Looking Back at Connecticut’s Monumental Hurricane of 1938
The most powerful hurricane in New England's history hit the coastlines of Long Island Sound and Southern Connecticut on September 21, 1938.
This monster Category 5 hurricane originated off the coast of Africa on September 8, 1938, traveling west at approximately 45 mph until it approached Bermuda on September 20. From there, it began to pick up speed, traveling around 70 mph, which is the highest forward velocity ever recorded for a hurricane.
An estimated 15-foot storm tide was recorded in Port Jefferson, NY. LIRR tracks were washed out and Long Island's fishing industry was destroyed. Around 4 pm, the Hurricane of '38 made its second landfall when it crashed into the Connecticut coastline between Bridgeport and New Haven with 115 mph sustained winds. The storm tide in New London reached a record breaking 11 feet. Lives were lost, fishing fleets were wiped out along with bridges, utilities, and railroads.
Also affected by the Hurricane of 1938, but to a lesser extent, were the states of Vermont, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Maine. In all, 700 people lost their lives, 63,000 lost their homes, approximately 2-billion trees were destroyed, and 3,300 boats were lost or destroyed. It wasn't until 9 am on Sept 21, 1938, only 5 hours before the storm hit Long Island, that the United States Weather Bureau issued storm warnings north of Atlantic City.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the Florida citizens who were affected by Hurricane Irma. If you'd like to help out, nbcconnecticut.com has suggested that the best thing you can do is to send money, NOT clothing or food and the the Red Cross is the best way to start at redcross.org.