The 1935 Labor Day Hurricane in the Florida Keys: Background information when reading The Last Train to Key West

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The Last Train to Key West

by Chanel Cleeton

The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton X
The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton
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    Jun 2020, 320 pages

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The 1935 Labor Day Hurricane in the Florida Keys

This article relates to The Last Train to Key West

Florida Keys Memorial dedication, 1937 Chanel Cleeton's historical novel The Last Train to Key West is based on a real event that took place on September 2, 1935, now known as the Labor Day Hurricane (and sometimes called the Labor Day Storm), a Category 5 storm that killed between 400 and 600 people in the Florida Keys. It was the first recorded Category 5 hurricane to hit the United States.

The Labor Day Hurricane began as a tropical storm that was detected east of the Bahamas on August 29. The storm moved past Andros Island, an archipelago in the Bahamas, on September 1. As it turned in the direction of the Keys, it rapidly became more powerful, and by the time it reached the Middle Keys on September 2, it had attained Category 5 strength. The hurricane produced peak winds of 200 mph, and devastated the Keys as it struck, leveling structures and trees. It destroyed most of Islamorada, a village spanning five islands. While it isn't known exactly how all victims of the storm were killed, it is thought that most of ...

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