East Coast, VA, DE, NJ, NY, MA, RI, CT Hurricane, Sept 1944
HURRICANE HITS NEW YORK AND NEW ENGLAND COASTS.
HIGH WINDS LASH JERSEY, LONG ISLAND.
By The Associated Press.
Winds up to ninety miles an hour battering the Atlantic Coast last night as a severe hurricane sped toward New England forced many seaside residents to flee for safety, dashed a 250-foot freighter upon the shore and caused widespread damage.
The ninety-mile-an-hour reading was recorded at the Coast Guard station at Manasquan, N. J., about eight miles south of the resort city of Asbury Park. Winds as high as 83 miles an hour were recorded earlier on the Virginia coast.
Water five to six feet deep, all from rain, blocked highways in the vicinity of Hicksville, a Long Island community in an area hard hit by the famous hurricane of 1938.
Hundreds of automobiles were stalled along the Jericho Turnpike on the northern coast of Long Island and elsewhere. Fishing craft and other small boats were reported washed ashore on the southern side of Long Island and in harbor on the north side.
Trees up to sixty feet high were toppled in the area of Hicksville and Riverhead.
Sheriff W. C. McCOLLOM of Suffolk County, reported abnormally high tides in the area. Electric service in the area was "off and on," he said.
Reported breads in the Long Island railroad signal system caused difficulty in keeping trains moving.
Hoboken Ferry Halted.
Ferry operations between New York and Hoboken, N. J., were suspended because docks were covered with two feet of water. Withdrawn from operations were the Lackawanna railroad ferry at 23rd Street and the Barkley Street ferry.
Beaches along the southern shore of Long Island, including such exclusive resorts as Southampton, were evacuated.
Beaches along the southern shore of Long Island, including such exclusive resorts as Southampton, were evacuated.
Police cleared a 12-mile stretch of the Rhode Island shore between Watch Hill and Weekapaugh, one of the sections hit by the 1938 storm.
In New York City, sidewalks were virtually deserted. Wind whipping sheets of rain around the corners of tall buildings smashed plate glass windows.
Four persons were cut by flying glass when the window of a Broadway self-service restaurant was blown in.
The Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan said all its trains had stopped except those on the Hudson division, connecting New York and Albany.
Worcester In Center.
The following advisory was issued by the Boston weather bureau at 10 p.m.:
"Latest reports from the vicinity of the hurricane indicates that that the center of the storm is passing over the Connecticut coast about twenty miles west of New London at 10 p.m. last night moving north northeastward about forty miles per hour."
"This path of the center is expected to continue changing more to the northeast later. The center should pass close to Putnam, Conn., Worcester, Mass., just north of Portland, Me., reaching Worcester about 1 a.m., Portland about 3 a.m. and Bangor about 6 a.m."
"This is a severe storm and is not expected to diminish much as it passes through New England. Hurricane warnings continue to be displayed from Delaware Breakwater to Portland, Me., and northeast storm warnings north of Portland to Eastport."
Winds which reached a record velocity of 95 miles an hour in New York City swirled torrential rains across the New York metropolitan area.
Nine Deaths Reported.
Nine deaths in the area resulting from the storm were reported. In Brooklyn, JOSEPH LAUZON, 55, street car motorman, was electrocuted when he stepped from his car and onto a live wire pulled down by a tree that had fallen on the tracks.
At Port Washington on Long Island, an unidentified man was drowned when he was washed off the deck of a vessel in the Johnson Shipyard. His body was recovered, but his name was not learned by police.
Other deaths reported include:
ANTONE KAPPUS, 54, of Ridgewood, N. Y., blown from a Ridgewood elevated train platform onto a third rail.
JACK GRAFFIGINO, 60, of Ozone Park, N. Y., electrocuted when he stepped on a live wire that had been blown to a street.
BERNARD McLAUGHLIN, 54, of Hollis, N. Y., found dead in a street. Cause attributed to electrocution or exhaustion induced by walking in storm.
CHARLES MOEHRINGER, 77, of Jamaica, N.Y., found dead in street. Electrocution or exhaustion.
LOUIS TORSIELLO, 55, of Jamaica, found dead in street. Electrocution or exhaustion.
ALEX DORGAN, 58, of Jamaica, found dead in street. Electrocution or exhaustion.
ROBERT EWING, 69, a summer resident of South Bower's Beach, Del., found dead on beach. Death attributed to over-exertion.
Nearly every road in Nassau and Suffolk counties was blocked by fallen trees and service on the Long Island Railroad was halted by water over tracks at several points and by disruption of signals when wires were torn down. Some Long Island roads were under several feet of water.
Power Lines Down.
Trees and telephone poles were toppled by the hundreds in the Greater New York Area. Lights were extinguished on Long Island, Staten Island and in scattered communities of Westchester County when power lines were blown down.
Rain flooded streets and highways and halted some subway and surface line traffic as well as trains of the New York, New Haven and Hartford and Pennsylvania Railways.
Dozens of street signs crashed to the street on Manhattan and several store and restaurant windows were shattered by the force of the wind.
Most inhabitants of coastal communities on Staten and Long Islands had been evacuated before the storm struck, but some stubborn families had remained in their homes on Fire Island off the southern shore of Long Island and were marooned late last night.
Floods In Westchester.
Damage to shore towns had not been determined late last night.
Westchester County suffered chiefly from flood waters and a ferry pilot at Yonkers declared the Hudson River was rougher than at any time in his 35 years experience. The river tide was five to six feet above normal, but river and harbor vessels weathered the storm safely.
The storm struck New York at approximately 6 p.m. and reached its peak between 8 and 9 p.m. By 10 p.m., both wind and rain began to subside. The weather bureau predicted clearing weather for today.
The Homestead restaurant on the Ocean Grove, N. J. boardwalk near Asbury Park, was washed into the sea. The restaurant had a capacity of 300 persons, but was believed to have been unoccupied when it was destroyed.
A pier was reported washed out at Asbury Park, but details were unavailable.
Many residents of Fire Island, off Long Island's south shore fled their homes Wednesday. Four large Long Island airplane plants halted operations last night.
New England Alerted.
Gov. LEVERETT SALTONSTALL of Massachusetts broadcast an appeal to shore dwellers to leave their homes for safer places and Rhode Island state police issued a similar warning.
Two vessels described as coal barges ran aground at Rehoboth Beach, Del., and were being battered by a severe gale. Whether crews were aboard was undetermined.
Power and telephone lines were downed in some areas.
In Atlantic City, N. J., the weather bureau reported wind velocity of 65 miles an hour. A report stated Atlantic City's famous Steel Pier was split in half by mountainous waves, the Heinz Pier had been washed away and parts of the million dollar pier have been destroyed.
Children there and in numerous other seashore communities were sent home.
Water driven into the streets of Wildwood, N. J., threatened to maroon one hundred homes. Small boats in the area were driven ashore. A utility company spokesman said 5,000 homes in the vicinity went without electricity for a half hour.
At Mitchell Field on Long Island, all army planes for which there was no room in hangars were flown to other airports inland.
Four huge war plants in Nassau County, employing approximately 70,000 workers, were closed to permit employees to reach their homes safely.
Westerly R. I. Hit.
The Rhode Island shore felt the first blast of the Atlantic hurricane about 9 p.m. last night. Communications were interrupted and details scarce.
Westerly and the surrounding area lost all electric power, with trees and power lines down, as wind measured at "more than seventy miles an hour" lashed the seas over seawalls and inundated some places.
The Navy clocked the wind at more than 88 miles an hour at the Quonset Naval Air Station.
Roads were blocked by blown down trees and power lines in Newport County and all busses were ordered off the roads for safety.
The Army's Fort Adams in Newport and the nearby town of Jamestown were completely without lights.
Several other communities lost their electric power. They included Warren, Barrington, Bristol and Middletown.
Water at the dock of the historic frigate Constellation was two feet above normal.
The Navy evacuated all personnel from the auxiliary air facility at Groton and from a torpedo school at Melville.
In Providence the water of the Providence River was but three feet from the floor of the Point Street bridge. The river empties into Narragansett Bay which was being kicked up in sheets by the hurricane force wind.
State guardsmen were mobilized in that state and throughout Massachusetts.
Gale On Cape Cod.
Lashed by an ever increasing wind, a driving rain struck Boston.
About one-fourth of the city of Springfield was without lights.
Also about 100 families there were evacuated from a housing project as a precautionary measure. They were bedded in a school on cots and blankets furnished by the Red Cross.
In Quincy, Mass., a Shouth Shore suburb of Boston, 200 families were moved from homes in the bay area.
Nearly all of Fall River, in southeastern Massachusetts, was in darkness and the Eastern Mass. Railway ordered its busses off the streets. Numerous families were evacuated from shoreline homes.
The wind was reported by the East Boston weather station in excess of forty miles an hour. J. W. FARLEY of the Massachusetts public safety committee reported the gale along Cape Cod had reached eighty miles an hour.
The main street of Provincetown, Mass., on the tip of Cape Cod, was under water and civilian defense forces evacuated 23 persons from the Cape Cod town of Yarmouth.
At the Cherry Point, N. C., marine base, officials announced the entire personnel, between 3,000 and 4,000 men had been moved to points of safety inland.
Waves rolling up 50 feet in the air and crashing against the unprotected coastline left debris scattered across miles of beaches and hundreds of small boats were destroyed and many boardwalks damaged.
Extensive damage to beaches, crops and homes were reported as torrents of rain and high winds swept the North Carolina area.
Fifty-foot waves rolled across beaches, and Morehead City, at the mouth of the Newport River, was left a ghost town by evacuation of its 2,000 residents who were moved to points of safety before flood waters inundated most of the town.
Communications in many areas were down.
Navy Planes Flown Inland.
All naval planes in the Norfolk area were flown inland and military personnel living in camps near Virginia Beach were transferred to safer zones.
Residents of Virginia Beach, Ocean View and Willoughby Beach hammered up storm and the weather bureau predicted high tides would be only five feet less than the record waves which caused $3,000,000 damage at Willoughby in the 1933 hurricane.
Hurricane warnings flew all the way from Virginia Capes to Portland, Me., and New York City, where five inches of rain had flooded cellars in the last 48 hours, awaiting new heavy rains and winds of gale or near gale force as the storm moved northward.
Thousands of acres of rich farm land were flooded in coastal areas of North Carolina. Damage to corn and other crops was estimated at hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Storm riding Army and Navy pilots who had charted the course of the hurricane northward from the Bahamas estimated the wind velocity in the center at 140 miles per hour.
The Troy Record New York 1944-09-15
Researched and Transcribed by Stu Beitler. Thank you, Stu!