Local hurricane buff to give talk today on ‘L.I. Express’

09/21/2013 7:57 AM |

SUFFOLK COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY PHOTO | A houseboat sinks near S.T. Preston’s dock in Greenport during the ‘Long Island Express’ hurricane of 1938.

For as long as he can remember, John Holzapfel of Orient has been interested in the New England Hurricane of 1938 and its impact on the North Fork.

A retired Shoreham-Wading River High School science teacher with a master’s in marine studies, the self-proclaimed history buff has done his fair share of research on the “Long Island Express.”

His fascination with the storm heightened in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, which devastated the region last year.

Special Report: Remembering the ‘L.I. Express hurricane of 1938′

Now, 75 years after that early storm struck, Mr. Holzapfel is preparing to present “The Hurricane of ’38,” a talk co-sponsored by the Oysterponds Historical Society and Peconic Landing, on Saturday, Sept. 21. The presentation will start at 4 p.m. at Peconic Landing’s community center in Greenport.

The program will begin with a brief description of how hurricanes form, followed by a discussion of the special conditions that made the 1938 storm so disastrous for the East End.

The highlight, Mr. Holzapfel said, will be firsthand recollections of the storm. He’ll also show photos of damage sustained from Orient to Greenport.

To Mr. Holzapfel, one of the most noteworthy facts about the hurricane was that locals didn’t see it coming.

“They didn’t expect it,” he said. “It should have gone out to sea.”

The talk is free of charge and no registration is necessary. For more information, visit oysterpondshistoricalsociety.org or call 323-2480.

cmurray@timesreview.com

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