Hurricane Carol, Cape Cod, August 31, 1954

By Henry Brown, K1WCC

The boatyard in the picture was across the harbor from where I lived in 1954. Colin MacDougall W1TJW (sk) was a well known local ham who ran the electronics shop there. The boat shed was normally way out of the water.

I can remember being 8 years old, ready to start Third Grade in the Village School in Falmouth. We lived a few hundred yards from the ocean. The night before the storm, we had a cookout for my cousin who had just returned from serving in the Army. I can remember the sky looking strange that evening, and people commenting about it at the cookout. Then, my parents went to the movies while my aunt and cousin babysat for us. I can remember it raining very hard that night-I must have woken up when my parents came home from the movies.

The track of Hurricane Carol August 25 – September 1, 1954

The next morning I woke up to a gray, windy and rainy day. My bedroom was in the southwest corner of the house and there was a weeping willow tree next door. It was blowing and flailing away and looked like a giant hand had pushed it down against the ground. What was really significant, after getting up, was seeing my father home. He always went to work before I got up and it was unusual for him to be home so I knew something was up. He was huddled over the old RCA table radio in the kitchen and said we were about to get a hurricane, a new word for me.

Edgewood Yacht Club in Rhode Island. The club house survived Hurricane Carol in spite of the high storm surge.

The rest of the day was dramatic. Our neighbor Bruce Pease was the Water Department foreman and he was out at Woods Hole trying to do something with the sewer pumping station there. His wife was at our house. We lost power so my father made a blowtorch stove with firebricks for hot coffee and soup. I can still remember seeing that stove making soup. At about 11 AM or so, my father took me in his Chevy pickup and we drove down Swing Lane towards Falmouth Inner Harbor, a very short distance. The water was up the road about 100 yards so we left the truck there and walked over to Tom Richard’s house on Scranton Avenue. It was very windy with driving rain-I couldn’t stand. When we got to the Richards’, the water was swirling around Scranton Avenue and up to my chest. I had played in this area most of my young life and it was always dry land. It was shocking to
see water everywhere. We helped a few people with their boats but I remember a chaotic scene-there wasn’t much people could do.

Storm surge damage from Hurricane Carol at Westerly, RI.

Later, the storm was over by late afternoon and it had cleared up. We took a walk to the harbor in the early evening. We walked down Swing Lane and in front of the Swing’s driveway was the square, peaked roof of the old “Hurricane Deck” restaurant, just sitting there. Apparently, the battering waves and storm surge had pushed it there. I can remember wires hanging down, leaves everywhere, junk everywhere and white houses tuning yellow from the gases churned up from the harbor bottom. They just slowly turned yellow! We walked to the old Hurricane Deck location, where the Regatta condos are now, and picked up a few pieces of silverware. The place was completely wrecked. I remember a fully armed and helmeted soldier came over to see what we were doing-the National Guard was guarding the area. The harbor was full of upside down boats, some with just masts sticking up. We walked down to Wormelle’s Boatyard, saw more devastation there, and walked home up Mr. Phillips’ road and through Peases’ yard. Our house had cheery lights in the window so we figured the power was back on, but my Mom had lit a large number of old kerosene lamps and it was bright inside. We all sat around in the house with some neighbors, and my father said “I hear there’s going to be another big blow tonight”. That sent shivers up and down my spine, but it was only a rumor he had heard on our walk. (like they say, don’t listen to rumors!) Without a radio we were out of touch, and no one really understood the storm tracks like we do today. Later that night we got power back, since we were on the Main Street circuit, and businesses needed to be up and Running.

Storm surge from Hurricane Carol in Connecticut.

The next morning we took a ride. It was a beautiful day and I remember being stunned by the wreckage along the water. I always took the beach roads at Surf Drive, Menahaunt and Falmouth Heights for granted, as solid objects. Now they were gone, just rubble and sand. The beach houses along Surf Drive were either in Salt Pond or on the other side of the pond. Telephone poles were down or leaning at crazy angles. Big houses were destroyed or horribly mutilated. People were beginning to dig out and rebuild: to me, it looked like it would take forever. But it didn’t.

Surface weather analysis of Hurricane Carol on August 31, 1954

Hurricane Edna arrived a couple of weeks later, on September 11. I don’t remember too much about that one. It was an afternoon storm. We were in our upstairs bedroom watching the heavy rain hit the roof of the house next door. It was so hard it made a “fog” over the roof. Later, my father called the police and they suggested that we leave the house since it was close to the water, so we went to my grandparent’s house on Oakwood Avenue, about a mile inland. There were lots of family members there and that’s all I remember.

Hurricane Carol destroyed this boat in Marblehead Harbor. Photo courtesy Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

Editor’s Note: Hurricane Carol Facts

  • Recorded maximum sustained winds: 115 mph, Gust 125 mph
  • Storm Surge: 14 feet
  • Lowest Pressure: 955 mbar, 28.2 inHg
  • 72 fatalities
  • $462 million damage including 40% of crops destroyed
  • Estimated 10,000 homes, 3500 cars, 3000 boats destroyed
  • The name “Carol” was retired from the list of storm names.

Hurricane Carol destroyed thousands of automobiles like this one. Photo courtesy Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

Storm surge damage after Hurricane Carol

64 years and 20,000 sessions!

The New England Weather Net was founded in 1955 with the mission of gathering weather observations from around the greater New England region. The net has operated six days a week (Monday thru Saturday) continuously since that time. This Thursday, November 21, 2019 marks a milestone with session 20,000.

Thank you to all who have participated both in recent years and through out the net’s history. The New England Weather Net remains strong and committed to gathering each morning to share weather data.

Here is the recording from Session #20,000:

Next stop… Session 30,000 in 2051.

73’s

Jack Caron, W1AYX, Net Manager

Bonus: Here is a recording from Session 10,000 from December 12, 1987:

CONGRATULATIONS !!

Congratulations to the members of the New England Weather Net and to one in particular, Jack Caron, W1AYX, our new Net Manager.

Jack Caron has been named the new Net Manager of the New England Weather Net  with overwhelming support from the members, all of the Net Controls, and myself.  Jack is a moving force in ham radio and emergency communications in the State of Maine.  He has a close relationship with the National Weather Service in Caribou, ME.  Additionally, Jack has a great deal of talent in Internet communications and has done a fantastic job revising and maintaining our web site, newenglandweathernet.com.

It is my opinion, supported by many of our regular members, that the report form on our website has been the salvation of the New England Weather Net  during this long period of terrible band propagation.  This was entirely the result of Jack’s efforts.

Please welcome Jack as he takes over on May 1st!  I have had a tremendously good time as your Net Manager for the past 7 or 8 years.  My mentor, Bill Claflin SK, a shortwave monitor, served as Nete Manger for a similar period of time and was an immense help to me as I got my feet on the ground.  I also owe a great deal of gratitude to another mentor, Rob Lyons, AB1NJ SK.  Rob provided a great deal of support when I had to deal with a disruptive member shortly after becoming Net Manager.

I would also like to thank those members who have participated as Net Controls, including Henry , K1WCC;  Joan, KC1KZ; Jack, W1AYX; Jon, N1MLF; tom, K1TL; Jack, N1HOS; Mike, W1MCT; Phil KE2EA SK, Pete, KA1GHF; Al, N1MHC; Doug, N1JBG; Jim, WA1KCC SK; Bill W1JLK SK; ED, W1UAZ SK; ART, K1TDY.    I apologize to any others I can’t remember!

During my time as Net Manager we have averaged approximately 12,000 check ins per year.  These years have had incredible growth in membership and in member participation.  I have had a great deal of fun leading the Net even though it has meant getting up at 4:45 AM 312 stimes so far this year!  My wife and I are returning to the fun that we have had exploring North America.  We sold our travel trailer almost two years ago and have now purchased a 35 foot motorhome.

Dick, K1MGH

Follow our travels at http://rawiklund.com

World's Largest Ice Carousel – Long Lake, Sinclair, ME, USA

Here is some aerial footage from Jack Caron, W1AYX, of the world record ice carousel built on a frozen lake in northern Maine on April 7, 2018. The diameter of the carousel is 426.5 feet (130 meters) with 30 inches (76.2 cm) of ice thickness.  The estimated 11,000 ton disk of ice was turned by three outboard motors put through holes in the ice.

 

Click Here for the local news story from Bill Green’s Maine.

Phil Bretz, KE2EA SK

Phil Bretz, KE2EA, was a very long time member of the New England Weather Net and served as a Net Control for many of those years.

I received a call today from Phil’s son-in-law, John Wojack, KC2JAM, telling me that Phil died at home last night after a long battle with bone marrow cancer.  Phil was in the hospital for the last three weeks but chose to return home where he could pass in peace.  Phil’s wife passed away last June after a very long illness.

Claire and I had a wonderful visit with Phil and his wife during our trip to Alaska in 2013.

 

WX1CAR Maine Skywarn Activation

On October 30, 2017, Maine experienced a high wind event. Amateur radio played an important part in emergency communication throughout the state as hundreds of thousands lost power, phone and internet service due to the storm damage. Here is a recording captured by N1EP in Milbridge, ME of Jack Caron, W1AYX, operating as net control for the Maine Skywarn Net. He was transmitting from station WX1CAR at the National Weather Service Office in Caribou, ME.

A special thanks to NEWN members N1MLF, WA1ZJL, WA1CXA and W1AYX for their participation in the Maine Skywarn Net.

Tom Lizak, K1TL

Tom is our newest Net Control.  He alternates Saturday with Jon, N1MLF.  Tom lives in Tiverton RI.

I have been a resident of Tiverton RI for 32 years and an avid amateur radio op for about 60 years.   Worked as a CW operator for RCA Global Communications from 1978-84 at their RCA Coastal Station WPA in Port Arthur TX.  This was the best job I ever had…working CW and getting paid for it.

I recently retired three years ago as an Electronic Technician with Purvis Systems working as a government contractor @ NUWC (Navy Undersea Warfare Center) in Newport/Middletown RI.  There I did a variety of jobs doing mostly fiber optic fabrication along with power cables, power racks, water cooled equipment, computer installation/repair work and supply work…so I was pretty busy most of the time.

Once retired, I looked into getting back to Meteorology as that was my passion when I was a teenager, listening to Don Kent CH4/WBZ in the early AM before going to school and the NEWN on 3.905MCs (MCs, back then). Purchased the Davis Vantage PRO2 set up and put the wind instruments on the 55 foot tower in the back and temp/rain equipment off the side deck.

Equipment is an Elecraft K3 w/KPA500 and a  Kenwood TS830S for backup.  I have a 80m inv-V off the tower.

BILL CLAFLIN, SWL, #1 ON OUR ROSTER

William Claflin, 79

June 13, 2017

William W Claflin, Jr., born on August 8 1937 in Boston, to William W. & Ruth (Putnam), died peacefully at home with his dear friends and caregivers, Janice and George Bassett, after a brief hospitalization. Bill, a life long resident of Marion, qualifies as an original “townie”.

Shortly after graduating from Northwood School, Lake Placid, New York, Bill enlisted in the US Army in 1959 and served with honors until his discharge in 1962.

Bill’s knowledge of emergency communications electronics, encouraged him to own and operate Electronics Sales & Service, Inc, New Bedford, MA, until his retirement in 2008.

Bill’s passion for emergency electronics allowed him to serve as communications specialist on the Marion Fire Department. Further, Bill served as Secretary, Historian, and Treasurer of the Marion Fire Fighters Association, for 50 plus years: he was a life member of the association. His second greatest passion was serving with the Marion Social Club, which he did from l983 until his passing.

Bill leaves many, many friends in town and would especially like to remember his “best pal”, Mason Noble, who he mentored for several years. Mason is his “adopted” great-grandson.

His funeral service will be held on Saturday, June 17, 2017 at the Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home, 2599 Cranberry Highway (Rt. 28), Wareham at 10 a.m. Interment will be in Evergreen Cemetery, Marion. Visiting hours will be Friday from 5 – 8 p.m. at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to the Marion Firefighters Association.

Association, P O Box 114, Marion, MA 02738 or the Marion Social Club, P O Box 763, Marion, MA 02738.

For directions and on-line guestbook visit: www.ccgfuneralhome.com.