Hurricane Gladys (1975)

"For the 1968 storm of the same name, see here"

Infobox Hurricane
Name=Hurricane Gladys
Image location=Gladys75GOES1.jpg

Formed=September 22, 1975
Dissipated=October 4, 1975
1-min winds=120

Fatalities=None reported
Areas=Eastern United States, Newfoundland and Labrador
Hurricane season=1975 Atlantic hurricane season

Hurricane Gladys was the fifth named storm, sixth hurricane and third major hurricane of the 1975 Atlantic hurricane season. Gladys formed on September 22 in the far eastern Atlantic Ocean and moved westward where it became a hurricane on September 25. Gladys maintained Category 1 status for seven consecutive days before turning northeastward and paralleling with the East Coast of the United States. Gladys quickly reached Category 4 status at 35° North before weakening in the cooler waters off the coast of New England. Gladys then brushed southeastern Newfoundland and Labrador before becoming extratropical on October 4. Effects from Gladys were limited to rough seas along the Eastern United States and Atlantic Canada. Damage, if any, was minimal and there were no fatalities or injuries from Gladys.

Meteorological history

A tropical wave moved off the western coast of Africa on September 17 and moved westward. The disturbance followed another tropical wave which became Hurricane Faye several days later. Operationally, the information about the early stages of the disturbance was unknown until later when a review of storm data showed that the system became a tropical depression on September 22. The depression then strengthened into a tropical storm and was named "Gladys" by the National Hurricane Center on September 24. cite web|author=Paul J. Herbert|year=1976|title=Atlantic Hurricane Season of 1975|publisher=NOAA|accessdate=2008-02-27|url=] After becoming a tropical storm, Gladys slowly intensified as winds increased to 50 mph (80 km/h). [cite web|author=United Press International|year=1975|title=Hurricane Center Eyes Faye, Gladys|publisher=Naples Daily News|accessdate=2008-02-27|url=
] The storm then moved west-northwest where it reached hurricane strength on September 25 where it encountered wind shear. Despite the wind shear, Gladys managed to maintain hurricane strength as the pressure rose to 1000 millibars on September 28.cite web|author=Unisys|year=2008|title=Hurricane Gladys Best Track Data|accessdate=2008-02-29|url=]

After passing though the strong area of wind shear, the storm began to strengthen further as it interacted with an upper level southeasterly flow. On September 29, the center of Gladys passed 350 miles (563.2 km) north of Puerto Rico as the storm continued moving west-northwest at 12 mph (19 km/h). [cite web|author=United Press International|year=1975|title=Faye fizzles but Gladys gets a start|publisher=The Greeley Daily Tribune|accessdate=2008-02-29|url=
] Later that day, the barometric pressure fell to 975 millibars as the winds increased to 90 mph (145 km/h), and a clear eye was visible on satellite imagery. The following day, the hurricane further strengthened due to decreasing wind shear and a building high pressure area. The storm's winds reached 110 mph (177 km/h) and its forward speed increased to 15 mph (24 km/h) as the storm continued west northwest.cite web|author=United Press International|year=1975|title=Gladys gets stronger|publisher=The Times Standard|accessdate=2008-03-11|url=
] cite web|author=Associated Press|year=1975|title=Hurricane Gladys On Possible US Mainland Course|publisher=Robesonian|accessdate=2008-03-13|url=
] On October 1, Gladys began to recurve as an anticyclone developed over the storm. The interaction with the system allowed the hurricane strengthen rapidly. By October 2, the barometric pressure fell to 939 millibars and the winds peaked to 140 mph (215 km/h)as the storm recurved northwest at 23 mph (37 km/h).cite web|author=United Press International|year=1975|title=Gladys Turns Seaward|publisher=The Ruston Daily Leader|accessdate=2008-03-31|url=
] Gladys passed 70 miles (113 km) southeast of Cape Race, Newfoundland before merging with an extratropical storm by October 4.

Observation, preparations and impact

While over the Atlantic Ocean, a United States Air Force C-130 hurricane hunter aircraft flew into Gladys on October 3 on a research mission. The mission was to study the storm and use the information to improve seeding operations for the now defunct Project Stormfury. The plane and its eight crewmen which included Bob Sheets made nine trips in and around the storm monitoring its structure. On one trip, the plane hit a sheet of ice which caused it to shake violently. The impact damaged the nose of the plane and knocked out two of the measuring instruments. After the mission into the storm, information gathered from it improved knowledge of the conditions of hurricanes and their effects on cloud seeding. That information was then used for cloud seeding operations that were planned to go into effect in 1977 in the Pacific Ocean. [cite web|author=United Press International|year=1975|title=Scientists Call Gladys a Classic Hurricane|publisher=Naples Daily News|accessdate=2008-04-02|url=
] However, pull out of the United States Navy from the project and opposition by countries of China and Japan resulted in the cancellation of those missions. [cite book|author=ABC Whipple |title=Storm |year=1982 |publisher=Time Life Books|id=ISBN 0-8094-4312-0]

As the center of the hurricane by passed the coast of North Carolina, the weather radar at Cape Hatteras showed the eye centered 270.3 miles (435 km) offshore and spiral bands surrounding the eye. The close proximity of the eye of Hurricane Gladys to be observed by radar was the first since Hurricane Carla of 1961 when the eye of that storm was observed on radar at 260.4 miles (419 km).cite web|author=Michael G. Carelli|year=1976|title=Picture of the Month:Cape Hatteras Radar Observations of Hurricane Gladys|publisher=NOAA-American Meteorological Society|accessdate=2008-05-23|url=]

As Gladys neared the East Coast of the United States, meteorologists at the National Hurricane Center forecast the storm to make landfall within three days. That prompted meteorologists to issue a hurricane watch for North Carolina's Outer Banks extending from Cape Lookout to Kitty Hawk In Manteo, residents began laying sandbags and filling their cars up with fuel in anticipation for possible evacuation, and the United States Coast Guard sent a plane equipped with a loudspeaker to warn fishermen of the hurricane. Elsewhere in the Outer Banks, residents evacuated to hotels in Elizabeth City and four United States Coast Guard servicemen stationed at a lighthouse in Cape Hatteras were evacuated. [cite web|author=Associated Press|year=1975|title=Gladys Missing|publisher=The Bee|accessdate=2008-05-23|url=
] While passing the Outer Banks, the storm brought waves up to 8ft (2.4 m) which resulted in a campground and a coastal road being closed. As the cyclone moved northward, it brushed Newfoundland with high winds. The effcts of the storm on North Carolina and Newfoundland were minimal.

Hurricane Gladys reached Category 4 intensity at an unusually high 35.3°N latitude. Hurricane Ella of 1978, however, reached Category 4 at a higher latitude than Gladys, at 38°N and it maintained that strength past 41°N [cite web|author=Unisys|year=2008|title=Hurricane Ella 1978 Best Track Data|accessdate=2008-05-23|url=] In addition, 1973's Hurricane Ellen reached major hurricane status at 42°N which is seven degrees higher than Gladys. [cite web|author=Unisys|year=2008|title=Hurricane Ellen 1973 Best Track Data|accessdate=2008-05-23|url=] The name Gladys was not retired by the National Hurricane Center and has not been used since due to a change in the list of tropical cyclone names for the Atlantic basin.

ee also

*List of Category 4 Atlantic hurricanes


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