Storm surge, Jersey coast, '44 Hurricane:
The blackness of the wild night was broken by the snow-white surf that swept in to explode in clouds of spray over the boardwalk as it scoured out gaping holes in Ocean Avenue. The distance between the troughs and crests of the larger waves was unreal. Imagine wading in normal surf, then shrinking to one-quarter your stature. Far, far out, the high-rolling combers would rise to foam-capped peaks of 30 to 40 feet, then break into proud smiles as they came roaring in toward you, swallowing up the smaller waves in immense fields of seething, smoking foam that would then merge with the rain flooded streets, turning them into torrents.
One of these waves uprooted a section of the boardwalk, lamppost and all, where the Coast Guardsman stood, and swept him two and a half blocks down Beacon Boulevard. Deciding to call it a day, he jumped off and sloshed another few blocks to his home.
Others were not so fortunate. Mrs. Marques, an elderly woman who lived in a house nestled between big sand dunes on Long Beach Island, refused to leave with the Coast Guardsmen who offered her shelter at their station in Holgate. (ìIíve been through many storms before, and Iím not worried about this one.î) The next morning, where her home had been was nothing but a stretch of sand. The dunes, the house, and the woman had been swept from the face of the Earth.
Great Appalachian Storm of 1950:
... the storm was to many an exciting dream as they watched from the safety of windows and front porches. The few lingering red and yellow autumn leaves flew against the darkening wisps of the wind-ripped clouds, while the rain, ìlike sheets of glass,î winged down the streets.
Some ventured out, joining neighbors and total strangers at street corners to watch and hear the wind blow in from the ocean in its mysterious way, first with great force down one street, and then as the mortals ducked for cover behind thick holly trees, down their street, each time bending the trees ever lower. Then trees a block or so away reared their darkly twisting forms to face the next, even higher gust.
Troubled souls were briefly released from their problems, their longings, their grief and their heartaches and, losing their inhibitions, talked, laughed, and swapped yarns with friends they had just met, or strangers they had seen, but never spoken to. Some people are rescued in a storm ó others are rescued by one.