Rhode Island Picture
Hurricane Damage in Cranston,
Rhode Island - 1938
(Scroll Down for History of the Great New England Hurricane of 1938)
The Hurricane of 1938
was one of the most destructive and powerful storms ever to strike
southern New England. The system developed in the Eastern Atlantic,
near the Cape Verde Islands on September 4th, came ashore in Suffolk
County, Long Island on September 21 and then hit the mainland around
Milford Connecticut. The 38 hurricane was unlike most storms of it's
type; in that it's forward speed was an astonishing 60 miles an hour.
Due to its rapid forward speed the storm did not weaken after it came
ashore as most hurricanes do and sustained hurricane force winds were
felt throughout all of southern New England.
Block Island recorded sustained winds of 91 MPH and guests up
to 121 MPH with a peak gust of 186 MPH. Providence, RI recorded
sustained winds of 100 mph with gusts up to 125 mph.
Extensive damage occurred throughout the entire state of Rhode Island.
There were widespread power outages, some of which lasted for several
The hurricane produced storm
surges of 18 to 25 feet above normal. The areas in and around
Narragansett Bay were the hardest hit in all of New England and
Providence, Rhode Island was inundated with flood tides of 20 foot
above normal. (I've seen some of
the high water marks on buildings in Providence and they were way
above my head.)
Over 8900 homes and
buildings were destroyed and over 15,000 were damaged by the
hurricane. There were 564 reported deaths and over 1650 injuries. The
damage to the New England fishing fleet was catastrophic. A total of
2,605 boats were destroyed with an additional 3,369 damaged.