Coastal warning display tower

Coastal warning display tower

A coastal warning display tower, sometimes known as a storm warning tower, was a special kind of skeletal tower designed to provide hurricane warnings. The towers were developed in 1898 on the orders of President William McKinley.

A single red pennant was shown from the top of the tower as a small craft warning; for a gale warning, two such pennants were used. Two square flags, red with a black square at center, signified an approaching hurricane. Three lights, two red and one white, carried the signal at night. Red over white signified a gale, while two reds constituted a storm warning. All three lights together warned of a hurricane.

The system of towers is obsolete today, and few survive.

Remaining towers

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