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Weather History Review 

Living in the Danger Zone:
Realities about Hurricanes
by Bill and Fran Marscher
iUniverse.com, 2001
ISBN:  0-595-17042-0

 

Part history and part survival manual, Living in the Danger Zone should be in the welcome wagon basket for all newcomers to the southern Atlantic and Gulf coasts.  As the number of baby boomers moving to coastal homes grows, the time needed in dealing with a safe evacuation swells as the routes remain few in number. 

The study of hurricanes is only about 111 years old.  Originally done as a concern for damage to cargo more than loss of life.  The Great Sea Island Storm (August 27, 1893) killed more than 2,000 former slaves and descendants of slaves living in the fragile cabins on Daufuskie, Hilton Head, Pinckney, St. Helena and Edisto Island.   There was no government rescue organization, so additional residents died from injuries, malaria, dehydration and other hurricane-related illnesses.  About a month after the Great Sea Island Storm, Clara Barton, president of the American Red Cross, took over the relief effort.  It took almost a year for the Red Cross to ward off the near-starvation of 70,000 people.  In October 1893, another hurricane drowned 1,500 former slaves and descendants of slaves in Louisiana. 

The greatest American disaster remains the Great Galveston Hurricane (September 7, 1900), recently remembered in the book Issacís Storm.   Galveston, Texas was a popular resort and busy shipping port on the Gulf of Mexico.  The storm that hit the city was first spotted 600 miles east of Puerto Rico.  The storm itself covered four hundred miles and the effects of the storm encompassed an area of more than 150,000 square miles.  Many of the Galveston residents watched the approaching storm from the beach, but as the storm surge swamped the island and city approximately 8,000 were drowned.  By the time of the 1915 hurricane, Galveston had built a seawall with heights of 17 feet in an area forty blocks long and from two to twenty blocks wide. 

Living in the Danger Zone covers the more recent storms from Camille to Floyd.  In each storm, the scientific study expands aiding forecasting, building, and areas of preparation.  The book gives hurricane novices an understanding of storm tracking, storm surge, volunteer organizations, and what to store during hurricane season.  Photos of hurricane aftermath are presented and give an emotional impact on the human element of the storms. 

Bill and Fran Marscher are lifelong residents of Beaufort County, South Carolina.  Bill Marscher is a retired engineer, and Fran Marscher is former editor of The Island Packet.    

 

Joyce Dixon
Southern Scribe Reviews

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