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    1938 Long Isl Express Hurricane


    Posts : 542
    Join date : 2010-02-20
    Location : Boston area

    1938 Long Isl Express Hurricane Empty 1938 Long Isl Express Hurricane

    Post  beejean on Sat 27 Oct 2012, 2:14 pm

    There is a magnificent article online about a huge hurricane that slammed into Long Island Sound in the past.

    I feel like I should post this link and an excerpt to show what this disaster was like.

    The highest recorded wind speed came from nearby Blue Hill Observatory in Milton, Massachusetts, though topography affected its winds, clocking a 121 mph (194 km/h) average peak and gusts of 173 mph and 183 mph (277-293 km/h). These wind speeds may be unrepresentative of the storm in general due to the fact that the Blue Hill Observatory sits on a hill that slopes up from the south, the direction of the strongest gusts.

    Even stronger winds would be registered at elevation at Mount Washington in New Hampshire when the hurricane passed through neighboring Vermont: a 136 mph (218 km/h) average wind speed.

    In Providence, the wall of water pushed forward by the storm surge came at high tide. The water height thus was further compounded because the tide was an equinoctial high tide, higher than the usual high tides. The highest water marks along the southern New England coast ranged from 12 to 25 feet (3.7-7.2 m) above mean low water (mlw). At Point Judith, RI, the water rose to 18 feet (5.5 m) above mlw; at Fairhaven, Massachusetts, it was estimated the peak was at 25 ft (7.2 m). Pocasset, Massachusetts in Buzzards Bay the water was 20 ft (6.1 m) above mlw; at Nobska Pint Light Station near Woods Hole, Massachusetts, 15 ft (4.6 m).

    The State Department of Transportation would estimate 50,000 trees had fallen across roads and onto buildings and vehicles. The clean-up of the debris required many weeks, but gave much needed work to local men and women, unemployed during the Depression. The violent winds blew roofs off the dormitories housing 1,200 patients at the state mental hospital in Middletown and the stone tower on the Wesleyan University chapel. The Southern New England Telephone Company reported the storm destroyed more than 5,000 telephone poles and damaged 2,000 others.

    At the capitol of Hartford, the storm damaged "The Genius of Connecticut." "The Genius of Connecticut" was a 17-foot (5.2 m) 3.5-ton bronze statue of a woman that capped the Capitol dome since erected in 1878. Though the statue survived the storm in place, it was damaged and posed a risk of toppling from its perch. After much debate, The Genius was removed from the dome and stored in the Capitol basement until 1942. Having survived a hurricane, The Genius became a victim of war when it was melted down to make ammunition and machine parts for the military. (Today, a bronzed version of the statue's original plaster cast stands in the Capitol's north lobby.)

    Further east near the Rhode Island border, the crack passenger express of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad, the Bostonian, ran into the teeth of the storm. It was halted just west of the Stonington station due to debris on the tracks, which turned out to be a cabin cruiser and a house. The train had stopped in a precarious spot on a long, low causeway. On one side, the ocean raged under hurricane winds and pounding surf; on the other, the tidal estuary was swollen with churning waters.

    The 275 passengers, which included 30 boys heading for a private school in Massachusetts, could only watch the tempest boil around them and await their fate.


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