Southern New England Weather History - September 21

From the NWS Archives
-
Significant Weather Events for Boston and Southern New England -

The Great New England Hurricane - The Hurricane of '38

9:00 AM - off the coast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina

1:00 PM - east of Atlantic City, New Jersey

2:30 PM - landfall at Bayport, Long Island, New York

5:00 PM - Providence, RI Weather Bureau loses its anemometer to the 87mph winds

6:11PM - Blue Hill Observatory,  Milton, Massachusetts, records sustained winds of 121 and a gust of 186 mph.

8:00PM - Higher terrain in Burlington, Vermont suffered crop damage, losing apple orchards and syrup maple trees.

9:00 PM - The storm swept through Montreal and northward to arctic regions.

The story of this event is told in a PBS "American Experience" film "The Hurricane of 38".

Even the best forecasters, however, would have been hard pressed to forecast the forward speed of this storm. The Hurricane of 1938 swept up the coast to northern latitudes at greater than 60 mph -- at least twice as fast as normal. At 1 pm the storm was east of Atlantic City, New Jersey, where part of the Boardwalk was torn up. The eye came ashore at Bayport, Long Island, New York, at 2:30 pm when a barometric pressure was noted at 27.94 inches. When the hurricane and its accompanying tidal surge and surf hit Long Island, the impact registered on seismographs in Alaska.
Hurricane of 1938 - New England

The eye of the storm was about 50 miles wide at this time, and the storm continued traveling northward into New England at more than 50 miles an hour. The east side of the hurricane -- the "dangerous semicircle" -- was scouring the countryside at speeds approaching 100 miles an hour with higher gusts estimated at 120 mph on Fishers Island south of New London, Connecticut. In New York City, west of the eye, the top of the Empire State Building recorded winds of 120 miles an hour, although at ground level in Central Park the winds were blowing at 60 miles an hour. With each mile eastward on Long Island the damage worsened. There was nearly total devastation on the beach along Dune Road at Westhampton, where only 26 out of 179 homes stood after the storm and most of those were uninhabitable. The 125-foot steeple atop the Presbyterian Church in Sag Harbor fell, as did hundreds of other steeples that day.

Source: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/hurricane38/maps/index.html

Additional Info:

http://www.erh.noaa.gov/box/hurricane1938.htm

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/HAW2/english/history.shtml#new


source: NWS archives

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