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Blue Hill
Sky Mail
 September 4, 2018
The 80th Anniversary 
 1938 Hurricane Event
to Mark Big Wind - 186mph
Attention Media Outlets 
Schools and Blue Hill Observatory Members

       The Height of the 1938 Hurricane in Providence RI (photo Wm. H Foley Providence Journal) - from  The 1938 Hurricane - an Historical and Pictorial Summary by W. E. Minsinger - (still available for sale on That is a street car in the foreground with seawater up to its windows - people lost their lives here as the storm surge was funneled up Narragansett Bay and rose rapidly in about 5 minutes just as businesses let out at 5 PM - the tide never really had fallen from the morning high tide with winds out of the south.

On September 21st, the staff at the Blue Hill Observatory, atop Great Blue Hill in Milton, MA, always reflect on the passage of the 1938 Great New England Hurricane which produced a 5 minute average wind of 121 mph and a gust of 186 mph at approximately 6:15 PM. This is the highest wind ever recorded at the Observatory in our 133 year history and was, up until recently, the second highest wind ever recorded in the world. A remarkable day at Blue Hill Observatory and throughout New England.


This is an amazing set of before and after pictures from Watch Hill, RI where the barrier beach was swept clean on Sept. 21,1938. Over 30 substantial summer "cottages" were completely swept away as well as the bathhouses pictured in the foreground The remarkable tale of survival of Helen Joy Lee, who rode a porch roof over to the Connecticut shore as her house was destroyed is featured in The 1938 Hurricane - an Historical and Pictorial Summary by W E Minsinger.
Fortunately this very vulnerable area has not been rebuilt on. 
A Special 80th Anniversary Timeline Event  
Friday September 21, 2018 
Blue Hill Observatory, Milton, MA
11AM - Observations will be recreated using the original nephroscope which allowed 
Dr. Charles Franklin Brooks forecast that the hurricane would strike later that day and warned officials at Harvard University
Noon - staff available to talk to the media about the 186 mph wind measured later in the day during the 1938 Hurricane at the Observatory 
2PM - Lecture on the 1938 Hurricane by Dr William E Minsinger who authored the book The 1938 Hurricane - an Historical and Pictorial Summary in 1988.
4-6:45PM - the timeline of weather events at the Observatory reviewed as they occurred in 1938. Staff available to the media for live interviews
7PM - Lecture on the 1938 Hurricane repeated for BHO members. Location - Fuller Village, Milton. Tickets available on the Blue Hill website-

The original Draper microbarograph recording made at Blue Hill Observatory on September 21.1938 - archived at the National Archives Waltham, MA This is showing station pressure at 651' above sea level. 

Come to the 18th annual Southern New England Weather Conference to hear more details of all aspects of wild New England weather. Register today by clicking on this link.
There are three ways to donate to Blue Hill Observatory: 
By Check made out to Blue Hill Observatory and mailed to Box 187, Readville, MA 02137
By Credit Card by calling 617-696-0562
     On-Line click the Donate button below. That will take you to our website where you can click on the donate button again and go directly to a page which accepts all Credit Cards and Pay Pal.   

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blue hill logo     Charles Orloff, Executive Director
     (508) 776-1879

     Don McCasland, Program Director
     (617) 696-0562
Blue Hill Observatory, P. O. Box 187, Readville, MA 02137
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