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By Jim Gifford
On October 15, 1954, storm Hazel battered southern Ontario, leaving in its wake a poor toll: hundreds of thousands homeless, million in estate harm, and, worst of all, eighty one humans useless. Hazel destroyed bridges, submerged cities, and drowned unsuspecting Ontarians of their houses and vehicles. Raymore force in Weston was once decimated while the Humber River swelled via 8 toes, taking the lives of 32 citizens in just one hour. In Etobicoke, 5 volunteer firemen drowned whereas attempting to achieve marooned motorists. cities and villages from Toronto north to Timmins felt Hazel’s fury.
After the hurricane, humans walked the now-surreal streets in their cities: automobiles upside-down and wrapped in strength traces, iceboxes and useless cows placing from bushes, homes flattened, toys and furnishings floating down the street.
On the fiftieth anniversary of the hurricane, Jim Gifford has captured that deadly evening within the voices of these who survived it, from citizens who lived alongside the surging Humber River to a policeman who rescued households from their rooftops to firemen and Boy Scouts who hunted for sufferers alongside the riverbanks. together with greater than a hundred never-before-published images, Hurricane Hazel: Canada’s hurricane of the Century records one of many worst traditional mess ups in Canadian history.
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Additional resources for Hurricane Hazel: Canada's Storm of the Century
Such a lot be mindful Hazel as a nasty rainstorm. They went to mattress and awakened to a replaced urban. a few spent the evening pumping out their basements or using in the direction of larger flooring to climate the hurricane in entrance of a roaring fireplace faraway from the flood water. For hundreds and hundreds of others, in spite of the fact that, it was once a bad evening: homes being torn from their foundations to develop into sinking boats, neighbours floating via clinging to what was once left in their roofs. whilst the decision rang out for volunteers, many left the relative security in their houses and households and ventured out into that darkish, bad evening. BORN IN EARLY OCTOBER OFF THE WEST COAST OF Africa, Hazel drew its strength from the heated waters of the Atlantic and blazed in the direction of the Caribbean. On October five, the typhoon roared fifty miles off the coast of Grenada, and on October 6 it handed among the islands of Grenada and Carriacou. From there Hazel sidled west at 15 miles according to hour, with the barometer examining a low of 29. forty four inches and winds attaining one hundred ten miles in keeping with hour. On October 7, the strain dropped to 29. 12 inches and winds whipped as much as a hundred twenty five miles consistent with hour as Hazel neared Haiti, curling round the western tip of the island country yet now not sparing its population her wrath. approximately 1000 humans have been killed as homes have been flattened and landslides buried island citizens. On October thirteen, Hazel started to flip north, with winds achieving a hundred miles in step with hour, and the nice hurricane elevated its pace because it raced in the direction of the Atlantic seaboard. Early on October 15, North and South Carolina citizens have been warned that Hazel used to be at the manner. At 9:25 A. M. , while so much Torontonians have been simply settling in at paintings or starting their day-by-day chores, Hazel battered Myrtle seashore, the barometer shedding to twenty-eight. forty seven inches. Over the following couple of hours the barometer dropped progressively, Hazel’s winds screamed at one hundred twenty five miles in step with hour, and the hurricane moved at 60 miles in keeping with hour north overland. At one aspect, Hazel was once a hundred and twenty miles vast, and her gales reached a width of 2 hundred miles. Map via John Lightfoot Weston old Society Weston historic Society mostly, hurricanes lose steam and expend after having made landfall, yet Hazel used to be no traditional typhoon. Fed via a chilly entrance that had moved east around the Rockies, which by itself can have produced a serious typhoon, Hazel picked up pace and moved north via North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D. C. , atmosphere documents for rainfall and excessive winds, which ranged among a hundred thirty and one hundred fifty miles consistent with hour, taking many lives and wreaking unfathomable harm. At lengthy seashore alongside the coast of North Carolina, Hazel left at the back of in basic terms five of the 357 constructions alongside the shore. After the hurricane, survivors came upon palm fronds and wood bowls inscribed “Made in Haiti” alongside the Carolina coast. “It took the total part of my condominium out,” acknowledged Dick Ford, who used to be construction a brand new domestic in Maryland. Hazel tore off the roof and chimney of his neighbour’s apartment and flung it 300 toes into his. Ellen Ford recalls the wind selecting up her father’s skipjack and shedding it of their entrance backyard.