111th anniversary of the Loss of the Steamship Portland
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On the evening of Saturday, November 26, 1888, New England was struck by the most destructive storm the region had ever experienced. The gale killed over 200 persons and wrecked or sank at least 140 major vessels. The best-known victim of the gale was the coastal steamer Portland, lost off Cape Cod with 191 people aboard. The steamer gave her name to the storm, and has since been memorialized in New England folklore and legend.
The storm started quietly on the evening of the 26th of November, with a light but strengthening wind. Within hours it had grown to hurricane proportions and was creating havoc all along the coast. The winds raged all through the night of the 26th, all day on the 27th, and did not subside until the 28th, some 36 hours after the storm had started. Winds were clocked at up to 72 mph in Boston, and were probably even stronger along the coast southeast of Boston, especially on Cape Cod.
To call the damage widespread is a vast understatement. Houses were blown over and washed away all along the coast from Cape Cod to Portland, Maine. The coastline was littered with the wrecks and wreckage of dozens of vessels, large and small, smashed or sunk by the fierce winds and seas. In Provincetown harbor alone over 30 vessels were blown ashore or sunk. Damage along Boston’s south shore and Cape Cod was probably the worst; telegraph lines were brought down, railways washed out, and even the low scrub trees of Cape Cod were blown away. In Scituate, a small coastal community 30 miles south of Boston, the coastline was permanently altered when mountainous waves cut a new inlet from the sea to the North River, closed the old river mouth, and reversed the flow of part of the river.http://www.hazegray.org/features/1898gale/
November 27, 2009 – Friday – 0800 AM EST (1300Z) – 0500 PM EST(2200Z)