Monday, September 21, 2009

September 21, 1938

Today marks the 71st anniversary of the Great Hurricane of 1938. Flooding and 100 mph-plus winds extended from New York to Cape Cod, with the storm's worst destruction striking Rhode Island, and the eastern portions of Connecticut and Long Island. Occurring years before hurricanes were given names by the National Weather Service, the storm is sometimes called the Long Island Express or the Great New England Hurricane.

New London suffered extensively as a large portion of the flooded downtown caught fire and burned. The lighthouse tender USS Tulip (top photo) broke free and came to rest along the twisted tracks of the New Haven Railroad. In Watch Hill, all the homes along Napatree Point were washed away by the storm. Landmark buildings in Greenport were leveled. Depending on sources, between 700 and 800 lives were lost.

Throughout Long Island Sound, there are still visible reminders of the 1938 Hurricane. Stone foundations of waterfront buildings that perished, can be seen partially exposed in the sand. There are islands, peninsulas, and inlets that were altered (and even created) by the force and surge of the storm. It remains the most destructive storm (in lives lost & damage) ever in New England and Long Island history.

Rogers Library Southhampton: photo gallery
SUNY Suffolk: Long Island Express
PBS: The Hurricane Of '38 Railroad Extra: 1938 Hurricane (photos & map)
SOUNDBOUNDER: Napatree Point
New London Day: New England's Katrina
photo credit (top): Railroad Extra
sources: Sudden Sea by R.A. Scotti; The Great Hurricane by Cherie Burns


Jeannette StG said...

Wow, some hurricane - incredible that boat and the train in the same pic across from each other!

Sue said...

Thank you for this post. Several of my ancestors are buried at Watch Hill RI and I'm always interested in pictures from the area.

Sildenafil Citrate said...

I remember my grandfather that used to tell me about the tragic event of 1938 when a hurricane hit Rhode Island, peace and love to the families that lost someone in that day!