Newfoundland Hurricane of 1775

A storm struck the eastern coast of Newfoundland on September 9, 1775.

It is uncertain if this storm was the remnants of the hurricane that had crossed the Outer Banks over a week earlier.

Newfoundland’s fisheries "received a very severe stroke from the violence of a storm of wind, which almost swept everything before it," the colonial governor Robert Duff wrote shortly after it struck. "A considerable number of boats, with their crews, have been totally lost, several vessels wrecked on the shores," he said. Ocean levels rose to heights "scarcely ever known before" and caused great devastation, Duff reported.

A total of 4,000 sailors, mostly from England and Ireland, were reported to have been drowned. A localized storm surge is reported to have reached heights of between 20 and 30 feet. Losses from the hurricane include two armed schooners of the Royal Navy, which were on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland to enforce Britain's fishing rights.

The hurricane is Atlantic Canada’s first recorded hurricane and Canada's deadliest natural disaster (and by far the deadliest hurricane to ever hit Canada), as well as the eighth-deadliest Atlantic hurricane in history.

The most infamous tropical storm of that nature was the 'Independence Hurricane' that hit Newfoundland in the September, killing over 4,000 people with a great number of them being seamen from Britain and Ireland.

The most haunting account we get from this storm is when it struck Conception Bay. Vast numbers of fishing boats were in the bay as the squid catch was late that summer, but the men were oblivious to the growing winds and the sudden approach of the storm. The sea is said to have risen twenty feet higher than usual, putting the vast quantities of boats in the bay at great risk. The boats really had little chance against this severity of weather at sea, and all but one are said to have met their deaths - a total of 300 men.

The shocking accounts of damage done by the rains last week are numerous: Most of the mill-dams are broke, the corn laid almost level with the ground, and fodder destroyed; many ships and other vessels drove ashore and damaged, at Norfolk, Hampton, and York. In the heavy storm of wind and rain, which came on last Saturday, and continued most part of the night, the Mercury man of war as drove from her station abreast of the town of Norfolk, and stuck flat aground in shoal water.”

— The Virginia Gazette