History and Weather Disasters: The Hurricane of 1954

In the year 1954 October 5, the skies above the Windward Islands, about 50 miles off the coast of Island Grenada, began to take a very deadly turn for the worse. It was at this period of time where primary indications of a tropical storm had become apparent to the people both of United States and Canada. The storm then began to take a westward turn into the Caribbean Sea in the 8th of October before it suddenly moved northwards under the influence of the previously mentioned sea’s low pressure area.

In the 9th of October 1954, the storm had intensified into a Category 4. A category 4 means that the storm would be going within the speed range of 130 mph up to 156 mph. The storm that is mentioned though, had winds that were going in a speed of 135 mph. Between October 9th and the 12th, the storm headed north then it took a northwest turn moving towards Haiti, crossing its western side on the 10th of October. With winds going 130 mph and considered as a Category 4, the storm, along its trail left about 400 to 100 people dead. This storm is more famously known as Hurricane Hazel; the strongest hurricane that was encountered in 1954.

Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia

When Hurricane Hazel passed over Haiti, the wind speeds began to slow down into a 100 mph. It was a good sign until the storm completely cleared Haiti when it began to gather enormous strength from the warm bodies of water the storm had passed. 13th of October 1954, the Hurricane Hazel passed over the southeastern part of the Bahamas, and then headed northwest where on the next day, October 14; the maximum wind speed was recorded and found to be a staggering 150 mph. In response to an upper level trough from the Mississippi Valley, the center of the storm was now spinning at 30 mph.

On the morning of October 14, 1954, the United States Weather Bureau had issued a warning for the citizens, especially those living in the Carolinas. It was reported that the Hurricane would weaken and might not even reach the shore. Sadly, Hurricane Hazel had other plans. Instead of staying offshore, the storm swooped and took a northwest turn towards land. The forecast then announced an update that the hurricane would indeed make a landfall; and a landfall it did.

It was near Calabash, North Carolina along the state’s border halfway in between Myrtle Beach and Wilmington, that Hurricane Hazel fell as a Category 4 storm. The hurricane brought an 18 feet storm surge that severely damaged the coastal areas. The storm devastated most of North Carolina, destroying hundreds of infrastructures and had taken 19 lives with it. On December of that year, a report on Hurricanes by NOAA gave a statement that said “every pier in a distance of 170 miles of coastline was demolished” and an official report by the Weather Bureau stated that “”all traces of civilization on the immediate waterfront between the state line and Cape Fear were practically annihilated.”

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