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  • Don Wilding

When Eastham became an island


Canoe became the preferred form of transportation when high tides cut off Eastham from Orleans during the "Blizzard of 78." (Cape Codder file photo) Click here for the full story.

On many occasions, including the recent storm of Jan. 23, pieces of the Outer Cape have technically become an island after storm tides breached the dunes of Ballston Beach in Truro, spilling sea water into the Pamet River.

Though not nearly as frequently, the Outer Cape has also achieved island status in Eastham during severe storms, just north of the Route 6 rotary, near the site of the “Jeremiah’s Gutter” canal, which once connected the bay and ocean during the 1800s.

One such breach occurred 38 years ago on Feb. 6 and 7, during the famous “Blizzard of ’78.” Many readers know the story of this storm by now — it’s still the weather event that others are measured by. Most of southern New England was battered by record snow, but out here on the Outer Cape, it was all about the tides.

“It was the biggest tidal event I’d ever seen, so, for me, it wasn’t the ‘Blizzard of ’78’; it was the ‘Great Tidal Event of ’78,’” longtime radio newsman Bob Seay has recalled on several occasions.

Astronomically high tides (14.5 feet above mean low water), combined with a storm surge of four feet, not only sent water inland through Nauset Marsh and Town Cove from the ocean side, but in from the bay side as well.

To read the rest of the story, check out my "Shore Lore" column in today's Cape Codder.

#CapeCodder #Blizzardof1978 #Nauset #Eastham #Orleans #JeremiahsGutter #GovernorPrenceRoad

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