December 1, 2010

Hurricane Carol inundated Levittown, August 1954

These striking photos show the flooded intersection of Hilltop Road and Valley Road

Click on photos to enlarge

At the time of landfall on far eastern Long Island and the eastern Connecticut coast, the sustained winds in Carol were around 110- mph, with gusts in the 125 to 135-mph range. Like a devastating 1938 hurricane, Carol accelerated northward form Virginia to Long Island. The combination of 110-mph sustained winds and a forward speed of near 40-mph... produced some of the strongest wind gusts ever measured in the North Atlantic states. Montauk Point Lighthouse reported gusts to 120-mph.

Along the eastern Connecticut coast, from Saybrook Point to Groton Long Point, wind gusts over 100-mph were reported. Wind gusts of 120 to 135-mph blasted across Southern Rhode Island as the state was hit squarely by the damaging eastern half of the tropical cyclone.

The name Carol was used again in the 1965 season, and was planned for use during the 1969 hurricane season before it was replaced with the name Camille. Due to serious destruction during 1954, however, the name will never again be used for an Atlantic hurricane. Carol was the first Atlantic hurricane name in history to be retired.


Thank you to Jo-Ann Martin Fink (Division Avenue class of 1966) for providing these photos. She lived at 1 Hilltop Road and was one of the first Levittown babies. Her family moved into their house on October 15, 1947, about two weeks after the first residents unpacked. She was born on December 2, 1947. Happy Birthday, Jo-Ann.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for that story. I remember the storm vividly. We were living on Woodpecker Lane in the ranch with the fireplace on both sides, kitchen and living room. The water from the storm just poured down the chimney and we were flooded and mopping for hours. I really love all the old stories about Levittown, it was a great place to grow up. Thanks for giving your time to this effort.
Joan Bartels Signorelli, class of 1962

Anonymous said...

From Sandy Adams...
I also remember Hurricane Carol. When the winds began to really pick up, my mother sent me out into the back yard to hold on to the new, small Weeping Willow, so that it wouldn’t get blown down and uprooted or broken. I didn’t last too long at my assignment – I was having too much trouble trying to keep my (then small) body erect!

Anonymous said...

From Jo-Ann Martin Fink, who provided the photos...
Here is a little info on the flood picture. The one looking across to Hilltop is taken from the upstairs of 6 Hilltop Road. This was the home of Harold and Paulette Gast. They left Levittown a few years later and moved to Lawrence and then to California. Harold Gast was a writer and producer. (A Woman named Golda)

Wendy Max Dunford '68 said...

I was only 4 years old then, but I remember my older brother going out to the back yard to tie the patio furniture to the apple tree to keep it from flying away. I remember the storm hitting then seeming to stop, and I thought it was over. I heard my mother say it was just the eye of the storm, but I had no idea what that meant. Then a while later, the storm came back with a vengeance. We lived at the bottom of Schoolhouse Road where it met Valley Road for two years, before moving up Schoolhouse Road to the top of the hill into #37 where we lived from 1954 to 1975.