CAT 2 - August 19, 1991
Hurricane Bob developed in the central Bahamas on August 16, then steadily
intensified and reached hurricane status on the evening of August 17. Bob
continued to strengthen during the next 48 hours, as it began an acceleration
north-northeastward, paralleling the East Coast. The eye of Hurricane Bob
passed over Block Island, Rhode Island at approximately 1:30 PM, and made
landfall over Newport, Rhode Island shortly before 2 PM.
Hurricane Bob brought sustained hurricane force winds to the immediate
coastal communities of Rhode Island and most of southeast Massachusetts.
Strong tropical storm force winds blew across the remainder of the region,
with many areas receiving gusts to hurricane force east of the Connecticut
River. Wind damage to trees and utility poles was common and resulted in
numerous power outages. Over 60 percent of the residents across southeast
Rhode Island and southeast Massachusetts lost power. Damage was also
extensive to apple and peach orchards across these areas.
Coastal communities bore the brunt of the storm, with sustained winds
between 75 to 100 mph. Peak wind gusts to 125 mph were recorded on Cape Cod
in the towns of Brewster and North Truro, as well as in Wethersfield,
Connecticut. The highest sustained wind of 100 mph, was recorded in North
Truro. Block Island reported sustained winds of 90 mph, with gusts in excess
of 105 mph (maximum speed of equipment). Wind gusts to near 100 mph were
recorded in Newport and by the Navy Ship Samuel B. Roberts, which was
riding out the storm on the east passage between Newport and Jamestown, Rhode
Island. Additionally, there were four reports of tornadoes as Bob came ashore.
The lowest barometric pressure was recorded by the USS Valdez while in
the east passage of Narragansett Bay, with a reading of 28.47 inches.
Hurricane Bob caused a storm surge of 5 to 8 feet along the Rhode Island
shore, but drove a surge of 10 to 15 feet into Buzzards Bay. The Buzzards Bay
shore east to Cape Cod was hardest hit. The highest surges, of 12 to 15 feet,
were observed in Onset, Bourne, Mashpee and Wareham, at the head of Buzzard's
Bay. Cove Road, in Mattapoisett, Massachusetts had 29 of 37 homes destroyed,
while Angelica Point, Massachusetts lost 32 of 35 homes along the shore. Boat
damage was significant, as many boats were torn from their moorings. Extensive
beach erosion occurred along the shore from Westerly, Rhode Island eastward.
Some south facing beach locations on Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket islands
lost up to 50 feet of beach to erosion.
Significant rainfall of 3 to 6 inches fell across all but southeast Rhode
Island and eastward to Cape Cod, where less than 1 inch fell. The heaviest
rainfall of over 7 inches affected western Rhode Island and extreme eastern
Connecticut. Foster, Rhode Island had the highest amount of rain with 7.01
Bob was responsible for six deaths in the region, all in Connecticut. Total
damage in Southern New England was approximately 680 million dollars.
This information was taken from "Southern New England
Tropical Storms and Hurricanes, A Ninety-eight Year Summary
1909-1997", by David R. Vallee and Michael R. Dion,
National Weather Service, Taunton, MA.