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Hurricane Gloria by Danny McCarthy

A Storm Called Hurricane Gloria

By Dan McCarthy

I located a Newsday entry on-line regarding summaries of hurricanes where Hurricane Gloria was listed as being “Category 4” with “wind gusts of up to 100 mph, {causing} up to $100 million in damage on Long Island and state relief funds later repaid $42 million. About 683,000 LILCO customers, more than two-thirds of the company’s customers, lost power.”

Checking again on-line, I located The Press of Atlantic City column that is dated September 26, 2017 titled A look back at Hurricane Gloria in September 1985:

“Hurricane Gloria came on September 27, 1985. …

… Gloria was the first significant system to strike the northeastern United States since Hurricane Agnes in 1972. …

… The storm intensified on Sept. 24, and the next day reached peak winds of 145 mph. It weakened before striking the Outer Banks of North Carolina on Sept. 27. Later that day, Gloria made two subsequent landfalls on Long Island and later western Connecticut. … “

Referring to the Southold Free Library Whitaker Historical Collection, I came across an October 3, 1985 The Suffolk Times article re: Hamlet-by-Hamlet: A Wet Rolls Royce (an account of Hurricane Gloria and its aftermath).

“… The Orient Yacht Club sustained a significant amount of damage – both to the structure and the driveway leading to it. … … All the Orient Point ferries were ‘tucked away safely on the Thames River in New London’ ‘from 5 p.m. Thursday until 11 a.m. Saturday.’ It was business as usual on Monday with one or two exceptions. …

… Jerry Callis {a Plum Island Lab Director} ‘reported two 10x30-foot {World War II-era} Quinset storage sheds and a 20-foot destruction of dock, but nothing else. …’

… ‘On the Orient-East Marion causeway, a string of at least six utility poles of 12 was blown into Dam Pond, making timely resumption of electricity service to parts east unlikely.

Cleaves Point developer Manny Kontokosta said his project sustained only one broken window.’ … {Jack Mulhall of Long Island Farms which was across the street} ‘reported no structural damage, just significant headaches due to missing power. {Some shellfish were preserved due to the availability of refrigerated trailer trucks.} and ‘shipping continued thanks to a rented compressor.’”

The Clean-Up Continues is the title of The Suffolk Times article dated October 10, 1985 that is in The Whitaker Historical Collection.

“As Southold digs out from the debris left in the wake of Hurricane Gloria, both residents and officials are beginning to total up the cost of the Sept. 27 storm.

Damage to homes and property in Southold has been estimated ‘at least $750,000, and maybe as much as $1 million,’ according to {Southold} Supervisor Frank Murphy who said that Highway Superintendent Ray Jacobs had set the tab for the town’s clean-up at about $400,000. …

… Gloria produced a veritable mountain of brush at the town landfill in Cutchogue. Mr. Murphy said the dump was visited by 2,000 cars on each of the last two weekends. About 3,000 yards of other brush, per day, were received, he said, all of it reduced by chipping machines to between one-twelfth and one-fifteenth of its original volume. The mulching program ‘has been a great savings for the town,’ he said, ‘and we’ve got a use for it. The ground-up material is mixed-up with septic sludge and topsoil, then used as the final cap on the landfill.”

According to a 1985 article in The Whitaker Historical Collection titled Business: When Bad Meets Good (a look from west to east at the impact of Hurricane Gloria on commerce on the North Fork), I was able to come across plenty of information. That article not carrying a periodical title or byline starts with the statement that “Gloria was two-faced.”

Mattituck A&P “Manager Robert Moore {estimated} the supermarket lost upwards of $150,000 in food due to spoilage. A&P has no generators of its own, and on Monday morning{,} Mr. Moore and his staff were only beginning to assess the full extent of the mess. ‘Get me through another day or so and I’ll survive,’ Mr. Moore said. …

{The Spirit Shop} {was} operated by Mrs. Southoff ‘in the A&P shopping center with her husband Tom.’ She offered: ‘we’re all very tired from running to the town dump with branches downed by the hurricane. But you meet the nicest people at the dump,’ she added.

Dean Blaikie’s restaurant and catering hall on the Main Road, the Tolendal Inn, ‘was business as usual – well, almost usual – Saturday.’ {There was a wedding reception held for 200 people and the power was taken care of by} ‘Three generators and candles {that} did the trick, prompting Mr. Blaikie to say of his chef, Steve Tockmakis, ‘I’m going to have him cook by candlelight all the time.’

{Key Food in Cutchogue had a loss} ‘in excess of $50,000.’ {That didn’t stop the staff from having}’a sidewalk sale on Saturday at which candles, flashlights and fast-melting ice cream were the hottest-selling items. Manager Mike Naglieri said power was lost at 10 a.m. Friday when a huge flash of light ran the full length of the power line right in front of the shopping center. The electricity didn’t come back on until 2:10 p.m. Sunday. …

{Re-programming of the Cutchogue Key Food} ‘computerized check-out scanners’ to have the already in-stock items prices be ‘re-entered into the system’ would have to be done and might have taken seven or 10 days due to the power being off for so long. …

….. Larry Kirk and his staff of Cutchogue’s Fisherman’s Rest were able to have a generator running Friday & Saturday. {Sunday it was listed in the article was the day ‘the power was restored to the Cutchogue business district.’}

….. In downtown New Suffolk, “two storage sheds owned by developer Richard Carr were leveled by Gloria’s powerful winds.”

At the Galley Ho in New Suffolk “{Restaurateur Dean} Blaikie reported a major use of business interruptus {stet}. “Flooding was minimal at the harborside restaurant, but power hadn’t been restored of the beginning of the week. Some perishables were salvaged with the assistance of Broadhollow Farms, which lent Mr. Blaikie one of its refrigerator delivery trucks.”

Bill Lieblein, the owner of Port of Egypt, reported $10,000 in damage. “There were a lot of ‘{might-have-beens}’ which could have meant $100,000 instead of $10,000.” …

… At that time, WBAZ in Southold was one of the newest businesses in Southold, and “was among those hit hardest by the storm. As of Wednesday morning, the station was still off the air, waiting for its power to be restored in Noyack on the South Fork. …

… the weekend might have been mistaken for mid-summer in Greenport as power was restored immediately after the storm {and} the village became more of a shopping hub than it usually is for the eastern end of Southold Town.

The Coronet on Saturday morning had sheets of plywood that hadn’t been taken down yet and thus the establishment looked closed. There wasn’t a seat to be found indoors. Something not happening in July is that the Coronet ran out of eggs before noon.

On Front Street at the Rhumbline, ‘Jackie Copas said the weekend was busier than Labor Day weekend’ and that she had no time to ‘assess the damage’ {from Hurricane Gloria}.”

Southold Supervisor Frank Murphy said the week of March 20, 1986 according to The Suffolk Times: “Two hundred and fifty individuals have contributed more than $4,000 to Southold Challenge, the drive to replace trees and shrubs destroyed by Hurricane Gloria.” The then results were only “one-third of the way” The goal of the drive had begun March 6, 1986 and was to reach $12,000. …

… “Members of Girl Scout Troop 720 of Greenport said they {would} assist when it {came} time to plant the trees. And 96-year-old Mrs. Stanton Mott let it be known that this {was} not the first time that such an effort {had} been undertaken locally. In her letter enclosing a check for $25 she wrote: ‘In memory of Stanton Mott, who helped in a similar effort after the 1938 Hurricane.’ Mr. Mott died in 1969.”

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