Hurricane MitchOct. 29, 1988: Thanks to a massive human rescue effort, two gray whales break free after two weeks of entrapment in shore ice near Barrow, Alaska. A third gray whale is presumed to have drowned.

Oct. 29, 1992: In the final days of what would become a losing re-election campaign, U.S. President George H.W. Bush goes after the environmental advocacy of his opposition U.S. Sen. Al Gore of Tennessee, who is also Bill Clinton's running mate: "You know why I call him Ozone Man?" Bush said. "This guy is so far out in the environmental extreme, we'll be up to our neck in owls and outta work for every American. He is way out, far out, man."

Oct. 29, 1998: A category 5 hurricane rapidly loses power and simultaneously becomes one of the deadliest storms in history. The fierce winds of Hurricane Mitch (at right, on Oct. 26, 1998) eased dramatically as the storm made landfall in Central America. Mitch stalls for four days, pounding Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua with up to 75 inches of rain. Nearly 20,000 die as the rains unleash landslides in areas made unstable by decades of deforestation.

Oct. 29, 2012:  While only a Category One hurricane, Sandy becomes one of the most memorably destructive storms in U.S. history.  A surge of nearly 20 feet crippled New York City and destroyed iconic New Jersey beach towns.  Damage and at least 176 fatalities stretched from North Carolina to New England.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

This feature is compiled by Peter Dykstra, an MNN contributor and publisher of Environmental Health News and The Daily Climate.