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The Hurricane of 1938 as seen through the eyes of four high school students and others in Marlborough, Massachusetts

The Hurricane of 1938 as seen through the eyes of four high school students and others in Marlborough, Massachusetts

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Published by Lee Wright
The hurricane of 1938 as seen through the eyes of four high school students and others in Marlborough, Massachusetts. By Peter B. Snyder

The winning essay in the 2011 Marlborough Historical Society Scholarship Competition

The Marlborough Historical Society
Marlborough, Massachusetts

www.HistoricMarlborough.org
The hurricane of 1938 as seen through the eyes of four high school students and others in Marlborough, Massachusetts. By Peter B. Snyder

The winning essay in the 2011 Marlborough Historical Society Scholarship Competition

The Marlborough Historical Society
Marlborough, Massachusetts

www.HistoricMarlborough.org

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: Lee Wright on Apr 30, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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10/14/2013

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The Hurricane of 1938
The hurricane of 1938 as seen through the eyes of four high school students and others in Marlborough
 
Peter B. Snyder «
The winning essay in the2011 Marlborough Historical SocietyScholarship Competition
«
 
The Marlborough Historical SocietyMarlborough, Massachusettswww.HistoricMarlborough.org
 
 
Seventy-threeyears ago on September 21
st
four high school students fromMarlborough along with the rest of the town, in fact along with all of New England,experienced something that had not happened in over a century in the northeast. One of the high schoolersencountered it while commuting in a Model A Ford; another wascaught unaware on his cot in the kitchen; one teen had a hilarious run in with a self-appointed crossing guard; and the last student saw an unforgettable sight out her  bathroom window. This was the great Hurricane of 1938!The storm formed near Africa in the Azores on the tenth of September. Itcontinued to head straight to Florida,however the wind from the west and asoutherly wind pushed the storm uptowards Long Island and New Englandrather than curving away as was expected.The category four hurricane¶s eye was40mileswide, with a 200 mile diameter of swirling winds.Charles F. Brooks, founder of the American Meteorological Society, and former Director of the Blue Hill Observatory, was quoted in Minsinger¶s book,
The 1938 Hurricane,
³This vortex rushed northward to Long Island and New England with thespeed of an express train, augmenting wind velocity to extremes of about 120 mph on theeast of the path of the center.´
1
What made this hurricane in particular so unusual was that
1
Minsinger, William Elliott, M.D.
The 1938 Hurricane.
Randolph Center, Vermont,Greenhills Books, 1988: 10.
 
Fig. 1. Goddard, Steven. Chart of path of Hurricane of 1938.http://stevengoddard.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/800px-1938_new_england_hurricane_track.png?w=640&h=396
 
it ran up the eastern seaboard so fast and so straight. Most hurricanes lose speed whenthey hit land and veer off to the Atlantic. The Hurricane of 1938 did neither, itmaintained its straight course and went all the way up the Connecticut River Valley intoVermont and even into Canada.Weather advisories had been issued, however given the unexpectedspeed,traveling at fifty mph, a lack of advanced metrological equipment, and no quick easy way to spread the word, save for the radio which really was more for lightentertainment at the time, there was little that they could do to warn the populace.Arthur Marsan who lived in Marlborough for many years said,³I was 16 years old, and had just started attending Worcester Trade Schoolthat fall, being trained as an electrician. The winds were really picking up.As we were looking out the school window from our electrical class on the4
th
floor, we said µMan look at that wind and rain!¶ Then all of a suddenwe hear, µO.K. class is dismissed.¶I think it was about 11 o¶clock inthe morning. The school clearedout fast. We were in a Model A,real fancy. Most of the cars wereowned by older guys. And they would pack as many as you could pack in,sometimes five of us or as many as eight, if someone needed a ride.We¶d come up to Shrewsbury center, into Northborough to drop off someof the guys. The police cordoned off the area in Shrewsbury due todowned electrical wires. The trees were down and we couldn¶t get any
 
Fig. 2. Model A Ford.http://www.anyupholstery.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/images/Model_A_Ford.29693941_large.jpg

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