Quite by accident, I “discovered” on the “Discovery Channel” last night, a TV show titled … (see above.) This 1938 natural event “was one of the most destructive and powerful storms to ever strike Southern New England.” It came up the Atlantic coast and on September 21 hit the shoreline of Suffolk County, Long Island, and then continued on to strike Connecticut and eventually Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Canada.
Over $400 million (1938 dollars) in damage was done and to this day, is considered one of the greatest hurricanes in New England’s history. Obviously, the coastal communities were the hardest hit with s 12-15′ storm surge in Narragansett Bay destroying marinas and yacht clubs, as well as homes. Providence, RI was submerged under a storm tide of almost 20 feet.
I had just turned 10 years of age and we were living seven miles outside of Providence, near the present airport runways. The shingles on our roof were blown up straight and it took my father hours to drive home that evening from his downtown office. I also remember putting on a street crossing guide safety belt and strap the next morning and pretended I was directing traffic on the street in front of our house. Sixty-seven years later (2005), Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast and caused similar damage plus the loss of electric power and the incapacitation of ALL means of normal communications. It was that particular disaster that motivated me to earn my Ham (amateur) Radio License (KI6GOO) and to help initiate our local Petaluma CERT-NERT-CERN programs.
Over the years 2008, 2009, and 2010, our emergency radio operators have conducted city-wide drills that have transmitted practice messages from neighborhoods scattered across town to the City’s EOC (Emergency Operation Center) in the Police Station, for processing by the Incident Command Team of City officials.
After reflecting on the 1938 event, I wonder if – subconsciously – it was that experience on the other side of the country that caused me to step up to the plate here in Sonoma County, California, to learn how to “Be Ready” and to “Be Prepared” to cope with a major disaster such as an earthquake. Hmmm, that’s “food for thought.”
P.S. Be sure to check this week’s schedule for PCA Channel 27. There is a show in the late afternoon titled, Emergency Preparedness, and a sub-title, “Can Sonoma County Communicate?”
We haven’t stopped blogging about Emergency Preparedness, yet. Stay tuned.