Thursday, March 10, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History #10 Disasters ~ Hurricane Hazel

Week 10: Disasters. Did you experience any natural disasters in your lifetime? Tell us about them. If not, then discuss these events that happened to parents, grandparents or others in your family.

I haven't really been through any disasters, not in the way I would describe disasters anyway.  Living in Canada I've been through many snow storms.  It is not to uncommon to get snowed in for a few days.  Once this past winter the roads here were closed for 3 days in a row, and a mess for another 2 days after that.  We were house bound for a week.  But I don't really consider things like that disasters.  We prepare for though things a head of time, because they do happen a few times each winter. 

Hurricane Hazel newspaper headlines, 1954, #2Image by Lone Primate via FlickrThe only disaster I have ever heard my family talk about was when Hurricane Hazel hit Toronto in 1954.
Hurricane Hazel newspaper headlines, 1954, #1Image by Lone Primate via FlickrIt wasn't something that was discussed much.  But I do remember hearing about the flooding in the streets and that they saw boats floating down the streets.  They had been blown in from the marinas.  I know my family was living in an apartment in Toronto at the time.  I'm going to have to ask my Aunt more about this event!

From what I've read Toronto, Ontario was one of the hardest hit places from Hurricane Hazel.  The area had received a heavy amount of rainfall before the storm hit, leaving the ground already saturated.  Most of the rain from Hazel rain right off into the rivers and raised their level by 6 to 8 meters.  Many roads were washed out and damaged, over 50 bridges destroyed.  Sadly killing 81 people. 
My Grandfather Gordon Laws was a cop for a few years in Toronto.  I wonder if he was during this disaster and what role he might have had in helping.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Hazel, this hous...Image via Wikipedia  To read posts by others in the 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History series visit GeneaBloggers.