Gloria Breezes Through Seacoast

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Hampton Had One of the Worst Outages

By Ed Ballam

Hampton Union, Thursday, October 2, 1985

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online]
Several utility poles, near Jerry's Restaurant, Route 1, Hampton, were knocked down by high winds, causing major power outages in the area as Gloria raced through the marsh. Photo: Ed Ballam.

HAMPTON -- Before the hurricane hit here Friday the catch was -- "Is Gloria going to hit?" After the hurricane raced through town the buzz words were -- "It could have been a lot worse."

Days after the storm, people were still picking up tree limbs and assessing property damage.

Most of the damage was confined to downed trees and limbs and damage associated with power failures. Some Hampton residents were without power for more than 60 hours. According to an Exeter Hampton Electric Company spokesman, Hampton was one of the worst in the Seacoast to be hit with power outages.

Tie up brush

Public Works Director George Hardardt said the department will only pick up three-foot bundles of brush, tied up with twine and capable of fitting into a garbage truck. Individual property owners are responsible for removing any other material and debris and are advised to take it to the landfill on Landing Road.

Hardardt said the department workers have put in about 150 hours cleaning up after the storm, costing the town more than $1,800.

Gloria hit Hampton at about 2 p.m. and was over by 7 p.m. on Friday. Power was lost almost as soon as the storm hit downing trees and telephone poles.

Winds up to 80 mph

Most of the hurricane's force had diminished by the time it reached town, but steady winds in excess of 50 miles per hour, with gusts of up to 80 miles per hour; were recorded at the beach fire station.

Dean Krapf, manager of Wickes Lumber said he sold more than 500 sheets of plywood and pressboard in a 24-hour period and at least 300 2x4-inch studs to board up windows and secure buildings. He also exhausted his supply of masking and duct tape.

Wickes was not the only business cleaned out of supplies.

Hampton Village Hardware, 2 High Street, sold out of nearly every storm-related item in stock, despite truckload deliveries from the store's warehouse Wednesday and Thursday.

Lanterns, duct tape, batteries, lantern oil and other assorted items were sold at such a rate that by Friday morning, after extended hours on Thursday evening, most of the storm stock was depleted.

Bread, batteries and beer were hot selling items at S & R Food Center on Lafayette Road, according to James Royal Sr., owner of the store. Each one of his cash registers rang up sales steadily for almost two days as people picked up last minute supplies.

Ralph Scamman, manager of the Hampton Arco Station on the corner of Lafayette and Winnacunnet roads, reported that he sold over 6,000 gallons of gasoline just before the storm. He commented that on an average day, he sells about 3,500 gallons and that nearly everyone who purchased gasoline filled their tanks.

Video rentals heavy

Mark Webb, owner and manager of Hollywood and Vine Video, Lafayette Road, said even though he closed early on Friday, more than half of his 1,000 rental movies were out. He said most people rented two movies in anticipation of bad weather. However, with the power out, the movies were never used.

William Holmes, a visitor from Salt Lake City, Utah, was one of the people who stocked up before the storm. Holmes said he was staying at the Hampton Motor Inn, Lafayette Road and had never been in a hurricane.

"I'm very excited," Holmes said. "I might go down to the beach and take pictures."

Holmes, however, probably never got to the beach because police placed "informational roadblocks" on all major roads to the beach and advised people not to go to the shore in the event the storm hit with full force.

A voluntary evacuation of the beach began at about 11 a.m. Friday. Fire and police vehicles patrolled the beach and fire personnel used bull horns to tell people the location of evacuation centers.

180 people evacuated

More than 180 people left their homes for the safety of the Hampton Academy Junior High School, the building used to house the evacuees. The school was empty at the time because schools were cancelled Friday. The evacuees were fed lunch and dinner with food commandeered from local markets.

One of the Hampton firefighters took six trays of bread off the Nissen's Bakery truck as it made a delivery to S & R to feed evacuees at the school and fire and police personnel stationed at the Emergency Operations Center, located at the Winnacunnet Road fire station.

According to Hardardt, it was the first time all three departments worked together in one building in cooperation with each other.

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