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The New Jersey Hurricane of September 16, 1903

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A severe storm, believed to be the fourth tropical cyclone to form in the Atlantic basin during the 1903 hurricane season, affected parts of the mid Atlantic and southern New England regions during the day on September 16, 1903. The United States weather bureau did not receive hints of the storm until the evening of September 15, when it received reports from ships off the North Carolina coast and hence the origins of the storm are not certain. It was believed at the time that the storm most likely had formed in an area of the ocean south of Bermuda and moved toward the northwest. Today it is considered the 4th tropical cyclone of the 1903 season and is believed to have moved inland over the southern New Jersey coast as a minimal (category 1) hurricane. It seems likely, therefore, that this storm was the first tropical storm to impact the northeast during the 20th century.

By the morning of September 16th, the storm was centered near the southern New Jersey coast and subsequently moved northward passing either over northern New Jersey or up the Connecticut River valley according to conflicting sources. Winds of over 60 mph were recorded along the New Jersey, New York and Connecticut coastlines. The storm caused considerable damage to crops, as well as "the loss of a number of lives". Following the passage of the storm, high winds continued on the 17th.

The most damage appears to have been in the state of New Jersey with reports of substantial property damage near the coast to numerous large buildings, barns and other structures, including roofs blown off. State-wide, many large shade and fruit trees were reported to have been uprooted and the states apple crop was said to be a near total loss.

Kittyhawk, NC 72 mph NE 9/15
New York City 63 mph E 9/16
New York City 65 mph NW 9/17
New Haven CT 60 mph S 9/16
Atlantic City 60 mph SE 9/16
Hatteras, NC 60 mph NW 9/15
Cape Henry, VA 54 mph NW 9/15
Portland, ME 48 mph SE 9/17
Cape May, NJ 48 mph NE 9/16
Boston, MA 42 mph S 9/16
Eastport, ME 36 mph SW 9/17
Concord, NH 28 mph E 9/16

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