Carrie Packing Nearly 70 MPH Winds Drowns the Holiday Spirit Under 12.5 Inches of Flooding Rain

Tropical storm Carrie, packing winds , of nearly 70 miles an hour, overran the Vineyard Sunday, drenching the Labor Day holiday spirit, flooding streets, and cellars, scattering tree limbs and leaves in her path, and generally ruining the last happy weekend of the 1972 summer season.
Despite an unwelcome abundance of small calamities, the Island recorded no severe damage of any sort, however, although the windy wet storm caused unusual confu­sion and called out a number of heroic figures, usually unsung, to clear streets, pump flooded basements and capsized small boats, direct clogged lines of traffic, and get things back to normal.
Stanton C. Richards, who main­tains an official gauge for measur­ing rainfall at his Tashmoo home, recorded a total of 12.50 inches of rain by late Sunday when the skies began to clear, He said that rainfall during the storm averaged about an inch each hour. By 7 a. m. Sunday, the rain which began only four hours earlier, had accumulated to about 4.75 inches. Between this time and about 4:30 p.m. additional 7.75 Inches fell on the swamped Is­land. “The rainfall was simply astronomical,” Mr. Richards said.
Carrie passed almost directly over the Vineyard with winds, averaging 50 miles an hour with gusts to 67. The lowest barometric, pressure recorded was 29.54 Inches at 4 p. m. Sunday. As usual, the high winds of the morning were from the east and east-southeast, repeated in the afternoon from the northwest. Many observers thought it blew harder when the rain let up than it had before.
Streets were flooded in the three down-Island towns, especially at Lake avenue in Oak Bluffs and at the Five Corners intersection on Beach Road in Vineyard Haven. There, pressure from water rushing down the hill along Beach street from Main street burst the storm drain in front of Vineyard Vehicles Rentals Inc.
The ground, soaked until it was mud, failed to support trees, heavy with foliage, and the foliage holding quantities of water, and thus trees toppled, limbs were torn off and electrical and telephone wires came down with resultant disruption of service. Repair crews worked throughout Sunday night and Monday, with telephone service practically restored by 5 p.m. Monday. Highway departments worked to clear streets, and along with the fire department worked until late Sunday sawing up a fallen giant tree near the Grace Episcopal Church in Vineyard Haven.
Island brooks overflowed their bank, and as might be expected, the most sensation occurrence was the overflow of the brook which crosses Scotchman’s Bridge Road in West Tisbury. This brook flooded the ancient water-meadows which lie in a chain from the bridge almost into North Tisbury, and rose above the bridge level for a time.
Island visitors sleeping in woods all over the Island were driven from their cover by the rain and came into the villages where numbers of them were given shelter. At the Grace Episcopal Church, the Rev. Donald H. Lyons accommodated about 30 people driven by the rain from various Island campgrounds. There was a group of 14 from the Short Hills, N.J., Outing Club included.
All the overnight visitors had sleeping bags, and the Red Cross offered extra blankets to those who wished them. They slept on the floor of the parish house, according to a previous arrangement between Mr. Lyons and Project volunteers to help in the event of any housing emergency.
Project, on its next to last day of operation for the summer, put up 250 campers, ranging from 60 years old to children. Early Sunday morning people began arriving, many of them washed out of Cranberry Acres campground in Lambert’s Cove. The entire Youth Center headquarters of Project was used by the visitors, and there were people watching the Olympics on television, and playing ping pong.

Church Help

About 30 people were put up at Christ United Methodist Church in Vineyard Haven, according to the Rev. Leon R. Oliver, paster. There was even a six-month-old baby. Mr. Oliver provided some of his own sleeping bags for the refugees as well as a spaghetti supper.
The Island Coast Guard crew began its work on Friday before the storm struck, floating the 74-foot New Bedford fisherman, Nina and Gail, grounded on Hen and Chickens Ledge at the mouth of Buzzards Bay the day before. Bound light for New Bedford, the vessel had called for assistance which could not be given either by the Coast Guard or a tug at the time because of the phase of the tide. But the Coast Guard returned and waited for high water when they floated the vessel without incident finding no apparent damage. The crew way Iacono, Walsh end Scott.
On Sunday, at the height of the storm, about 2 p.m. the Coast Guard received word that a family was stranded on Penikese Island in the Bay. The couple, along with four children ranging in age 6 to 13, had anchored a boat off the Island and gone ashore in a skiff for a picnic on Saturday. When the storm arrived, one person was able to return to the anchored boat to call for help, but it was impossible to get the family safely off the beach.

Helicopter Rescue

The Coast Guardsmen who re­sponded said that the seas In the area were running 15 feet high when the Island crew, consisting of Iacono, Walsh and Rubiaco, arrived. At the same time a Coast Guard helicopter arrived and hovering at a height of some 30 feet, lifted the woman and children in a basket and took them to Cuttyhunk where they were landed. The handling, of the big whirlybird was something which excited the admiration of the boat’s crew, which watched, but could not help. They escorted the boat which was sailed into Cuttyhunk harbor where apparently the party was not suffering from their night on the un­inhabited island.
For the most part, the troubles of the New Bedford Gas and Edison Light Co. were not bad. The tree that fell near Grace Episcopal Church created a tough job and the worst outage was on the Lambert’s Cove Road where about 150 people were without current for a couple of hours according to David W. Dun­ham, local superintendent. But the company’s system suffered two distinct strikes of the storm, first while the wind was in an easterly quarter and then after all had been re­stored, the wind shifted to the north and trouble struck again.
“But all was restored and in order by midnight Sunday,” Mr. Dunham said “and the gang worked hard to accomplish It.”
Down-Island fire departments, had a busy time of it. Everett E. Tilton, Tisbury fire chief, said that his department had six electrical fires to extinguish, and he and his men spent most of Sunday pumping out cellars. Homes which had never been troubled in this manner were calling for help. In one case near Mink Meadows, the firemen cleared a yard of water and in other places sump pumps which householders kept for emergencies, failed to handle the torrent of water.
Association Hall in Tisbury developed so many leaks that the fire department brought tarpaulins to stop them and to cover the furnishings in the auditorium which was built and outfitted at great ex­pense by Katharine Cornell. The water entered the building through the steeple and belfry, but it is not believed that serious damage will result. After inspecting the damage, John L. Schilling, chairman of Tisbury selectmen, said Tuesday, “I’m very disturbed with the work on Association Hail which was done by DeSorey Contracting Co.”
Several small boats in Island har­bors capsized or filled with water and sank. Lapping seas and a torrent of rain water filled them rap­idly, but once sunk they suffered little or no damage.
Joseph W. Chira’s fiberglass Vine­yard 15, moored off the Vineyard Haven Yacht Club, suffered real damage however as it parted its mooring and drove ashore on the breakwater. She was dismasted and badly battered, the hull nearly split in two pieces by the pounding.
A large yawl, also fiberglass, the Seawing III, owned by H. Philip Minis of Chilmark, was blown up on the beach in front of the Steamship Authority ticket office in Vineyard Haven, but she was floated Monday with the aid of Packer Ma­rine’s towboat. There was no se­rious damage dome.


Menemsha Pond

A fleet of considerable size was anchored in Menemsha Pond for the weekend, and several of these, cruisers and sloops of considerable size, parted their ground-tackle or dragged their anchors and went ashore. The Coast Guard floated all these save one, the yawl Care Free, which stranded on rocks and was eventually floated by Lynn C. Murphy.
A British yawl, Benedic, anchored in Menemsha Bight to ride out the storm and her dinghy went adrift. Two crewmen jumped overboard to recover it, but could not overhaul the rapidly drifting boat. The Coast Guard rescued the men and boat.
On Monday, there was still a de­mand for the services of the Coast Guard. The 33-foot sloop Dollar ran out of fuel in Vineyard Sound and her occupants, perplexed by the intricacies of sail handling, asked the Coast Guard for a tow to Me­nemsha Basin to refuel.
According to Mr. Dunham, water found its way into the underground transformer vault at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School. The water rose above the level of the transformer, and, Mr. Dunham said, turned the place into a gigantic water heater, heating it up and making a lot of steam.”
“The place was too hot to make repairs when the New Bedford Gas and Edison Light Company was called at 9:30 a.m., Monday, but with the help of the Oak Bluffs fire department who pumped out the water in the cement vault, and used a smoke ejector, the men could go in there to work,” Mr. Dunham explained. “They replaced all three transformers, found some damage to the primary voltage cable, and made temporary repairs. They finished at about 7 p.m. There has been no decision as yet about permanent repairs.”
Gardening contractors and men with chain saws and clippers were busy all over the Island Monday and Tuesday clearing away fallen tree limbs and small branches. In Edgartown, at least, there was a long waiting list of homeowners needing the service of town tree surgeons.