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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Stormy Misconceptions

8/30/2018 (Permalink)

Stormy Misconceptions

  The National Weather Service keeps record of the most severe storms to affect the state and the coast of Delaware. As a young boy growing up in this area, I remember people referring to the Storm of ’62 as the worst on record. They told stories of destruction that impacted almost the entire state and especially the coastal communities. Most would assume that such a storm would have been classified as a hurricane and more than likely had made impact between June and November. It was in fact a Nor’easter that occurred in March between the 5th and the 7th and became known as the” Ash Wednesday Storm 1962”. It was also referred to as the “Five High Storm” because it lingered off the coast for five high tides – but most of the damage occurred on Wednesday March 7, 1962 – Ash Wednesday.

 Merging low pressure systems and a strong surface high stalled the storm in the Mid-Atlantic and pounded the coast of Delaware for almost three days. The storm also occurred during the equinox. This created even higher tides along with continuous rain and strong winds. Wind gusts reached more than 70 mph and the storm surge was 3 to 5 feet above normal. Wave heights of more than 40 feet were measured off Rehoboth Beach and ranged between 20 and 30 feet in the surf zone. The entire boardwalk and many beachfront homes were destroyed.

  Bethany Beach was hit hard with wind gusts exceeding 80 mph and flood waters penetrated as far inland as Ocean View. The boardwalk and many businesses and homes were also destroyed.

  Beach erosion forced so much sand inland that many homes had their first floors filled with it and sand covered and closed many roads as well. The erosion also created another inlet; just north of Fenwick Island. Bayside to ocean side; virtually every coastal town had historical storm damage and 8 people were killed. It is estimated that the storm did more than $500 million dollars in damage based on our current dollar value.  It is amazing that there weren’t more lives lost.

  A storm of this magnitude had not hit Delaware since 1878. Nearly one hundred years had passed since the last killer storm. The infrequency of such events makes them more dangerous because most people doubt the likelihood of such a storm ever taking place in their lifetime.

  We are fortunate to have advanced technology to forewarn the public well in advance of such an event. Yet with each new storm we read about people who ignored warnings and paid with their lives. Assumptions that hurricanes are the most severe of storms are not always correct. Delaware has experienced many more Nor’easters than hurricanes and we should learn to heed the warnings and plan for such events.

  SERVPRO of Sussex County is ready to serve our community in the likelihood of any storm event – large or small. We offer Emergency Readiness Programs to ensure a safe and proper plan of action and we will be there to assist with the clean-up. For more information – please call us today at 302-856-9768 or visit our website at: www.SERVPROsussexcounty.com

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