Hurricanes and Maryland
    Maryland is at risk for high winds, coastal flooding, rainfall flooding and tornadoes.

    During the past century, all sections in the eastern half of the state have experienced
    hurricane force gusts, if not sustained hurricane strength winds. Hurricane Gloria in 1985
    was the last tropical cyclone to bring significant coastal flooding. Other high wind events
    of the past hundred years occurred in 1933, 1936, 1944, 1954, 1955, 1960 and 2003.
    Hurricane Floyd in 1999 deluged the Eastern Shore and is among the periodic tropical
    cyclones that have generated double-digit rainfall. Many tropical systems have spun off
    tornadoes.

    The following are some of Maryland's significant tropical cyclones:

    1667        The "Year of the Hurricane." A severe storm tracked through the Chesapeake
    region on September 6. A government report noted, "A mighty wind on (Sept. 6)
    destroyed four-fifths of (our) tobacco and corn and blew down in two hours fifteen
    thousand houses in Virginia and Maryland." Several separate accounts of the storm
    describe the huge, almost universal, devastation. A benchmark storm for generations.

    1775        A hurricane on September 2-3, claimed the State House roof in Annapolis.
    Today's dome, featured on the reverse of the Maryland state quarter, is its replacement.
    The storm caused huge agricultural losses at a time when agriculture powered the local
    economy.

    1876         The Centennial Gale on September 16-17 stirred the highest tides in
    generations throughout the Chesapeake Bay region. Damaging winds throughout the
    eastern half of Maryland caused considerable crop losses and uprooted numerous trees.
    (The Centennial Gale was similar in power and scope to Hurricane Isabel in 2003.)

    1878        The Great October Gale on the 23rd played havoc with the Chesapeake Bay
    region. Isolated hurricane gusts, especially near the bay. The storm caused considerable
    crop and various structural damage in eastern Maryland. The steamer Express capsized
    near Point Lookout, with the loss of 16 lives in one of the bay's deadliest disasters.

    1889        One of the state's most destructive coastal storms. A hurricane stalled and
    dissipated off the coast from September 8-12. Severe flooding inundated Ocean City.
    The sea covered many barrier islands from Virginia through New Jersey. An event like
    this today would devastate large sections of Ocean City.

    1896        A hurricane raced through central Maryland on September 29. It ranks as one
    of the state's historic windstorms. Hurricane force winds along a 50-mile east to west
    band slammed the Washington, D.C., and Baltimore areas. The storm caused moderate
    to extreme property damage. A sustained wind of 81 mph was recorded in Washington, D.
    C., with gusts of about 100 mph. The weather office recorded a five minute average wind
    speed of 68 mph.

    1903        One of Ocean City's notable hurricanes. The storm stalled and dissipated off
    the coast from October 8-11, swamping the nascent resort.

    1928        Remnant tropical cyclones on August 11-12 and August 16-17 deluged central
    sections of the state. More than a foot of rain fell in the Washington, D.C., suburbs. A
    total of 8.67 inches of rain fell in downtown Washington on August 11-12. A total of 12.76
    inches of rain in 30 hours bucketed nearby Cheltenham on August 11-12.

    1933        The Chesapeake and Potomac Hurricane made landfall in North Carolina on
    August 23 before tracking through Virginia and central Maryland. Pounding surf carved
    the Ocean City Inlet, on the southern edge of town. Many hours of gales occurred
    throughout Maryland. Sections near the bay experienced flooding from torrential rain.
    Baltimore picked up 7.62 inches of rain on August 23, its wettest day on record.

    1935        The remnants of the Great Labor Day Hurricane deluged the Eastern Shore
    from September 4-6. A total of 16.63 inches of rain reported in Easton. 12.10 inches fell
    in Salisbury. Severe flooding in Federalsburg led to the displacement of nearly half the
    population of 2,000. The storm is among Maryland's historic flood disasters.

    1954        Hurricane Hazel on October 15. Hurricane-force gusts swept the eastern half
    of Maryland. Heavy rains pounded the west. Washington National Airport reported a
    record sustained wind of 78 mph; a gust of 98 mph. Gusts near 100 mph were common
    throughout the Chesapeake Bay region and on the Eastern Shore. Severe flooding
    occurred along the bay and its tidal tributaries. Flash flooding plagued western Maryland,
    where 3-6 inches of rain fell. Generally, less than 2 inches of rain fell in the eastern half
    of the state.

    1955        Hurricanes Connie and Diane on August 12 and 18, respectively. Strong gales
    from Connie sunk the tour schooner Levin J. Marvel, about 20 miles south of its home
    port of Annapolis. Fourteen passengers drowned. Combined heavy rain from Connie and
    Diane caused major flooding in central Maryland, particularly along the Potomac River.

    1972        Hurricane Agnes on June 21-23. Widespread and in some places record
    flooding made this one of the state's most destructive natural disasters. Many dams were
    menaced. Thousands of evacuations, primarily in central Maryland. The run-off from
    tributaries caused an ecological calamity in the Chesapeake Bay.

    1975        The remnants of Hurricane Eloise combined with other weather systems to pelt
    the state from September 23-26. Widespread flooding plagued central Maryland.

    1979        Hurricane David produced a tornado outbreak on September 5-6. Gusts of 45
    to 60 mph, swept central Maryland. The Baltimore metropolitan area experienced
    disastrous flash flooding.

    1985        Hurricane Gloria tracked about 50 miles offshore on September 27 and caused
    extensive damage to the Ocean City boardwalk. Several inches of rain fell on the eastern
    half of Maryland. Gloria brought gusts of 80 to 90 mph to the coast.

    1996        Hurricane Fran lashed the state with gales and heavy rain on September 5. A
    track west of the Chesapeake Bay and lengthy strong winds, gusting 40 to 60 mph,
    caused severe flooding along the bay and lower Potomac River. Also, flooding from
    torrential rain resulted in significant losses in western Maryland.

    1999        Hurricane Floyd dumped more than 10 inches of rain on the Eastern Shore
    and along the Chesapeake Bay on September 16-17. Chestertown collected 14.00
    inches. Annapolis had 11.60 inches. Floyd's eye passed over Ocean City, with a
    barometric pressure of 28.88 inches. Gusts in Ocean City peaked at about 60 mph.

    2003        Hurricane Isabel tracked through the state on September 18, bringing
    widespread gales. More than nine hours of high winds created extreme flooding along the
    Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries. Isolated gusts near hurricane force blasted the
    Chesapeake region. Record power outages plagued the state.

    2004        Hurricanes Frances (Sept. 8), Ivan (Sept 17) and Jeanne (Sept. 28) brought
    tornado outbreaks and flooding, particularly to central and western Maryland.        

Office of the state climatologist: www.atmos.umd.edu/weather.html

Unisys offers maps of hurricane tracks beginning in 1851: http://weather.unisys.com

The Capital Weather Gang (Washington Post). This site features ongoing information and discussions
about weather affecting the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area:
www.capitalweathergang.com
To learn more, order the book Hurricanes and the Middle Atlantic States:            

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Maryland Weather Links
           Residents endure lengthy lines in Wheaton, Maryland, as they wait to obtain dry ice
    in the aftermath of Hurricane Isabel in 2003. The Washington, D.C., metropolitan area
    endured record power outages in the wake of the storm.  (Photograph by Rick Schwartz)
2011        Hurricane Irene caused localized flooding and widespread power outages on  
August 27-28. The Eastern Shore and Southern Maryland were particularly hard hit.
From September 6-9, the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee combined with other weather
elements to produce widespread flooding in central Maryland.

2012        Hurricane Sandy lashed Maryland on October 29-30 with isolated hurricane
force gusts and widespread gales, heavy rain in the eastern two-thirds of the state and
significant snow in the west. The Ocean City fishing pier was partially destroyed and
bay sections flooded.