As Henri neared New England, memories of Hurricane Bob rushed

Thirty years ago this week, ML Baron filled his van with groceries – devil’s ham and two packs of 30 Coors Light – turned on his shoebox...


Thirty years ago this week, ML Baron filled his van with groceries – devil’s ham and two packs of 30 Coors Light – turned on his shoebox-sized cell phone, parked next to the front of New Bedford Sea, Massachusetts, and waited for Hurricane Bob. .

He got out before dawn, so his bosses couldn’t tell him to stay home. As the winds picked up, tourists and thrill seekers cleared up and then disappeared altogether, recalls Mr Baron, 63, who operates a weather station in Fairhaven, near Cape Cod, and was broadcasting that day- there on WMBH, an AM radio station.

“The next thing I know, I look outside, I say, ‘Jesus, I’m all alone.’ I’m like, how bad is this going to get? “He recalls.” I say, ‘Well, I made my choice when I got up at 3 in the morning.’ “

Looking through the windshield, he could see road signs fluttering back and forth, making an unearthly thud; the van began to shake as if there was a crowd around it, trying to tip it over. The wind got so strong, Mr Baron said, that he could no longer hear the sound of the crashing debris, and the scene outside was obscured by bands of rain.

“It’s almost like a paradox; all you can hear is the wind, ”he said. “You might as well be in a cocoon. “

Hurricane Bob, in 1991, remains the last hurricane to make landfall in New England. As Henri approached the region like a hurricane before being downgraded to a tropical storm on Sunday morning, the memories rushed.

Bob caused $ 680 million in damage, cut power to hundreds of thousands of homes, killed over a dozen people, and altered Cape Cod’s coastline.

The cleanup took weeks. Boats that ran aground up to a mile inland had to be hoisted up with helicopters and brought back and plunged into the water. There was a strange, sweet smell of splintered trees and foliage cooking in the sun. Hordes of yellow jackets and hornets had been driven from their nests. They were moving around, angry and scathing.

The winds had torn houses in Mattapoisett, a town in Buzzards Bay, and Mr. Baron recalls encountering people’s belongings strewn in unlikely places while driving past the storm. “I had a fridge-sized carved teddy bear in the middle of Causeway Road, offices, real toilets,” he said.

Mr Baron, who is now semi-retired, said he would watch Henri from his home on the West Island, near New Bedford, from a room he has outfitted with so many amenities that he calls it the “crystal palace”. There will be no beer. (“I grew up a long time ago,” he says.)

But he said he would watch him on his website, and that he looked forward to that period of hours or days when everyone’s attention was focused on one thing: the immense power of nature.

“You would be surprised what you forget when there is a hurricane overhead,” he said.

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Newsrust - US Top News: As Henri neared New England, memories of Hurricane Bob rushed
As Henri neared New England, memories of Hurricane Bob rushed
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