I am currently a secondary science teacher in Suffolk
County, NY. My interest in hurricanes began at an early
age following Hurricane Gloria, September 1985.
I was eight years old and living in Mastic
Beach at the time. I remember having to ride the storm out at
the William Floyd
School with my parents and three siblings. I
remember hearing conversations about the upcoming storm but I never witnessed
what was going on “outside” during the storm.
I always remained curious about observing a hurricane.
Years after the storm my parents informed me that the
decision to evacuate was due to the fact that we were approximately a half-mile
north of the Bay, just south of Neighborhood Road.
I am sure this decision was influenced by the media wave that classified
Hurricane Gloria as being the next big one to hit Long Island
and relating it to the 1938 Hurricane.
However, Gloria weakened as it tracked north of Cape
at approximately 35 mph and then made landfall on September 23, at low tide.
The northeast quadrant of this storm did report wind gusts of being Category 3
strength (111+ mph). Later research did
classify Gloria being a category 1 hurricane at landfall. Much debate has gone on about the exact
classification of the storm and I believe today it is considered to be in the
books as either a cat.1 or cat.2 depending on the source.
Following the hurricane I do remember having no power for
approximately 7-10 days. I remember my
dad cooking on top of a kerosene heater that we would often use during the
winter months. I cannot imagine what it
would be like to have no power for up to a month, which is quite possible
following the next major hurricane to hit Long Island
according to many Long Island government reports.
I was still living in Mastic
Beach at the time when Hurricane
Bob brushed by eastern Long Island in 1991. I still am unsure if the Mastic
Beach community actually received
category 1 conditions from this hurricane.
I do remember going to William
Floyd High School
to ride out this storm. The next twelve years went by with minimal tropical
system activity affecting Long Island.
In 2003, I was living in
Manorville and Hurricane Isabel was making news as possibly threatening Long
Island and the northeast.
At one point Isabel was a strong category 4 hurricane and was beginning
to turn to the north without any signs of weakening. Many local reports included discussion on the
Great New England Hurricane of 1938.
This is when I began to get interested in learning about the history of
the ’38 storm.
My next experience with a hurricane came in 2004 when I went
to Melbourne, FL
to assist my dad in hurricane preparation for Hurricane Frances. Hurricane Frances
began to crawl as it approached the eastern coast of Florida
and upper level wind sheer took the storm from a category 4 to a category 2 in
a matter of less than one day. I was
amazed at the wind speed and the power that the storm had, considering it was
not a major hurricane. I couldn’t
imagine what a category 3, 4, or 5 would be like.
In 2005 I saw firsthand what a major hurricane can actually
do. I was located at Hancock
County, MS for Hurricane
Katrina, which made landfall as a category 3.
A day later I went with a new friend that I made at the Hancock
Middle School shelter to
his home in Waveland, MS. Words cannot describe how you feel when you
see such devastation up close and personal.
I began to realize the threat that Long Island
faces from a direct hit by a major hurricane. One day a major hurricane will
bring Katrina type destruction to the south shores of Long Island
and possibly even NYC. With little
evacuation time, it is crucial for residents of Long Island
to really have a plan at the beginning of the hurricane season, not days before
the storm arrives.
Below is a gallery of photos that I have arranged for
viewing that covers my extensive 1938 Hurricane memorabilia collection. For any questions or information I can be
contacted at email@example.com. Enjoy!