Up and Down the Coast, Hurricane Preparedness Pays Off

1938 hurricane.

Damage from 1938 hurricane.

High resolution (Credit: NOAA)

Think New England is too far north for hurricanes? Think again.

The 1938 Atlantic hurricane that hit southern New England (known as the “Long Island Express”) is still one of the worst disasters in North American history. The Blue Hill Observatory in Massachusetts measured sustained winds of 121 mph with peak gusts of 186 mph. Storm surges — up to 25 feet high — wiped out entire communities.

In a matter of hours, the storm killed 688 people; injured 4,500; and damaged or destroyed 75,000 buildings. For New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, the “Long Island Express” still ranks as the worst natural disaster in recorded history.

It was not the only hurricane to strike the region. Hurricane Bob slammed into coastal Rhode Island and southeast Massachusetts in 1991 with peak wind gusts of 125 mph. In 1999, the remnants of Hurricane Floyd dumped nearly 14 inches of rain on Brewster, N.Y. And, in 2008, flooding from Tropical Storm Hanna caused an estimated $3 million in damages in Manchester, N.H.

Hurricane Floyd flooding.

Flooding from Hurricane Floyd.

High resolution (Credit: NOAA)

Protect Your Most Cherished Assets: People, Pets and Property

The most important lesson to be learned from these devastating storms, according to NOAA’s National Hurricane Center, is to be prepared. If you live on or near the Atlantic Coast or Gulf Coast, having a hurricane plan can protect your property, your pets, and most important, your life.

Hurricanes bring high winds and storm surge. They also can spawn tornadoes and severe flooding. The National Hurricane Center offers helpful guidance on how you can best prepare for the worst.

For example, consider your home’s vulnerability to storm surge, flooding, and wind damage. Develop a plan for your pets if you need to evacuate. Make sure you have flood insurance, which is not usually included in your homeowner’s insurance.

While drawing up your hurricane plan, be sure to:

NOAA weather radios.

High resolution (Credit: NOAA)

Remember: the most important thing that you can do to prevent disaster is to be prepared for one.

Know the Language

Hurricane Bob.

Hurricane Bob approaching New England.

High resolution (Credit: NOAA)

It’s important to understand the terminology associated with hurricane forecasts.

It's Happened Before, it Could Happen Again

Have a plan in place before a storm threatens so you can make the right decisions that will protect your home, business, and family. For more information on hurricane preparedness, visit NOAA’s National Hurricane Center Web site for a comprehensive list of helpful online resources. NOAA logo.