Remembering Hurricane Gloria: 35 years later


PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Many of us probably don’t remember what we were doing on this weekend 35 years ago. But if you lived in Hampton Roads or on the Outer Banks, you were likely preparing for Hurricane Gloria. The storm roared up the East Coast on September 27, 1985.

Hurricane Gloria storm track
(Courtesy: National Weather Service)

Gloria started as a wave off the west Africa coast on September 16. By the time it got off the east coast on September 25, the storm was a powerful Category 4 hurricane with winds of 145 mph.

Hurricane Gloria
(Courtesy: National Weather Service)

Days before, the Super Doppler 10 weather team, led by Chief Meteorologist Don Slater, got Hampton Roads prepared for what could very well be a direct hit, promising a high storm surge and hurricane-force winds. On September 26, 10 On Your Side had team coverage of the night before Gloria was to hit.  

You’ll see on the 11 p.m. newscast — things were mostly quiet, as tens of thousands of people had already moved out of harm’s way.

WATCH: WAVY Archive: 1985 Hurricane Gloria 11pm Newscast, September 26, 1985.

Gloria’s first landfall was around Buxton, N.C. Winds were reported around 75 mph, with winds topping 100 mph at the Diamond Shoals Lighthouse off the North Carolina coast.

The storm started speeding up as it hit land in the early morning hours of September 27. It dumped several inches of rain and left many parts of our area flooded. The highest rain amount for the storm anywhere on the East Coast was in Edenton, N.C., with 9.7 inches. High waves also left damage and significant beach erosion along the Outer Banks.

WATCH: WAVY Archive: 1985 Hurricane Gloria 11pm Newscast, September 27, 1985.

Gloria moved pretty quickly through our area, with the eye staying just off the coast. But it made two more landfalls, one on Long Island, and another near Westport, Connecticut. Parts of New York City flooded, and extensive damage was left from the storm on Long Island and in parts of New England.

In all, Hurricane Gloria caused $900 million in damage, and resulted in 14 deaths. 

Click here to read the National Weather Service, Morehead City, N.C. report on Gloria.

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