Historic Natural Events

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    Abstract

    Mar. 3–4, 1886. Hurricane in Fiji.—This very severe hurricane caused the loss of many lives and the destruction of much valuable property, and was the worst experienced for many years. It travelled from north-east, across the centre of the group, recurving over the Koro Sea and passing away to the south-east, at an average speed of nearly 15 miles per hour. It had a calm centre with a diameter of 25 or 26 miles, in which the barometer fell to about 935 mb. (27.6 inches). Near the vortex the barometric gradient was 33 mb. (nearly one inch) in 50 miles. The town of Vuna in Taviuni was completely wrecked; nearly all the houses were blown down, and then were swept away by a hurricane wave or buried in the sand and shingle. From the coast to the tops of the hills nothing remained but bare sticks and the blackened, torn, and twisted relics of the foliage. Most of the small islands suffered from the storm wave, which came in like a wall, and penetrated inland as much as 700 yards. In some places debris was left in the trees 30 feet above high-water mark. At Vanuaso a shark was killed among the houses.

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