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

    During the past century, much of eastern Pennsylvania has experienced hurricane force
    gusts, if not sustained hurricane strength winds, at some point. High wind events of the
    past hundred years occurred in 1954, 1960, 1989 and 2003. Many tropical cyclones
    have dumped double-digit rainfall, with Agnes in 1972 ranking as the state's most
    destructive flood. A small tidal section along the Delaware River in southeastern
    Pennsylvania occasionally floods because of a tropical cyclone. Many tropical systems
    have spun off tornadoes.

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

    1869        The Saxby Gale. On October 4, a coastal hurricane brought widespread heavy
    rain to the northeastern U.S., from Virginia to Maine. Most areas in Eastern Pennsylvania
    collected more than 5 inches. Severe flooding plagued the Mid-Atlantic and New England.

    1877      On October 4-5, a remnant tropical system tracked near Pennsylvania, dumping
    more than 10 inches of rain on southeastern sections. Flash flooding and several deadly
    railroad derailments occurred in eastern Pennsylvania.

    1878        The Great October Gale on the 23rd. This ranks as Philadelphia's most
    destructive windstorm. Hurricane force winds severely damaged or destroyed about 700
    buildings. Considerable structural damage occurred throughout southeastern
    Pennsylvania. Gusts in some places peaked at more than 100 mph.

    1893        October 13. A tropical cyclone raced through central Pennsylvania bringing
    strong gales and tropical storm winds to eastern sections. Isolated peak gusts reached
    hurricane force (74 mph).

    1896        A hurricane that made landfall on Florida's Gulf Coast devastated central
    Pennsylvania on September 29. One of the state's most destructive hurricane-related
    windstorms. Hurricane-force gusts pounded a 50-mile east to west corridor, from the
    Maryland border to New York. Many homes were unroofed and countless trees were
    uprooted. The covered bridge at Columbia, more than a mile long, succumbed to two
    hours of tremendous gusts.

    1933        The Chesapeake and Potomac Hurricane tracked through the state on August
    23. Extensive flooding experienced in eastern Pennsylvania. Sections of Reading and
    York were inundated. A total of 13.82 inches of rain fell in York (Aug. 21-24). Gales
    whipped the eastern half of the state.

    1954        Hurricane Hazel on October 15. Winds gusted from 75 to100 mph in eastern
    Pennsylvania as the storm tracked through. Philadelphia International Airport clocked 94
    mph, Reading, 86 mph, Allentown, 82 mph and Harrisburg, 80 mph. Total rainfall of 4 to
    6 inches caused extensive flash flooding in western Pennsylvania. Most of central and
    eastern Pennsylvania collected less than 2 inches. The last three inland hurricanes of
    the Mid-Atlantic, the storms of 1878, 1896 and 1954, tracked through eastern

    1955        Hurricanes Connie on August 12-13 and Diane on August 18-19 dealt
    Pennsylvania a flood disaster. More than a foot of rain from the combined storms fell on
    eastern Pennsylvania. Nearly 100 people died. Diane dumped more than 10 inches of
    rain in the Poconos on previously saturated ground, causing widespread, epic, flash

    1972        Hurricane Agnes struck from June 21-23 and dealt the state its most
    destructive natural disaster. Flooding throughout Pennsylvania. Dozens drowned.
    Record flooding on the Susquehanna and other rivers in eastern Pennsylvania left tens
    of thousands of residents homeless. Agnes was dubbed "Hurricane Agony" by the
    governor, who fled the Governor's Residence in Harrisburg as the Susquehanna invaded.

    1975        The remnants of Hurricane Eloise dumped flooding rains on the state from
    September 23-26. Eloise was not as destructive as Hurricane Agnes but still caused a
    major natural disaster.

    1999        Hurricane Floyd deluged southeastern Pennsylvania on September 16.
    Doylestown tallied 10.07 inches of rain and Valley Forge, outside Philadelphia, had
    10.04 inches.

    2001        Tropical Storm Allison, the nation's costliest tropical storm, bucketed suburban
    Philadelphia with up to 10 inches of rain on June 17.

    2003        Hurricane Isabel's strong gales on September 18 uprooted many trees and
    caused record power outages. Southeastern Pennsylvania had its strongest hurricane-
    related winds since Hazel in 1954, with gusts generally peaking at 50 to 60 mph and
    isolated higher gusts.

    2004        Several tropical cyclones that came ashore in Florida caused widespread,
    severe flooding in the state and spawned numerous tornadoes. Rain associated with the
    remnants of hurricanes Frances (Sept. 8-10), Ivan (Sept. 17-19) and Jeanne (Sept. 27-
    28) contributed to one of the state's wettest months.
Pennsylvania Weather Links

Abundant information on southeastern Pennsylvania weather can be found at

Office of the Pennsylvania state climatologist:

Hurricane Preparedness:

Unisys offers maps of hurricane tracks beginning in 1851:
To learn more, order Hurricanes and the Middle Atlantic States.            

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2011        Hurricane Irene on August 27-28 and the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee
(combined with other weather systems) in early September produced widespread
flooding in eastern Pennsylvania. The Susquehanna River crested at levels similar to
Agnes in some places and produced record flooding on some waterways.      
 Hurricane Diane in August 1955 brought widespread flash flooding to northeastern Pennsylvania.
Tropical cyclones are an important flood threat in the state, with the most recent examples being Irene and
Lee in 2011.