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Hurricane Edna

CAT 3 - September 11, 1954

Following closely on the heels of Hurricane Carol was Hurricane Edna. Edna followed a track up the East Coast that was slightly east of Carol's track. Edna raced towards Southern New England at over 45 mph, but veered about 100 miles farther east. Edna made landfall during the morning of September 11, passing over Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, then across the eastern tip of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Hurricane force winds of 75 to 95 mph buffeted all of eastern Massachusetts and coastal Rhode Island. Inland, sustained winds of 50 to 70 mph were common west of the Connecticut River Valley. Peak wind gusts included 120 mph on Martha's Vineyard, 110 mph on Block Island, and 100 mph at Hyannis, Massachusetts. The strong winds knocked out electrical power across sections of Rhode Island, eastern Massachusetts, and nearly all of Cape Cod and the Islands. The lowest recorded pressure was 28.02 inches at Edgartown on Martha's Vineyard. An unofficial pressure of 27.70 inches was recorded in Woods Hole, in Falmouth, Massachusetts, but this reading is believed to be in error based on the actual track of the storm center.

Edna arrived during a rising tide and resulted in severe flooding across Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket and Cape Cod, where storm surges of over 6 feet were common. Farther west, storm surge values were 4 feet or less, resulting in storm tides that remained below flood stage. Damage to the boating community was severe across Cape Cod, but was much less across the remainder of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Most of damage across extreme southeast Connecticut and Rhode Island occurred to locations that were left severely weakened by Carol.

Edna's track across the extreme eastern part of the region did result in heavy rainfall and inland flooding. Rainfall amounts of 3 to 6 inches were common, with over seven inches across northeastern Massachusetts. This rainfall aggravated the already saturated conditions caused by Hurricane Carol ten days earlier. The total combined rainfall for Carol and Edna ranged from 5 to 7 inches along and west of the Connecticut River and over Cape Cod, to as much as 11 inches from southeast Connecticut, across most of Rhode Island, to northeast Massachusetts. Considerable urban and small stream flooding occurred. Numerous street washouts were common, along with some major river flooding in Rhode Island and northeast Massachusetts, where rivers rose several feet above flood stage.

Edna was responsible for 21 deaths across the region.

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.

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