Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Riding out Hurricane Carol 60 years ago

60 years ago on this date I think.. Hurricane Carol hit
R.I. full bore..

My mother and I had left our house in Middletown with warnings that the hurricane was heading to Newport.

We had to get down to the wharf that my parents boat was tied to.
It was a scary ride.. about 4 miles from our house to the wharf. With winds blowing hardy... Even trees falling down on the road behind us close enough to make the truck we were in bounce a bit.  We had to find another road to go on, as there were trees or branches across many of the roads we use to take.  4 miles but it took us a half an hour
to get there.

When we arrived we drove down near where the boat was tied. I got out and stepped down the 6 foot ladder that we used.. to get to our boat, or if the other boat was moored there, then we step on to that one and jumped over to ours.  Which was what we had to do that day.  I got the anchor with the 25 foot rope and threw it out as far as I could to the bow area.. and brought our boat out away from the other boat. So it wouldn't knock on the boat. My mother
took the other anchor and threw it out from the stern ... anchoring solid to the area, and pulled our boat out that way.  We  pull the other boat towards ours, and we jumped on it. Then taking their anchor throwing it out behind to help that boat stay away from the dock. We were able to jump down on to the dock as the water had rose up that
high by the time we got done. We had tied another line to the bow of the other boat and threw the anchor as far as we could forward of our boat.. that way each was secure away from the dock and each other. Mom back the truck up towards the buildings that were near Thames street. Parking just under one of them.. We sat  there to ride out the storm. Why? I don't know.. I guess because we were sure we couldn't drive home with all the trees falling. And it seemed safe there.

Pieces of the buildings flying by..shingles and more.. The water rising up the wharf. We watched as Ernest Coggeshall rode out the storm with his commercial fishing  boat called the Viking.. and saw the ferry's bobbing up and down like a cork in the bay. It was scary as we watched our boat rise and fall with the rise of the water. 
Thankfully the anchors held. Neither boat hitting the dock or
each other. Even with the boats rising up to the point, we thought they would snap the ropes.

About an hour later things calmed down.  But it was the eye of the storm. Mom and I decided we would try to head for home. Everything look secure. A lot of the roads were open.. some logs and branches laying on the side of the roads, where others sawed them in half.  And we made it
home in about 15 minutes.

My mother went back down with my brother in tow... and they rode out the other side of the eye.. but it was no where as bad as the first half. Our dock survived with little damage. Our boat and the one next to it did well.. My brother helped my mother get the anchors back on board the boats as the water had receded. And helped Ernest moor the Viking.
Tying it back up to the dock. 

But there was so much damage thru out the city and towns. Trees down and near the docks there was a sail boat sitting on a piling near J. T. O'Connell's Dock. While the damage was horrible up the coast from Connecticut to Maine,
it wasn't as bad as the Hurricane of 1938.  Having steel gates near Providence had help keep the water out of downtown Providence.. which had water 7 feet tall in 1938.

It is one of those things that you never forget. Even 60 years later. 

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