Imagining a Better Future by Re-imagining the Past

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Long Island Express

Anyone near a television recently is aware that this weekend a hurricane blasted up the East Coast of the US leaving a trail of death and destruction. While most of the states on the East Coast are used to hurricanes, what made this one unusual was that the path took it through New York and up further north. However, this was not the first time the Northeast had been the target of hurricanes. In 1938, the Northeastern states were hit by a hurricane that some call The Long Island Express.

In 1938, the method of hurricane tracking was primitive by modern standards. Hurricane forecasting was wholly dependent upon reports from naval vessels and spotters along the shorelines. Unfortunately, the Great Hurricane of 1938 skirted outside the range of these observers and came blasting into the Northeastern states without warning.

As the Long Island Express came ashore, New York City lost power and the high wind caused the skyscrapers, such as the Empire State Building, to sway. In Westhampton Beach a cinema was swept out 2 miles into the Atlantic carrying with it 20 people who died. Many more died across Long Island as the storm surge swept through.

Rhode Island was hit especially hard. One reason was that it was a full moon, which meant that the tide was high. The force of the impact of the Great Hurricane was so strong on Rhode Island that seismographs as far away as Alaska detected it. The death toll in Rhode Island was in the hundreds.

The Long Island Express continued its path of death and destruction up the Northeastern States into Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire. By the time it had reached Maine the storm had begun to lose its punch and damage was minimal.

Thanks to modern technology, and the good fortune that the most recent hurricane was less powerful than the Long Island Express, there have been fewer deaths this time. However, many have died and many people have suffered devastating loses. Please consider donating to the charity of your choice to help those affected by Hurricane Irene.


Nebris said...

I linked this blog entree to this article:

Larry Amyett, Jr said...

Thanks Nebris. Good article.