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General Discussion >> Hurricane History

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Keith234
Storm Chaser


Reged: Thu
Posts: 921
Loc: 40.7N/73.3W Long Island
The 1938 Hurricane
      #20770 - Wed Aug 25 2004 07:43 AM

I have heard many things about this hurricane. I have read somewhere that it had actually hit LI, as a cat.4 hurricane and caused massive destruction, I also heard that sustained winds were at 121 mph gusting to 186. These wind speeds were also so high becasue of the fast northward trajectory. Is this all ture, or are my grandparents exaggarating it?

--------------------
"I became insane with horrible periods of sanity"
Edgar Allan Poe


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LI Phil
User


Reged: Fri
Posts: 2637
Loc: Long Island (40.7N 73.6W)
Re: The 1938 Hurricane [Re: Keith234]
      #20779 - Wed Aug 25 2004 10:27 AM

I've posted on this many times, so you may want to go back and read the hurricane history forum. For an easy link, click on the Calendar on September 21...then click on the link I posted. (second entry). It gives an outstanding account of all facets of the storm, including some personal recounts. BTW, the "Long Island Express," as it was called, was a Cat III, but was moving at a forward speed of 70 MPH as it crossed the Island near Bellport. It holds the record for the fastest moving forward speed of any tropical storm.

And no, your grandparents weren't exaggerating!

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HanKFranK
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Loc: Graniteville, SC 33.56N 81.82W
Re: The 1938 Hurricane [Re: LI Phil]
      #20814 - Wed Aug 25 2004 06:06 PM

those intensity numbers i believe were recorded at blue hill observatory. the storm was probably very asymmetric when it hit, owing to the fact that it was becoming extratropical, and that it's terminal track hooked cyclonically westward as it neared canada. waters off new england are well below what would be needed to sustain a hurricane under normal circumstances.. what kept the storm at it's high intenstiy was undoubtedly baroclinic forcing. every so often we get to see a recurving storm deepen a whole hell of a lot as it begins associating with a mid-latitude trough.
the 38 storm was also likely a once in 100-300 year event for new england as a whole.
HF 2206z25august


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LI Phil
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Reged: Fri
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Loc: Long Island (40.7N 73.6W)
Re: The 1938 Hurricane [Re: HanKFranK]
      #20821 - Wed Aug 25 2004 06:46 PM

>>> the 38 storm was also likely a once in 100-300 year event for new england as a whole.

Lets hope it stays that way. Interestingly enough, the 1800's produced what were estimated to be three or four CAT IIIs or above (of course with the primitive recording instruments of the time, we'll never know for sure) that struck LI. I've been trying to dig up info, but it is very scarce, on the 1893 storm which literally washed away a resort barrier island known as "Hog Island".

Other NYC/LI Hurricanes

1893 Hurricane

More 1893

If anyone has a link to more information on this storm, please post it...

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Keith234
Storm Chaser


Reged: Thu
Posts: 921
Loc: 40.7N/73.3W Long Island
Re: The 1938 Hurricane [Re: LI Phil]
      #20862 - Thu Aug 26 2004 10:40 AM

I don't think you can measure the chance of the New England area getting hit with a hurricane, mainly because hurricanes aren't cyclic. They're totally random, as far as we know to this day they can change course in a matter of hours sometimes for no reason. Maybe if thermodynamics were better understood we might see patterns hurricanes but until for now, we just forecast them.

--------------------
"I became insane with horrible periods of sanity"
Edgar Allan Poe


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LI Phil
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Loc: Long Island (40.7N 73.6W)
Re: The 1938 Hurricane-Storm Surge [Re: Keith234]
      #20877 - Thu Aug 26 2004 01:02 PM

Keith,

You might find this interesting. Shows the effects storm surge would have during various Categories of Storms.

Also, if you didn't find the '38 Express link earlier, here it is.

Let's hope we never see another one like this one.

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Keith234
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Reged: Thu
Posts: 921
Loc: 40.7N/73.3W Long Island
Re: The 1938 Hurricane-Storm Surge [Re: LI Phil]
      #20882 - Thu Aug 26 2004 02:26 PM

Good thing my town isn't submerged, Deer Park. That's amazing what a hurricane can do such as Charley. It's also amazing to know the power and devastation this storms produce, my house in Montauk would be totally destroyed (that stinks).

--------------------
"I became insane with horrible periods of sanity"
Edgar Allan Poe


Edited by Jason234 (Thu Aug 26 2004 02:34 PM)


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LI Phil
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Reged: Fri
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Loc: Long Island (40.7N 73.6W)
Re: The 1938 Hurricane-Storm Surge [Re: Keith234]
      #20884 - Thu Aug 26 2004 02:39 PM

>>> my house in Montauk would be totally destroyed (that stinks).

Well, that's an understatement. My aunt has a summer home just down the road from you in East Hampton (Springs area). Wouldn't look too good for that home either.

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Keith234
Storm Chaser


Reged: Thu
Posts: 921
Loc: 40.7N/73.3W Long Island
Re: The 1938 Hurricane-Storm Surge [Re: LI Phil]
      #20890 - Thu Aug 26 2004 03:08 PM

That's a shame, the houses there are so nice and the erosion that would take place would present a huge problem, considering that the presidents day blizzard almost washed away 30 feet of sand from Jones Beach.

--------------------
"I became insane with horrible periods of sanity"
Edgar Allan Poe


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RMagic
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Re: The 1938 Hurricane-Storm Surge [Re: Keith234]
      #24236 - Wed Sep 08 2004 08:08 PM

fwiw -

My grandmother (now 83 & living in sun city; SE of tampa) has told many a story about this hurricane from her youth. Next time I go for a visit I'll have to grab some of the pictures she still has....and scan them in. She also owns an old book that was written about it.


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Keith234
Storm Chaser


Reged: Thu
Posts: 921
Loc: 40.7N/73.3W Long Island
Re: The 1938 Hurricane-Storm Surge [Re: RMagic]
      #24247 - Wed Sep 08 2004 08:36 PM

That would be great. My grandparents also experinced that storm too, it gives me the chills just thinking about it!!

--------------------
"I became insane with horrible periods of sanity"
Edgar Allan Poe


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gailmm
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Re: The 1938 Hurricane-Storm Surge [Re: Keith234]
      #24274 - Wed Sep 08 2004 10:05 PM

An interesting side light to this story from a forestry perspective: I used to work for the NH Division of Forests and Lands. The Director had a fascination with the storm and told lots of stories about it. I believe he's written a lengthy account of it.

When the hurricane roared up the Merrimack River Valley in NH, it mowed down an enormous amount of timber, particularly white pine, which is shallow-rooted. Now remember this was during the latter years of the depression when the CCC was busy building public facilities. There are an untold number of bridges, State Park structures, cabins, etc built with the downed timber from the storm. There was so much down timber they couldn't come close to using it, so many fine white pine logs were sunk in lakes and ponds to preserve them, the plan being to come back later and get them when needed.

To this day, people are occasionally finding those logs and putting them to use. They command a high price today, especially because of their historical interest.

The Division had many photos of hurricane damage, one showing the State House grounds with trees toppled like matchsticks.


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