The normal hurricane season is from June 1 to November 30, and since we have our first hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico right now, it looks like it’s right on time. Nevertheless, for places like New York, where it is normally a little cooler, the hurricane season starts a little later, and may not really arrive at all. However, on June 4, 1825, a rare early hurricane arrived, moving off the East Coast and tracking south of New York. The hurricane caused several ship wrecks, and killed seven people.
The National Hurricane Center, states that on average, hurricane winds have impacted the New York City area every 19 years, and major hurricanes, of a Category 3 or higher, only every 74 years. The highest hurricane reading, Category 5 hurricane is not expected to occur there at all, because of the climate conditions there.
Nevertheless, on June 4, 1825, forming ahead of what is now considered hurricane season, a severe tropical storm surprised the Atlantic seaboard from Florida to New York City. At that time, they did not have the prediction capabilities, and this storm was first sighted near Santo Domingo on May 28th. It moved across Cuba on June 1st, with gale force winds, beginning at Saint Augustine, and approaching US soil on the June 2nd, and impacting Charleston, North Carolina on June 3rd.
The tide in North Carolina rose six feet at New Bern and fourteen feet at Adams Creek. As the tide rushed in, more than 25 ships were driven ashore at Ocracoke, 27 near Washington, and also some at New Bern. The plantations on the coastal areas near the South River were inundated with water, causing a heavy loss of crops and livestock. New Bern experienced heavy damage near the waterfront.
The storm pummeled Norfolk, with horrific force for 27 hours as the storm passed by to the east beginning on the morning of June 3rd. The wind was relentless, uprooting trees as it went. At noon on June 4th, stores on the wharves were flooded in a surge up five feet deep. High winds howled through the Washington DC area. The storm then moved northeast past Nantucket on June 5th.
The storm reminded many people of the September gale of 1821, except that the September gale would have been much more common. There haven’t been many early June hurricanes in that area since 1825, but there have been a number of hurricanes to hit the area since, including Hurricane Sandy, which did much damage in New York City, including the subway area.