2005-10-28 / Community

What Never Was But Might Well Be

The
By Wave Historian Emil Lucev:

This view of the Edgemere section shows the area from Far Rockaway to Arverne. Norton Basin nearby Bayswater is now an inlet to the new, shallower Jamaica Bay. A small section of the IND line remains and the Edgemere Landfill has been scoured out. The east end of the peninsula was somewhat protected by Long Beach until that too was washed away.This view of the Edgemere section shows the area from Far Rockaway to Arverne. Norton Basin nearby Bayswater is now an inlet to the new, shallower Jamaica Bay. A small section of the IND line remains and the Edgemere Landfill has been scoured out. The east end of the peninsula was somewhat protected by Long Beach until that too was washed away. For years, I have been talking about the storm that comes once every 100 years, a Category Five Hurricane that could well wipe out the entire Rocaway Peninsula. Recent hurricanes such as Hurricane Katrina have showed us what is possible. This is what may well happen to Rockaway should a storm such as Katrina hit the peninsula.

Hurricane Xavier, the great storm that hit Rockaway last Saturday wiped away the entire Rockaway peninsula, making it look like the peninsula of pre-revolutionary days in the early 1700’s. The only difference is that part of the elevated IND Subway line still stands, for some unknown

continued from page 2

reason, in the central section of the deluged peninsula.

The storm of storms turned into a Category Five Storm as it hovered off the coast of North Carolina and even the experts cannot understand its sudden and catastrophic increase in severity and its movement off the Saffir/Simpson Scale.

The twenty-fourth storm of the season, Xavier gained strength as it moved northward up the Atlantic coast towards Long Island.

When its eye finally came ashore on Rockaway, its winds measured 200 miles per hour, destructing all of the local wind gauges.

It is still unknown just how high the storm surge was at the height of the storm, but areas as far inland and Glendale and Jamaica were inundated with the water from the Atlantic Ocean. That is just about as far as the ancient Terminal Moraine advanced at the end of the last Ice Age.

There were few casualties of the storm, as a mandatory evacuation three days prior to the storm’s arrival made the entire peninsula into a veritable ghost town. Most of the residents left the flood zone to stay with relatives and friends. Others were relocated by the Army to refugee centers in upstate New York.

For the vast majority of Rockaway residents, however, that is no home left to go back to.

Some aircraft flying from Otis Air Force Base in Massachusetts (where areas such as Cape Cod were completely wiped out as well) show that much of the peninsula is gone and that it has been breached in at least two places.

Return to top


Email Us
Contact Us

Copyright 1999 - 2014 Wave Publishing Co. All Rights Reserved

Neighborhoods | History