Dr. Kelvin Ramsey of the Delaware Geological Survey said the reason the storm was so devastating was because it was slow-moving.
“What happened in the March ’62 storm — I believe there was a high-pressure system to the north that slowed down the storm,” he explained. “So, rather than a half a day — one tidal cycle — this storm actually affected the coastline for five [cycles].
“For each tidal cycle, you have the normal tidal waters that are building up,” Ramsey explained, “and they were not allowed their normal course of flowing back offshore.”
Ramsey said that the combination of the winds and building tidal cycles created a “worst case scenario for the Delaware coast.”
“In March ’62, you had those five tidal cycles, with waves and the wind,
so the entire Atlantic barrier was knocked down. For a period of time, it was a big open body of water. So everything along the coast was pretty much destroyed. It was bad. We cannot even
fathom how bad it was.”