White squall

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
A white squall on 25 October 2009 in the Strait of Magellan

A white squall is a sudden and violent windstorm at sea which is not accompanied by the black clouds generally characteristic of a squall. It manifests as a sudden increase in wind velocity in tropical and sub-tropical waters, and may be a microburst.[1] The name refers to the white-capped waves and broken water, its meager warning to any unlucky seaman caught in its path. A white squall was allegedly behind the sinking of the brigantine Albatross on May 2, 1961.[citation needed] White squalls are rare at sea, but common on the Great Lakes of North America.

Historical incidents[edit]

White squalls are the culprits of many sea stories and have been blamed for several tragedies.

  • A white squall was the reported cause of the loss of the schooner Paul Pry off Cape Schanck, Australia, on the 3rd September, 1841.[2]
  • A white squall is also believed to have sunk the schooner Hunter Savidge on Lake Huron in 1899.[citation needed]
  • A white squall was responsible for the sinking of the German training vessel Niobe on 26 July, 1932.[citation needed]
  • A white squall was allegedly behind the sinking of the brigantine Albatross on May 2, 1961.[citation needed]
  • The Pride of Baltimore, a modern 137-foot (42 m) schooner, was reportedly struck by a white squall on May 14, 1986. The 121-ton vessel sank about 240 miles (390 km) north of Puerto Rico, casting the surviving crew members adrift for five days. The Toro, a Norwegian freighter, picked them up at 2:30 a.m. May 19, 1986. An eyewitness account described it as follows:

"A tremendous whistling sound suddenly roared through the rigging and a wall of wind hit us in the back. The Pride heeled over in a matter of seconds. The 70-knot (130 km/h) wind pushed a 20-foot (6.1 m) high wall of water into the starboard side. She sank in minutes."[1]

In popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]