It's been 20 years since New England has seen a major hurricane, but if the current path holds true, Hurricane Irene could be the first big storm to pound the coast from New York through Connecticut, Massachusetts and up to Maine.
As the Northeast keeps a watchful eye on Hurricane Irene's path, let's have a look at some of the worst storms to hit the region.
Hurricane Bob (commons)
Hurricane Bob - Aug. 1991
Bob formed east of the Bahamas and made landfall in New England near New Bedford, Massachusetts with 115 mph winds. It cut a path across southeastern Massachusetts towards the Gulf of Maine. Over 60% of the region's residents lost power and a number of beaches on Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard lost 50 feet of beach to erosion. Bob was blamed for at least 18 storm-related deaths and ranks as the 10th most costly storm on record, with over $2.5 billion in damages.
Hurricane Gloria (commons)
Hurricane Gloria - Aug. 1985
Gloria was a powerful Category 4 storm that trolled its way around the Atlantic for 13 days with highest sustained winds of 145 mph. It hugged the coastline on its way north, crossing Long Island and making landfall in Milford, Connecticut. The storm left over two million people without power and caused flooding throughout the region. Damages reached $900 million and there were eight storm-related deaths.
Hurricane Donna (commons)
Hurricane Donna - Sept. 1960
Donna did her share of destruction in the Caribbean before impacting every single state on the Eastern seaboard. In fact, Donna holds the record for sustaining major hurricane status (Category 3 or above) for the longest period of time. Donna is the only storm on record to have produced hurricane-force winds in Florida, the Mid-Atlantic States, and New England. Donna pounded Southeast Connecticut with sustained winds of 100 mph, and gusts up to 130 mph, before she cut across to Maine. The storm was responsible for $500 million in damages and killed 364 people.
Hurricane Diane (commons)
Hurricane Diane - Aug. 1955
Hurricane Diane was right on the tail of Hurricane Connie as it raced through the Mid-Atlantic with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph. Though it weakened to a tropical storm by the time it hit the southern New England coast, Diane set flooding records throughout the region and was blamed for up to 200 storm-related deaths. With over $832 million in damages, it qualified as the most costly hurricane on record at the time.
Hurricane Edna (commons)
Hurricane Edna - Sept. 1954
Edna formed off of Barbados, reaching Category 3 strength at the Outer Banks before barreling up the coast to New England. Before striking the Northeast, Edna's eye split into two different ones, up to 60 miles apart at times, moving over Cape Coad & the Islands with peak gusts of 120 mph. The storm eventually made landfall near Eastport, Maine, becoming one of Maine's worst-ever hurricanes. Edna was responsible for 29 deaths and $40 million in damages.
Huricane Carol (commons)
Huricane Carol - Aug. 1954
Carol was a small but powerful storm that battered New England as a Category 2 hurricane. The storm made landfall in the Outer Banks and passed over Long Island through Central New England and into Canada. All of Rhode Island, Eastern Connecticut, and Eastern Massachusetts lost power, and the storm cause over $461 million in damages and 68 deaths.
The Great Atlantic Hurricane (commons)
The Great Atlantic Hurricane - Sept. 1944
First detected in the Lesser Antilles, this hurricane hugged the East Coast of the U.S., crossing Long Island before pounding Rhode Island, and moving up into Maine. With 140 mph winds, this Category 4 storm produced hurricane force winds over 600 miles from the storm center, causing $100 million in damages and 390 deaths.
The Long Island Express (commons)
The Long Island Express - Sept. 1938
Dubbed the Long Island Express, this hurricane accelerated rapidly up the East coast and without warning, made landfall as a Category 3 storm along Long Island and the Connecticut coast with wind gusts up to 183 mph. The storm left cities like Providence, Rhode Island and Falmouth, Massachusetts underwater. Over $400 million in damages were reported and upwards of 800 people were killed.