Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, more commonly referred to as Rhode Island (/roʊd ˈaɪlɨnd/ (help·info)), is a state in the New England region of the United States. It is the smallest U.S. state by area. Rhode Island borders Connecticut to the west and Massachusetts to the north and east. Rhode Island also shares a water border with New York'sLong Island to the southwest. Despite being called Rhode Island in common usage, most of the state is on the continental mainland. The name Rhode Island is derived from the colonial-era name for what is now known as Aquidneck Island, which now comprises the city of Newport and the towns of Middletown and Portsmouth, the largest of several islands in Narragansett Bay. Rhode Island was the first of the thirteen original colonies to declare independence from British rule and the last to ratify the United States Constitution. Rhode Island's official nickname is "The Ocean State", a reference to the state's geography, as nearly one tenth of Rhode Island's inland area is covered by salt water. In addition, no area of the state is more than a thirty-minute drive from the water's edge (under normal traffic conditions). Unofficially, and in other parts of the country, Rhode Island is referred to as Little Rhody.
Hurricane Carol was among the worst tropical cyclones to affect New England, United States. It developed from a tropical wave near the Bahamas on August 25, and gradually strengthened as it moved northwestward. On August 27, Carol intensified to reach winds of 105 mph (169 km/h), but weakened as its motion turned to a northwest drift. The well-organized hurricane made landfall on Long Island and Connecticut on August 30 near peak intensity, and quickly became extratropical over land. Carol was similar to the New England Hurricane of 1938; both struck New England as fast-moving hurricanes. The hurricane produced a record-high wind gust of 135 mph (215 km/h) at Block Island, while on mainland Rhode Island, sustained winds peaked at 90 mph (145 km/h) in Warwick with gusts to 105 mph (170 km/h). Entire coastal communities were nearly destroyed, and the winds destroyed the roofs of hundreds of buildings, forcing many to evacuate to shelters.