Atlantic Coast, NY, NJ, NH, CT, MA, RI Hurricane "Long Island Express," Sept 1938
Providence Struck By Tidal Wave.
Providence was one of the chief sufferers in Rhode Island, tremendous tides sweeping 1,000 feet into the city and flooding streets eight to 25 feet deep.
The storm roared through New Hampshire and struck as far north as Montreal.
Throughout the stricken region at least 5,000 were homeless and more than half that number were sent to hospitals for treatment of injuries.
Militiamen went on 24-hour duty in dozens of towns, evacuating inhabitants of lowlands along the Connecticut river and tributary streams in Connecticut and Massachusetts.
The death toll in the tropical hurricane which swept Long Island and New England approached 150 today with 120 known dead and hundreds of others missing and believed dead.
New England's toll was stepped up to 104 when belated reports from stricken Cape Cod disclosed that eight bodies had been recovered there.
Twelve persons were known to have been killed on Long Island, whose South shore was devastated, and Fire Island, smashed by a 40-foot tidal wave, reported two dead. The toll in New Jersey and New York city was one each.
Fire followed the storm in several Connecticut cities, and damage throughout the ravished area was estimated at more than $100,000,000. The missing at West Hampton, Long Island -- where the mansions of the rich, built upon sand dunes were swept into the sea -- totaled 50, half of whom were children. All were feared dead.
The toll was certain to mount because a number of New England towns -- particularly New London, Conn., Pawtucket, R.I., Petersboro, N. H. -- had been so wrecked that communications still were out and there were no reports. Beyond fragmentary ones by short wave radio, from them.
Fires were raging in New London and Petersboro.
In Massachusetts, Gov. CHARLES F. HURLEY proclaimed "a state of emergency" called out the national guard and appointed food and fuel administrators to act with military powers.
In Rhode Island, Gov. ROBERT E. QUINN took comparable emergency measures, appealed to Massachusetts for serums for the homeless.
In Connecticut, police patroled devastated areas enforcing order sternly.
In New Hampshire Today.
The hurricane raged on through the New England states yesterday afternoon and last night and early today in was centered in the New Hampshire hills headed, greatly diminished in force, toward the St. Lawrence valley where it was expected to blow itself out.
Accompanied by torrential rain, it raised the already swollen Merrimac and Connecticut rivers in Connecticut and smaller rivers in Massachusetts which were threatening to leave their banks, causing disastrous floods.
Tremendous tides pounded the coast and a tidal wave swept 1,000 feet into Providence, R.I., flooding streets eight to 25 feet deep. Providence is New England's second largest city.
Among the missing were the 20 passengers and crew of a ferry boat which plies between Port Jefferson, N.Y. (Long Island) and Bridgeport, Conn. It left Bridgeport yesterday afternoon and has not been heard of since.
Isolated Towns Devastated.
Rescue workers, organized by the national Red Cross and the coast guard, which were in full charge of succoring the survivors, feared that the isolated New England villages and towns would prove to be scenes of great devastation. They were frantically trying to reach them early today.
Countless thousands were crowded into refugee camps, many of them ill. Whole towns were evacuated. The 3,000 residents of Hadley, Mass., imperiled by the rising Connecticut river, were moved to Amherst by national guardsmen.
Red Cross workers were innoculating refugees with typhoid serum and supplies were dwindling fast. Gov. Robert E. Quinn of Rhode Island appealed to Massachusetts authorities for serum, saying the situation was desperate.
The center of the hurricane, with pounding, 90-mile an hour winds, passed inland just 50 miles from New York city. It left the beaches strewn with wrecked boats, cottages and trees, tore down power lines and left numerous towns in darkness.