The 1944 Great Atlantic hurricane was destructive and powerful and swept across a large portion of the US east coast in September 1944. An area of tropical thunderstorms was first identified well east of the Lesser Antilles on September 4, the disturbance only became well organized to be considered a tropical storm on September 9 northeast of the Virgin Islands. Moving west-northwest, the storm gradually intensified and reached peak intensity as a Category 4-equivalent hurricane on September 13 north of the Bahamas after curving northward. A day later, the storm passed by the Outer Banks and later made landfall on Long Island as a weaker hurricane on September 15. Passing close to the Outer Banks, strong winds were reported across eastern North Carolina, and knocked out telecommunications networks on the Outer Banks. Small homes were leveled by the winds. The hurricane was infamous for the amount of damage it caused along the New Jersey coastline. The shore towns on Long Beach Island, Atlantic City and Cape May all suffered major damage. Long Beach Island, Barnegat Island and Brigantine all lost their causeways to the mainland in the storm effectively cutting them off from the rest of New Jersey. Additionally, both islands lost hundreds of homes. In Atlantic City the hurricane's storm surge forced water into the lobbies of many of the resorts famous hotels. The Atlantic City boardwalk suffered major damage and in some places was deposited several blocks inland from the beaches. My mother-in-law and her family rode out the storm in a rooming house 2 blocks from the beach, protected by pieces of the boardwalk that logged against the structure. Both the famed Steel Pier and Heinz Pier were partially destroyed by the hurricane with only the Steel Pier subsequently rebuilt. Rain totals of 7 inches occurred in Hartford Connecticut and the city of Bridgeport saw the greatest official total at 10.7 inches. Tobacco and fruit damage in Connecticut totaled to about $2 million, with similar overall damage costs occurring in Rhode Island. A total of 28 people died throughout New England as a result of the storm. On September 9, 1944, the storm that was officially upgraded to a tropical system would, in the next week result in one of the greatest destructive hurricanes on record for the resort beach towns of New Jersey.
Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices