The southerly gale of this morning developed between seven and eight o’clock at almost the proportions of a hurricane.
Fortunately for the harbor front the tide was not high, else much damage to piers, etc., might have resulted.
No damage of moment has been reported. Limbs of trees broken off, lights of glass blown in, and several boats broke adrift from their moorings, but were secured without sustaining damage.
The Bonnie Bell (catboat) and Kestrel (raceboat) broke away from under the Chappaquiddick bluffs and were driven across the harbor before the gale to the wharves where a large force of volunteers soon warped them to safety.
The waters of the harbor were very rough during the hour when the wind was blowing hardest from the south.
Soon after 8 o’clock the wind whipped suddenly into the northwest and blew very heavy from that quarter for awhile, but after nine o’clock gradually diminished in force.
One result of the blow was its effect on the waters of the harbor which at 10 o’clock ran out by the wharves at a speed estimated at about eight miles an hour, a stronger current than has ever been known here.
Morgan Butler’s powerful launch Alert was just able to stem the tide, and was 4 1/2 minutes passing the front of Osborn’s wharf.
Keeper Hamblen of Harbor Light at 10.15 a.m. reported a lower tide than he had ever seen in the past ten years around the lighthouse, and the nearest water ten feet from the building. The tide was still running out very fast.
All sorts of theories have been advanced as to the reason for the water receding with such velocity from the harbor, possibly one of the most plausible being that this morning a storm of hurricane, and possibly of cyclonic, force somewhere within a radius of fifty miles must have caused very low tides in Vineyard Sound and on Nantucket Shoals which resulted in practically the sucking of the water from the harbor, helped of course by the northwest gale blowing between 8.30 and ten o’clock.
The steamer Gay Head sailed from Edgartown on usual time, 6 A.M., reaching Vineyard Haven alright, but when the shift of wind came parted her hawsers at dock there, but of skilful handling escaped serious consequences from collision with anchored vessels. She proceeded at 10.30 to Woods Hole and New Bedford.
Steamer Uncatena left New Bedford this afternoon on regular schedule time and brings the mails to Edgartown tonight.
Steamer Nantucket came up from Nantucket in the middle of the afternoon, only going to Woods Hole, and returns to Nantucket tonight. Tomorrow the steamers will be on regular schedule again.
Much damage is reported to boats and traps on the North Shore.