PRINCETON — While most people today will remember Super Storm Sandy as the most powerful storm to hit New Jersey in their lifetime, Sandy is not the only storm to wreak havoc on the state.

It was 63 years ago that Hurricane Dianne churned up the east coast, causing close to $1 billion in damage, according to the National Weather Service. The damage caused by Diane hit especially close to home.

Sunday marks the 63rd anniversary of the death of former Ptl. Billie Ellis and two boys who drowned on Lake Carnegie during the storm. The department remembered Ellis, who was off duty at the time, with a Facebook post on Sunday. Ellis was part of a rescue effort to save the boys who were in a canoe when the storm hit.

The effort to save the boys included not only the local department, but also the New Jersey State Police, fire fighters and some Good Samaritans. The National Weather Service said close to 200 people died as a result of Hurricane Diane.

A week before it hit New Jersey the storm reached its peak as a Category 3 hurricane with sustained winds of 120 MPH, according to the weather service. By the time it made landfall the sustained winds dropped to around 50 MPH.

The Princeton Police Department will hold a wreath laying ceremony at the municipal complex to honor Ellis and the boys at 11 a.m. on Monday.


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