1932 Bahamas Hurricane

1932 Bahamas Hurricane

The 1932 Bahamas Hurricane was a powerful Category 5 hurricane that struck the Bahamas at peak intensity. The storm never made landfall on the continental United States, but its effects were felt in the northeast part of the country and in the Bahamas, especially on the Abaco Islands, where damage was very great.

Meteorological history

The system was first detected just to the north of the Virgin Islands as a minimal tropical storm on August 30. The storm moved generally west-northwest, passing to the north of the Greater Antilles. It reached hurricane status as it passed near the Turks and Caicos Islands, and began a period of rapid strengthening shortly thereafter.

The storm passed just to the east of the main islands and Nassau while continuing to strengthen. A gradual turn to the northwest and north began soon, and the storm peaked at Category 5 status with estimated sustained winds of around 160 mph (260 km/h) at this time. Maintaining strength, the storm passed over Great Abaco on September 5 and gradually began to curve northeast away from the mainland United States. It continued northeast while weakening in intensity, delivering sea swells to the northeastern United States and winds of 56 mph (90 km/h) to Nantucket as the storm bypassed New England. The storm became extratropical around September 9 and eventually passed near Iceland and Jan Mayen Island. It dissipated on September 13.


16 people were reported killed, along with an additional 300 injured. All of this toll occurred in the Bahamas, notably on and around Abaco Island; damage estimates in dollars, however, were not released.


The storm was very destructive on Abaco Island, where the reported barometric pressure was unofficially below 27.50 inches (931 mbar). On Green Turtle Cay, near Abaco Island, two brick churches were destroyed by the storm and winds were estimated by one resident to have exceeded 200 mph (320 km/h); some of the stone blocks from the churches were reportedly carried a half mile away. Newspaper reports and photos helped to establish estimated prevailing winds on Green Turtle Cay that possibly exceeded 150 mph (240 km/h) during the hurricane.

After the storm passed Abaco on September 6 and 7, several vessels caught in the storm recorded winds of Force 12 (Beaufort Wind Scale) and low barometric pressures; the S.S. Yankee Arrow recorded a pressure of 27.65 inches (936 mbar) on the 7th, while the nearby S.S. Deer Lodge reported a lower pressure of 27.58 inches (934 mbar).

United States

Although storm warnings were posted for the Florida and eastern United States coastline, the storm's recurvature prevented a landfall, leaving the main effects as heavy coastal swells and high winds. At the storm's closest pass to the country near New England, Nantucket recorded the highest winds at 56 mph (90 km/h), as the storm remained offshore, although it still packed hurricane-force winds.

Newfoundland, Iceland, and Jan Mayen Island

Although the storm was extratropical by the time it bypassed Newfoundland and was near Iceland and Jan Mayen Island, the storm still packed power; barometric pressures were estimated at or below 29.00 inches (982 mbar).


See also


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