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Bulloch History with Roger Allen - 1940 hurricane causes $1 million in damage in Bulloch Co.
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Roger Allen

    The Bulloch Herald announced in its Aug. 15, 1940, newspaper that the damages from a recent hurricane (primarily on Aug. 11–12) were estimated to be close to $1 million in Bulloch County alone. 
    Total damages to the region reached more than $13 million, with Charleston suffering $1.5 million in property damage and Savannah some $1 million. It was said to be the worst storm to have hit the coast in 29 years.
    The hurricane plowed right through the center of Bulloch County, ripping off many roofs, snapping and shattering hundreds of trees, blocking almost all local highways and devastating many of the fields laden with crops throughout the county.
    The storm first hit Beaufort, S.C., when it approached the coastline. There were recorded wind speeds of more than 90 mph and a 13-foot storm tide, which earned it the classification of an unnamed Category 1 hurricane. (Hurricanes did not begin receiving names until 1953.)
    The inland city of Louisville, Ga., recorded nearly 14 inches of rain in a 24-hour period, while the coastal cities of Charleston and Beaufort received between 11 and 13 inches of rain during the storm.
    After sweeping inland, the storm hit Bulloch County mid-Sunday afternoon with winds of more than 50 mph and gusts upward of 75 mph. The storm badly damaged corn and bean crops and destroyed almost 90 percent of the pecan and pear crops.
    In downtown Statesboro, the large neon signs at the Greyhound bus station and the City Drug pharmacy were blown down, and most of the storefront windows were blown out at both the A&P grocery store and Thackston's cleaners.
    In addition, the roofs were torn off of Cobb and Fauxhall's largest tobacco warehouse and at the College Street primary school, causing more than $10,000 in water damage to those two buildings alone.
    Local insurance agencies reported receiving more than 500 damage claims, but only about 30 percent of policies covered the storm damage to local businesses and residences.
    Some locals compared the intensity and damage to that of the 1929 tornado that devastated Bulloch County. A total of 50 deaths were attributed to the hurricane. While two people died in Savannah, none perished in Bulloch County.
    Roger Allen is a local lover of history. He provides a brief look at the area's historical past. Email Roger at

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