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A Newfoundland hurricane is still Canada's deadliest natural disaster

Thursday, September 9th 2021, 5:23 am - On this day in weather history, the 1775 Newfoundland hurricane hit the Canadian province.

This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by Chris Mei from The Weather Network, featuring stories about people, communities and events and how weather impacted them.


On Saturday, September 9, 1775, a hurricane hit Newfoundland. The hurricane killed around 4,000 people, making it the deadliest natural disaster in Canadian history.

On Aug. 27, 1775, the hurricane hit North Carolina. A letter from North Carolina that recounted, "We had a violent hurricane...which has done a vast deal of damage here, at the Bar, and at Matamuskeet, near 150 lives being lost at the Bar, and 15 in one neighbourhood at Matamuskeet."

The hurricane also hit Virginia. Between the two states, 163 people died.

Then the storm hit Newfoundland. It's unknown if the storm that hit the province was indeed the "1775 Newfoundland hurricane" or remnants from a previous system.

Newfoundland was hit hard, especially the fisheries. They "received a very severe stroke from the violence of a storm of wind, which almost swept everything before it," said Commodore Governor Robert Duff. "A considerable number of boats, with their crews, have been totally lost, several vessels wrecked on the shores," he added.

Approximately 4,000 sailors died, most of them were from England and Ireland. The storm surged reached levels as high as 30 feet.

This is the first Atlantic Canada hurricane to be recorded. It's also the eight-deadliest in the Atlantic Ocean's history.

The deadliest storm in Atlantic history occurred five years later, dubbed the "Great Hurricane" of 1780 — 22,000–27,501 people died.

To learn more about the 1775 Newfoundland hurricane, listen to today's episode of "This Day In Weather History."

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Thumbnail: Courtesy of Pexels

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