BOSTON — The rule of thumb with tropical systems is that when a named storm reaches or forms in the Bahamas, we better get ready.
Bob developed in the Bahamas on August 16, 1991 and was a hurricane a day later.
The storm picked up steam up the east coast and intensified to a category 3 hurricane. It weakened before making landfall on Block Island, Rhode Island then Newport, Rhode Island. It was weakened, but still powerful enough to produce wind gusts up to 125 miles-per-hour!
Cape Cod had the worst damage from the winds, but the highest storm surge and damage from flooding occurred along the coast inside Buzzards Bay. Towns like Onset, Bourne, Mashpee, and Wareham saw the water surge 12 to 15 feet!
FOX25's Kevin Lemanowicz has toured Angelica Point in Mattapoisett with the National Weather Service in the past to see all the homes rebuilt and now on stilts. It is there that 32 of 35 homes were washed away.
It is typical to find the worst wind damage from a New England landfalling hurricane to be to the right of the path, as it was on Cape Cod in Bob. It is also normal to see the heaviest rain along and to the left of the track. That happened with Bob, too. Up to six inches of rain fell.
We’ve had flooding events with much more rain than that, so many think Bob wasn’t much of a storm. That also means many believe hurricanes here can’t be that bad.
People on Cape Cod or along Buzzards Bay who lived through Bob’s destruction know better.
Remember, Bob wasn’t more than a category 2 hurricane. When, not if, we get a stronger storm positioned similarly the surge could top 20 feet in those same areas in Buzzards Bay and water would be driven even further inland.
We have to remember that and be ready when that big storm comes. We’ve had such storms in the past, like the Great New England Hurricane of 1938, there were no names then, and it will happen again.
Cox Media Group