’38 Hurricane Photo and Facts

Journal file photo

Outside City Hall and the Biltmore Hotel, the streets of Providence are left flooded by a massive storm surge in the Hurricane of 1938.

The storm surge from the ’38 hurricane rose 12 to 16 feet above sea level. It was made worse because the storm was moving so fast and it arrived at the same time as the autumnal high tide.

The ’38 hurricane destroyed more than 2,000 houses. It wiped 44 cottages off Westerly’s Napatree Point and swept clean Warwick’s Conimicut Point, Island Park in Portsmouth, Jerusalem, Galilee and Misquamicut.

After the storm, there were widespread complaints about inadequate forecasting by the National Weather Service. The complaints led to an overhaul of the service


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