Hermine Dampens Labor Day, But Causes Little Damage

By: Alan Pollock

A downed tree on Vacation Lane, Harwich.  ALAN POLLOCK PHOTO

It provided an interesting diversion for throngs of Labor Day weekend beachgoers and sightseers, but the storm called Hermine left the Lower Cape virtually unscathed.

First a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico, Hermine emerged in the Atlantic as a tropical storm but quickly lost its tropical characteristics, earning it the unwieldy title of “post-tropical cyclone.” It caused sustained winds of less than 50 mph, gusting on Nantucket to 58; the highest gust at Chatham Airport was recorded at 38 mph.

 

Tropical storm warnings were lifted Tuesday, and the remnants of the storm were expected to cause on-and-off gusty winds and showers through mid-week.

Sustained easterly winds caused large surf on the outer beach, seen by throngs of visitors to Nauset and Lighthouse beaches. The coastal erosion prompted Orleans officials to close North (Nauset) Beach to off-road vehicles, and Chatham Harbormaster Stuart Smith said crews would be taking soundings in the Chatham Harbor entrance channel, where severe shoaling was reported.

A number of small boats grounded during the storm, but the bulk of the Chatham fishing fleet had taken refuge in Ryder's Cove for the storm. A large yacht, the 193-foot Itasca hailing from the Cayman Islands, anchored off Harding's Beach during the storm; it came to Chatham from Edgartown to ride out the northeast winds in the lee of the land.

Gusty winds downed a number of tree limbs and caused isolated power outages, but crews quickly restored service in each case. Hermine departed having left only about a half-inch of rain, far less than what is needed to break the season's drought.   

A catboat parted its mooring in Jackknife Harbor and came to rest on the sand at Head of the Bay Beach in East Harwich. ALAN POLLOCK PHOTO

 

 

Sightseers check the shoreline at Cow Yard landing, North Chatham. ALAN POLLOCK PHOTO

The luxury yacht Itasca sought refuge from the northeast winds by anchoring off Harding's Beach. The yacht is for sale for $18.79 million, but the price apparently does not include the helicopter. ALAN POLLOCK PHOTO

 

 

The Lighthouse Beach patrol holds vigil at the overlook, in the lee of a television news truck. KAT SZMIT PHOTO

Storm-driven surf washes over the marsh at Jackknife Harbor, East Harwich. KAT SZMIT PHOTO