Personal Background

 

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 Paca Middle 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 Hatteras, NC 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 nickfpanico@yahoo.com.  Enjoy!