Skip to main content
Award-Winning "Wake of '38" Commemorates Storm's 80th Anniversary
Email share

The Great New England Hurricane of 1938 - also known as the Long Island Express - was the most destructive storm to strike the region in the 20th century. On the 80th anniversary of the storm - September 21, 2018 - Rhode Island PBS presents our annual broadcast of our Emmy Award-winning documentary, Wake of '38, at 8 p.m.

In the days before the weather service began naming storms, one fast-moving storm careened up the east coast, wiping out entire New England coastal communities, and ​taking 600 lives. It is known plainly and simply as the Hurricane of 1938, but its effects were anything but plain or simple - and its scars are still visible on buildings in downtown Providence.

In 1978, WSBE (then "Channel 36" now "Rhode Island PBS") marked the 40th anniversary of the hurricane by making a documentary, using archival footage and interviews with survivors. The dramatic story won an Emmy Award for WSBE.

Now the film is 40 years old, and we proudly and respectfully mark that anniversary and the storm's 80th with encores of Wake of '38 on Saturday, September 22 at noon and 11 p.m. The film airs as part of the ongoing Rhode Island PBS series Rhode Island Stories, a collection of local documentaries about the people, places, and events with a strong local connection.

Click here for our comprehensive 75th anniversary blog post from 2013 that includes several remarkable photos and links to other stunning galleries.