As a young boy, interested in weather, I jumped for joy the moment I heard Hurricane Gloria was heading toward my backyard. Some Meteorologist have a mouth watering taste when a storm is about to hit them. A term known as "Weather Geeks" and I am one of them.
Weather has always been a passion of mine. Thunderstorms, blizzards, and hurricanes are amazing to watch and ultimately fun to track. Tracking Hurricane Gloria was beyond the talent of an eight year old. I relied on my favorite Meteorologist in Boston, Harvey Leonard, to pass along the information on this girl, a category four girl, with winds of 145 mile per hour.
Gloria was born on September 16th off the coast of Africa, the same place Frances developed. She was headed up the east coast, a V-line to Long Island New York. She had been downgraded to a category one hurricane thanks to the colder waters off the Mid Atlantic. Winds were now at 75 miles per hour.
The time: 1985, the place: Norwood Massachusetts, just southwest of Boston. My family and I were sitting in the living room watching the local news. I had the clicker (channel changer) in hand racing back and forth from channel to channel to compare what all Meteorologists were saying. She was to make landfall on September 27th in the afternoon. We were on the east side of the eye, the center of a hurricane. This is where the strongest winds are felt, and where tornadoes are frequent. My mother and grandmother made the decision we needed to leave the home. Not because of coastal flooding, but the threat for falling trees and power outs. So we taped the windows with duct tape, turned off the power and went to a local restaurant, The Café Venice, a building made of brick.
We watched the local news coverage and every now and then opened the front door to watch the rain and wind. I remember seeing the trees swaying back and forth, limbs snapping, and hearing the winds howl. My heart was beating, and this little boy was extremely excited. It was like Christmas morning for this "Weather Geek."
Winds reached 85 miles per hour where I was standing, certainly enough to cause damage. We headed home after eating and drinking anything we wanted for free. Driving down the street, it was obvious what a category one hurricane will do. Trees were down and power lines laid across the street. When we entered the driveway, we couldn't go very far. One of the trees uprooted, hit the side of the house, and tore down the power lines. Another tree in our front yard lost a large limb, and a tree in the backyard fell on our deck to the swimming pool. My family was devastated at the site while I looked at all the destruction in amazement. The "Weather Geek" in me stared at the destruction thinking, "I wish I were here to see this."
Despite my young age, Gloria is one storm I can remember just by closing my eyes. She was a category one, I could not imagine sitting through a category five, like Ivan, and be as excited. The "Weather Geek" would quickly become a terrified resident fearing for his life.