Written by Lisa Finn
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has launched a website to mark the 75th anniversary on Sunday of the Hurricane of 1938, “one of the most destructive and powerful hurricanes in recorded history,” the weather organization said.
The hurricane, known as the "Long Island Express," ripped into the area, slamming into Long Island as a Category 3 storm, and heading into southern New England, leaving a swath of destruction in its wake.
Filled with damage photos, old film reels, news clippings, a timeline, a track map, and a videotaped interview with Richard Hendrickson, a 101-year-old weather observer from Bridgehampton who recalls living through the worst recorded storm in history, the site captures the wrath of the hurricane for a new generation.
Recalling the "Great New England Hurricane of 1938" in the video, Hendrickson described limbs down, leaves blowing, roofs raised on buildings and support timbers for homes being torn from the ground.
"And it blew. Then the first thing you know that chicken house was gone," he said. "Two of the big lane houses up on the hill were gone . . . There were no trees left in the orchard."
With a forward speed of 47 miles per hour and winds over 100 miles an hour, the hurricane created a destructive storm surge that decimated homes and communities, the NOAA video shows.
Meteorologists David Stark, Lauren Nash, Joey Picca and Nancy Furbush created the website, which focuses on locations in the New York forecast area.
Gripping YouTube videos of rare storm footage captures a hurricane that killed hundreds, destroyed thousands of homes, and left scores homeless, shaping Long Island’s history and geography as inlets were formed. The storm, the video explains, resulted in billions dollars of damage.
"It was a way that you started life all over again," Hendrickson. "But we lived through it. And you made each day the best you could, under those conditions."