In 1853, Dickinson addressed the Sesquiennial Congress of the American Council of Meteorologists, Astrologers, Weather Forecasters and Oracles as Hurricane Edmonia approached the east coast, the first of three destructive hurricanes to criss-cross Pennsylvania that year. At that time, Dickinson warned the ACMAWFO that Emdmonia was “a tremendously big and a tremendously wet storm.”
Also at the ACMAWFO’s 1853 Sesquiennail Congress, Dickinson introduced the concept of “hunkering down” (although it would be several years more before he would research how and when someone should “hunker up”). Of course, some people in the path of the storm did not heed Dickinson’s advice to evacuate. Instead, they hunkered down to ride the storm out.
Below: A rare photograph from 1853 of Emmett Lee Dickinson addressing the Sesquiennial Congress of the American Council of Meteorologists, Astrologers, Weather Forecasters and Oracles as Hurricane Edmonia approached the east coast.
Dickinson wrote about the concept of hunkering down in his now-famous poem, “Now I hunker down to wait" (below on the left). Dickinson’s poem inspired third cousin Emily to pen her poem, “Now I lay thee down to Sleep" (below on the right).
By Emmett Lee Dickinson:
Now I hunker down to Wait –
I pray the Storm will Soon abate –
And if it floods before it’s through –
I’ll wish I had Skidaddled too –
By Emily Dickinson:
Now I lay thee down to Sleep –
I pray the Lord thy Dust to keep –
And if thou live before thou wake –
I pray the Lord thy Soul to make –
Following three devastating hurricanes in 1853, Emmett Lee Dickinson developed Hurricane Readiness Preparation Drills (HRPDs) which were adopted by the National Center for Hurricane Readiness and Preparation (NCHRP). He also invented two apparatuses, one for preparing to "hunker down" (below left) and one to "hunker up" (below right).
More information and pictures related to Dickinson's Hurricane Readiness Preparation Drills can be found HERE.
Below: Additional devices invented by Emmett Lee Dickinson for hurricane preparedness:
Left Top: Sock Drying Machine. Left Bottom: Child Drying Clips. Right: Surge Straps (used so that a storm surge won't carry you away).