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This Day in History, October 15th, 2022 – “Hurricane Hazel”

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It was just 68 years ago today, October 15, 1954, when Haiti, the United States, and Canada felt the destructive power of Hurricane Hazel, a category 4 monster that wreaked havoc, mostly as an extratropical storm in Toronto, Canada. Hazel started on October 5 around Haiti and caused severe damage, but the storm was not done yet. On October 15 the storm charged right into North Carolina, wiping out several homes along the coastline.

Instead of continuing out into the Atlantic like most hurricanes, the storm cut across the United States. Though it was now a tropical depression, the winds it carried with it were equal to a category 1 hurricane, reaching speeds up to 100 mph. The storm broke apart over the city of Toronto. The rains from Hazel weren’t bad enough, but prior to the extratropical storm reaching the city, heavy rains had already swollen the river banks. So, when Hazel arrived, devastation ensued. More than 50 bridges were wiped out, thousands were left homeless, and a total of 81 deaths occurred as a result of massive flooding and powerful winds.

In total, the estimated death toll reached over 1,000. Since 1954, no other Canadian hurricane has caused more deaths. As a result, the name Hazel has been taken off the official name for hurricanes, hoping it will never happen again. In the end, mother nature has had a long history of damage and destruction, is there a way to be better prepared to lessen the destruction of our historical enemy the hurricane?

What was happening yesterday, on October 14th?


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