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Forecasters: Irene Just as Big as Hurricane of 1938

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The storm bearing down on the Northeast is being compared to the Great New England Hurricane of 1938, one of the most powerful and destructive storms ever to hit southern New England.

The National Weather Service says that storm killed nearly 600 people and injured 1,700. About 8,900 houses across southern New England were destroyed, and more than 15,000 others were damaged.

Tides from New London, Conn., east to Massachusetts’ Cape Cod were between 18 feet and 25 feet high. Communities along Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay were devastated; downtown Providence was flooded.

Evelyn Katzman lived through it. Now 103, she recalls an odd sight as she looked out of the store where she was working the day the hurricane hit on Sept. 21, 1938. Mannequins were floating down the street.

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