On the night of September 14, 1944, Southeastern Massachusetts was devastated by a 100-mile per hour hurricane, the second destructive gale to impact the area in less than 6 years. Adequate warning by newspapers and radio, given force by recollection of 680 lives lost in New England in 1938, took much of the terror out of the storm. Beach residents had left their homes during the day, when it became clear the hurricane would strike that night, and as a result only 31 deaths were reported in the Northeast.
Winds increased rapidly between 9 and 10pm and before midnight were blowing at 100 miles an hour. Accompanying rain became a blinding deluge. Houses were blown or washed away, boats wrecked, tress ripped out, plate glass windows shattered by the thousands. High tide passed nearly three hours before the gale struck, which reduced losses greatly. Because it was the height of WWII shipping lanes were busy with maritime traffic. 6 ships were sunk, which included 4 Navy destroyers and 2 Coast Guard cutters drowning over 350 sailors. The Vineyard Sound Lightship anchored off Cuttyhunk was also sunk drowning all 12 crew members.