Outer Banks Throwback Thursday: 1962 Ash Wednesday Storm

Ash Wednesday Storm 1962, Kitty Hawk, NC
For three horrific days, the Ash Wednesday Storm of 1962 relentlessly lashed nearly 500 miles of the Eastern Seaboard, from the Outer Banks of North Carolina to Cape Cod Massachusetts.

The Ash Wednesday Storm and Hurricane Hazel in 1954 remain (and hopefully will continue to remain) the two storms us Outer Bankers compare new coastal storms to that affect our beloved coast. Fortunately, the Outer Banks was spared of any major tropical storms during the 2013 hurricane season and we’ve had a relatively calm winter so far.

I came across this striking vintage photo taken in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina during the storm and thought it may be interesting to some of our followers to share some quick facts about the historic storm who aren’t locals, or are too young to remember the nor’easter of 1962 that’s forever in the minds of area historians.

Facts about the Ash Wednesday Storm

  • The nor’easter occurred on March 6-8, 1962 along the Mid-Atlantic coast of the United States.
  • It was considered by the U.S. Geological Survey to be one of the most destructive storms to ever hit the Mid-Atlantic States.
  •  The Ash Wednesday Storm is considered to be one of the ten worst storms in 20th century United States history.
  • Lingering through five high tides over a three day period, the storm killed 40 people, injured over 1,000, and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage over six states.
  • The devastating storm was caused by an unusual combination of three pressure areas combined with atmospheric conditions of the spring equinox which normally causes abnormally high tides.
  • The Ash Wednesday Storm stalled in the Mid-Atlantic for almost three days, pounding coastal areas with continuous rain, high winds, and tidal surges.

If you’d like to learn more about the Ash Wednesday storm, I recommend checking out a great article written by 30-year newspaper veteran Frank Tursi titled Remembering the Ash Wednesday Storm published on the North Carolina Coastal Federation website.

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Posted in Vintage Outer Banks
2 comments on “Outer Banks Throwback Thursday: 1962 Ash Wednesday Storm
  1. roberta4949 says:

    sounds like the perfect storm, maybe they should title theperfect storm perfect storm 2 and the first one perfect storm 1? amazing how the news media can get people to get all worried about the hype of worst storm or droughts are worse when in realitiy they are business as usual.
    that wave looks incredible, amazed not more people were killed, must of been under populated at the time.

  2. […] The ones that are still standing, have survived through countless tropical storms including the 1962 Ash Wednesday Storm – one of the worst nor’easters in recent […]

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