston, rainfall up to 2-4 inches (50.8-101.6 mm) fell. The rough seas brought by Carrie cancelled ferry services between Martha's Vineyard and the mainland, stranding thousands of tourists. Police and other local emergency officials closed down two bridges crossing Cape Cod Canal which resulted in a traffic back up and several auto accidents that resulted in no injuries. Flash flooding also closed the eastbound lane of the Sagamore Bridge for two hours. There were three fatalities resulting from Carrie, all three were from boating accidents due to rough seas. Elsewhere along the Massachusetts coast, one person was rescued after being swept into the water during a family picnic. In Boston Harbor, strong winds from Carrie caused a steel structure under construction to collapse while power failures disrupted police and fire commutations and forced a local hospital to use emergency generators for 40 minutes.[1][5]

In Rhode Island, a weather station near Point Judith reported winds gusting to 80 mph (129 km/h). In Block Island, turbulent seas stirred by Carrie damaged over 100 small boats.[5][6] In Maine, Carrie brought heavy rains to the eastern portion of the state. In Eastport, rainfall up to 7.23 inches (178 mm) fell which caused minor coastal flooding. Winds between 35-40 mph (56–64 km/h) were reported in Portland and Augusta. The winds caused minor tree damage and scattered power outages. Offshore, one person was killed while diving near Acadia National Park. In Canada, the extratropical remnants of Carrie produced 35 mph (56 km/h) winds but no damage or fatalities were reported.[3][7]

Overall, Carrie left four fatalities and over $1.78 million dollars (1972 USD, $8.12 million (2005 USD) in damage.


After Carrie's impact on the Northeast United States, the population of Alexandrium fundyense (a poisonous form of algae native to Bay of Fundy) increased significantly and was blanketing the waters off the coast of New England. Scientists suggest that strong currents stirred by the storm had washed the algae further south. Since then, the species Alexandrium fundyense had bloomed every year.[8]

Due to the minimal damage, the name Carrie was not retired. A change in the naming policy in 1979 prevented further use of the name and as a result; this was the second time the name Carrie was used in the Atlantic basin.[9] The name was previously used in 1957.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d National Hurricane Center (1972) NHC Report on Carrie NOAA URL Accessed:October 18, 2006
  2. ^ Unisys (2006) Carrie Best Track Data URL Accessed:October 17, 2006
  3. ^ a b Unknown Hurricanes Affecting Maine since 1635 URL Accessed:October 18, 2006
  4. ^ United Press International Tropical Storm Carrie Aims Northward in the Atlantic Nevada State Journal URL Accessed:October 18, 2006
  5. ^ a b Associated Press Storm kills 3 in RegionThe Newport Daily News URL Accessed:October 17, 2006
  6. ^ Mailhot, Marc P. A NEW ENGLAND TROPICAL CYCLONE CLIMATOLOGY 1938-2004 EMA Storm Coordination Center URL Accessed:October 23, 2006
  7. ^ Weather Underground (2006) Weather Underground 1972 Best Track Data URL Accessed:October 23, 2006
  8. ^ (2006) Anderson, Donald M.The Growing Problem of Harmful Algae Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute URL Accessed:October 23, 2006
  9. ^ Behind the name Hurricanes and Tropical Storms Chronologically URL Accessed:October 23, 2006