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What Made Jerry A Weathernut



Each year on the anniversary of Hurricane Carol visiting the Southern New England area, I send out this post. I send it out in hope that maybe someday it will spark the interest in some youngster who is interested in weather, and that it may give him or her enough interest to further their education in the science of weather.

This is the time of year, when that nasty lady from the South called Carol, way back in the year of 1954, made a surprise visit to our area of Southern New England. This nasty lady called Carol is the main factor that sparked my interest in weather observing. I can remember the day like it was just yesterday.

The day started out wet and windy. I can remember hearing on the radio,, Salty Brine (A Southern New England legend in his own) saying: "DON'T WORRY RHODE ISLAND, WE WILL ONLY SEE THE TAIL END OF THE HURRICANE."

At that moment I looked north out of my bathroom window towards the Palmer River. Suddenly a flash of light came out of the Narragansett Electric Substation. Immediately knocking out all electricity. We would not have electric power returned to our area for a period close to two weeks.

As I remember this was around 10:30a.m. Within the hour the winds quickly increased very severely, with wind driven rain. My thought was if this is the tail end of a hurricane, what would it be like in an actual hurricane? We had no way of knowing that Carol had taken aim on us. No one was prepared for what was about to happen to us. Looking outside we could see much destruction taking place.

Suddenly the storm started to calm down, and the sun quickly appeared. Everyone rushed out of their house, to see the damage and enjoy the sun that had suddenly appeared. One of the old timers who knew what was happening, shouted to get everyone back into the protection of their home, and that it would quickly cloud up, and the wind would pick up again from the opposite direction, and we would be back into winds, even stronger than before.

We had just enough time to get back into the protection of our homes, when the sky clouded over, and the wind picked up very quickly. I returned to the same window that I was looking out earlier. This time looked toward the Palmer River, just in tie to see the water quickly head in our direction. In a matter of minutes the water level had completely surrounded our neighborhood. Car's were soon replaced by people in small boats asking us if we wanted to be moved to high ground. Being on the second floor we decided to wait out the storm. The Rhode Island National Guard soon arrived taking those out of their homes who by then decided to head for safer ground. We however decided to sit out the storm.

People ask if we were scared during the storm? Most of us said no, we were not scared during the storm, but found out that after the storm when reality had set in, and at this time we did get frightened when we actually seen what had happened to us.

For two weeks we were under martial law, with a 9PM curfew. We had no electricity, and all drinking water was contaminated by the salt water running into our water supply. The National guard supplied drinking water to residents.

A chunk of ice was supplied every other day to keep what ever perishables that we had. To receive this ice, we would have to wait in line for the ice a distance from our house. The truck was due to arrive at noon. This meant leaving at 9a.m. with our little red wagon to receive our piece of ice. Several times we were told that the truck would not arrive until late in the afternoon, or not at all. Stores were only open for a short period of time, and very long lines prevailed. Soon the shelves were bare.

Thing's were not like today when you are informed of a pending situation like this, and we have enough time to get ready, so we can protect our family and property.

Recently I heard a local journalist criticized for all the hype about an impending storm. But, please think. What if we did not have all of the warnings that we have today, when such a storm as Carol approaches, or a winter snow storm? Where would we be? Take it from someone who has been through it. It is much better to be forewarned, so that you can get prepared for something like a Carol, Bob, Bonnie, Danielle, or even a winter storm, and not have to go through something like this not warned at all, like we were with Carol.

From that day on, I knew that Carol had made a very big impact on my life, and she was the spark for my interest in weather observing. Since then I have been what I call a Weather Nut. When foul weather approaches, the telephone will always ring, when a family member will say: Uncle Jerry, will we get the storm? How much snow will we get and the most important question: Will we have school tomorrow?

It has been a very interesting and informative hobby. Many great friends have been made over the Internet with people also interested in weather observing. I have had the good fortune to meet Steve, from Florida, and Bill from Long Island, Lynn from Fallston, MD, and many other friends from my weather group called Weatherfun. Some of my friends are professionals, some are serious amateurs, and some are just weather nuts like myself, who all enjoy looking to the sky in anticipation of the next weather event. Will it be a sunny day? A cloudy day? A stormy day, or something like Carol that will spark the interest of another teenager who may someday continue their interest in weather and maybe even become a meteorologist, or just a weather observer like myself. Hurricane Carol did $461 million dollars of damage in the Northeast, and 60 lives were lost. A Carol that I for one will never forget.