Carolyn Kruse

Carolyn Kruse

Carolyn Kruse

With all the stormy weather we’ve had this summer, I started digging to find the most destructive storms in Massachusetts. My search led me to Mass.Gov. Here, I found an accounting of the most devasting hurricanes of the 20th century, in Massachusetts. These are the storms that rocked our region. Below is a list of the 7 absolute worst hurricanes in Massachusetts history.

From the Great New England Hurricane to Bob, it’s all covered here. With so much coastline in Massachusetts comes great vulnerability. I guess it’s the price we pay for such beauty. Certainly, New England fairs better in hurricane season than many other places. According to policygenius.com, Florida is the most hurricane prone state. Florida has suffered 125 hurricanes since 1851. 40 of those hurricanes were classified as major.

Texas, Louisiana and the Carolinas have also seen record amounts of hurricanes. But here, we are focusing on New England, and specifically Massachusetts. This area has seen some substantial devastation due to hurricanes. You know you can track the course of hurricanes from the National Hurricane Center website. Check out their Atlantic Basin Hurricane Tracking Chart HERE. And to keep up with hurricane names this season, visit the National Hurricane Center.

Take a look below to learn about 7 of the absolute worst hurricanes in Massachusetts history.

 

  • The Great New England Hurricane of 1938

    When: September 21, 1938

    Nickname: The Long Island Express

    Mass.gov reported that the “hurricane of the century” in Massachusetts was without a doubt the Great New England Hurricane of 1938. It started off the Cape Verde Islands on September 4. And then it took an unusual turn, tracking over the Gulf Stream. The warm waters only increased it’s strength. It crashed into Long Island on September 21, 1938, bringing with it deadly winds. The Blue Hill Observatory in Milton recorded the strongest winds in history for our region. The hurricane has measured winds of 121 miles per hour, with gusts up to 186 mph. There was extensive damage from roofs to trees and crops. Power outages were widespread. In fact, many residents didn’t have power for weeks. Tides were reported at 18-25 feet from New London to Cape Cod.

    A total of 8,900 buildings were ruined and approximately 15,000 were damaged. The loss of life was devastating. 564 people were killed in Southern New England and another 1,700 injured in southern New England during this storm.

  • Hurricane Carol

    When: August 31, 1954 

    1954 gave us a double whammy. Beginning with Hurricane Carol, at the end of August. Carol passed through  the east of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and made landfall on Long Island and southeastern Connecticut on August 31. Most of eastern Massachusetts had winds of 80 to 100 mph. The damage was devastating from eastern CT to Cape Cod. Trees went down and most of eastern Massachusetts had no power or phone service. Carol’s storm surge caused major flooding, too. Somerset and New Bedford were hit the worst in Mass. New Bedford’s storm surge was over 14 feet. New England lost 4,000 homes, 3,500 cars, and 3,000 boats as a result of Carol

     

     

  • Hurricane Edna

    When: September 11, 1954 

    Part 2 of the double whammy of 1954 came in September. Edna barreled up the East Coast less than 2 weeks after Carol. Most of the area was still in recovery mode. Edna passed over Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket on September 11. Eastern Massachusetts battled winds of 75-95 mph, with peak gusts on Martha’s Vineyard of 120 mph. Parts of eastern Mass.and nearly all of Cape Cod and the Islands lost power. There was severe flodding on the Vineyard, Nantucket and the Cape, as a 6-foot storm surge coupled with a rising tide. Because Carol had already weakened our coast just days earlier, we were an open wound and that’s why there was even more damage with Edna. 21 people died in New England as a result of this storm.

  • Hurricane Bob

    When: August 19, 1991

    Hurricane Bob was the most recent hurricane to make landfall in New England. And that was 32 years ago! We were living on Cape Cod and lost power for 8 days. Luckily, we had town water so at least cold showers were available. We lost many trees in our yard, but my family, friends and neighbors were all safe. 

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