The 1932 Bahamas Hurricane
Number 18 in the World's Worst Hurricanes
While the 1932 Bahamas Hurricane actually never made
landfall upon the continental united states, its effects were felt,
nonetheless, throughout some of Florida, and the Bahamas were hit very hard.
The hurricane actually struck the Bahamas
at its peak intensity, with the majority of the hurricane damage being dealt to
The 1932 Bahamas Hurricane only claimed sixteen lives, which, while tragic, means that it was not, in fact, one of the most lethal hurricanes ever to strike. However, we include it on this list as an example of how much damage a hurricane can do to land and to property when it strikes full force, and even when you're only experiencing the peripheral effects of the storm. We are also hoping to point out just how far we've come in terms using technology to properly prepare for a hurricane.
Hurricane Preparation for The 1932 Bahamas Hurricane
In the 1930s, the hurricane preparedness technology
and tools for tracking hurricanes we use today were in their infancy, if it had
even been conceived in the first place. As such, hurricane preparedness for the
1932 Bahamas Hurricane was lacking, to say the least.
While we did have some tools available for tracking hurricanes in the 1930s, it lacked a certain sophistication, and while we could detect a hurricane in its earlier stages, it was very difficult to predict with any degree of accuracy where it might strike or how strong it might be. As such, people were only able to put up hurricane shutters and hurricane windows at the last second, and hope for the best.
Furthermore, this was in a period where mass communication was still in its infancy, as well, so even if we could have, theoretically, been able to predict the exact details of a hurricane, it would have been next to impossible to issue warnings in a timely manner. As such, hurricane preparations were predictably slim.
Hurricane Tracking for The 1932 Bahamas Hurricane
The 1932 Bahamas Hurricane track was first detected by
the National Hurricane Center as a small tropical storm off the northern coast
of the Virgin Islands on August 30th. The storm built in strength while moving
roughly west by northwest past the northern Antilles.
The storm then became a hurricane while passing near the Turks and CaicoIslands
and quickly began building more strength from there.
The storm passed over Great Abaco on September 5th, and then began to curve northeast, away from the mainland US. The storm then became extratropical as it weakened in intensity, and finally dissipated on September 13th.
Hurricane Damage for The 1932 Bahamas Hurricane
In total, the 1932 Bahamas Hurricane claimed sixteen
casualties, all taking place on the Abaco Islands, though at least three
hundred others suffered minor and major injuries either directly or indirectly
as a result of the hurricane.
Affected areas included the Bahamas, the United States, Iceland, Newfoundland and the JanMayenIslands, with the Bahamas of course being hit the hardest.
Two brick churches were destroyed on Green Turtle Cay, near AbacoIsland, with some of the stone bricks being carried up to a half a mile away. Several vessels were caught in the storm off the coast of Abaco Island. Fortunately, in spite of some minor hurricane damages, the ships survived the ordeal
1932 Bahamas Hurricane Track
How The 1932 Bahamas Hurricane Compares to Other Hurricanes
The 1932 Bahamas Hurricane was a fierce storm, to be certain, but the hurricane damage dealt pales in comparison to the 1932 Cuba Hurricane that same season. While the Bahamas Hurricane caused heavy hurricane damage (the exact dollar amount of which has been calculated, but not yet made public), the number of casualties were fortunately much lower than they could have been.
Hurricane Relief and Hurricane Response for The 1932 Bahamas Hurricane
Sadly, the 1932 Bahamas Hurricane occurred well before any sort of national hurricane relief program had been put into place, and while hurricane protection was still a developing concept, with hurricane shutters and hurricane windows being relatively new inventions. There was little in the way of government relief for those who had suffered. Residents of the Bahamas and even AbacoIsland were largely left to fend for themselves in order to recover.
The 1932 Bahamas Hurricane Aftermath and Hurricane Recovery
While the destroyed stone churches on Green Turtle Cay remain in ruins, today, nearly eighty years later, it is nearly impossible to tell that such a fierce storm once struck the Bahamas.
Simply put, as quickly as the hurricane was able to destroy property and land in the Bahamas and other affected areas, most of the areas hit recovered and rebuilt just as quickly. This can perhaps be credited to the fact that the hurricane moved quickly over several areas. Rather than, say Hurricane Katrina, which devastated much of Louisiana, especially the New Orleans area, the Bahamas Hurricane never stayed in one place long enough to do irreparable hurricane damages to any land or property, and the damages done were largely easy enough to reverse.
Fortunately, the 1932 Bahamas Hurricane did emphasize the need for better hurricane preparedness, and the technology used for tracking hurricanes slowly began to improve, as did the measures put in place by the National Hurricane Center.
We've started this list off with moderately dangerous hurricanes simply to show that every hurricane is potentially devastating, no matter the level of hurricane protection employed, and to emphasize how far the technology and education for hurricane protection has come.
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