Storm facts:

Since the 1870s, eight storms of Category 2 through 5 strength have passed within 65 miles of the coast, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climatic Data Center and Coastal Services Center says.

Storms were not formally named before 1950.

From the Press-Union Sept. 14, 1944, during the 1944 storm:

“The editorial rooms of the Press-Union newspapers were in darkness until midnight last night, and editors and reporters ‘covered’ the storm stories by candlelight — or no light at all.

“Most of the story was ‘in’ and written when the power returned, and the linotype operators quickly grabbed the copy to rush the morning edition of The Press.”


Sept. 3, 1821: The eye of the Norfolk and Long Island Hurricane, known locally as the September Gale, passes over Cape May and tracks along what is today the Garden State Parkway. Hurricane-force gusts cause crop and property losses in eastern New Jersey, especially in Cape May. Historians say there was limited damage since the area was sparsely populated. It was likely a Category 1 storm with a 5-foot storm surge. No deaths reported.

Oct. 13, 1846: The Great Havana Hurricane of 1846 passes near or over the state, destroys many houses, downs many trees, and drowns several livestock.

Sept. 8 to 10, 1889: Residents call it “The Hurricane,” which sweeps away most of the Atlantic City Boardwalk. Sustained winds of 60 mph are recorded for 10 hours with a high wind of 65 mph for an hour or more. White caps roll over the meadows and overturn yachts and floating houses.

Sept. 16, 1903: A storm — named Hurricane “Vagabond” by the Atlantic City Press — comes ashore near Ocean City. Roofs are ripped off Atlantic City hotels, and dozens of boats at harbors along the East Coast are smashed before it heads north of Philadelphia and dies out. Winds are clocked at 75 mph. Published reports say the storm killed 30 people. Five people from the city were killed when they ventured out into the storm aboard the fishing boat “Red Dragon.”

Sept. 13, 1936: A category 2 hurricane passes about 50 miles off the southeastern New Jersey coast. Hurricane-force gusts pound Cape May. The Long Island, a fishing boat, sinks on the Delaware Bay, killing seven crew members.

Sept. 21, 1938: The New England Hurricane of 1938 passes to the east of the state, causing winds as strong as 100 mph and powerful waves along the coastline. The bridge to Brigantine collapses, leaving the city marooned. Storm damage estimates in Brigantine reach $70,000. Tomato crops are ruined, and half of the apple harvest is destroyed.

Sept. 14, 1944: An unnamed category 3 hurricane, later called the Great Atlantic Hurricane, damages the region. The U.S. Weather Bureau reports gale-swept rains continue for more than five hours. Gales maintain 74 mph gusts; an 86 mph gust is recorded in Atlantic City and surrounding towns. Storm waves are estimated to be 30 to 50 feet high. Damage in 11 South and Central Jersey counties is officially estimated at $34,000,000.

Sept. 12, 1960: Hurricane Donna passes New Jersey as a category 2 hurricane. Brigantine loses much of its beach. An entire building and its decking at the Seahorse Pier at 14th Street and Brigantine Avenue disappear beneath the waves.

Aug. 9, 1976: Hurricane Belle comes ashore on Long Island with sustained winds of 75 mph. Eastern New Jersey experiences gusts of 50 to 65 mph and several inches of rain.

Sept. 27, 1985: Hurricane Gloria swipes New Jersey’s coast. Heavy rain and some flooding, but no major damage is reported.

Sept. 18, 1999:  Hurricane Floyd weakens to a tropical storm before passing  off the coast of Cape May. While inland areas of the state were flooded, the coast suffered little more than some dune damage.

Sources: The Press of Atlantic City archives, Jersey, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Hurricane Center,, Columbia University Libraries, “Hurricanes and the Middle Atlantic States” by Rich Schwartz

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