Thursday, February 23, 2012

Remembering the Ash Wednesday Storm!

Having grown up in Delaware and spent many happy summer vacations "at the beach," I remember the Ash Wednesday Storm of 1962 clearly, and realized yesterday, as we marked Ash Wednesday, 2012, that the 50th anniversary of that event will soon be here.

What a storm! At left is a newspaper shot of the storm raging off Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, where my family used to vacation. We stayed often in that very hotel pictured, the Henlopen, which was heavily damaged. It looks to me as if the boardwalk I expected to see in the photo above has been completely washed away.

The storm arrived early in March, a perfect nor'easter, and perched over the mid-Atlantic coast through 5 complete high tides.  At least 40 people died, and many communities suffered heavy damage.  A childhood friend and her family lost their summer home in Fenwick Island, Delaware -- everything was gone but the foundation pilings -- and such a loss was not unusual.

I lived to the north and inland, near Wilmington, where the weather event took the form of heavy snow.  My elementary school was hosting a Book Fair and Spaghetti Dinner, which I recall attending, but getting there was not easy.  Next day, we learned of the devastation along the coast.

The storm is ranked as one of the ten worst of the 20th century. Read more about it here.


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