Topical Guide 85
Real Reality, Fictional Reality; Storms: Hurricanes
Every fall, during the hurricane season, high tides during storms would send a couple of inches of bay water into Gumma and Guppa’s cellar. This year had been without hurricanes during the usual season, but a whopper of a storm struck during the weekend after Thanksgiving.
When I got up that Saturday, the whole world was howling and whining.
Little Follies, “The Static of the Spheres”
Night after night, summer and winter, the torment of storms … held their court without interference. Listening (had there been anyone to listen) from the upper rooms of the empty house, only gigantic chaos streaked with lightning could have been heard tumbling and tossing, as the winds and waves disported themselves like the amorphous bulks of leviathans whose brows are pierced by no light of reason, and mounted one on top of another, and lunged and plunged in the darkness or the daylight (for night and day, month and year ran shaplessly together) in idiot games, until it seemed as if the universe were battling and tumbling, in brute confusion and wanton lust aimlessly by itself.
According to Wikipedia, in the real world five hurricanes struck Long Island in the period from 1952 to September 28, 1956, when Kraft was eight to twelve years old.
[October 15,] 1954: Hurricane Hazel—wind gust of 113 mph at Battery Park, highest ever recorded in New York City.
August 31, 1954: Hurricane Carol makes landfall on Long Island and produces wind gusts of 120 miles per hour (190 km/h) on Montauk Point. On eastern Long Island near where Carol made landfall, a pressure of 960 mbar is recorded. Winds on the island gust to 120 mph (195 km/h). The hurricane's storm surge covers the Montauk Highway in Montauk, effectively isolating eastern Long Island for a period of time. Due to the compact nature of the storm, most of Long Island is largely unaffected by the hurricane. Specific damage totals for New York are unknown, although the storm in its entirety causes $460 million (1954 USD) in damage.
September 10, 1954: Hurricane Edna tracks to the east of Long Island producing 9 inches (230 mm) of rain. Prior to the storm, New York City orders an emergency standby for the majority of its hospitals, and subways.
August 13, 1955: Hurricane Connie produces 13.24 inches (370 mm) of rain in Southeast New York, although damage is unknown.
September 28, 1956: Hurricane Flossy tracks to the south of Long Island, brushing it with light rainfall.
Note that none of these storms struck “during the weekend after Thanksgiving.” Further, the Wikipedia article “List of New York hurricanes” does not list a single storm between 1635 and 2020 that struck “during the weekend after Thanksgiving.” If this “whopper of a storm” has its origins in a real-reality storm, I’d put my money on Hurricane Carol, but remember:
No art without transformation.
I couldn’t find any photographs of the effects of Hurricane Carol on Long Island. This photograph shows storm surge damage from Hurricane Carol at Westerly, Rhode Island:
[more to come on Thursday, September 9, 2021]
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