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East Coast Hurricane of September 18-19, 1936
(Hurricane # 13)

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On September 8, 1936, the SS West Selene observed a long swell from the northeast while in the vicinity of latitude 13 North longitude 50 West. This was the first indication of the disturbance that was to become a hurricane threatening the east coast of the United States. By September 10th, reports from other vessels indicated the presence of a well developed cyclone in the vicinity of 18 North 55 West. The storm continued on this basically NW track for the next week until it approached Cape Hatteras on September 17. This was a very large hurricane as evidenced by ship reports indicating an area of circulation with winds of around 25 knots or more a thousand miles wide. As it approached Cape Hatteras it began to recurve towards the North and accelerate. A ship just southeast of Cape Hatteras reported a pressure of 28.60 inches (968 millibars) at the center of the storm at 5am on September 18th. At Cape Hatteras, a maximum wind velocity of 80 mph from the NW was recorded. The Hatteras Weather Bureau reported that there was considerable damage done to homes, fishing equipment, wharfs, and other small buildings was reported, but credited timely warnings preceding the storm with preventing loss of life.

At Cape Henry, VA the wind was estimated at 75 mph when the anemometer cups and spindle were blown away at 11:37 am on September 18. The storm was considered severe in the tidewater area where one person was killed by flying debris and another drowned while trying to secure a rowboat on the Elizabeth River.

After paralleling the lower Delmarva, the hurricane turned more to the northeast and passed a little southeast of Nantucket where a low barometer reading of 29.27 inches (991 millibars) was recorded at 5am on September 19. Hurricane force winds were reported over the waters southeast of Long Island and the Massachusetts coast. Many boats were reported damaged on eastern Long Island, and similarly, damage on Block Island was mostly to marine equipment.

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

Cape Hatteras, NC 80 mph NE 9/18
Cape Henry, VA 75 mph N 9/18
Norfolk, VA 56 mph NW 9/18
Washington, DC 24 mph NE 9/18
Baltimore, MD 38 mph NE 9/18
Philadelphia, PA 42 mph N 9/18
Trenton, NJ 33 mph N 9/18
Atlantic City, NJ 73 mph NE 9/18
Sandy Hook, NJ 60 mph N 9/18
New York, NY 50 mph N 9/18
New Haven, CT 35 mph N 9/18
Hartford, CT 27 mph N 9/19
Block Island, RI 58 mph N 9/19
Nantucket, MA 45 mph N 9/19
Providence, RI 38 mph NW 9/19
Boston, MA 39 mph N 9/19
Portland, ME 25 mph NE 9/19
Central Park, NYC   3.95"

Setauket, LI              4.49"

Bridgehampton, LI     4.02"

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