Severe Weather Events in My Life

Last month I blogged about my memories of the Great Blizzard of 1978. So I thought it would be fun to make a list of the various severe weather and seismic events that I have personally experienced. I have been through blizzards, earthquakes, hurricanes and tropical storms, but no tornados (yet?). Here are the five main events I have experienced so far in my life.

  • Blizzard of 1969 (February 22-28, 1969) — This one has also been called “the 100-hour storm.” I was only 6 years old at the time, so I don’t remember much about it. I was living in Wenham, Massachusetts. I remember it seemed to snow forever, and the snow was piled up sooooo high on either side of the driveway. The history books say it was about 32 inches of snow.
  • Blizzard of 1978 (February 5-8, 1978) — I was 15 years old, still living in Wenham. This blizzard dropped 55 inches of snow in our area over a period of three days. No cars were allowed on the roads for a whole week. And of course that meant no school for a week either!
  • Whittier Narrows Earthquake (October 1, 1987) — I was living in Burbank, California serving as youth pastor by day and working as a recording engineer by night. (And attending seminary somewhere in between!) On the day of the earthquake I had been working in the studio all night and was trying to finish off a mix when the quake suddenly hit at 7:42 a.m. It felt like a train came barreling right through the middle of the studio. The quake was only 5.9 magnitude on the Richter scale, but it was one of the most terrifying things I ever experienced. Years later I would still jump if a heavy truck drove by causing the house to shake for just a second.
  • The Perfect Storm (October 27 – November 1, 1991) — Yes, this is the storm that was featured in the book and movie by the same name. We were living in Beverly, MA at the time. My wife, Rose, had just given birth to our first child the month before. To be honest, I don’t remember much about the storm. I think we were too distracted with a newborn in the house. I remember walking around the neighborhood afterwards and noticing some large trees uprooted, but that was about it. Years later I would read the book, The Perfect Storm, without realizing at first that I had actually been in it!
  • Hurricane Andrew (August 24, 1992) — This was the big one. We had recently moved to Homestead, Florida, the town where my wife grew up. Our firstborn son was now eleven months old. The storm hit early on a Monday morning, the day I was scheduled to begin teaching Bible at a Christian School. Andrew ranked right up there with the earthquake on the terrifying scale. After the storm passed, it took us three days just to chainsaw our way out of the driveway. It was one month before classes began at the school, and two months before we got our electricity back. You can read my wife’s account of the storm here.

How about you? Do you have any severe weather or earthquake stories to share?

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  1. I wrote about my tornado experience recently in my blog.

  2. Sharon Gamble says:

    My husband and I are famous for being totally unaware of severe weather. We don’t watch a lot of TV and tended to not listen to the radio back in Alabama when we drove through an area where tornados had been seen. We just simply went out to dinner and then commented with amazement at the wind and the yellowish tinge to the sky. We were blessed a tornado did not land near us. Later, my husband was sent out with a FEMA team to look at the earthquake in Northridge CA in the 1990’s. The aftershocks were quite severe, but he slept through them all and when his team discussed them the next morning, he had nothing to add to the conversation. Needless to say, after our little tornado incident, we have started paying a bit more attention to weather reports!!

  3. Barrie says:

    Gee Ray, my stories all center around hurricanes. Started with Hurricane Donna in 1960. We lived in an older section of housing in Miami. Our house shook like something out of a thriller movie. I watched a glass sliding door actually bend in the middle but it did not break. We had flooding around our house and had no electricity for about 8 days if my memory is accurate. I too was in South Florida for the whole series of storms from Donna till 1998 including hurricane Andrew. We moved to the central part of Florida and then off to Massachusetts. We returned to Florida in 2004 and had the pleasure of experiencing a glancing blow from Katrina, and a hit from Wilma. Even though Andrew was a much stronger storm, I think my experiences with Hurricane Donna were my worst.

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  1. Blizzard of 1978 - 30 Year Anniversary at Ray Fowler .org

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