September 21st is the anniversary of the Great New England Hurricane of 1938 (see the damage in Branford compared to Irene's fury).
Moving at an amazing 50 mph, the storm surprised the region with its ferocity. Sustained winds were measured at 121 mph with gusts reaching 183 mph.
The storm forced Durham Fair officials to cancel the event, marking the only time the fair has been canceled other than during World War II.
More than 250 New Englanders died as a result of the hurricane. Residents as far away from Long Island Sound as Burlington, VT, could taste the salt water of the ocean in their mouths from the storm.
The barometric pressure in Hartford, CT, reached an all-time low of 28.04 inches of mercury! An enormous fire engulfed the waterfront of New London, destroying four city blocks.
More than 2,000 people were injured. The cost of the storm was estimated to be in the $300 million dollar range (in 1938 dollars.) It was the biggest natural disaster ever for New England.