Hurricane Bob 22nd AnniversaryAugust 19th, 2013 at 5:04 pm by T.J. Del Santo under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog
It has been 22 years since Hurricane Bob roared through Southeastern New England. We’ve had other tropical systems impact our area since then, but Bob was the last hurricane to directly hit Rhode Island. The center moved over Block Island around 1:30pm and moved right over Newport at 2pm on August 19, 1991.
Tropical Storm Bob formed in the Bahamas a few days before its visit to Southern New England. It quickly formed into a hurricane and moved up the Eastern Seaboard. At its strongest intensity, Bob was a major hurricane with Category 3 status and sustained winds of 115mph. By the morning of August 19th, the eye of Bob was south of Long Island moving north-northeastward toward Southern New England. Cooler ocean waters weakened the storm a bit, but by the time it reached Block Island it was a formidable Category 2 hurricane.
Block Island reported winds of 90mph with gusts to 105mph. Bob battered Newport with wind gusts to 100mph. According to the National Weather Service, parts of Cape Cod had gusts of 125mph. While tropical systems interact with the land, quite often tornadoes spin up and there were reports of 4 twisters as Bob blew through the region. These winds toppled trees and utility poles across the region. At one point, 60% of Rhode Island and southeast Massachusetts were without power.
The storm surge in Rhode Island was 5-8feet. Extensive beach erosion occurred from Watch Hill through Little Compton, RI. Homes and businesses were badly damaged. In Massachusetts, a 10-15feet surge destroyed houses, boats. Most of the damage occurred in Buzzards Bay where a 12-15feet surge was reported. According to the National Weather Service in Taunton, south facing beaches on the Vineyard and Nantucket lost as much as 50feet of beach due to erosion.
In terms of rainfall, generally 3-6inches fell in western Rhode Island, but rainfall amounts were only as high as 1″ south and east of Providence and out to Cape Cod. In Foster, RI, 7.01″ of rain fell.
Six people died as a result of Bob, all in Connecticut.
Bob was responsible for six deaths in the region, all in Connecticut.
Total damage in Southern New England was approximately 680 million dollars. President George H. W. Bush declared Rhode Island and Massachusetts Federal Disaster Areas.
Here’s a look back at Hurricane Bob with video and pictures of the historic storm.
-Meteorologist T.J. Del Santo