top of page
  • Writer's pictureinfoweeksstatepark

A little bit of clearing weather for a program on the great hurricane of 1938!

Dr. Lourdes Aviles, of Plymouth State University, came to the park to present a fascinating program on the great New England hurricane of 1938.

Dr. Aviles is a professor in Plymouth State's Meteorology program. Using a series of slides as well as period photographs, she weaved a compelling story about the origins, the nature of this unique storm, its surprising track and speed along with the resulting devastation that it produced as it "raced" up the east coast and smashed into Long Island, New Haven, CT, central Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire.

Dr. Aviles grew up in Puerto Rico and became fascinated by meteorology and hurricanes. She's not only adept and well-grounded in the science but studies hurricanes from many different contexts. Her book explores the history of meteorology and the personalities and careers of some of the people in the National Weather Service who were involved in the study, tracking and forecasting of this storm that took so many by surprise.

As the previous slide noted and Dr. Aviles reiterated, it is the hurricane to which all others are compared due to its massive damages and cost. Fortunately, a storm that produces a direct hit on our area is extremely rare. The previous one was in 1815 and prior to that, all the way back to 1635.

There was a nice display of newspaper accounts to accompany her book at the rear of the great room. Abi Medina, of our WSPA Board, brought a lot of this material and it was used to surround and enhance Dr. Aviles' book. Thanks, Abi.

This book is in its second edition and is published by the American Meteorological Society.

The book is very well researched and seems to devote as much to science as it does to social, political, personal, geographical and many other facets and it does so in a fair, objective way. Too often it seems, in our modern times, we encounter stories, "histories," that are only superficially researched and rife with judgments. It is clear that Dr. Aviles has devoted her life's career to trying to thoroughly understand the nature of this storm, why it was so difficult to track given the limitations of science in 1938 and what lessons could be learned and applied today.

For the second consecutive week, we were able to enjoy an amazing sunset to close out the evening. Thank you so much for a wonderful program, Dr. Lourdes Aviles.

Next week's program is:

August 3 at 7:00 pm

A Walk Back in Time: The Secrets of Cellar Holes - Adair Mulligan

Northern New England is full of reminders of past lives: stone walls, old foundations, a century-old lilac struggling to survive as the forest reclaims a once-sunny dooryard. What forces shaped settlement, and later abandonment, of these places? Come learn about this and more from an expert.

32 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page