Hurricane Irene’s winds are building up to 150mph right now and it could be a threat to New England once it passes Hatteras. That’s a familiar route for anyone (like me) who grew up in CT, MA or RI in the 50’s and 60’s.
We were hit over and over again; the worst in that period was probably Hurricane Carol which flooded most of the Connecticut Valley. A friend who grew up in Torrington CT remembers fleeing with her family and neighbors to higher ground and watching the water rush in right up to church steeples.
And now comes Irene, which – if it hits – is projected to be the worst storm “since 1938”. Everyone in my parents’ generation had a story about the ’38 storm. It cut Long Island right in half. It wiped out an entire beach town in Westerly Rhode Island, Misquamicut Beach, which today is part of the national seashore – no buildings since the old ones were washed completely away, many of them full of people. My mother spoke of ships in downtown New Haven.
In 1938 they didn’t know it was coming and the loss of life was enormous. That won’t happen again, but the property damage is up to Irene.