Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Weather

Hurricane Irma is being compared to Donna, which slammed Florida back in 1960

Weather experts say Hurricane Irma reminds them most of Hurricane Donna, a storm that made landfall near Marathon on Sept. 10, 1960, packing winds of 130 mph. The storm destroyed more than 2,000 homes. Here are some photos of the storm's aftermath.

(Times files)

This photo provided by Marie Sirucka, shows the flood waters surrounding her family's Masaryktown in 1960, after Hurricane Donna dumped up to 27 inches of rain in 4 days, forcing them out of their house. The family also lost 12,000 chickens they had on their farm. The floods set the stage for the creation of Swiftmud and the Masaryktown Canal, which now protects the area from flooding.

(Times staff)

Marathon shores business district ... Looked like this after Hurricane Donna.

RELATED: As Hurricane Irma approaches, here are the best and worst case scenarios for Tampa Bay.

(Times staff)

Hurricane Donna OVERTURNED AND RIPPED...to shreds were house trailers at Shady Rest in Naples. Note boat at left.

(Times staff)

Overturned Truck. Hurricane Donna

(Del Marth | Times)

CLASSROOM ROOF AT ST. JOSEPH'S SCHOOL...west of Bradenton was blown 75 yards away. Hurricane Donna

(George Sweers | Times)

THIS 20-FOOT CATBOAT SANK...during Hurricane Donna winds and rains. It was moored near the bridge to Vina Del Mar at Pass-A-Grille. Owners declined to be identified.

(Stewart Marston | Times)

DONNA'S DEMOLITION AT BONITA BEACH... This was the Gulf front home of Cass and Polly North at Bonita Beach. It was on pilings high above the water line but was picked up and hurled across Hickory Road into a mangrove swamp. This house was not bombed, though it appears to have been.

(Stewart Marston | Times)

YACHTING IN MANGROVES...the skipper of this boat didn't mean to have it wind up in the mangroves but that's what happened. Old timers say a mangrove cannot be beat for tying up to in a Hurricane Donna. This photo was taken from an airplane at Fort Myers Beach.

(Dan Hightower | Times)

THIS CRUMPLED SHEET OF METAL...once sheltered a spacious rear yard patio at 3710 Shore Acres Blvd., St. Petersburg. It twisted off during the storm and ended up in a vacant lot next door.

(Times staff)

While a trailer park at Bonita Beach, north of Naples was demolished and over a dozen trailers hurled and swept across the channel, some like this one broke up as it careened against dock pilings. Right rear are some of the demolished trailers on other side of narrow bay.

(Stewart Marston | Times)

'CLOSED ON THURSDAYS'...declares sign in midst of pile of cement blocks that once was a restaurant at battered Bonita Beach. Owner took time to stack up some of the blocks and to erect this sign.

(Jack Ramsdell | Times)

Mrs. Mary Lee Platt and her children inspect a light plane blown into the creek by their house south of Fort Myers. Hurricane Donna hurled the craft from the Fort Myers Airport, across the road.

(Times staff)

THE ECKERD DRUG STORE...in the Cleveland Plaza Shopping Center had the distinction of losing the largest glass store front in Clearwater to the high fringe winds of Hurricane Donna. The Eckerd Drug Store Here workmen clean up the debris in preparation to replacing the window.

(Bruce Tibbo | Times)

ALERT TO PREVENT LOOTING...two National Guardsmen check a Madeira Beach filling station closed during the hurricane. Armed with loaded guns, Guardsmen guarding the beaches were told to use them if necessary.

(Times files)

Photo 1: On 9 Sep, Hurricane "Donna" ripped with full force across the middle Florida Keys, lashing the coral islands with winds surpassing 150 mph, cascading water across the tiny strips of land and leaving devastation that made some blitzes of WWII seem insignificant. Then the angry lady from the Caribbean cut a path into the Florida peninsula, slamming roughshod over the Florida Keys, Everglades City, Naples, Fort Myers, Arcadia, Wauchula, Fort Meade, Bartow, Lakeland, Auburndale, Winter Haven and on up through the rich citrus belt, heading back out to sea near St Augustine.

Photo 2: Camp Site, Marathon Key Hurricane Donna, September 1960 Elements of the 1st and 2nd BG, 211th Inf, 2nd Bn, 265th Arty and 160th Trans Bn were ordered to State Active Duty.

Tim Rozgonyi

Twitter: @timrozgonyi

e-mail: [email protected]

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