Irene Is Good For Business…

August 26, 2011

Culture, Trends

I never thought I’d say that a hurricane was good, but I checked the stats for my travel blog yesterday, and the traffic has spiked dramatically. The reason? The hurricane. Hurricane Irene, to be precise.

Hurricanes are rare animals here in New York and New England. There have only been a few that hit us head on. Because we are usually waterlogged from lots of rains during the spring and summer, hurricanes cause very bad flooding. I’m hundreds of miles inland and I’m still going to be checking my yard and basement. We’ll probably have to get a third sump pump, too, I suspect.

Anyway– I wrote a post about one of the biggest hurricanes to hit New England. You can read about it here: New York The New England Hurricane of 1938. It’s a fascinating story.

This hurricane was so powerful that it carved a path through Long Island, now known as the Shinnecock Inlet. Back then, meteorologists didn’t give names to hurricanes. This one wasn’t named for a long time after, because no one outside of New England knew it hit us. We had no instant communication back then, and power and telegraph lines were down. The story is just amazing. Like the Titanic, no one saw the iceberg coming except a few people whose voices were ignored. Much of the beach houses of Long Island and Napatree Point in Rhode Island were wiped out.Some of the stories are miraculous, some very tragic.

The hurricane began as a tropical depression west of Africa sometime before or around September 13th. It crashed into the Bahamas on September 20th, registering as a Category 5 storm. U.S. meteorologists knew the storm was drawing near to the United States, but according to their calculations, they predicted the hurricane would move eastward out to the Atlantic Ocean. The cold waters of the North would grind the storm into a rainshower. All the meteorologists agreed with this prediction, except one young man: Charles Pierce.

… When it was all over, at least 688 people were killed, 4500 injured, and over 75,000 buildings damaged. The rising waters would flood inland cities with up to 20 feet of water, with 40 feet of coastal waters.


Shinnecock Inlet after the hurricane.

Here are some of the keywords generating traffic to my travel blog. Whew! I’d say people are curious! Some folks have even left comments of their own eyewitness accounts of the hurricane!

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