Nightly News | August 26, 2011
>>> measure hurricane by the past, storms with big, important names or the year they hit. of course new york city isn't under a hurricane warning every day of the week, it is tonight. nbc's rehema ellis is with us from lower manhattan , battery park , an area where they tell me, rehema, if these projections of a storm surge come true, you would be covered in water if you were standing there at the height of the storm.
>> reporter: it's true, brian and it's something that all of us are thinking about now. but here in new york city , far from the tropical waters that fuel hurricanes, people tend to think they're immune. not so. hurricanes do happen here, but not that often. september 1985 , hurricane gloria was one of the most destructive storms of the season.
>> hurricane gloria is moving on the east coast tonight like a monster out of a science fiction film .
>> reporter: taking aim at the new york metropolitan area with 100-mile-per-hour winds, damaging homes, downing trees and electricity lines. ron noon worked for long island's utility company and spent three weeks restoring electricity to the 750,000 people who lost power during the storm.
>> it got kind of hairy, people got a little bit -- it brought a side of the people that you didn't expect.
>> reporter: gloria was the first hurricane to hit new york in more than 20 years. in 1960 , hurricane donna slammed into the city.
>> major breaks in the city's subway system strands hundreds.
>> reporter: there was an 11-foot surge in new york harbor , damaging boats and transportation throughout the city was brought to a stand still . the storm's impact was felt throughout the region.
>> atlantic city .
>> reporter: and then there was the infamous hurricane of 1938 , the long island express. that powerful storm killed ten people in new york city . headlines captured the travel.
>> at one point the winds were above 120 miles an hour. it changed the landscape of long island.
>> reporter: but the actual eye of a hurricane hasn't passed directly over new york city since, get this, 1821 . that storm caused the 13-foot storm surge , which means the area where i am right now was completely under water, the fear is it could happen again.
>> boy, rehema, those pictures are hard to look at. let's just hope something comes along and changes the path of this thing. rehema ellis in