Hurricane Carol: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hurricane Carol
Category 3 hurricane (SSHS)

Edgewood Yacht Club withstands the storm surge from Carol in Edgewood, Rhode Island.
Formed August 25, 1954
Dissipated September 1, 1954
115 mph (185 km/h) (1-minute sustained)
Lowest pressure 957 mbar (hPa; 28.26 inHg)
Fatalities 68 direct
Damage $460 million (1954 USD)
$3.7 billion (2009 USD)
Bahamas, North Carolina, New York, New England, southern Quebec
Part of the
1954 Atlantic hurricane season

Hurricane Carol was among the worst tropical cyclones to affect New England, United States. It developed from a tropical wave near the Bahamas on August 25, and gradually strengthened as it moved northwestward. On August 27, Carol intensified to reach winds of 105 mph (169 km/h), but weakened as its motion turned to a northwest drift. A strong trough of low pressure turned the hurricane northeastward, and Carol intensified to attain Category 3 status on the Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale. The well-organized hurricane made landfall on Long Island and Connecticut on August 30 near peak intensity, and quickly became extratropical over land.

Carol was similar to the New England Hurricane of 1938. Both the Category 3 Carol, and the Category 3 1938 hurricane struck New England as fast-moving hurricanes. Both systems hit within 40 miles (64 km) of each other at high tide, resulting in a substantial storm surge in Narragansett Bay.[1] At the time, Carol was the costliest United States hurricane, and adjusted for inflation it remains the 22nd costliest U.S. hurricane (as of 2006).[2]


Meteorological history

Storm path

A tropical wave developed into a tropical depression over the northeastern Bahamas on August 25. It moved to the northwest, and intensified into a tropical storm just six hours after forming. Receiving the name Carol, the storm gradually turned to the north, and strengthened under generally favorable conditions. On August 27, while located 345 miles (545 km) east of Cape Canaveral, Florida, Carol strengthened to attain hurricane status.[3] With a large anticyclone persisting across the southeastern United States,[4] the motion of Carol turned to a northwest drift. The hurricane continued to strengthen, and Carol reached an initial peak intensity of 105 mph (169 km/h) late on August 27. After maintaining peak intensity for 30 hours and moving a distance of 77 miles (124 km), Carol weakened slightly off the coast of Georgia.[3]

An eastward moving deep-wave trough intensified as it moved through the eastern United States. This caused Carol to accelerate as it turned to the north and north-northeast.[4] On August 30, the hurricane again strengthened to reach Category 2 status while located 180 miles (290 km) east of Savannah, Georgia. Early on August 31, Carol passed very near Cape Hatteras, North Carolina with Reconnaissance Aircraft intensity estimates between 75 mph (120 km/h) to 125 mph (200 km/h). The hurricane continued north-northeastward with a forward motion of up to 39 mph (63 km/h),[3] and Carol intensified further to make landfall on eastern Long Island (the eye going over the Fire Island community of Point O'Woods) as an upper Category 2 or a Category 3 hurricane.[5] After quickly crossing the Long Island Sound the hurricane made its final landfall on Old Saybrook, Connecticut.[3] Carol was a small hurricane, with the strongest winds near and to the east of the center. The eye remained well-defined as it made landfall, unusual for New England hurricane landfalls; residents in Groton, Connecticut reported clear skies and calm conditions as the hurricane made landfall, which was followed by an increase to hurricane-force winds 30 minutes later.[1] Carol quickly lost tropical characteristics while crossing Connecticut and western Massachusetts as a minimal hurricane, and late on August 31 the hurricane became extratropical over southwestern New Hampshire. The powerful extratropical storm continued northward, and after entering Canada it lost its identity over southern Quebec.[3]


Damage from Carol

While passing by North Carolina, the strongest winds remained to the east of Hurricane Carol, though winds of 90 to 100 mph (145 to 160 km/h) were reported at Cape Hatteras. Further inland, the hurricane produced a wind gust of 55 mph (90 km/h) in Wilmington and 65 mph (105 km/h) in Cherry Point.[3] The winds resulted in agricultural damage to the corn and soy bean crop. Near the coast, waves from the storm damaged fishing piers, while the winds caused minor damage to roofs and houses.[6] Damage in the state totaled to around $228,000 (1954 USD, $1.7 million 2006 USD).[3] Carol passed 100 miles (160 km) to the east of Virginia, and produced 40 mph (65 km/h) winds in Virginia Beach. The hurricane produced 4 inches (100 mm) of rain in Norfolk. Further to the northwest, rainfall from the system alleviated drought conditions in the Washington, D.C. area.[7]

On eastern Long Island near where Carol made landfall, a pressure of 960 mbar was recorded.[8] Winds on the island gusted to 120 mph (195 km/h). The hurricane's storm surge covered the Montauk Highway in Montauk, effectively isolating eastern Long Island for a period of time. Due to the compact nature of the storm, most of Long Island was largely unaffected by the hurricane.[1]

Hurricane Carol struck Connecticut shortly after high tide, and its combination with 10 to 15 feet (3 to 4.5 m) storm surges from New London eastward produced widespread tidal flooding.[8] The heaviest rainfall associated with the passage of the storm occurred in New London, where up to 6 inches (150 mm) fell.[8] Wind gusts in New London peaked at 110 mph (175 km/h), blowing off a portion of the roof of its city hall.[1] Strong winds left much of the eastern portion of the state without power.[8] Near the coast, the combination of strong winds and the storm surge damaged or destroyed thousands of buildings. Many other homes in southeastern Connecticut were damaged by falling trees. Due to the compact nature of the storm, western Connecticut experienced little effects from Carol.[1]

The hurricane produced a record-high wind gust of 135 mph (215 km/h) at Block Island, while on mainland Rhode Island, sustained winds peaked at 90 mph (145 km/h) in Warwick with gusts to 105 mph (170 km/h). Upon making landfall around high tide, Carol produced a storm surge of up to 14.4 feet (4.4 m) in Narragansett Bay, surpassing that of the New England Hurricane of 1938. The resulting storm surge flooded downtown Providence with 12 feet (3.7 m) of water. Some entire coastal communities were nearly destroyed.[8] The winds destroyed the roofs of hundreds of buildings, forcing many to evacuate to shelters during the passage of the storm. The powerful winds also downed thousands of trees and power lines, leaving 85% of the entire state without power. More than 5,000 buildings were destroyed across the state from the winds of the storm surge flooding.[1]

Storm surge from Hurricane Carol in Connecticut.

In Massachusetts, the hurricane produced winds between 80 to 110 mph (130 to 180 km/h) across much of the eastern part of the state, while near the coast strong storm surges were reported. The winds left much of the eastern portion of the state without power.[8] In Boston, the spire of the historic Old North Church was blown down. Salt water, which moved inland as far as Route 6, killed thousands of trees; for decades after the storm the forest of white trees mixed with new growth was visible along the length of Massachusetts Route 88 between Route 6 and the Horseneck Beach area in Westport, Massachusetts.

Carol maintained its intensity is it moved inland, and produced winds of up to at 80 mph (130 km/h) in Augusta, Maine. Throughout the state, the winds downed hundreds of trees, some of which damaged houses, wrecked cars, destroyed one building, or fell onto power lines. In addition, one was injured by a falling tree limb. Downed power lines left several counties without power or telephone services. The winds flattened hundreds of acres of corn in North Livermore, and throughout the state apples were torn off of trees. Damage to the apple crop amounted to $1.7 million (1954 USD, $12.7 million 2006 USD). While moving west of Maine, the hurricane dropped heavy rainfall, including a report of 2.15 inches (63 mm) in 12 hours. In Maine, the hurricane killed three people, injured at least 8, and caused damage totaling to $10 million (1954 USD, $74.9 million 2006 USD), the costliest natural disaster in the state's history.[9] Carol lost this distinction 10 days later when Hurricane Edna caused $15 million (1954 USD, $112 million 2006 USD) in damage in the state.[10]

Strong winds from Hurricane Carol destroyed nearly 40% of the apple, corn, peach, and tomato crops from eastern Connecticut to Cape Cod. The hurricane destroyed several thousand homes in New England,[8] many of which were destroyed from the waters or the powerful winds.[1] The hurricane also destroyed 3,500 cars and 3,000 boats.[8] Hurricane Carol caused $460 million in damage (1954 USD, $3.45 billion 2006 USD)[3] and 65 deaths in New England.[8]


The name Carol was used again in the 1965 season, and was planned for use during the 1969 hurricane season before it was replaced with the name Camille.[11] Due to serious destruction during 1954, however, the name will never again be used for an Atlantic hurricane. Carol was the first Atlantic hurricane name in history to be retired.[12]

Maine governor Burton M. Cross declared a state of emergency for the state. The Small Business Administration declared six counties in Maine as disaster areas.[9]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Michael A Grammatico (2003). "Hurricane Carol — August 31, 1954". Retrieved 2006-11-04.  
  2. ^ Eric S. Blake, Jerry D. Jarrell, Max Mayfield, and Edward N. Rappapor (2005). "The Costliest United States Tropical Cyclones from 1851 to 2004". National Hurricane Center. Retrieved 2006-11-06.  
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Walter R. Davis (1954). "Hurricanes of 1954". Weather Bureau Office. Retrieved 2006-11-02.  
  4. ^ a b Jay S. Winston (1954). "The Weather and Circulation of August 1954". U.S. Weather Bureau. Retrieved 2006-11-02.  
  5. ^ Hurricane Research Division (2006). "Chronological List of All Hurricanes which Affected the Continental United States: 1851-2005". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2006-11-02.  
  6. ^ James E. Hudgins (2000). "Tropical cyclones affecting North Carolina since 1586: An Historical Perspective". Blacksburg, Virginia National Weather Service Office. Retrieved 2006-11-03.  
  7. ^ David Roth & Hugh Cobb (2000). "Virginia Hurricane History". NOAA. Retrieved 2006-11-03.  
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i David R. Vallee and Michael R. Dion (1997). "Hurricane Carol". Taunton, MA National Weather Service. Retrieved 2006-11-04.  
  9. ^ a b Wayne Cotterly (2002). "Hurricane Carol (1954)". Retrieved 2006-11-10.  
  10. ^ Wayne Cotterly (2002). "Hurricane Edna (1954)". Retrieved 2006-11-10.  
  11. ^ Dave Baity (1967). Hurricanes Get Women's Names For Expediency. Retrieved on 2009-01-02.
  12. ^ Gary Padgett, Jack Beven, and James Lewis Free. Subject: B3) What names have been retired in the Atlantic and East Pacific basin? Retrieved on 2009-01-03.

See also

External links

Tropical cyclones of the 1954 Atlantic hurricane season
Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale
TD TS 1 2 3 4 5


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address