Return to the History menu



of the Twentieth Century

by John Kirby




The Hurricane of Sept.16, 1903

            This hurricane did a great deal of damage to boats and caused an unusual amount of erosion. In Stony Creek and Pine Orchard, the yachts of Henry Rowe, J. S. Elton, W. R. Tyler, Winthrop Bushnell and Edward Mansfield were severally damaged. Seawalls were demolished, and many new cottages lost up to twenty feet of waterside lawns. Waves were said to have been over 20 feet high.


The Hurricane of Sept.8, 1934

            The damage from this storm seemed to be mostly to boats. At Indian Neck, Charles Lounsbury lost four boats and Ben Norton had six smashed to splinters. At the Montowese House, the storm wrecked the pier, bathhouses, and the sea wall.


The New England Hurricane of Sept. 21, 1938

            The Death and destruction from this hurricane was the most severe in the history of Branford’s 350 years. Scores of books have been written about the storm, and scrapbooks have been filled with photographs of the damage. Boats of all sizes were strewn about the coast, seawalls were obliterated, and houses collapsed, were severely damaged or floated off their foundations. The storm had been proceeded by several days of heavy rain, and trees were uprooted everywhere; many of them were large stately elms. There had been little or no advance notice as the hurricane raced northward at accelerating speed. The storm struck late in the afternoon and lasted for three hours. A storm surge piled the water levels upward. We do not know the local wind speeds although they were estimated at 80 to 100mph. The most tragic victims of the storm were seven people on the Thimble Islands who lost their lives when their cottages were swept into the raging seas. There were 82 killed in Connecticut and 682 in New England.


The Hurricane of Sept.21, 1944

            This storm lost most of its vigor before hitting shore. The street in Indian Neck near Sybil Creek by the Yale Store caved in. At Kelsey’s Island a large boat was stranded on top of the rocks.


Hurricane Carol-Aug. 31, 1954

            Branford did not suffer extensive damage from this storm as it came at low tide and had veered to the east. However, there was considerable flooding, and a cottage at the Indian Point Club was wrecked and washed away.


Hurricane Diane-Aug. 18-19, 1955

            Heavy rain from Diane inundated the Naugatuck River valley washing out bridges and killing many people. Branford had some flooding and sent men and materials to aid the Valley towns.


Hurricane Donna –Sept. 12, 1960

            Branford braced for this storm which had gusts of 60mph. Although there was flooding, the eye of the hurricane diffused while crossing Long Island and veered to the east of Connecticut.


Hurricane Gloria-Sept.27, 1985

            There were frenzied preparations for this potentially strong hurricane. There were estimated 90 mph winds. The storm came ashore to the west of Branford in the Bridgeport area. As the hurricane moved over Long Island, it quickly broke apart. There was exrtensive damage to trees and power lines. Some areas of Branford lost electricity for as long as ten days. There was a great demand for ice, and the Intermediate School opened for those needing showers. Power repair crews came from as far away as Canada and Georgia. A roof was lifted from a Linden Avenue house and deposited on another home some distance away.

Terms of Use