THURSDAY, AUGUST 17 - HURRICANE DIANE - AUGUST 1955
While Hurricane Connie was racing past Delaware in mid-August 1955,
another storm - Diane - was headed for the East Coast. Storm warnings
were raised on August 16th from the Virginia Capes to Atlantic City.
Diane came inland in North Carolina on August 17th as a minimal hurricane.
It curved north and then east, passing almost directly over Wilmington as a weak
tropical storm. Locally, winds from Diane only gusted to about 30mph, and
rainfall was nothing spectacular, in the 1 to 3 inch range.
But farther north in the Delaware River Basin, Diane dumped 6 to 12
inches of rain. With the ground still saturated from Connie's rains a
few days earlier, the Delaware River flooded to record levels in many
places - 22 feet above flood stage at Easton, Pennsylvania. The Schuylkill River also
topped its banks, putting some Philadelphia streets underwater.
But Diane's affect on our region was tame compared to New England, where it unleashed
some of the heaviest rains ever recorded there. Damage estimates from the storm,
adjusted to present-day dollars, ran into the billions, making Diane one of the
10 most expensive hurricanes ever to strike the United States.