Magazine

New England Numbers | Hurricane of ’38

A look at the facts and figures for the Great Hurricane of 1938, the most powerful and deadliest hurricane in recent New England history. 19.4 feet: Connecticut River’s height above flood stage at Hartford 25 feet: high-tide peak from New London (CT) to Cape Cod (MA) 564 deaths and 1,700 injuries in southern New England […]

By Yankee Magazine

Aug 19 2008

Hurricane of 1938

Flooding from the Hurricane of 1938 in Keene, NH.

Photo Credit : Keene Public Library and the Historical Society of Cheshire County
Hurricane of 1938
Flooding from the Hurricane of 1938 in Keene, NH.
Photo Credit : Keene Public Library and the Historical Society of Cheshire County

A look at the facts and figures for the Great Hurricane of 1938, the most powerful and deadliest hurricane in recent New England history.

19.4

feet: Connecticut River’s height above flood stage at Hartford

25

feet: high-tide peak from New London (CT) to Cape Cod (MA)

564

deaths and 1,700 injuries in southern New England

20

feet: depth of storm tide covering the streets of Providence, RI

$306,000,000

cost of storm damage in 1938 dollars

8,900

homes destroyed

2,700

workers brought to New York and New England by Bell Systems to repair downed phone lines

186

miles per hour: peak wind-gust speed, strongest ever recorded at Blue Hill Observatory in Milton, MA

$20,000,000,000

estimated cost of storm damage in 2007 dollars

2,605

fishing boats destroyed

60 mph

Landspeed of the storm as it moved north across Connecticut, after making landfall 10 miles east of Milford (the rapid speed prevented it from losing strength as most storms do after landfall)

27.94 inches

Barometric pressure at landfall, the lowest of the storm, measured Bellport, New York, on the south side of Long Island

3

Category of the hurricane at the time of landfall, although it had been a Category 5 at sea

25 foot

Storm surge, a wall of water fueled by high winds and low atmospheric pressure that inundated the coast

30 to 50 foot

Waves, on top of the storm surge, that pounded Long Island’s south shore

3:30 p.m.

Time of landfall on Long Island, just a few hours before high tide which was higher than normal that day due to the coincidence of the Autumnal Equinox and a New Moon

12

New inlets created by the storm surge, including Shinnecock Inlet on Long Island

50 miles

Width of the eye at landfall

More Information: Read a Yankee Classic about the Hurricane of ’38, “Wind that Shook the World.”