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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 weeks. 

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.

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