PSU professor chronicles 1938 hurricane and how it laid claim to New England
Now a professor of meteorology at Plymouth State University, Aviles has made a hobby of hurricanes. And one in particular — the Great New England Hurricane of 1938 — intrigued her so much that she just wrote a book about it.
“Hurricanes are my thing, so when I came to New Hampshire, I started researching,” Aviles said.
The 1938 storm was one of six large storms that are believed to have struck New England at full strength (three of which are from prehistoric times). The first great storm on record was in 1635; the second was in 1815.
“Back then, they didn’t put out a warning until the hurricane was already starting. Even if they knew a hurricane was coming, they would hold off the warnings until they were absolutely certain and it was already happening,” she said.
The hurricane also devastated the already depressed economic conditions. But lessons were learned from it.
“Nothing has ever compared to that storm, but as bad a storm or worse can happen again here,” she said. “The chances of it are almost non-existent, but if you wait long enough, it will happen again.”