QUOGUE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – 80 years ago, no one saw the great hurricane of 1938 coming.
Making landfall with horrific fury and 129 mph winds, the eye of the storm slammed into Long Island’s East End, leaving massive destruction and loss of life in its wake.
The Quogue Historical Society tells CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan that Long Islanders were caught completely unaware by the storm.
Otis Bradley was six years old when the storm hit the town.
“We watched as the ocean came in,” the Quogue resident said. “We climbed up to the next floor, and the next floor, and the next floor, and eventually onto the roof.”
The local was marooned there for more than a day, most people were left with no way to communicate.
With no satellite and no doppler radar in 1938, weather forecasting was an inexact science. Historians say it was largely dependent on word of mouth from fishermen and ships at sea.
The “Long Island Express” is still one of the fastest moving hurricanes on record and is believed to have caused billions of dollars worth of damage in today’s money. Quogue‘s town historian says the massive storm hit during the Great Depression; helping to revive the local workforce.
An 80th anniversary hurricane forum will be held next week at Quogue‘s town library.