Taken by Storm, 1938

A Social and Meteorological History of the Great New England Hurricane

Lourdes B. Avilés

Lourdes B. Avilés

Distributed for American Meteorological Society

275 pages | 30 halftones, 3 maps | 7 x 9
Cloth $40.00 ISBN: 9781878220370 Published October 2013

On September 21, 1938 one of the most powerful storms of the twentieth century came unannounced into the lives of New Yorkers and New Englanders, leaving utter devastation in its wake. The Great Hurricane, as it came to be known, changed everything, from the landscape and its inhabitants’ lives, to Weather Bureau practices, to the measure and kind of relief New Englanders would receive during the Great Depression and the resulting pace of regional economic recovery.

 
The storm formed near the Cape Verde Islands on September 10 but was not spotted until several days later, and was predicted by the understaffed Weather Bureau to head toward Florida. Junior forecaster Charlie Pierce correctly projected the northerly storm track, but senior meteorologists ignored his forecast, a mistake that cost many lives—including those of immigrants who had arrived to the Northeast in waves in the preceding decades. To be published on the storm’s 75th anniversary, this compelling history successfully weaves science, historical accounts, and social analyses to create a comprehensive picture of the most powerful and devastating hurricane to hit New England to date.

Choice
"The great New England hurricane of 1938 devastated much of Long Island and southern New England. . . . The result was a massive loss of life and property in inland New England as well as along the coast. Avilés describes the life cycle and aftermath of the storm and in the process provides a thorough history of meteorology and hurricane prediction in the early 20th century."
Contents
Foreword
Preface
Prologue
 
Part I: Overview
1 The Great Hurricane of 1938
2 The Tools of the Trade
 Part II: Life Cycle
3 Birth of the Storm
4 Florida’s Sigh of Relief
5 “It Doesn’t Happen in New England”
6 Sudden Devastation
7 Interior New England Impacts
Part III: Aftermath
8 What Was Left Behind
9 Past, Present, and Future
 
Epilogue
Appendix: Report from the Weather Bureau to the Secretary of Agriculture, October 3, 1938
Notes
References
Index
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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