Oct. 30, 1991: A hurricane later commemorated in Sebastian Junger’s best-selling book “The Perfect Storm” and a film of the same name reaches peak intensity off Canada’s Atlantic coast.

The then-unnamed storm began to grow Oct. 28, when it sank the Gloucester, Massachusetts-based fishing boat Andrea Gail, killing its six crew members.

Also known as “the Halloween storm,” the multi-day event batters Maine and the rest of the Eastern Seaboard – especially Massachusetts, where 100 homes are destroyed or severely damaged. Damage is reported as far south as Jamaica and as far north as Newfoundland. At its Oct. 30 peak, the storm generates ocean waves ranging in height at least from 40 to 80 feet.

In Maine, hundreds of homes are affected, most prominently the summer residence of then-President George H.W. Bush on Walker’s Point in Kennebunkport. The famous vacation residence, visited by several world leaders, sustains extensive damage when the wind and water knock out windows and flood the interior.

Twenty-five-foot waves plow ashore and smash into houses at Camp Ellis, part of Saco, and 20 families are evacuated. In Kennebunkport, water 3 feet deep covers 1.5 miles of Beach Avenue and penetrates about 40 homes across the street. Police report high water reaching the first floor of about 100 homes in Wells. Twelve vulnerable houses in Cape Elizabeth are evacuated.

The tidal surge, propelled by 50-mph wind, is one of the 10 most severe in Maine’s history at the time.

Joseph Owen is an author, retired newspaper editor and board member of the Kennebec Historical Society. Owen’s book, “This Day in Maine,” can be ordered at islandportpress.com. To get a signed copy use promo code signedbyjoe at checkout. Joe can be contacted at: [email protected]


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