Storm Toll Heavy; Scores Are Homeless

AFRO Archived History

by: AFRO Staff Originally Published Dec. 2, 1950
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This week the Northeastern part of the United States braces for a blizzard that threatens to shut down most of the states in the affected area. As government officials and citizens alike prepare for the worst, we take a look back at when we’ve seen this before, In 1950, the United States was hit with a similarly devastating winter storm, hundreds were killed and millions of dollars in damage assessed.

Dec. 2, 1950

Property damage extending well up into the millions and a total of more than 200 dead, to say nothing of untold suffering and inconvenience to thousands of others, followed in the wake of last week’s storm.

The American Red Cross reports that the storm caused hardship to over 2 million persons.

Ohio, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania were hardest hit.

New Jersey this week is putting itself out of the wreckage and havoc brought by a gale Saturday which at its height reached a velocity of 108 miles an hour, leaving in its wake 32 dead, thousands homeless, hundreds injured, many missing and damages running into the millions.

The fatally injured include John Henry Kyle, 26, of 94 Court St., Newark, who was electrocuted by broken power lines;

Henry Johnson, 70, of 32 Chester Ave., Newark, who was killed by a hit-and-run driver during the storm;

Mrs. Ronnie Cartham, 60, of 411 Crapenter St., Bordertown, who was burned to death in a fire which started when winds swept down the chimney and fanned the flames of an oil stove out of control.

Also, two other members of the Cartham family were seriously burned. They were Miss Helen Cartham, 19, and her sister, Mattie, 12. The seven other members of the family escaped uninjured.

However, another daughter of the fatally burned woman was seriously injured when the wind swept a car she was driving from the highway near Princeton.

She is Mrs. Malinda Johnson, 28, of 189 Jefferson St., Trenton. Two other passengers were also injured. They are Mrs. Josephine Thornton, 34, of 189 Jefferson St. and Miss Regina Brown, 18, of 187 Old Rose St., both of Trenton.

Causes of death to the 32 storm victims were:

Electrocuted by fallen wires, 3; drowning, 11; killed by falling trees, 6; killed by automobiles, 6; died of heart attacks attributed to the storm, 3; burned to death, 1; killed by flying debris, 2.

Some 400,000 homes were left powerless. Several thousand persons were forced to flee their home in the Raritan and Delaware Bay flood areas.

State troopers estimated approximately 120 homes were washed away in the 18 mile strip between Port Norris and Sea Bright.

Of the several million dollars in damage done, about 3 million was concentrated in the vicinity of Newark and the Oranges. Heavy damages were suffered by the seashore area including Asbury Park, Long Branch and Atlantic City.

In Newark proper the streets were littered with an estimated 550 tons of wreckage, 50 tons of which was broken glass.

The snow forced cancellation of bus service in Columbus, Cleveland, Dayton, Akron and Youngstown, Ohio. By Monday, 22 of 65 Cleveland bus lines were in operation.

Schools were not expected to reopen before Tuesday and Monday was declared a permissive holiday for banks and building and loan associations.

25-Foot Snow Drifts

In Canton, the roof of a night club collapsed but no one was injured. Across the State, highways were blocked and in some places the snow drifts were 25 feet high.

At Pittsburgh, only three of the city’s trolley lines were operating on Monday after an all-time record snowfall of 27 inches. Industrial life will be at a standstill for several days.

Washington, Pa., 30 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, had a fall of 33 inches. The Pennsylvania Turnpike was ordered closed.

Some 300 convicts were saved as fire razed a wooden Alabama State prison barracks at Montgomery, Sunday. The water had frozen making firefighting impossible.

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