Faux Fernandina – A Hurricane Dora photo – A look back

By Susan Hardee Steger
May 9,  2022

Initially posted June 2017

Editor’s Note:  This story assisted me notice the amazing power of the press.  Now when a person posts the “Faux Fernandina” image, on Facebook, it is speedily dismissed.  Many thanks to my old close friend Clint Loaded for aiding me debunk the myth. 

Almost never does a back-and-forth Fb dialogue seize my interest, but a new a person certainly did. The conversation started when region native Terry McKendree posted a picture of a row of seashore homes with a tsunami-like wave crashing in the background. Definitely an notice grabber, the picture was supposedly taken in Fernandina Beach in 1964 through Hurricane Dora, a single of the worst hurricanes to visit our coastal group in my life time.

McKendree was certain of the photo’s origin after all, the image was incorporated in a 2014 Countrywide Weather conditions Provider publication entited  “The 50th Anniversary of “Hurricane Dora The Storm of Legend in Jacksonville,”  by Nationwide Climate Service meteorologist Al Sandrick. It was presented at the Florida Governor’s Hurricane Conference citing Fernandina Beach front – Amelia Island as the photo’s location. Sandrick’s caption study, “Note the measurement of residences to wave action!”

The Facebook dialogue ongoing to pique my interest as Fernandina indigenous William Willis joined in to authenticate the picture with an eyewitness report: “It took place for the duration of the day. I was at north beach, I went exterior into the eye, and witnessed the destructive wave.”

An additional Fernandina native and Fb poster, Clint Rich, was uncertain. He experienced witnessed the image at Ron Jon’s Surf Store in Cocoa Beach front in the early 1970s. (A great way to promote surf boards!) Wealthy mentioned three unique folks, we suppose unrelated, have informed him their father or grandfather captured the image from the dunes on the north end of Amelia.

Prolonged-time resident Clinch Kavanaugh noticed the very same photo in a store on the Outer Financial institutions of North Carolina in the late 1990s. Michael Leary confirmed the Outer Banking companies attribute when he posted the photograph with the inscription, “Ash Wednesday Storm, March 7, 1962, Kitty Hawk, N. C.”

A equivalent picture is attributed to a 1962 Ash Wednesday Storm in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

The newest depend on McKendree’s first publish reveals the photo was shared by 62 persons. The ripple outcome has been awesome!

The “wave photo” is truly ubiquitous. Years ago when I attended an Emergency Administration presentation, the wave scene was the first photograph shown. It was intended to scare the dickens out of those in attendance. Lately, at the common assembly of the Fernandina Beach front City Fee, the image appeared in Vice Mayor Len Kreger’s presentation of a Dune and Seaside Management System. It even appeared on the city’s internet site.

According to Abundant, each 12 months all around hurricane season the doubtful photo seems. A few of months prior to McKendree’s put up, Abundant stated to his wife, “Get all set for the picture to pop up all over again!” And suddenly it appeared.

Lest you feel I’m judging everyone for believing the photo’s nearby origin, I was duped myself! I procured the picture in the late 1990s from a photo store on Sadler Road. It ought to have been a big vendor considering the fact that my co-worker Suanne Thamm bought the picture at the same store. I was explained to that Ray Caldwell, previous editor of the News Leader, took the photograph from the lighthouse. When Robert Feige, longtime staff of the Information Chief joined the Fb thread and posted many webpages of the Information Chief Hurricane Dora protection without the huge wave photo, I became a non-believer. This photograph is for certain “Faux Fernandina.”

And the tale carries on . . .

A Google lookup led me to a conversation on an Outer Banks website, and there all over again was the image! When a discussion board participant questioned if the picture was actual, Eve Turek, perfectly-recognized photographer and proprietor of Yellow Residence Gallery in Nags Head, responded.

Her condensed response follows:

Turek sells copies of the wave photograph in her gallery. All over 2009, a customer identified the photographer as Linda Westerman. Ultimately, Turek and Westerman fulfilled, and Westerman showed Turek a destructive of the authentic photo along with other shots she took in the summer.

Westerman defined to Turek that in 1972, she waited tables on the Outer Banking institutions for the duration of her summer time break from college or university. As a high-quality arts big, with a emphasis on images, she set up her personal darkroom. An assignment for her senior portfolio was to produce a “trick” a photograph by stacking two or much more negatives alongside one another. 1 of her images was a close-up of a wave throughout a summer time squall the other photo was of a row of properties Westerman thinks have been located in Kitty Hawk. According to Turek, “she produced the composite image with no intention of deceiving Outer Bankers.” Turek continues to offer the photographs in her Yellow Property Gallery, but royalties now go to Westerman.

So how did the picture attain the inscription “Ash Wednesday Storm?” Turek believes that an individual basically examined the photo and made a decision it will have to have been taken all through the famous Ash Wednesday Storm of 1962.

No matter if or not the higher than information and facts could at any time keep up in a courtroom of regulation is anyone’s guess, but with all the circumstantial proof we have, I’m contemplating the mystery solved.

The photograph in issue was not taken in Fernandina Seashore for the duration of Hurricane Dora.

I can guarantee you that my duplicate of the image is destined for the trash, but like Clint Rich, I will expect to see that familiar faux picture on Facebook in 2018 just as the upcoming hurricane time begins.

Editor’s Note: In the occasion the Fernandina Observer is able to identify Linda Westerman who took the authentic photograph, we will prepare a observe up report. Our thanks to Eve Turek, owner of the Yellowhouse Gallery who graciously took my cellular phone simply call and is assisting us in our quest to identify Westerman. Turek’s testimony is reliable!

To watch comprehensive testimony from Eve Turek, simply click below and scroll down to EveT reaction.

Update: Immediately after a extensive delay, I was ready to reach Linda Westerman regarding her picture. Linda was conscious the photograph appeared in an Outer Banking institutions restaurant, but she was flabbergasted that the photograph experienced made its way down the coast of Florida and to the address of the 2014 Nationwide Weather Services generate-up. She verified the merged photo was a photography assignment when she was in higher education. Westerman reported the Tsunami wave was taken when the ocean waves ended up rather relaxed.  By the way, she received an “A” for her project.


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