Vineyarders awoke this morning thoroughly bored with a hurricane called Esther.
Like some mythical nature deity, she had languished out there to the math southwest, as if on a watery Olympus of her own construction, Wednesday night and all day yesterday, sending toward the Vineyard disturbing but largely impotent manifestations of her displeasure: high seas that were not very high, strong winds that were not very strong, and rain that only intermit­tently could be called a deluge. Esther’s high priests, the weather forecasters on the radio — some ortho­dox, some with a penchant for para­dox — had difficulty explaining just what she had In mind. Conflicting theories, each with its own part Phrases that eventually began to sound like incantations, were broad­cast throughout the day.


Closed Eye for 15 Minutes

At one point yesterday afternoon, when a comparative calm had per­vaded the air over the Vineyard, it was reported that Esther had closed her eye for about fifteen minutes, creating a kind of climatological cat­nap, from which she awoke appar­ently refreshed. But from that point on, Vineyarders began to have doubts as to her ability to maintain severity. And sure enough, in the late after­noon she began to lose her power. In fact, she dwindled to a gale, and fin­ally at 11 o’clock last night she was reported to be south of Nantucket, her winds blowing a paltry 23 miles.
But Vineyarders did not deny Esther’s potential danger. They were prepared for her, in case she did strike with force, Furthermore, during the blow, they conducted themselves like the weatherwise people they are. As a result of the prepara­tion and the conduct, damage to pro­perty was held to a minimum and in­jury to persons was nonexistent, as far as the authorities knew this morning.
Strong seas and winds, however, undoubtedly took their toll of Vine­yard soil, particularly on the south shore, which received the brunt of the storm. Generally, the winds speeds were in the 40 to 50 mile per hour category with some gusts stronger. The water came up level with the finger piers at the foot of Edgartown’s Main street, and there was some flooding at the expected places, such as the low areas around the Radley and Farrell places on Ed­gartown’s harbor.

Breezing for Some Eight Hours

As of 8:30, yesterday morning, the northeaster had been breezing for some eight hours or better. Electrical service was affected in all parts of the Island, but chiefly in Vineyard Haven which was virtually out, all over. The Katama section of Edgartown was out, and some areas in the up-Island section and Oak Bluffs but repairs were in process and had been for some hours. At the office of the Cape & Vineyard Electric Co., they said ruefully that very probably these repairs would be to no avail if and when the weight of the storm struck. Nearly all service was re­stored before 11 a. m.
Tree limbs, heavy with green foliage had thrashed the wires and caused damage, and the Tisbury fire department had turned out twice during Wednesday night to extinguish electrical fires. Again, after day-light yesterday, they had gone to the Lagoon Bridge to complete the extinguishing of a blaze that partially destroyed a utility pole.
Tides were not abnormally high at this point, considering the wind direction and force, but already there was a threat of the rising water blockading some of the streets and highways bordering the various waterfront areas. The barometer had fallen about six-tenths since early Wednesday and was still slowly dropping, and the wind was breezing at gale force from the eastern quarter, chiefly southwest.
Although there was not an appreciable exodus of visitors, on Wednesday, some of the entrants of the bass derby told the Gazette that a number of their group from the mainland, had left the Island during the day, fearful of consequences, either here, or at their mainland homes. This circumstance operated in reverse also - one owner of a boat, moored at Vineyard Haven telephoned from Norfolk, Va., asking that his boat be cared for.
As in Edgartown, Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven harbors, strangers had come into Tashmoo Pond. Three or four large pleasure craft made port there on Wednesday and prepared to ride out the storm.
All day Wednesday and Wednesday evening radio announcements were made periodically and in such manner that progress of the hurricane could be followed and plotted on a chart. But as of yesterday morning the announcements were puzzling and misleading in the extreme. From 8:30 on for an hour or more, the center of the storm was variously reported “sixty miles south of Block Island,” “fifty miles off Nantucket, “due to strike Cuttyhunk at 11 a.m.” and so on.
Although the wind exerted an influence upon the depth of water along the shores, the phrase of the tide yesterday morning made itself felt. High water was scheduled alongshore, from about 6 to 9 a.m., depending on the position. Thus high tide at Vineyard Sound shore, east of Cedar Tree Neck, and Tashmoo Pond, was at about 6 to 7 a.m. In Vineyard Haven and Edgartown harbors, it was approximately three hours later, and thus the feeling persisted that the weight of the storm should strike, if as predicted at nearly low water. This was a comforting thought for those who checked the advance of the storm.

Relatively Calm at Noon

The blow of the early hours before and after daylight yesterday diminished noticeably at midmorning, and near noon all was relatively calm.
But during the morning’s heavy wind estimated to be between 50 and 60 miles per hour, there was quite a bit of tree pruning of smaller limbs. More spectacular was the cracking in half of the 100-foot antenna at the state police barracks in Oak Bluffs. This happened at 7:30 a.m., and as the top half tumbled, the falling steel did some damage to the building.
At South Beach, where the dune-building project had this year begun at last to show definite progress, the wind driven seas of Wednesday began to wash over, and during the night had washed away the snow fence on which the sand was building and the strand was flattened right down, a year of patient work destroyed in one twenty-four hour period.
The Coast Guard said yesterday that they had received a report of a schooner on the southern shore of Chilmark, but when they checked this report out, all that was found was a derelict wood structure that had washed toward the shore in the storm. What was left of the old building had three upright members sticking up above the rest, which made the observer think of schooner’s masts.
The Oak Bluffs-Edgartown road was barred to traffic yesterday afternoon. The road was closed by the Department of Public Works because of the hazardous driving conditions. The worst spot, it was said, was at the sea wall as the road curves onto Ocean Drive. The surf was breaking over the wall so vociferously that water spraying on the windshields was dangerously obscuring the vision of motorists.