Lower Manhattan In Hurricane Donna (1960)
Hurricanes and the Middle Atlantic States has published a list of major hurricanes that have hit New York City since 1900. Here is the list.
On September 16, a tropical storm/borderline hurricane made landfall near Atlantic City, New Jersey. Gale-force winds extended north to the New York City area. A more destructive tropical system stalled and gradually dissipated south of Long Island during October. On October 9, a total of 8.01 inches of rain drenched Central Park. Rainfall on October 8-9 topped 10 inches throughout the metropolitan area.
The geographic position of New York City reduces the likelihood of a direct hit by an intense hurricane. Cooler ocean water and several hours with most of the storm's circulation swirling over land before the center (eye) comes on shore saps the strength of the rare tropical system that approaches from the sea. Nevertheless, powerful Category 3 hurricanes have made landfall on Long Island, within 50 or 60 miles of downtown. The "Long Island Express" or "Great New England Hurricane" of September 21 killed more than 600 people after striking eastern Long Island. The barometer in Manhattan bottomed at a September record low of 28.72 inches. Gusts of hurricane force caused various damage in the city, but losses were modest compared to sections east of the storm center and from torrential rainfall in the highlands of eastern New England.
The "Great Atlantic Hurricane" tracked about 60 miles east of the city on September 14, making landfall very near the same location as the Great New England Hurricane of 1938. High winds and heavy rain (more than 10 inches in some metropolitan locations from September 12-14) caused more damage in the city than the 1938 storm.
Hurricane Hazel tracked about 150 miles west on October 15. Hazel brought a record peak sustained wind of 99 mph and a gust of 113 mph to the Battery weather station on top the Whitehall Building, 400 feet above street level. Winds at street level were about 30 to 40 mph less. About an inch of rain fell in the metropolitan area.
Hurricane Connie dropped 12.20 inches of rain on La Guardia Airport from August 11- 13 during a period of 38 hours. Hurricane Diane arrived on August 18-19, dropping 2 to 4 inches in the metropolitan area, but much higher amounts 50 to 100 miles west and north. Diane caused one of New England's most destructive floods.
Hurricane Donna struck Long Island as a Category 2 hurricane on September 12. An elongated eye brushed eastern sections of the metropolitan area. Gusts in the city reached hurricane force, and Donna caused a record tide. Rainfall in some places topped five inches.
On August 19, Hurricane Bob struck Long Island, accompanied by 100 mph winds. New York City, about 50 miles west of Bob's track, experienced several hours of gales. Bob is the last hurricane to make landfall on Long Island.
Hurricane Floyd brought a deluge on September 16, more than five inches of rain to much of the New York metropolitan area. In northwestern New Jersey and southeastern New York totals in some places topped ten inches, resulting in severe flooding.
On August 28, Irene, downgraded to a tropical storm, tracked through the city. Damage was less than expected. However, the storm caused large-scale power outages. It also caused historic flooding in nearby sections of New Jersey and in upstate sections of eastern New York and adjacent sections of New England.
Hurricane Sandy blew in on October 29-30. Massive power outages, subway closure and numerous other utility and transportation disruptions will long be remembered. Shore locations in the city suffered massive surge damage. A wind-swept fire detroyed more than 100 homes in the Queens neighborhood of Breezy Point. Staten Island was hit hard by record surge.