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Hunting Prehistoric Hurricanes

Storm-tossed sand offers a record of ancient cyclones

By
5:33pm, November 4, 2002

The transformation was stunning: One moment a nondescript tropical storm, the next, a hurricane of an intensity no American alive had ever experienced. The storm did not grow through some gradual accretion of power; it exploded forth like something escaping from a cage. The Weather Bureau of 1900 had a code word for winds of 150 miles an hour—extremebut no one in the bureau seriously expected to use it.

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