Weather for October 8, 1974 Earthquake

8 10 2012

Dale C. S. Destin |

The earthquake that struck AntiguaBarbuda 38 years ago today, on October 8, 1974, is said to have produced the strongest shaking in several Leeward Islands since the great earthquake of February 8, 1843. A look at the weather records of October 8, 1974 as taken at the V. C. Bird International Airport, Antigua; it was a calm night with mostly clear skies. The mean temperature was around 24C or 75.2F with a relatively cold minimum temperature of 21.6C or 70.8F. At the actual time of the quake (5:50 am local time), the wind was still calm with fair skies (one okta of low clouds and four oktas of high (cirrus) clouds).  The temperature was a cool 21.9C or 71.5F and the relative humidity was 96%. The weather observer also noted that there was a thunderstorm cloud to the NE of the Airport but no thunder was observed. To date, the rainfall for the month (October 1974) was 89.9 mm or 3.54 inches. Summarizing the night leading up to the most destructive quake on record for the area: the night was mostly clear, calm, fairly cool and dry in terms of the absence of rainfall; however, much dew would have formed as the wind was calm all night and the relative humidity in the 90’s.

Here is a historical account of the earthquake as recorded by the USGS http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/world/events/1974_10_08.php

Questions: What would happen if a similar quake occurred today? Are we better prepared today than we were in 1974? The UWI Seismic Unit has been cautioning that they have seen activities over the past few years similar to the lead up to the 1974 quake; are we heeding this caution? http://www.antiguamet.com/2001_ANG_Activity_Seismic_Activity_Advisory_I.pdf

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