August 28, 2011

hurricane All this talk about Hurricane Irene sent me scurrying for great hurricanes of the past that have followed near the track Irene is on. Here are some really interesting links I’ve found:

You can’t even start talking about the great hurricanes without mentioning the “Long Island Express” hurricane of 1938. I hate websites with black backgrounds and white letters – they give me a headache – but the pictures alone are worth the visit. What devastation! There are a couple of great – albeit heart-wrenching – books about that hurricane: R.A. Scotti’s “Sudden Sea” and Everett Allen’s wonderful “A Wind To Shake The World”. Both are page-turners.

There was Hurricane Carol in 1954, a year before I was born. Wasn’t there, but it sure appears that it was a bad one.

I do remember Hurricane Donna in 1960. The memories are pretty sketchy (I was only five), but I distinctly remember watching TV and seeing some report about small planes blown over and vividly recall the loud moaning of wind outside. I also remember my family and my aunt, uncle and cousins (they lived upstairs from us at the time) eating spam by candlelight after the power had gone off. This is a pretty cool remembrance of Donna; I always equated Steinbeck with Depression-era writing. You learn something new every day.

I definitely remember Hurricane Gloria in 1986 – that was in The Weather Channel’s (as it was called then before they dropped the “The”) heyday. I remember the night before it hit getting an ice cream down at Gary’s Ice Cream and marveling at how gray, murky, and still everything felt. It really was “hurricane weather”. Gloria turned out to be a fairly decent blow, but nothing catastrophic by any means. I do remember walking outside my parents’ condo (where I was living at the time) after it had passed and the air full of the smell of timber from broken and downed trees.

…might I digress for a second? It appears we’re getting a dust storm outside. I can hear the wind chimes chattering away, and my favorite streetlight looks like it’s shrouded in fog – a weather event you will never find in Gilbert, Arizona. Sigh. More sweeping of the pool and patio tomorrow…

And finally there was Hurricane Bob. It wasn’t a bad storm as I recollect, but it was bad enough that we lost our power for four days afterwards. I threw out a lot of food from my freezer, and I remember being pissed about it. Of course, I should have known better – after all, our area of Lowell/Dracut always had power outages. If three squirrels were having a party on some transformer that would be enough to knock the power out.

Of course, a storm doesn’t have to be actually classified as a hurricane to act like one and create havoc and devastation like one. Consider the Great Halloween Storm of 1991 (the one of “Perfect Storm” fame). I remember being in work and hearing word about a real bad storm on the coast; it was amazing that, while twenty miles or so inland we were getting warm showery rains, all hell was breaking loose on the coast and the fishing banks beyond.

I can’t help but think that with Irene the way is opened this year for more serious hurricane activity along the East Coast, and it wouldn’t surprise me if Irene was just a precursor to something bigger and more devastating in the next month or so. It’s certainly time, that’s for sure.

…and I sure miss New England weather. Less than two weeks!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:58 | Comments Off on Hurricanes Of The Past
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