In 1954, two hurricanes swept through the New England area, bringing some of the strongest winds and damage ever seen in the area. Maine, one of the hardest hit states, suffered millions of dollars in damage along with the loss of lives.

First was Carol, which began in the Bahamas and made its way North over the Atlantic, affecting the mid-Atlantic states before increasing in intensity to bring hurricane and gale force winds to New England, including Maine. It made landfall in late August, bringing over two inches of rain in a 12-hour period. Carol ruined apple crops, and decimated hundreds of acres of corn crops in North Livermore. The hurricane killed three people in Maine, and injured many more. It also caused more than $10 Million in damages across the state, becoming the most costly natural disaster in the Maine’s history. Hurricane Carol was so awful, that the name is no longer used for hurricanes – it has been removed from the list completely. At the time it was thought to be the worst to hit Maine…

Until Edna came to shore, just ten days later.

Edna cost the state $15 million, taking over the most costly storm distinction from Carol just days before. The hurricane caused flooding throughout the state and completely washed away roads and rail lines.

Eight Mainers lost their lives in the storm due to drowning.

In this rare video footage, we can see exactly what Carol and Edna did to the people of Maine. Shot in Portland and areas further afield, the footage gives a glimpse of life as the storms were making landfall. We can already see flooding along with cars trying to make their way around despite the deadly conditions. Buses are running, people are walking around and trees are already strewn about the streets.

Hurricanes Carol and Edna in Maine, 1954 from Northeast Historic Film.

Can you imagine the fear that must have been felt as these storms came to shore? The people of Maine are hardworking, and many continued their life on lobster boats and near the coastline. Once it was clear that Carol and Edna were serious, there was nothing that could be done. Mainers were forced to wait out the storms and assess the damage once they had past.

Were you in Maine during Carol or Edna? We’d love to hear about your experience.

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