In early March of 1962 a massive storm developed along the Carolina capes, but instead of riding up and along the coast as usually occurs, that system was blocked by a large and building high pressure system over New England. The storm stalled and got stronger, the result was a strengthening pressure difference known as a pressure gradient, between that high pressure area over New England and the storm. The result of such a pressure difference is usually a strenghting wind flow. Sunch a situation developed in 1962. The result was an East wind that traveled hundreds of miles across the Atlantic Ocean. That flow push massive amounts of water to the coast, not unlike a Hurricane. The water had no place to go – but to sweep over the beaches an bays along the mid-atlantc coast. This weather situation held relentlessly for days and the result was massive beach erosion, especially along the New Jersey coast. Waves reached 40’ high and many resort islands, like Long beach Island New Jersey were cut in several places and new inlets opened up. It would take years for the Army Corps of Engineers to make the Islands whole again. The USS Monssen was being towed down the east coast at the time and on March 6, 1962 the towline broke in the heavy seas during the storm. With seas running 15 feet and wind gusting to 65 mph, it went aground on March 6th at Beach Haven Inlet, New Jersey on that same Long Beach Island. There was more than $400 million damage from the storm in 1962 dollars – more than $3.5 Billion in todays dollars. Many beach resort areas didn’t fully recover until the mid 1960s.
Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices