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Hurricane Diane: Wikis


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Hurricane Diane
Category 3 hurricane (SSHS)

August 17, 1955 weather map, featuring Diane
Formed August 7, 1955
Dissipated August 20, 1955
120 mph (195 km/h) (1-minute sustained)
Lowest pressure ≤ 969 mbar (hPa; 28.61 inHg)
Fatalities 191 total[1][2]
Damage $831 million (1955 USD)
$6.6 billion (2010 USD)
North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, New England
Part of the
1955 Atlantic hurricane season

Hurricane Diane was one of three hurricanes to hit North Carolina during the 1955 Atlantic hurricane season. Diane struck an area that had been hit by Hurricane Connie five days earlier. Diane was the costliest hurricane in United States history until it was surpassed by Hurricane Betsy in 1965, and was the sixth costliest U.S. hurricane of the 20th century[3] Total damages from the storm amounted to a record $3.25 billion, making it the first billion-dollar storm.[4]


Meteorological history

Storm path

A tropical wave developed into a tropical depression on August 7 in the tropical Atlantic. It moved west-northwestward, and became a tropical storm on the 9th. A cold low above and warm waters below provided instability, and as Diane turned northeastward on the August 11 and August 12, it rapidly strengthened to its peak as a 120 mph (195 km/h) major hurricane. When the cold low left the storm, Diane turned to the west again, with a ridge of high pressure to its north.

Diane retained its peak intensity for three days, but cooler air behind Connie became entrained in Diane's circulation. The hurricane steadily weakened as it moved west-northwestward, and Diane made landfall as a minimal Category 1 hurricane near Carolina Beach, North Carolina on August 17, about 150 miles southwest of Connie's landfall only 5 days before.

After reaching Virginia, Diane recurved to the northeast in response to the weakening of the Bermuda-Azores high. It paralleled the south coast of New England as a tropical storm on August 19 and August 20, and became extratropical later that day while south of Nova Scotia.


Rainfall totals from Hurricane Diane

When Diane brought heavy rain through New England, flooding was immediate and devastating. Compounding the problem was the fact that Diane was, and still remains, the wettest tropical cyclone on record for the Northeast. [5] Many small rivers rose above their banks from mountain run-off and flooded towns throughout New England. Flood records were numerous throughout the northeast, and damage was high. Many areas in Connecticut were flooded once more, including Putnam, Winsted and Waterbury[6], as well as East Granby, where a former housing subdivision sitting where Grandbrook Park is today was completely swept away by the floodwaters.

At a creek near Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, fifty people drowned when they were unable to escape the rising water.[7]

Flood damage in Connecticut from Diane

An estimated 184–200 people died because of the direct effects of Diane (on top of the 25 killed by Connie)[2].

$831 million (1955 USD) in damages is attributed to Diane (although separating damage from Hurricane Connie and Hurricane Ione is difficult)[8]. Accounting for inflation, Diane is the 12th costliest hurricane in U.S. history (as of 2005), with total damages of $7 billion (2004 USD)[3].


The flooding in the Delaware River water basin initiated federal involvement to dam the Delaware River with the Tocks Island Dam Project. The project fell through after opposition from local residents, lack of funding, and geological problems.

Hurricane Diane also severely damaged or destroyed parts of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad, causing the railway to suspend operations for a time. The resulting debts and operational constraints placed upon the DL&W contributed to its ultimate merger with the Erie Railroad in 1960. The Delaware Bridge was swept away by the storm, never to be rebuilt.



The name Diane was later retired due to this storm, and will never be used for an Atlantic hurricane again.

See also


  • Longshore, David (2008). Encyclopedia of Hurricanes, Typhoons, and Cyclones New Edition. Checkmark Books. ISBN 9780816074099. 
  1. ^ Longshore, p. 132
  2. ^ a b Jack Beven, Edward Rappaport, & Jose Fernandez-Partagas (1997-04-22). "Appendix 1: Cyclones with 25+ deaths". NOAA/NHC deadliest hurricanes. National Hurricane Center. Retrieved 2008-01-08. 
  3. ^ a b Eric S. Blake, Max Mayfield, Jerry D. Jarrell, & Ed Rappaport. "Costliest U.S. Hurricanes 1900-2004 (adjusted)". National Hurricane Center. Retrieved 2008-01-08. 
  4. ^ Longshore, p. 134
  5. ^ David M. Roth (2008-01-06). "Tropical Cyclone Point Maxima". Hydrometeorological Prediction Center. Retrieved 2008-01-08. 
  6. ^ "MyPhotoAlbum". Retrieved 2008-01-08. 
  7. ^ Addison Whipple (1982). Storm. Time Life Books. p. 103. ISBN 0-8094-4312-0. 
  8. ^ Eric S. Blake, Max Mayfield, Jerry D. Jarrell, & Ed Rappaport. "Costliest U.S. Hurricanes 1900-2004 (unadjusted)". Retrieved 2008-01-08. 

External links

Tropical cyclones of the 1955 Atlantic hurricane season
Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale
TD TS 1 2 3 4 5

Simple English

Hurricane Diane was really devastating to the East Coast during 1955. The storm caused severe destruction and an unusually severe death toll. The hurricane name Diane was later retired.


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