Epic Virginia Hurricanes Throughout History

Coastal Virginia is a state with high risk for high winds, lashing rains, and annual flooding. Much of this risk is made possible by the many hurricanes that hit the state each year. Historically, the eastern part of Virginia has been subject to huge tropical storms and regular hurricane force winds. Some of the most notable tropical storms have been documented all the way back to the colonial period in U.S history. Here is a brief look at some of the most epic hurricanes to hit Virginia throughout history.

1788–

This hurricane is noteworthy since it passed across the Mount Vernon estate of George Washington in July of that year–an event he recorded in his journal. The hurricane lashed the eastern part of Virginia with severe winds, heavy rain, and led to serious flooding.

1876–

Characterized by the Centennial Gale, this hurricane ransacked the Chesapeake Bay region and produced one of the largest tides in recorded history. The ferocious winds uprooted trees and destroyed crops across eastern Virginia.

1896–

The storm this year was one of Virginia’s most destructive. Hurricane winds spanning some 50 miles pushed into a huge portion of the state–affecting cities inland as far as Richmond and Alexandria. The storm spanned from North Carolina to Maryland and caused enormous damage.

1933–

In August of this year, the Chesapeake and Potomac Hurricane struck the southeast part of the state with 50–70 mile per hour winds and heavy rains. The rains led to widespread flooding across the Chesapeake Bay area. A month later, another hurricane hit the coast and led to serious damages in eastern Virginia.

1954–

Hurricane Hazel hit the state in October of this year and brutalized the coast with extreme winds of upwards of 100 miles per hour. Even Washington D.C wasn’t spared the hurricane force winds of nearly 100 miles per hour. The hurricane also led to serious flooding across the coast.

1969–

This year saw one of the most devastating hurricanes in modern state history as the remnants of Hurricane Camille tore through the coast and into central Virginia with massive rainfall. 27 inches of rain fell in some 5 hours and the resulting series of flash floods and mudslides led to the deaths of over 150 residents.

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1999–

Hurricane Floyd hit the Tidewater region and Eastern Shore with epic rainfall. Some 10 inches fell here and another 15 in the southeast part of the state. Much of coastal Virginia was declared a disaster area after this storm.

2003–

One of the most significant hurricanes to pummel Virginia was Hurricane Isabel in 2003. Hurricane force winds blew for 10 hours and caused enormous damages to property, power lines, and destroyed trees and crops. The wind gusts were consistently above 80 miles per hour and much of the coast experienced severe flooding.

The lists of hurricanes in Virginia could go on and on and every year the Atlantic coast is subject to high winds and heavy rainfall from hurricanes hitting the coast. There are almost too many notable hurricanes in Virginia history to note, but with advanced warning systems, greater community awareness and preparation, and disaster restoration resources, Virginia hurricane season is more manageable than ever.