Now 55 years ago today March 6, 2107 … This was written in 2016 not long after Storm Jonas hammered the coastline
It was forecast as a normal winter storm. Tides were predicted at 2 to 5 feet higher than normal with flooding in low lying areas. Gale force winds from a storm moving across the country that would head offshore. A typical winter storm forecast much like the ones we have every year. Little did anyone realize that it would run into another storm off the coast and would occur during the spring king tides. The storm of 62 pummeled the east coast with sixty mph winds and destroyed a lot of property along the east coast for two solid days. It is known as the worst storm in Delaware’s history and remembered today by everyone who was there. The flooding was monumental for the back bay communities, roads turned into emergency boat ramps. Large yachts washed into wooded areas and are still there today. The beaches were hammered, all of the boardwalks were ripped apart. Houses were either toppled over or just washed away completely. Some were buried halfway to the roof in sand.
This year we came close to those same conditions with two nor’easters, especially Storm Jonas. Thankfully they were not quite as strong and did not last as long. Storm Jonas came close to the storm of 62’s conditions, it could have been much worse had it not subsided after the first high tide. We got lucky and didn’t have a repeat of the storm of 62, however the question is not if, but when we will have a repeat of those conditions. We always hear about the fifty year storm cycles and it makes one wonder if we are not in one of those cycles now. This is one of the reasons you should always be prepared for a nor’easter. Just because you do not think it will be a big deal, conditions can change quickly and in some cases it may be too late to go anywhere. Always be prepared, it is better to be, than not to be.
Storm of ’62 photos from the Delaware Public Archives