August 9

This Day in History

Disaster

Aug 9, 1976:

Hurricane Belle strikes Eastern Seaboard

Hurricane Belle turns toward the United States from the Bahamas on this day in 1976. By the time Belle had run its course, the storm had killed 12 people and caused $24 million in damages from North Carolina to Vermont.

Hurricane Belle was a Category 3 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale as it approached the North American mainland, with winds reaching 111 miles per hour. It seemed headed for a direct hit on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, but skirted the region as it weakened to a Category 2. Still, even this glancing blow caused severe flooding and erosion in the resort communities on the Outer Banks.

Belle then moved northeast along the coastline. In Atlantic City, New Jersey, the world-famous boardwalk suffered $1 million in damages. Hundreds of thousands of people lost electrical power in New Jersey. As Belle weakened to a tropical storm on August 10, it hit Long Island. Again, hundreds of thousands lost power and one man was killed by a falling tree. The region was later declared a federal disaster area. The following day, Belle struck Connecticut, wiping out a large apple harvest.

The storm then moved north to Vermont. There, torrential rains caused by Belle caused flash flooding and the deaths of two more people.

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