In recent years, we have witnessed the severity of these storms and their destructive power throughout other areas of the country. With another very active hurricane season predicted, we must continually prepare for the region's next major storm.
MEMA will be continually promoting Hurricane Preparedness through weekly news releases highlighting key issues relative to the New England Hurricane Season. In addition, there will continue to be workshops, exercises and drills to help local officials prepare. Important Hurricane Preparedness information will be available on the MEMA website at www.mass.gov/mema, Facebook and Twitter pages. Topics will include Massachusetts' Hurricane History, Preparedness Tips for Families, Home Owners, People Requiring Additional Assistance, Pet Owners, Boaters, Businesses, Inland Residents, as well as information about Sheltering-In-Place and Evacuation.
Although the Hurricane Season in New England is defined as June 1st to November 30th, 75% of the 40 tropical systems that have impacted our region in the past century have struck during the months of August and September. The last severe hurricane to hit Massachusetts was Hurricane Bob in August 1991. Bob, a Category 2 Hurricane, with winds between 91 and 110mph, caused almost $1 billion in damage, at the time. More recently, Hurricanes Edouard (1996), Bonnie (1998) and Bill (2009) threatened the Bay State, but veered out into the Atlantic as they traveled up the coast.
In 1999, Hurricane Floyd, although weakened to the strength of a tropical storm prior to its arrival in New England, demonstrated that these storms are not merely 'coastal events'. Most of that storm's impact was rain and flood related, causing severe damage as far west as the Berkshires.
Some of our most devastating flooding associated with these storms has occurred in Central and Western Massachusetts - up to 17" of rain fell in association with the Hurricane of 1938 and 25" of rain fell over a 5-day period in August 1955 from Connie & Diane, with the City of Westfield received 13.15" in a single day!
This demonstrates that the entire Commonwealth should take the proper Hurricane Season precautions.
Southern New England lies in the unenviable position of receiving all three "Hurricane Threats", depending upon the track and landfall location: 1) Coastal inundation due to storm surge 2) Widespread inland river flooding and 3) Widespread wind damage far inland.