It was the September of 1985 in Massapequa Park, located in Long Island, New York. A few days prior, Tropical Storm Henri had rolled through, causing some precipitation but otherwise being no cause for alarm. My father had only moved back in with my grandmother just the summer before, after some academic struggles hit him hard. The weather forecast predicted to unimpressed listeners- my father, my grandmother, and my uncle- that the next storm coming would be “pretty bad.”
When Hurricane Gloria hit Long Island, it could only be described as “horrific.”
According to the National Weather Service, Hurricane Gloria began on September 15th as most hurricanes do- as a tropical wave off the coast of Africa. It was first detected with satellite imagery, and later measured by hurricane hunters and buoys (Wikipedia, 2015). It is hard to say whether it may have been encouraged by La Niña weakening the vertical wind shear, as it was still a recent discovery at the time of Hurricane Gloria (Bell, 2014). Either way, Hurricane Gloria 's track west across the Atlantic Ocean would have it grow quickly, gaining hurricane status around the 22nd. It would hit its peak two or three days later as a category 4 hurricane, with wind speeds of up to 145mph (National Weather Service). Said eye was surrounded by devastating storms contained in rapidly spinning cumulonimbus clouds, known as the eye wall, and spiraling “rainbands” that feed into it; the eye itself is comparatively cloudless, except for perhaps harmless cumulus and cirrus clouds, and utterly calm. Of course, the calm would only last some number of minutes before its passage brought on the second half of violent destruction from above.
It hit about th...
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...d that hurricanes were uncommon in New York- and added that other people called them rare- but Hurricane Gloria had been a destructive force he had never seen before; he remembered seeing a hurricane every few years or so, but they had been fairly weak by the time they reached Long Island. My uncle was gone for the entirety of the power outage and the trees being down; my dad believes he simply stayed somewhere else with friends while everything was blowing over, so to speak. He could not remember my grandmother 's reactions very well, as wrapped up in the experience as he himself had been. My father liked storms, but Hurricane Gloria was no normal storm. Its destructive rampage across the Eastern Seaboard would soon have it come to be called the “Storm of the Century” by press at the time, and looking at the damage it had wrought, it would have been hard to disagree.
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