Deadly Hurricanes in the North Atlantic



Forty five deaths have occurred in 2013 due to storms in the North Atlantic area. This statistic pales in comparison to a devastating hurricane which occurred in 1938 in New England. It was then over 700 people died. The name of the hurricane became known as the Long Island Express.. That was seventy five years ago.

Hurricanes have been given female names all along and then in 1979, The National Weather Service, added male names. They use a rotation system of six lists, all in alphabetical order. Once a big storm hits and causes immense devastation and loss the name is retired. Hurricane Sandy, the name of the storm which hit last October was retired. Sandy was replaced by the name Sara.

Our last storm, a hurricane, which produced 23 deaths alone was Ingrid. She lasted from September 12th-17th, 2013. The names yet to come this year are: Jerry, Karen, Lorenzo, Melissa, Nestor, Olga, Pablo, Rebekah, Sebastian, Tanya, Van, and Wendy(sure to be nicknamed Windy if we get that far).

While Hurricane Sandy hit proportionately hard upon New Jersey and New York on October 29th, 2012, it had begun over a week earlier on October 22nd. This storm wavered back and forth between categories, even briefly becoming a tropical storm. It hit Kingston, Jamaica, moved out and eventually made its way seven days later to New York; it impacted 24 states with related damage, even snow. The cost of Sandy to the United States was $65 billion.

Where do these hurricanes we name come from? Where do they get such strength to wreak havoc upon our shores and beyond? Hurricanes are caused by low pressure and occur in summer and fall. When the ocean is warmer and evaporates this becomes the energy needed for a hurricane. This of course cools the ocean as the warm water evaporates. Many events happen but basically the low pressure makes the wind turn inward, where more water is vaporized from the sea causing thunderstorms. This energy forms an eye where the strong winds form. This eye can become calm as the air sinks in the center.

Hurricanes are rated from a 1-5 with a brief synopsis as follows. A category 1 hurricane has wind speeds from the 74-95 mph with minimal damage of shrubs and tree branches. A category 2 hurricane has wind speeds from 96-110 mph with moderate damage of trees and mobile homes. A category three hurricane has wind speeds of 111-130 mph and extensive damage to large trees and small buildings. A category 4 hurricane has wind speeds of 131-155 mph and extreme damage to walls, roofs, and doors. The final category, a category 5 hurricane has wind speeds greater than 155 mph with catastrophic damage to buildings and people with severe damage over all.

A hurricane dies or slows down as it hits cooler water, thereby having no water vapors or fuel for energy. When it hits land it slows tremendously and therefore dies.

The hurricane name given to the storm in 1938 which hit New England was the Long Island Express. It hit seventy five years ago around 2:45 pm September 21st, 1938. They had barely recovered from the Great Depression when over 700 people died and it is still defined as the strongest, deadliest and most costly.

A Plymouth, N.H. State University professor of  meteorology published a book “Taken by Storm, 1938: A Social and Meteorological History of the Great New England Hurricane. The authors name is Lourdes Aviles.

This hurricane in the North Atlantic was devastating as the people, livestock and trees were hit by a 26 foot water surge. The storm kept moving at speeds of 47 mph hitting Long Island, N.H., and southern Connecticut. Winds were sustained at recorded levels of 121 mph and gusts at 186 mph. Four million bushels of apples were destroyed in addition to buildings, homes, bridges and roads.

Hence the name, the Long Island Express, a deadly hurricane is remembered as well as Hurricane Sandy, Katrina and others.


Written By: Caroline Clemens




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