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(1) PEER COMMENT: This study raises the interesting question--is it possible to assign Saffir/Simpson categories to these historical events? In THE AMERICAN WEATHER BOOK, David Ludlum provides a scale of damage potentials that might allow descriptions of damage to be matched with storm intensities (1982, 204-205). Of course, the surviving damage descriptions you have quoted do not always give the location of the observer, which is clearly a critical factor. Given that settlement in Colonial Virginia was largely inland, up the major rivers, with Norfolk being the easternmost city, hurricanes that passed off the coast could well have been perceived as less intense events. Similarly the structure of the lower Chesapeake Bay may well have influenced water heights, with flooding being either lower or higher than the storm intensity would otherwise suggest.