Survivors and scientists recall devastating impact of Hurricane of 1938 on 75th anniversary


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Irene Goodwin Kane, then 14, returned home to Roslindale from the Girls’ Latin School on Sept. 21, 1938, to find her mother pacing the house from room to room, fretting about the weather.

As her father arrived home from work, wind whipped around their Kittredge Street home beneath a sky gone gray. He parked out back as usual, but then, watching the wind, moved his car to the front.

“About five minutes after he had parked the car, this enormous tree in our backyard came completely uprooted and came crashing down, right where his car would have been parked,” Kane, 89, said. “That was when I realized that this was really bad.”

It was worse than she could have then known.

On that September afternoon, the Great New England Hurricane of 1938 tore into New York’s Long Island and then Milford, Conn., raging through Western Massachusetts and Vermont, leaving a path of flooded towns, flattened homes, and fires caused by downed power lines.

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