The hurricane hit Long Island around 3:30 PM which was just a few hours before astronomical high tide. At this time the eye was about 50 miles across and the hurricane was about 500 miles wide (Francis, 1998). High tide was even higher than usual because of the Autumnal Equinox and new moon. Combined with winds gusting over 180 mph, few on eastern Long Island's south shore had a chance when the storm surge hit. Waves between 30 and 50 feet pounded the coastline with millions of tons of sea water, sweeping entire homes and families into the sea. The impact of the storm surge was so powerful that it was actually recorded on the earthquake seismograph at Fordham University in New York City (Francis, 1998). Most people did not even realize that a hurricane was upon them even as the waters began flooding their coastal homes. The hurricane produced storm tides of 14 to 18 feet across most of the Long Island and Connecticut coast, with 18 to 25 foot tides from New London east to Cape Cod. The destructive power of the storm surge was felt throughout the coastal community. Downtown Providence, Rhode Island was submerged under a storm tide of nearly 20 feet while downtown Westhampton Beach, a mile inland, was under 8 feet of water! Sections of Falmouth and New Bedford, Massachusetts were also submerged under as much as 8 feet of water.
Hugo's howler, Harrabin's howler
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