Floated Through The Air Like Autumn Leaves Dealing Death And Destruction

January 27, 2014, 5:16 pm

1938 hurricane September 21 1938 weather mapThe Great New England Hurricane of 1938 was the first substantial hurricane to hit New England since the 19th century. It was a powerful storm (peaking at Category 5 and making landfall at Cat. 3), and the weather forecasting of the day was off in both its severity and its timing. This latter was particularly bad, as the hurricane arrived well before it was predicted to, and thus caught many before they had finished (or started!) their preparations. The eye went over New Haven, CT. Colonel Edwin Bowden, who we last saw losing money in the 1925 Florida housing boom was stationed in Devens, MA when the hurricane hit. He and a friend set out in the middle of the storm to rescue his wife, who was visiting friends at an exposed location. Bowden’s story (sorry for the image file!):

Library of Congress Veterans Collection. Photo copyright David Silbey 2013

The Bowden family survived unscathed, but many did not. Damage was in the billions (in 2014 dollars) and 564 died.

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