Hurricane Bob was the first hurricane to strike the northeast United States since Hurricane Gloria in 1985.
Bob strengthened to a hurricane on August 17, while centered 205 miles east of Daytona Beach, Florida. Bob moved parallel to the United States mid-Atlantic coast and headed toward New England. The hurricane passed over Long Island and crossed Rhode Island and Massachusetts, where it caused the most damage. It weakened and began losing tropical characteristics as it passed just offshore of the southern coast of Maine, where it ended as a tropical storm near Rockland, Maine on August 20.
Power was knocked out to an estimated 2.1 million homes and businesses primarily on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, on Long Island, and over portions of New England.
The American Insurance Association preliminary estimate of insured property damage is $780 million dollars. This includes $4 million for North Carolina, $75 million for New York, $40 million for Connecticut, $115 million for Rhode Island, $525 million for Massachusetts and $21 million for Maine.
The addition of flood claims, uninsured property damage and the cost of cleanup increases the total damage estimate from Hurricane Bob to $1.5 billion dollars. After adjustments for inflation, Bob will rank 13th or 14th on the costliest United States hurricane list.
Evacuations were confined to the Outer Banks of North Carolina and the New England area. News reports indicated several thousand people did not evacuate low-lying areas on the Outer Banks.
If the eye had moved 30 to 40 miles west of the actual track in the Cape Hatteras area (NC), perhaps many of those people would have been isolated on those islands with limited services available.
Despite precautions taken, 18 deaths are associated with the hurricane, most of which were in the northeast.
From the Preliminary Hurricane Report, National Hurricane Center (305) 666-4612.
Stuart Johnson was an editor with Disaster Recovery Journal.
This article adapted from Vol. 4 #4.