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Major mid-Atlantic Hurricane of September 16, 1933
(Hurricane # 13)

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Following several days of disturbed weather conditions in the area east of the Leeward Islands, an organized center of low pressure was first detected about 300 miles northeast of St Martin on September 10, 1933. The storm then intensified into a hurricane as it moved steadily northwest towards the southeast US coast. On September 15 the storm began to recurve and moved almost directly northward towards eastern North Carolina where it passed just west of Cape Hatteras on the morning of the 16th. From there it moved north-northeast back over the Atlantic to a point about 125 miles south of Atlantic City, NJ, and then tracked northeast passing southeast of Nantucket on the 17th and over Nova Scotia as an extratropical storm on the 18th.

Most of the damage from this storm was experienced in eastern North Carolina and the Virginia Capes where there were many reports of downed power lines, uprooted and broken trees and roofs blown off. In the New Bern, NC area the wind was estimated to have peaked at 125mph. At Cape Hatteras, the wind measuring equipment was partly damaged (one cup of the anemometer was blown off) and an estimate of a 76mph maximum wind was made based on the information that was available. The lowest pressure measured at Cape Hatteras was 28.25 inches (956 millibars) but earlier the steamship Washington had reported a pressure of 27.96 inches (947mb) over the ocean.

The storm claimed 21 lives in North Carolina where damage over the extreme eastern portions was extensive with scores of houses destroyed and 1000 persons said to have been made homeless, trees and power lines down, highways and bridges washed out, and substantial livestock deaths and crop damage. An interesting comment in the Severe Storms summary of the September 1933 Monthly Weather Review, apparently related to the politics of the day, noted that the damage included "more cotton destroyed than by the President’s plan of plowing it under".

In the Virginia tidewater, business districts were again flooded just 3 ½ weeks after another hurricane had caused severe flooding in downtown Norfolk. There was considerable disruption to shipping in the region, but from the Norfolk area on north, the damage was considered to be considerably less severe than in the previous hurricane. There were some reports of damage to vessels along the shore from Block Island, Rhode Island to Provincetown, MA along with some scattered wind damage.

Some wind and rain reports for the hurricane are listed in the tables below:

LOCATION SPEED DIRECTION
DATE
Wilmington, NC 42 mph NW 9/15
Cape Hatteras, NC 76 mph NW 9/16
Cape Henry, VA 68 mph NE 9/16
Norfolk, VA 56 mph NE 9/16
Raleigh, NC 29 mph N 9/16
Richmond, VA 24 mph NE 9/16
Philadelphia, PA 29 mph NE 9/16
Atlantic City, NJ 47 mph N 9/16
Sandy Hook, NJ 38 mph NE 9/17
New Haven, CT 26 mph NE 9/17
Block Island, RI 50 mph N 9/17
Nantucket, MA 54 mph NE 9/17
Boston, MA 26 mph N 9/17
Eastport, ME 30 mph E 9/17
Boston, MA              7.83"

Bridgehampton, LI     4.25"

Setauket, LI              1.41"

Central Park, NYC   0.24"

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