The Beaten Path
With Jack Armistead
Playing Dodge Ball is not always fun
- especially when you are dodging hurricanes.
I send prayers and complete recovery wishes to all
friends and family members who have felt the recent
brunt of Hurricane Harvey (Texas and Louisianna)
and Hurricane Irma (The entire state of Florida).
My first encounter with a hurricane was when I was
nine-years-old. I remember being amazed as I looked
out the window of my West Ghent home into the ravaging
scene of Hurricane Hazel. Hazel was a Category Four
Hurricane that came ashore in North Carolina in
October, 1954. It ended up bringing hurricane force
winds as far north as Canada. It passed 95 miles
to the east of Charleston, South Carolina and made
landfall near the North Carolina and South Carolina
border. According to news accounts then, it brought
a record 18-foot storm surge at Calabash, North
Carolina. Wind gusts up to 150 miles an hour were
reported in some parts of North Carolina and 100
mile an hour gusts followed in Virginia, Maryland,
Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and New York.
The storm left over 600 people dead and damages
were said to have exceeded $350 million in U.S.
dollars at that time.
After the storm finished its fury in Norfolk and
continued on its path of destruction, Taylor School
buddy Robert Lankford and I went around the neighborhood
to look at multiple downed trees. Most of the trees
were huge. Thetoppled trees crushed numerous cars
and downed power lines and smashed houses throughout
the city. It was a sight we would never forget.
In the summer of 1960, Hurricane Donna made a landfall
at Topsail Island, North Carolina. Donnas
top (ocean) wind gusts were reported to be between
175 and 200 miles per hour. Once again Norfolk was
torn up as the storm continued its destruction moving
into New England. Her 13-foot storm surge left 50
people dead along her path.
There have been several other hurricanes I have
witnessed striking Norfolk including Isabel, which
I saw ravage West Ghent and all of Norfolk in September
of 2003. Trees were down, live wires were ashing
and many homes were heavily damaged.
So, we are dodging storms in another hurricane season.
This year I hope we are the winners.