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Editorial: The Great August Storm

They suspected nothing. Gloucester and Mathews residents, 90 years ago this week, carried on dealing with the grinding economic Depression and the day-to-day difficulties of bringing up their families, fattening their hogs, and putting up produce for the winter.

The Depression was hard enough. Worse was to come. On August 22, 1933, the barometer dropped, the tide rose, and the wind started to howl. The next day brought extreme danger. What residents gazed upon as the sun rose on Aug. 24, 1933, the morning after the storm, broke their hearts.We are on the eve of the 90th anniversary of the Great August Storm of 1933. That hurricane lived in the memories of its local survivors for generations, although few now remain who can tell you about it.

We have gone back to a commemorative issue of 1983—50 years after the big storm—for some of the stories that made this hurricane legendary. It has been termed the greatest natural disaster on record here; Hurricane Isabel in 2003 came close,...

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