Hurricane Irene is on a projected path that could have it pass directly over the Midcoast, according to the National Weather Service.

The weather service notes that the exact track is not possible to determine this far in advance but the Midcoast is in the middle of the current projected path with the storm’s impact beginning Sunday, Aug. 28 and continuing through Monday morning.

As of 8 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 25, the weather service was projecting Irene would have diminished to a tropical storm with sustained winds of 39 mph to 73 mph when it reaches northern New England.

The Midcoast is typically spared the full fury of hurricanes but there have been some significant exceptions. Most storms are downgraded to tropical storm status before their arrival along the Maine Coast. Many are on par with the strongest nor’easters that pummel the coast.

Hurricanes need warm weather — about 80 degrees — to keep their strength. Water temperatures in Maine generally don’t get higher than the mid-60s.

The Patriots Day gale of April 2007, for example, caused damage to shorefront property including the Spruce Head Island causeway but was not considered a tropical system.

Last year, Hurricane Earl threatened New England in early September before veering to the east and striking Nova Scotia. The storm created high surf and gusty winds. There was also a close call with Hurricane Floyd in 1999, which weakened before it brought gusty winds to the Midcoast.

Hurricane Bob 1991

There have been some near misses over the past 20 years but the last hurricane to strike the region was Bob, which arrived on the afternoon of Aug. 19, 1991. Bob first crossed eastern Rhode Island and Massachusetts with winds of 115 miles per hour but weakened as it crossed land and before it reached Maine.

Locally, Bob bowled over a number of trees and dumped heavy rains with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph.

Emergency shelters were set up throughout the Midcoast. Then-Gov. John McKernan recommended that residents within a half mile of the ocean be evacuated.


Many stores closed early. Before the stores closed, however, they were besieged by customers rushing to buy food, batteries and candles. Marinas were swamped by people who wanted their boats removed from the water.

Hurricane Gloria 1985

Hurricane Gloria arrived on the evening of Sept. 27, 1985. Winds were clocked locally at a steady 60 mph, knocking down trees and a few power lines but otherwise causing little damage.

Again, stores were crowded with shoppers buying emergency supplies and marinas worked nonstop to take boats out of the water.

Gloria also had weakened considerably from when it made landfall on Long Island.

Hurricane Ginny 1963

Hurricane Ginny struck on the afternoon of Oct. 29, 1963. Winds were just above hurricane force at 80 mph with gusts at the Coast Guard station in Rockland recorded at 100 mph.

Hurricane Daisy 1962

Hurricane Daisy was the last hurricane to claim a life in the Midcoast. Daisy arrived on the afternoon of Oct. 7, 1962. A man was killed in Thomaston when a huge tree limb broke and struck the car in which he was a passenger. A man in Rockland was struck and killed by a car during the storm.

Wind gusts reached 80 mph.

Hurricane Donna 1960

Hurricane Donna also brought down many trees when it arrived on Sept. 12, 1960. No major damage or serious injuries were reported.

Hurricanes Carol/Edna 1954

The late summer of 1954 brought a one-two punch that is considered to be the worst damage brought locally from a hurricane in recorded times.

Hurricane Carol arrived Aug. 31 with winds between 75 and 100 mph. Newspaper reports called it the worst storm since 1938. A man died trying to save his sailboat off Marshall Point in St. George.

Less than two weeks later, on Sept. 12, Edna struck and made Carol look tame. Edna packed winds of 115 mph and knocked down hundreds of trees. Many electrical and telephone lines were downed and service was interrupted for a few days to many homes. Nearly half the lobster traps in the ocean were lost due to extremely rough seas. Many roads were impassable from 7 inches of rain.

1944 hurricane

This unnamed storm caused extensive damage in southern New England but spared the Midcoast from a direct hit.

1938 hurricane

The unnamed hurricane of 1938 that devastated Long Island and parts of Rhode Island knocked down many trees locally and produced a lot of rain but no major damage when it struck Sept. 22.