New York has been hit by hurricanes before, and it hasn't been pretty, as The Scuttlefish reports. More than two centuries ago, on August 19, 1788, a hurricane struck New York City and Long Island. According to accounts from the time, the west side of the Battery was left flooded and "in ruins."
More recently, the New England Hurricane, or "Long Island Express," hit New York in 1938, destroying thousands of homes and boats from New York to Maine and killing more than 600 people. The relative flatness of the area meant there was nothing to stop the category 3 storm from sweeping up on land.
The following images show the destructive power that such storms have had on a region unaccustomed to such violent outbursts of nature.
These storms were by no means the last to pound the region. In 1954, Hurricane Edna struck New York, causing the Navy to evacuate hundreds of warships and aircraft. In all, 29 lives were lost in New York.
In 1972, Hurricane Agnes struck near New York City, dumping 12 inches of rain, causing severe river flooding, and killing six.
In September 1985, Hurricane Gloria made landfall as a Category 2 hurricane, resulting in just one fatality but costing $300 million in damages.
Now, as Hurricane Irene inches her way west toward land, she has nothing in her path; there appear to be no weather fronts or pressure systems, and warm waters only make for a more alarming outlook. If history offers any warnings, it's time to batten down the hatches and take the boats upstream.