Hurricanes & Tropical Storms That Affected New York Before 1970
Similar to tropical systems that have lashed NYC since 1970, the average frequency in the years before 1970 is once every two years. What follows is a year-by-year listing of more than 50 pre-1970 hurricanes (as well as remnants of downgraded storms). 1954 stands out for having four tropical systems that affected the metro area. At the other end of the spectrum, the 20 years between 1894 and 1914 saw just three tropical systems in total. Please note that the first named storm to affect New York, Barbara, was in 1953.
October 2-3 - Four inches of rain was produced by a hurricane that struck Cape Cod (1.84" fell on the 2nd, 2.16" on the 3rd).
October 26 - The center of circulation from a dissipating hurricane got very close to Manhattan as it moved northeastward, dropping 1.56" of rain.
September 29 – What was once the season's sixth hurricane moved over New York as a tropical storm, dropping 0.64" of rain on Central Park. This was considerably less than the seven inches of rain that flooded the City from Sept. 16-18 from a non-tropical system.
September 17 - Heavy rain from a minimal hurricane that raced inland through North Carolina and Virginia dumped 3.37" of rain in Central Park (a record for the date that still stands).
October 4 - A dissipating tropical storm dumped 4.05" of rain in Central Park (a record for the date that still stands).
October 23 - The center of a dissipated hurricane and tropical storm, referred to as the "Gale of 1878", moved west of Manhattan. Shortly after daybreak winds gusted over 50 mph, and 0.73" of rain was measured in Central Park.
August 18 - 3.95" of rain flooded the City from a hurricane that struck North Carolina this morning and raced up the coast during the day. This amount was a record for the date (a record that still stands).
September 9-10 - Rain from a hurricane moving north from South Carolina started late on the 9th (0.67" of rain fell) and continued into the morning of the 10th (adding 0.54").
September 11 - Rain from a tropical storm amounted to 3.23", with much of it (2.57") falling today.
September 23 - Less than two weeks after a tropical storm soaked the City, another tropical system brought more flooding rains to the Mid-Atlantic states, and drenched New York with its greatest rainfall for any calendar date - 8.28". And in the preceding two days 3.52" of rain fell. With a total of 16.85" of rain for the entirety of September (most of which fell between the 11th and 23rd), this was NYC's wettest month on record until Aug. 2011 when 18.95" was measured.
October 13 - A tropical storm moved northward through central Pennsylvania and dropped 1.50" of rain in Central Park.
June 23 - An early tropical storm passing to the south of New York dropped 1.20" of rain. Cloud cover and rain kept the temperature in the 60s all day (the high/low was 66°/62°).
August 21 - As it traveled just north of the City on its way to New England, the remnants of a category 3 hurricane that struck south Florida and later Louisianar soaked the City with 4.12" of rain (a record for the date that still stands).
September 10-13 - A dissipating hurricane stalled off the Delmarva Peninsula and brought bands of rain over the course of four days, amounting to 4.46", with much of it (3.34") falling on the 12th and 13th. Except for one hour during the afternoon of the 13th, the temperature was stuck in the 60s. These four days were the start of a streak of nine days in a row with rain (and ten out of eleven); total rainfall during this period was around six inches.
August 19-20 – A hurricane approached New York during the evening. A peak gust of 85 mph was clocked and 3.81" of rain fell (1.34" today, and 2.34" on the 20th).
August 23 – Just four days after a hurricane lashed the City, a tropical storm passed to the west and dumped 3.61" of rain.
October 23 - A shield of heavy rain from a tropical storm that passed over the Delmarva Peninsula soaked the City with 2.46".
September 16 - A category 1 hurricane made landfall on the Jersey shore in the morning, delivering a brief period of heavy rain to New York between 11 AM-2 PM; 1.63" was measured.
October 8-9, 1903 - A stalled hurricane (that weakened to tropical storm status), and a low-pressure system that formed along an approaching cold front, combined to create a tremendous rainstorm that produced 11.63" over 26 hours. The deluge started late in the morning of the 8th (4.30" was measured) and continued thru mid-afternoon on the 9th (when 7.33" fell). Rain fell at a rate of an inch every two hours for a large portion of the storm; at its most intense, 2.54" fell from 9-11 AM on the 9th. At the time the rainfall on the storm's second day was New York's second greatest daily amount (behind 8.28” that fell 21 years earlier on Sept. 23); it's now ranked fourth.
September 14-15 - After three weeks in which just 0.01" of rain fell, 3.84" poured down from a hurricane that crossed the eastern end of Long Island,and tore 19 barges from their moorings in New York Harbor. The rain was split pretty evenly between the evening of 9/14 and the following morning.
August 4 – What was the season’s first hurricane, which developed near Florida, brought 3.25” of rain (mostly between 6-10 AM) as it passed by New York City as a tropical storm. A gust of 53 mph was clocked at Central Park. Today’s amount of rain was a record for the date (which still stands).
May 16-17 - The remnants of the year's first (and very early) tropical system produced a record amount of rain for the date (2.66"), with almost all of it falling after 4 PM. And an additional 0.30" fell in the pre-dawn hours of the 17th.
August 25-26 - A dissipating hurricane southeast of Long Island, moving in the direction of Cape Cod, brought tropical storm-force winds and 3.03" of rain to New York. Rain began the evening of the 25th and continued thru late morning on the 26th, with 2.29" measured (1.13" fell between midnight and 2 AM).
December 1-5 – A large, meandering, extra-tropical system brought squalls and gusty winds over the course of five days. 2.76” of rain fell during this period, with the wettest day being 12/3, when 1.63” was measured (but none of the rain was torrential; the greatest two-hour totals were 0.41” from midnight-2 AM, and 0.36” between 8-10 PM. Winds gusting to 35 mph were common on the 3rd and 4th.
September 19-20 - Remnants of the Great Okeechobee Hurricane (which killed 2,500+ in central Florida on 9/17) dampened the City with 1.70" of rain; 1.29" fell on the 19th (showers fell throughout the day, with 0.58" falling between 10 AM-noon), and 0.41" fell in the wee hours of the 20th (with 0.29" falling between midnight-1 AM).
October 1-2 - The remnants of the season's second hurricane moved through eastern Pennsylvania, producing 2.55" of rain. 2.16" of it fell on 10/2, with most of it falling between 5 AM-3 PM. This amount was a record for the date (which still stands).
September 13-14 - A hurricane off the Outer Banks of North Carolina, pushed rain squalls into the area after 10 PM on the 13th that continued through the wee hours of the 14th. The 0.75" that fell (0.56" of it on the 14th) comprised half of the rainfall of a dry September (at the time, the tenth driest September; now ranked 21st). This was the smallest amount of rain from a tropical system since 0.73" fell on Oct. 23, 1878.
September 16 - A weakening tropical storm to the southeast of Long Island brought showers. And although it was just 0.68”, similar to the hurricane of Sept. 1930, it accounted for more than half of the month’s paltry rainfall (8th driest September; now ranked 15th). This was the third September in a row with less than two inches of rain (then Sept. 1933 and 1934 would each have more than ten inches).
October 17-18 - Tropical moisture from a tropical storm that dissipated over West Virginia, produced 3.24” of rain, much of which fell between 9 PM on the 17th to daybreak on the 18th (2.58”). The rain was also accompanied by tropical storm-force winds. This was the most rain to fall from a tropical system since 3.25" fell on Aug. 4, 1915.
August 23 - The remnants of a hurricane that made landfall on the North Carolina/Virginia border moved north through central PA and upstate NY, dumping 2.23” of rain in Central Park, with much of it falling between 4-10 PM. (0.14” was added in the wee hours of 8/24). This came on the heels of a coastal storm on 8/21-22, which produced 3.28” of rain.
June 19 - 1.91” of rain fell, mostly before 9 AM, as the remnants of a category 2 hurricane that made landfall in Louisiana three days earlier moved just to the southeast of the metro area. This was a record amount of rain for the date (a record that still stands).
September 8 - The strongest hurricane of the season brought heavy rain to the City when it crossed over the eastern end of Long Island. There were two periods of heavy rain, the first between 6-10 AM, when 1.23" fell, and then much heavier rain fell from 5-11 PM, when 3.26" poured down. (An additional 0.37" fell at other times during the day, bringing the day's total rainfall to 4.86".) During the early evening, winds gusted between 45-50 mph. This hurricane came four days after remnants of a tropical system brought 0.68” on 9/3-4.
September 6 - The remnants of what was the Great Labor Day hurricane in the Florida Keys (nearly 500 were killed) brought heavy rain this morning, with 1.60” measured between 2-10 AM (most of it fell between 4-8 AM).
September 18 - After receiving just 0.08" of rain in the first two-and-a-half weeks of the month, a weakening hurricane to the southeast dumped nearly four inches, with most of it falling between 2 PM and midnight. It was also a chilly day, with temperatures falling into the upper 50s during the afternoon.
September 21 - New York was spared the ravages of the history-making hurricane known as the Long Island Express, which made landfall mid-afternoon, 65 miles to the east. Still, the City had to contend with near hurricane-force winds and four inches of rain, half of which fell between 1-4 PM. Besides the wind and rain, it was also chilly, with the temperature dropping slowly all day, from the low-60s to low-50s. Today's deluge followed two days of steady rain that amounted to 3.45".
August 19 - The biggest rainfall of the year was produced by the remnants of the season's second hurricane, which made two landfalls in Florida, on the east coast and along the state's Panhandle. The 2.31" that was measured fell between noon and midnight. It fell heaviest after 8 PM, when more than half of the rain fell.
September 14 - "The Great Atlantic Hurricane" raced up the Mid-Atlantic coast and veered to the east of NYC (making landfall near East Hampton on Long Island), dumping 3.82" of rain between 4-11 PM, and lashing the City with gale force winds that gusted between 40 and 50 mph (and 70-80 mph at LaGuardia Airport). Today's rainfall came on top of 3.94" that fell yesterday and 1.64" the day before for a three-day total of 9.40". The New York metro area was the bullseye for the heaviest rainfall.
October 20-21 - The remnants of the season’s 13th hurricane, that made landfall in North Carolina, produced 1.29” of rain between 7 PM-4 AM.
August 19-20 - The season’s first hurricane brought two periods of heavy rain as it moved from Cape Hatteras to Cape Cod. The first, from 11 AM-4 PM on the 19th saw 1.43”, with 1.04” of it falling between 1-2 PM. Then, on the 20th, 1.46” was measured between 7 AM-3 PM, with 0.63” falling in the initial hour. (However, this storm wouldn’t be as severe as Thanksgiving weekend's nor’easter three months later, which blasted the City with winds that gusted to 70 mph.)
February 3-4 – The earliest tropical system on record brought 0.64” of rain late on 2/3 through the morning of 2/4.
September 1 – Remnants of the season’s first hurricane (which made landfall in South Carolina the day before) moved to the west of NYC and brought 1.17” of rain, with most of it falling between 10A-1PM. This was a little more than half of the month’s total rainfall.
August 14 - Twelve hours of rain from hurricane Barbara between 10 AM-10 PM measured 0.92”, which was almost half of the month’s total rainfall.
June 13 - 0.52” of rain fell between 3-7 AM (most of it between 4-5:00) from a tropical storm out in the Atlantic. After skies cleared, the mercury rose into the upper 80s.
August 30-31 - Hurricane Carol made landfall on eastern Long Island (as a category 3) and brushed the City with gale force winds and 1.71" of rain, which began last night and continued today through late morning.
September 11 - Less than two weeks after Hurricane Carol, Hurricane Edna made itself known (as it headed to Cape Cod), dumping 3.30" of rain (nearly twice as much as from Carol), with most of it falling in the twelve hours between midnight and noon. This was the biggest rainfall of the year.
October 15 - Powerful hurricane Hazel (category 4 when it made landfall in North Carolina) moved through Pennsylvania on its way to Ontario, Canada. It brought minimal rain to the City (0.39” was measured, almost all of which fell between 6-7 PM), but winds gusted to 40 mph in Central Park, and 66 mph at La Guardia.
August 11-13 - Hurricane Connie flooded New York with 7.11" of rain over the course of 39 hours, with the first band of heavy rain moving through late on 8/11. Although the most rain fell on the 11th (3.62"), the heaviest sustained period of rain would be on the 12th from 3-9 AM, when 2.50" poured down. Rain was more of an issue than the wind, which gusted between 35-45 mph, well below hurricane force. This was New York's biggest rainstorm since the Great Hurricane of Sept. 1944. And while this ranks as one of Central Park's biggest rain totals, LaGuardia Airport picked up five inches more.
August 18-19 - One week after the flooding rains from hurricane Connie, another tropical system, Diane, affected the region, but compared to Connie, Diane moved relatively quickly. The first band of heavy rain moved in late on the 18th, and by 9 AM on the 19th the rain was over; less than two inches fell, but significant flooding resulted since the ground was over-saturated from the large amounts of rain from Connie. Sustained winds got no higher than 30 mph (but winds gusted to 54 mph at LaGuardia Airport).
September 27 - Tropical storm Flossy, which was a few hundred miles to the southeast, brought tropical storm-force winds and a small amount of rain (0.21”) from 9 PM-midnight.
June 2 - Remnants of Tropical Storm Arlene produced 1.09” of rain that fell from noon today until 2AM on the 3rd (0.90” fell from 4-11 PM).
July 10 – Remnants of Hurricane Cindy produced 0.50” of rain between 6 PM on 7/10 and 3AM on the following day.
July 30 – Heavy rain produced by tropical storm Brenda, which moved over NYC, amounted to 3.56” during a 12-hour period between 1 AM and 1 PM. This was the biggest rainstorm in five years (since Hurricane Connie). At the time this was the second greatest daily rainfall amount in the month of July (it's now third).
September 12 - Rain and high winds from hurricane Donna, which moved just to the east of Manhattan, lashed the area during the morning through the first half of the afternoon. 2.36" of rain fell (heaviest between 11 AM and 2 PM) and winds gusted between 40-50 mph; at LaGuardia Airport winds gusted to 90 mph, and 3.63" of rain fell.
September 15 – The downgraded hurricane Debbie moved just to the east of NYC, and produced rain for just a three-hour period between 7-10 AM (and only 0.32” was measured).
Septmber 20-21 – Moving in during the evening of 9/20, what was once Hurricane Esther brought 1.28” of rain, 1.05” of it on the 21st. Rain fell hardest between 2-4 AM and 10 AM-noon. (Before it made landfall in North Carolina a few days earlier, Esther was briefly a category 5 storm.) Tropical storm-force winds lashed the City at around daybreak. The rain produced by the storm accounted for 75% of the month’s rain (1.70”).
August 28-29, 1962 – Hurricane Alma brought rain that fell in three stages: in the pre-dawn hours of the morning of the 28th, when 1.35” fell (0.81” of it in a two-hour period), then lighter amounts after 7 PM through 8AM on the 29th, and then a mid-afternoon downpour (0.12”). In total, 1.95” of rain was measured.