Hurricanes and Storms

Tidal Surges, Winds Turn Vineyard into New Disaster Zone

A huge Atlantic Ocean storm with the ferocity of a hurricane and the power of a winter northeaster pounded the Vineyard this week, raging across barrier beaches and sandy Island perimeter with flood tides not seen since the double hurricanes of 1954.
 
On Wednesday ferry service to the Vineyard was suspended and the Vineyard was lashed by high winds and angry seas, which rose up and flooded the main areas of the down-Island towns with two or three feet of salt water.
 
Coastal houses became islands and the Beach Road between Edgartown and Oak Bluffs

Second Spring After Late Autumn

A stalk of butterfly weed pushed its fiery orange flowers out of a green stem in a West Tisbury field, an unusual sign of a season past.

Spring is springing in September. Lilac bushes and cherry trees are bursting with blossoms and the fresh green leaves of spring, while oak trees settle in for their long winter’s nap.

It seems, from our human perspective, that the hands on the seasonal clock have been spun too far and the spring has snapped. Has nature gone haywire?

These are the Deepest Questions of Bob

The first question people ask after a hurricane is, “If a tree falls in your backyard and it doesn’t make a sound who is responsible for cutting it up?” Ever since Hurricane Bob hit Martha’s Vineyard this question has been debated from one end of the Island to the other.

I was in Shirley’s Hardware Store trying to return batteries that I was hoarding during the storm, when I saw Thompson confront Bigalow. “When are you going to get your bloody oak tree out of my backyard?” he demanded.

Federal Disaster Relief Effort Opens to Ease Storm Damage Here

The region’s first federal disaster aid briefing begins this morning in Edgartown as officials scramble to fund reconstruction and cleanup in the aftermath of Hurricane Bob.

Town civil defense directors meet with Richard Nocella, a Federal Emergency station at 11 this morning. FEMA representatives will hold sessions in the hurricane-torn countries of Barnstable, Bristol, Plymouth, Essex and Middlesex in the coming week.

The Changing Island Face: A Storm’s Surgical Srike

Usually the brush is so think this time of year one can hardly bushwhack from the shore to the remnants of the Menemsha Hills brickworks.

These aren’t usual days.

Now one just has to watch for all the debris and driftwood littering the downed brush when walking from the beach to the brickworks.

Behind the brickworks and to its sides the brush remains green and virulent. But Hurricane Bob leveled the vegetation directly before the former factory.

Hurricane Bob Brings Harvest of Sorrow

The shock waves of last week’s storm are still rippling through Island fields as farmers anxiously watch their crops to see the extent of the damage.

Scorched leaves and windblown plants are the legacy of Hurricane Bob across the Island. Farmers are now harvesting the remainders of some crops and continuing to market their goods. Many say the storm came at the peak of an excellent season, eradicating some crops that would otherwise have continued through the fall.

Hurricane Losses Top $5.5 Million; State Seeks Relief

Martha’s Vineyard officials estimate Hurricane Bob cut a $5.5 million path of destruction when it tore through the Vineyard Monday afternoon. Civil defense directors rushed preliminary figures to Boston Wednesday in time for acting Gov. Paul Cellucci’s request that the President declare the state a national disaster area.

Town leaders received notice from the state Wednesday that they had just 24 hours to compile the first damage report, which set the preliminary cost of cleanup and repair of public facilities at $2.5 million.

Recovery from Hurricane Begins, Day by Day

The main commercial centers of the Vineyard had power restored by late yesterday as Islanders began the slow process of hurricane recovery, and Commonwealth Electric Company officials said they expect 80 per cent of the power to be restored to the six towns by the weekend.

Passage of Hurricane Through Harbor Leaves a Broad Trail of Wrecked Boats

It was the Vineyard’s first resort season hurricane and Edgartown harbor paid dearly for its popularity Monday afternoon.
 
The last great tropical storm to wrack the Edgartown harborfront came in 1944. Then, the town was still mostly a fishing village, and the lumber on the beaches was made up of timber piers and the shacks of working men.
 
In 1954, two hurricanes savaged the harbor. The first, Carol, showed what a terrible storm could do to a popular anchorage if the season was still late summer.

Damage in Millions; Worst Destruction Is Seen on Harborfront

The earliest hurricane in New England history roared up the East Coast Mon­day, plowing across Martha’s Vineyard with harbors full and seasonal popula­tion at its peak. Hurricane Bob lashed the Island with winds officially clocked at 98 miles per hour and reported in places as high as 110.
 
At 11 a.m. Monday the storm was building and there were squalls. Seasoned Islanders were convinced this was weather by noon as reports of 85 to 90-mile­per-hour winds began to spread. By 3 p.m.

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