Pat Shingleton for Tuesday, July 23, 2013

On this date in 1893, Father Benito Vines died in Havana, Cuba. As noted in a previous column, Father Vines is regarded as the pre-eminent hurricane scholar of the 19th century. As director of the observatory at Belen College in Havana in 1870, he made meticulous observations of weather conditions, especially during tropical disturbances. His observations became a climatological catalog for future forecasts. Notations included excerpts on brick-red sunsets, pounding surf and evaporating cumulus clouds at the approach of a hurricane. His sense of observation allowed him to understand the dynamics of tropical cyclones. By 1875, he was able to issue accurate hurricane warnings. He was later recognized as “Father Hurricane” and invented a device used by mariners to avoid hurricanes and typhoons, the Antilles Cyclonoscope. Fastcast: Dry.