I am making no secret about my East Coast hurricane worry this year. The more I look at the setup, the more concerned I am that, in spite of lower accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) overall, the East Coast is vulnerable to a major hit.
The history of Rhode Island hurricanes is one that any weather-loving native Rhode Islander knows much about. Not everyone from Rhode Island loves the weather, and the generation that experienced 1938, 1944, 1954 and 1960 — just like the generation that went through the 1940s in Florida — is fading away. But after repeated hurricane hits between 1938 and 1960, Rhode Island and Massachusetts built dams for protection. South-facing coastal cities were hit by repeated storm surges that resulted in devastation. Of course, if you’re unaware of this, or chose to ignore it, you have a different perspective and you are vulnerable to claims that it’s worse now than ever before.
There are no words to describe the weather in the 1930s in this country. The nation’s midsection had sustained heat and drought summer after summer, which has never been matched again decadally The attacks from the tropics and the legendary cold that visited at times set up extreme swings that, if not for my study of the past, I would not have believed could even happen. As far as the 1938 hurricane is concerned, you have to read about it to believe it.
Obviously, things were worse then. But it wasn’t only 1938. As mentioned above, there was so much fear (and rightfully so) that man was forced to adapt. But you never can beat nature. You may stop her in one place, but she will show up in another. I am not going to deal here with the agenda-driven use of events we see today. Instead, I will simply remind the reader of this: If what happened before happens again, there will be trouble.Moreover, if it happened before, why can’t it be even a bit worse due to natural variation?
Providence, Rhode Island, is now “protected” from the surge by a dam. I wrote in 2004 on how the ports of Wilmington and Philadephia could suffer if an Isabel (2003) struck just 150 miles further up the coast.