2013-09-26 / Letters to the Editor

Residents may have been aware of storm

The Press’ retrospective of the 1938 hurricane on the occasion of its 75th anniversary serves to remind us that the historical record of tropical storms is not consistent with the recently espoused alarmist thesis that the number or intensity of hurricanes is increasing.

This point was overlooked in your story and your editorial.

Furthermore, the story suggests that residents would not have been aware of the threat of hurricanes in 1938. However, there is every reason to think that such would not be the case.

Of particular note is the reported Great Colonial Hurricane of 1635 that researchers suggested made landfall at Watch Hill as a Category 4 or 5 storm and took at least 46 lives (“List of New England hurricanes,” Wikipedia). This may well have been the highest intensity storm to make landfall in Narragansett Bay in recorded history.

The article identifies a large number of storms in the 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. It shows that hurricanes are a feature of New England weather for as long as we have historical records. There is reason to imagine that Jamestown residents could well have been aware of the threat of a hurricane in 1938 given the hurricanes of 1916, 1924, 1927, 1934 and 1936. The record also amplifies the currently overlooked point that hurricanes are a more or less constant threat to the Northeast, New England and Jamestown throughout recorded history.

John Aquino
Seaside Drive
Jamestown

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