By now everyone that lives on the Eastern Seaboard, and especially The Jersey Shore, has heard of the coming Hurricane, Irene. What most don't know is that Irene is following a very similar path to The Great Atlantic Hurricane of 1944.
The Great Atlantic Hurricane of 1944 was first detected on September 9, northeast of the Lesser Antilles. It likely developed from a tropical wave several days before. It moved west-northwestward and steadily intensified to a 140 mph major hurricane on the 12th, northeast of the Bahamas. Around this time, the Miami Hurricane Warning Office designated this storm "The Great Atlantic Hurricane" to emphasize its intensity and size, which appears to be the first time a name was designated by the office which evolved into the National Hurricane Center. The hurricane turned northward and hit the Outer Banks later that day.
Moving rapidly to the northeast, the hurricane maintained its strength first giving a strong and destructive glancing blow to The Jersey Shore before making landfall on Long Island on September 15, hitting as a Category 3 hurricane.
The hurricane was infamous for the amount of damage it caused along the New Jersey coastline. The shore towns of Long Beach Island, Barnegat, Atlantic City, Ocean City, and Cape May all suffered major damage. Long Beach Island and Barnegat Island both lost their causeways to the mainland in the storm effectively cutting them off from the rest of New Jersey.
Additionally both islands lost hundreds of homes, in particular the Harvey Cedars section of Long Beach Island where many homes in the town were swept out to sea. In Atlantic City the hurricane's storm surge forced water into the lobbies of many of the resorts famous hotels. The Atlantic City boardwalk suffered major damage along with the city’s famous ocean piers. Both the famed Steel Pier and Heinz Pier were partially destroyed by the hurricane with only the Steel Pier getting rebuilt.
While we, on The Jersey Shore, are much better prepared today than our forbearers in the 1940’s, Hurricane Irene is very capable of causing major damage and loss of life.
Here is a disaster preparedness kit from the Hurricane Center. Below you can see the 'track' of the two hurricanes.
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