1985: Hurricane Gloria Slams Long Island
On September 27, 1985, Category 3 Hurricane Gloria made landfall on Long Island near Long Beach. Gloria reached the Category 4 status on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale near the Bahamas. It weakened significantly by the time it made landfall on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Gloria closely followed the Mid-Atlantic coastline and made its landfall on Long Island, and, after crossing the Long Island Sound, made its third landfall in Connecticut.
Some 750,000 wound up being in the dark, some for days. The response to the crisis of the Long Island Power Authority predecessor LILCO was sharply criticized for it.
Overall, the storm caused extensive damage along the East Coast of the United States, amounting to $900 million, and was responsible for eight deaths. Though Gloria hit Long Island with winds of 95 to 100 miles per hour, wind gusts reached 115 miles per hour in eastern Long Island. Gloria’s high winds caused significant damage across Long Island and southeastern New York. The area hit the worst was eastern Long Island, where high wind gusts blew thousands of trees into buildings and across roads. In addition, the winds ripped roofs off of many buildings, including hangars at Long Island MacArthur Airport and the roof of the Islip Police Station. Prolonged exposure to high winds and waves led to moderate beach erosion, washing away several piers and docks.
25 years later, Long Islanders can still remember Hurricane Gloria and the severe damage that it caused.