Reanalysis: Hurricane of 1938, Stronger

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By Quincy Vagell on September 20, 2013, 12:00am Last modified: September 23, 2013, 9:47am

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A team of researchers recently finished a reanalysis, which included the Hurricane of '38.

The original intensity was Category 2 with winds near 100 MPH at landfall on Long Island.
The new data increased the landfall intensity to 105 knots, which is equal to 121 MPH.

According to a Hurricane Chaser/Enthusiast at, the the reanalysis was led by a piece of data that was obtained from Fishers Island, N.Y. Reportedly, "a sustained (1-min) wind of 95 kt measured on Fishers Island, NY, before the anemometer blew away." 

The intensity was also increased to Category 3 for the Connecticut landfall and Category 2 was it passed into western Massachusetts. [LINK] Intense winds reached 121 MPH sustained at Blue Hill Observatory and the strongest hurricane-force wind gust ever recorded in the United States was measured at 186 MPH in the same location.

Category 3 hurricanes have sustained winds between 111 and 130 MPH.
Category 2 hurricanes have sustained winds between 96 and 110 MPH.
*Peak sustained winds from Hurricane Sandy only reached 51 MPH (in CT) with higher gusts.

Compared to Hurricane Sandy, the core wind field was relatively small (and close to the center) with the 1938 hurricane. Then, the radius of maximum wind was about 40 nautical miles. With Sandy, the wind field was hundreds of nautical miles. (landfall in southern New Jersey, but hurricane-force sustained winds on Long Island and hurricane-force gusts across coastal Connecticut.

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Quincy Vagell

Town: Marlborough, CT  

Reporting for WXedge since January 2012.

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