Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Remembering Hazel

Ed Note: The smell of the storm and the sound of the wind-driven water were exciting. As a six-year-old, looking out of the bay windows of the dining room, Hurricane Hazel made a big impression on me.

The tall pine trees behind the outbuildings were whipping around in the wind, when suddenly I saw what was both thrilling and sad. The Umbrella Tree (our family name for it, I don’t know what kind it was) was pulled up out of the ground. It was in the air for a moment with its roots torn and exposed – this was a big tree – before it came crashing back down, almost completely upside down, to fall on its side.

In a fickle flash of its gray wrath Hazel killed what was my favorite tree to climb. Never again would it provide shade for the white lawn furniture that rested in the part of the yard we called, The Dell.

In reading about the path that's being predicted for Hurricane Isabel, I see that this new storm is being compared to Hurricane Hazel (1954). Old Hazel left a mark on the East Coast as few storms have. The path brought it through Richmond, up from North Carolina, on its way to Toronto.

Here’s on Hazel:

The strongest storm of 1954 was the legendary Hurricane Hazel, a powerful Category 4 storm that brought estimated winds of 150 mph when it made landfall in the Carolinas on Oct. 15. The storm retained strength fairly far inland, causing 100 mph winds as far north as Pennsylvania and New York. The damage in 2000 dollars was estimated at approximately $4 billion, and when totaling U.S. deaths with those in the Caribbean and Canada, the death toll was more than 600.

Here are some links to read more about Hazel:

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