11 Worst Hurricanes in American History

10. 1938 Hurricane

As it progressed across the Atlantic, it first became a tropical storm, then was upgraded to a hurricane on Sept. 15, 1938, east of Puerto Rico. By Sept. 19, it began to curve as it passed north of Hispaniola. By this time, it was a strong hurricane.

The storm reached Long Island and southern New England with great ferocity, packing a high storm surge and incredible wind gusts. The tide completely enveloped Fire Island on the south side of Long Island. More than 150 homes were destroyed at Westhampton. There was massive destruction to coastal areas on Long Island and the coastal areas of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Wind gusts of over 180 miles per hour were recorded at the Blue Hill Observatory south of Boston. Providence, Rhode Island, experienced terrible flooding as the tide, even inside the city, rose to almost 14 feet.

The 1938 storm was a Category 3 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. Damage exceeded $306 million and 256 people were killed in the storm.

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