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45 Years Ago...The Storm Of March 1962

Do you have memories of ’62 storm? We’d love to hear from you and we’ll be happy to post them on our site.  You can contact us by email.

Click to read our 45th Anniversary recap of the events.

 

Click to read additional memories.

 



How Can We Help?

More than 25 summer residents gathered for a special luncheon several weeks following the storm at the Bellevue Stratford in Philadelphia. Their goal was to decide how they could help Borough officials raise the money needed for storm protection. All the proceeds from the luncheon, which was attended by Mayor John McLaren, along with proceeds for a dinner planned for July in Avalon – would be turned over to Borough Commissioners. It’s hard to imagine tax payers today taking up a collection to strengthen Borough coffers.

 

A Helping Hand from Bucks County

A convoy of trucks was sent from Levittown, PA where residents filled the trucks with food and clothing. When the convey reached Avalon Blvd. – which was still impassable – Mayor John McLaren met the trucks – and while visibly moved by the gesture – suggested that most of the goods were more needed by Sea Isle City which damaged perhaps more than any town in the county – and where hundreds of residents had lost all of their possessions.

 

Let’s Set the Record Straight

Although there are many people who believe that Avalon lost its lowest numbered streets in the storm of 1962 – that’s just not true. In fact, 5th Street appears to be the lowest numbered street that was ever graded – but only a small portion. Think about it reasonably – if there had in fact been 1st through 5th Streets – there would hardly have been any room for Townsends Inlet. What is a fact is that the Storm of 1962 destroyed most of the homes along 6th Street. The home of Police Supt. Lloyd Riggall on the southwest corner of Sixth Street and Dune Drive was the first structure to fall to rising tides. Man more would follow.

 

If Only It Worked That Way Today

In September of 2005 an electrical transformer failed on Ocean Drive at 30th Street. Parts of Avalon immediately lost power. Most were restored within several hours. Some sections of town weren’t as lucky. Dwellings in the vicinity of the Seven Mile Times offices at 33rd and Ocean Drive were without power for more than 18 hours! So how can that be – in 2005 it takes almost a full day to restore lost service but in 1962, according to newspaper accounts, Atlantic City Electric, the fore-runner to the Virginia based company that now provides electrical service to Cape May County, had power restored almost immediately in what everyone refers to as the worst storm in County history? According to accounts Atlantic City Electric implemented a disaster reaction plan early in the morning of March 6 – before the storm hit. All employees were expected to report for duty by 6AM. More than 300 workers concentrated on keeping power flowing to just the barrier islands of the county. In Sea Isle City, the worst hit – Atlantic City Electric workers hopped rides on Navy helicopters that were returning after evacuating residents and hospital patients. They even set-up electric cooking facilities so that emergency workers could be fed throughout the disaster. Newspaper accounts stated that amazingly, only brief outages were reported in Avalon and Stone Harbor – and they were restored within hours. When asked about their incredible level of service in the worst of times, a company spokesperson said, “It’s service as usual.” How many times can you remember losing your electric within the last five years? How times have changed.

Courtesy of Dave Coskey

 

 
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