West Palm Beach, FL Hurricane, Sept 1928
Tell of Seeing Storm.
Mr. and Mrs. John W. Muskoff, Jr., are back in Jacksonville after watching the storm that bore down on West Palm Beach, wrecking buildings and homes and wounding their occupants. The storm struck West Palm Beach Sunday afternoon and the Muskoffs reached Jacksonville Monday night after a drive over miles of debris-littered highways.
"The town," said Mr. Muskoff, a young Jacksonville attorney, "was one mass of debris. The streets were so littered as to make them almost impassible.
"We were driving up from Miami and reached West Palm Beach shortly after noon. A brisk wind was blowing. Suddenly a roof of a building went sailing through the sky. I looked around for the most secure hotel I could find and drove there. When we got out of the car we could not walk against the wind.
"As we entered the hotel there were many others already there. The crowd stood about, looking outdoors. By this time a drenching rain had set in. There could be heard crashes and rumblings. The tiles on our hotel roof clanked off to the pavement at irregular intervals.
Lull Between Storms.
"The first storm struck about 4 or 4:30 in the afternoon. It must have lasted a couple of hours. Then there was a lull of an hour or so and it came again. The second storm seemed to be the worst of the two. The first wind was from the north and the second from the south.
"I would estimate that nearly 20 per cent of the homes in West Palm Beach were wrecked or damaged. Many buildings were wrecked, but the bigger and more substantial buildings stood, of course, although many windows were blown out.
"A string of furniture stores on North Poinsetta street were hard hit.
"The man where I put my car said it was the only storage garage of any size to withstand the storm. And the walls of this building, the Service Garage, were only partly there.
Trees Snapped Off.
"So vicious was the wind it snapped off coconut palms--you know how tough they are supposed to be.
"The high wind whipped the rain into places it would not have gone ordinarily, and this must have added to the discomfort as well as to the damage.
"I saw a number of people with cuts and bruises and one or two with broken limbs. It was a rather gruesome sight, people with their heads tied up, and so on. I don't know whether there were any deaths. I asked the police chief and said he didn't see how the tow could have escaped without some deaths.
"Some of the injured were taken to our hotel and others of the wounded to other buildings, including the courthouse.
"The crowds were as a whole orderly, although some of them appeared a little excited. They stood about in the corridors of the buildings. Some of the youngsters were crying. There were no lights, no water and no gas. Drinking water was scarce until the American Legion men found some. The legion also distributed blankets.
"The roads were littered much of the way out of West Palm Beach for a distance of about forty-five miles up as far as Stuart, after that, we did not see much storm damage.
"Not much was heard of Palm Beach as it is across some water, and telephone lines were down."
Dallas Morning News, Dallas, TX 19 Sept 1928