Q&A: What are the Northeast's big hurricanes? How are female Saudi Olympians faring?

Northeast's historical hurricanes

Given the track of recent hurricanes like Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Irene in 2011, I was wondering what's the farthest north a hurricane has hit the United States?

Three major hurricanes have hit as far north as Massachusetts, according to the National Hurricane Center. These were Storm 6 in 1869, the Great New England Hurricane of 1938 and Hurricane Edna in 1954.

Storm 6 killed a person in Massachusetts and knocked out all the telegraph lines between Boston and New York.

The Great New England hurricane killed between 700 and 800 people and caused $308 million in damage in New York and New England. It made landfall as a Category 3 storm, and Blue Hill Observatory, about 10 miles south of Boston, measured winds of 121 mph and gusts up to 183 mph.

On Sept. 11, 1954, New England was still recovering from Hurricane Carol when it was smacked by Edna, a Category 3 storm that followed a similar path just off the East Coast. Edna was responsible for 29 deaths and $42 million in damage.

Female Saudi Olympians' return

During the Olympics, 16-year-old Wojdan Shaherkani of Saudi Arabia made a valiant effort to represent the women of her country. We heard at the time that she would probably face discrimination, humiliation and be shunned upon her return home in a country where women cannot even leave the house without an escort. Can you shed any light on her life since August?

The London Olympics was the first in which Saudi Arabia allowed women to compete. It sent two: Wojdan Shaherkani in judo and Sarah Attar in the 800-meter run. Shaherkani lost her only match in 82 seconds, and Attar finished last in her heat.

Both were widely disparaged by their compatriots before and during the Olympics. Since then, there has been no news about either. We found a single post-Olympics story, from CNN on Aug. 13.

In it, Shaherkani's father Ali Seraj Shaherkani, who was a referee for some men's judo matches, said "after the competition, I returned home, I read on Twitter that somebody said bad words about my daughter. Three people on Twitter accused her of being a 'prostitute.' "

He told CNN before the games that about 75 percent of the people in his country disapproved of his daughter "because it's a new thing for Saudi Arabia to go outside the kingdom as a woman and compete in public."

"People think we are breaking our religion. But in our mind, we are not doing that. We are doing something I am proud of. We gave the whole world a good picture of the women in Saudi Arabia."

After the games, he told CNN, "maybe 80 to 85 percent" support his daughter, and she will continue to compete. "I hope my daughter can perform in the next Olympics in 2016," he said. "I think my daughter will get some medals some day."

Q&A: What are the Northeast's big hurricanes? How are female Saudi Olympians faring? 11/11/12 [Last modified: Sunday, November 11, 2012 3:30am]

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