The Last 'Frankenstorm': Video of the 1938 Nor'easter That Ravaged New England

filed under: top-story
Image credit: 
Getty Images

Hurricane Sandy is making its presence known across the Eastern Seaboard, with powerful winds beginning to lash the coast and rain starting to pour down from North Carolina to New York. And as millions of Americans across the East Coast hunker down, some are turning to history as a guide.

In 1938, for instance, a category 3 hurricane left 600 people dead in New England.

During that ferocious hurricane, also known as the Yankee Clipper and the Long Island Express, the Empire State Building reportedly swayed with wind gusts, and 60 people in New York City alone were killed, says Oren Yaniv at the New York Daily News. Unlike Sandy, 1938's powerful storm came "without warning," says History.com, and "was born out a tropical cyclone that developed in the eastern Atlantic."

The hurricane was expected to make landfall in Florida, but at the last minute it changed course, barreling north at more than 60 mph and gaining strength over the warm waters of the Gulf Stream. It caught New England, and especially New York's Long Island, completely off guard, and amounted to "the most destructive storm to strike the region in the 20th century."

In this strangely compelling historic video of the storm, winds whip New York City residents braving the streets, power lines throughout New England lean and dangle precariously, and flood waters crash into seaside homes, engulfing what looks like a trolley in one of the region's cities. Check it out:

http://youtu.be/7b21g-5YBLs

Every so often, we'll reprint something from our sister publication, The Week. This is one of those times.

More from mental_floss...

October 29, 2012 - 5:34am
submit to reddit