On August 27, 1893, a major hurricane which came to be known as the Sea Island Hurricane struck the United States near Savanah, Georgia. It was one of three deadly hurricanes during the 1893 Atlantic Hurricane Season; the storm killed an estimated 1,000–2,000 people, mostly from storm surge. .On August 15, 1893, a tropical storm formed off the west coast of Africa. It became a hurricane on the 19th, while crossing the Atlantic. The hurricane continued to strengthen, attaining Category 3 status on August 22 while located northeast of the Lesser Antilles. By the evening of the 25th, the storm was approaching the Bahamas. It is believed that the first effects of the storm were beginning to be felt in the Sea Islands area off the Georgia coast, with the winds steadily increasing during the night of the 25th. Landfall occurred near Savanah, Georgia, on August 27. Reports from the time say that wind during landfall was around 120 mph, making it a category 3 storm. Pressure in Savannah was measured at 28.00” modern estimates put the pressure as low as 27.50” out at sea. This would have made the hurricane most likely stronger than a Category 3 storm. The hurricane carried with it a heavy storm surge of at least 16 feet, although the modern hurricane models calculates that some areas may have been inundated up to 30 feet that caused great destruction along the coastline and offshore. An estimated 1,000 to 2,000 people were killed mostly by drowning, putting it on-par with 2005’s Hurricane Katrina as the sixth-deadliest hurricane in US history. St. Helena was estimated to have 6,000 African-Americans living there with the majority owning their own land and homes in a time when most Black people were prevented from doing so. Most structures in that area were not elevated higher than 2 feet; therefore, they were covered by the first waves that went above the normal water mark. Although the hurricane was devastating, the American Red Cross did not arrive until October 1, possibly because of ongoing efforts following another hurricane that hit South Carolina in June. Others claimed it was neglect because most of those impacted where Black Americans. Damage was reported as far north as Maine. Damage was heavy all along the New Jersey coast and breakers were described as the biggest ever witnessed. Railroad tracks were under four feet of water. Crops were heavily damaged in Pennsylvania and upstate New York. At Coney Island, roofs were lifted off big buildings and carried for blocks. Waves topped the seawall by 15 feet at Battery Park. Damage was heavy at resorts on Long Island and it was the worst storm on the New England coast in 20 years.
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