Keep Your Eyes on the Sky

On Tuesday night, a tornado watch was on. A tornado in our area? It’s unusual but not unheard of here or on Long Island.

Published September 21, 2012 10:44 PM
2 min read

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On Tuesday night, a tornado watch was on. A tornado in our area? It’s unusual but not unheard of here or on Long Island.


By John Carolin

On Tuesday night, a tornado watch was on. A tornado in our area? It’s unusual but not unheard of here or on Long Island.

The front page of August 2, 1935 edition of The New York Times includes a news story in which two friends and I are “rescued” when a tropical “twister” struck the Great South Bay.

What I remember is that it was a beautiful summer day when four of us set out through Fire Island Inlet for a day of fishing in the Atlantic.

We were about six miles offshore when the northwest sky began to darken, so we had sense enough to head back. Just as the twister hit, we were at the mouth of Fire Island Inlet and we jumped overboard in our life preservers. Between the time the wind hit us and we were pushed onto the beach was about 30 seconds, the noise and wind were so strong.

All four of us stood in bright sunlight. The twister passed out to sea quickly.

The boat was pushed up on the beach, and the only harm done to us, or the 30-foot, 6-cylinder powerboat, occurred when the Coast Guard cutter came along and hauled the boat back in the water!

The Times story describes how the storm hit Westchester County on its way across the Sound and Long Island. All of which proves that a tornado or a “twister”, as Long Islanders used to call them, can be deadly. Several men in a fishing boat following us that day drowned.

There were no exotic radio or electronic devices in 1935, other than common broadcast radio that gave weather information. We always “kept our eye on the sky!”


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