A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Hurricane Warning

Some perspectives.  Part of the purpose of this 11 minute film is to hype the deeds of the WPA, and we note the recurrence of stock phrases such as "shoulder to shoulder" that were popular in the 1930s.  But the fascinating thing is how little they had to work with back then.  Also, the good ol' 1930s Newsreel Voice. 

The 1938 hurricane was dubbed "The Long Island Express."  (Our modern naming conventions were not then in use.)  It flooded Manhattan all the way up to Canal Street. 

Waves 20-50 feet high crashing on the shore registered on seismographs in Alaska.  More than 600 people were killed, many of them children.  Katherine Hepburn barely escaped.  The History Channel did a show on the hurricane a while back, and it is intriguing how closely the Long Island Express matched conditions for this year's Sandy.  Instead of dying out over the colder North Atlantic, it was pinned between two highs and prevented from turning east.  Plus the autumn equinox and a full moon meant it was driving unusually high tides before it. 

The eight-part History Channel show starts here:

Of particular interest is how little meteorologists had to go on in 1938.  No radar, let alone satellite imagery.  Even the idea of using physics rather than experience was brand new and contrary to today, the one young junior meteorologist who called it right was ignored by the senior forecasters. 


  1. Climate Scientists Do Causality:

    Is there a Metaphysician in the House?

    Or a Metaphysicist?

  2. My father said he walked to high school during the 1938 hurricane and was one of only two students who showed up.


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