As Henri Approached, Memories of Hurricane Bob Came Rushing Back

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U.S.|As Henri approached, memories of Hurricane Bob came rushing back.

Federal Emergency Management Agency representatives spoke with residents of Mattapoisett, Mass., aft  Hurricane Bob caused wide    harm  determination   successful  August 1991.
Credit...Stephen Rose/Associated Press
  • Aug. 22, 2021Updated 4:13 p.m. ET

Thirty years agone this week, M.L. Baron stocked his van with provisions — deviled ham and 2 30-packs of Coors Light — fired up his shoe-box-size cellphone, parked beside the New Bedford, Mass., waterfront and waited for Hurricane Bob.

Mr. Baron, who was broadcasting that time connected an AM vigor station, went retired earlier dawn truthful his bosses couldn’t archer him to enactment home. As the winds picked up, the tourists and thrill-seekers thinned retired and past disappeared entirely, helium recalled.

“The adjacent happening I know, I’m looking out, I go, ‘Jesus, I’m each alone.’ I’m saying to myself, however atrocious is this going to get?” said Mr. Baron, who operates a upwind presumption successful Fairhaven, Mass. “I say, ‘Well, I made my prime erstwhile I got up astatine 3 successful the morning.’”

Peering done the windshield, helium could spot roadworthy signs flopping backmost and forth, making an unearthly twanging sound; the van began to shingle arsenic if determination were a assemblage astir it, trying to extremity it over. The upwind grew truthful loud, Mr. Baron said, that helium could nary longer perceive the sounds of crashing debris, and the country extracurricular was blotted retired by bands of rain.

“It’s astir similar a paradox; each you tin perceive is the wind,” helium said. “You mightiness arsenic good beryllium successful a cocoon.”

Hurricane Bob, successful 1991, remains the past hurricane to marque landfall successful New England. Memories of it rushed backmost connected Sunday, arsenic Henri approached the portion arsenic a hurricane earlier being downgraded to a tropical storm.

Bob caused $680 cardinal successful damage, knocked retired powerfulness to hundreds of thousands of households, caused the deaths of much than a twelve people, and altered the coastline of Cape Cod.

Cleanup was a weekslong process. Boats that washed arsenic acold arsenic a mile inland had to beryllium hoisted up with helicopters and ferried backmost and splashed into to the water. There was a strange, saccharine odor of splintered trees and foliage baking successful the sun. Hordes of yellowish jackets and hornets had been driven from their nests. They circulated, aggravated and stinging.

The winds had ripped isolated houses successful Mattapoisett, a municipality connected Buzzards Bay, and Mr. Baron remembers coming crossed people’s possessions scattered successful improbable places arsenic helium drove astir aft the storm. “I had a carved teddy carnivore the size of a refrigerator successful the mediate of Causeway Road, bureaus, an existent toilet,” helium said.

Among those recalling Bob was Jeff Tiedemann, who was calved connected the time it tore its mode up the coast. His parent likes to picture the winds rattling the car windows arsenic her hubby drove her to the infirmary arsenic she was successful the aboriginal stages of labor.

Mr. Tiedemann had planned to observe his 30th day successful a location connected Cape Cod with 14 friends, but scaled backmost his plans erstwhile helium learned astir Tropical Storm Henri. He volition alternatively enactment astatine location successful his two-bedroom flat successful Wallingford, Connecticut, with his roommate. He expects to dine by candlelight.

“It feels benignant of surreal,” helium said. “I usually don’t adjacent cheque the weather. But these storms look to person their oculus connected me.”

Mr. Baron, who is present semiretired, said helium would show Henri from his location connected West Island, adjacent New Bedford, from a country that helium has fitted with truthful overmuch instrumentality that helium calls it the “crystal palace.” There volition beryllium nary beer. (“I grew up a agelong clip ago,” helium said.)

But helium was looking guardant to that agelong of hours oregon days erstwhile everyone’s attraction was trained connected 1 thing: the immense powerfulness of nature.

“You’d beryllium amazed what you hide erstwhile there’s a hurricane overhead,” helium said.

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