Q: Given the track of recent hurricanes like Sandy this year and Irene in 2011, one wonders, what’s the farthest north a hurricane has hit the United States?
A: Three major hurricanes have hit as far north as Massachusetts, according to the National Weather Service’s National Hurricane Center. These were Storm 6 in 1869, the Great New England Hurricane of 1938 (aka the Long Island Express) and Hurricane Edna in 1954.
Storm 6 killed a person in Massachusetts and knocked out all the telegraph lines between Boston and New York. The Great New England Hurricane killed between 700 and 800 people and caused $308 million in damage in New York and New England. It made landfall as a Category 3 hurricane, and Blue Hill Observatory, about 10 miles south of Boston, measured winds of 121 mph with gusts up to 183 mph. The storm destroyed 25,000 cars, half the area’s apple crop and knocked down up to 2 billion trees, according to a study by Scott Mandia, a professor at Suffolk County Community College in New York.
On Sept. 11, 1954, Edna hit New England, which was still recovering from Hurricane Carol, which had blazed a similar path just off the East Coast and had smacked Long Island and Connecticut on Aug. 30. Edna, a Category 3 hurricane, was responsible for a total of 29 deaths and $42 million in damage. In Maine alone, it caused eight deaths and $15 million in damage.
Q: Is the president of the United States eligible for a government pension? If so, how much is it and does his time in office (one term versus two) influence the amount of the pension?
A: The Former Presidents Act of 1958 was passed by Congress and signed by President Dwight Eisenhower to provide an annual lifetime pension to former U.S. presidents, after Harry Truman struggled to find the money to pay a staff needed to handle his mail, appointments and speeches after leaving office. The amount, which originally was $25,000 a year, is set annually by Congress and is currently $199,700, according to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
It goes into effect when a president leaves office and is paid whether a president serves one or two terms. Former presidents also receive other benefits, including a Secret Service detail and expenses to cover the cost of an office, a staff and travel.
Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush collectively received about $3.8 million from taxpayers in fiscal year 2011, the Los Angeles Times reported in March. Former presidents receive the pension and expenses no matter how much they make in speaking fees. George W. Bush has made about $15 million since leaving office and Clinton earned $13.4 million for giving speeches in 2011, according to CNN. Former first ladies receive $20,000 a year if they are widowed.