From the time I moved down to the Shore full time, in July 1995, it was the storm everyone talked about. The great Nor'easter of 1962, the Ash Wednesday storm, that rocked the Coast between March 6 and March 8 of 1962. The storm, like myself and the New York Mets, are turning 50 this year. It's still the benchmark of Jersey Shore storms (the Hurricane of 1944 is right up there) and the one people mention when they poo poo the Hurricane mega-watch and insist that Nor'easters are the ones capable of the damage. Watch a few of these videos I found on youtube and you won't disagree. When we bought our house in Ventnor, we were told it only lost a few shingles during that storm as proof of its sturdiness. Thanks, old house. But I need to look no further than the Boardwalk at Dorset Avenue for a daily reminder of the power of that storm. There's a plaque that reads "Ventnor City Boardwalk, erected 1963." People like myself who use that Boardwalk so much really owe a debt of gratitude to the town fathers who bit the bullet and rebuilt the Boardwalk after the storm, a decision the neighboring Margate officials did not make after their Boardwalk was destroyed in 1944. Which is why all of Margate now rides their bike to Ventnor on summer mornings. And why I find walking on the beach itself so much pleasanter in Ventnor, with a friendly boardwalk in view instead of parking garage walls and people's individuaized ideas of what makes a beachfront architecture (lots of glass) that you find on a walk further downbeach (the ocean's about the same up and down the island). In any case, here's a link to the story in the Sunday Inquirer on the half-century old storm by Inquirer weather ace Tony Wood and shore expert Jackie Urgo. And in the meantime, check out these videos of the storm's wrath. Sobering.
Here's one from Atlantic City, Ventnor and Margate, which shows a rushing ocean in the streets, a damaged Steel Pier, lots of home destruction and some dude walking his bicycle in the middle of it. Sobering!
Here's another one from Atlantic City, Ventnor, Margate and Longport, showing the after effects of the storm, and, startingly, what the poster describes as "martial law" in Margate, the National Guard walking around with rifles after the Hurricane. It's got a kind of loud soundtrack attached to it, so you might want to mute.
And here's a video from the Wildwoods and Cape May by Ken Benner, whose father Tom took 8 mm film after the storm. The video shows Wildwood Crest during the storm, Cape May and West Wildwood after.
And here's another one, a quick 6 second one from Long Beach Island, but pretty scary.