Now in its third edition, North Carolina's Hurricane History is a popular illustrated history of the more than fifty great storms that have battered the Tar Heel state from the days of the first European explorers through 1999's devastating hurricane Floyd, which caused $6 billion in damages. Jay Barnes examined newspaper reports, National Weather Service records, and eyewitness descriptions to compile this extraordinary chronicle, which also features nearly 300 photographs, maps, and illustrations.
"Fascinating. . . . With compelling words and images, Barnes chronicles the destruction seen and the lessons learned from the storms.Raleigh News and Observer
"Packed with information. . . . An intense and emotional narrative.Coastwatch
"A very readable account of a subject whose dramatic history continues to unfold.North Carolina Historical Review
"This is arguably the best book ever produced about hurricaneswhat they are, what they do, and how to avoid the brunt of them.Southern Book Trade
"A solid reference book and a well-illustrated treasure trove for browsers.Wilmington Star-News
Jay Barnes, author of Florida's Hurricane History, is director of the North Carolina Aquarium in Atlantic Beach. He lives in Pine Knoll Shores.
|Publisher:||The University of North Carolina Press|
|Edition description:||Third Edition|
|Product dimensions:||6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.82(d)|
About the Author
Jay Barnes is director of the North Carolina Aquarium in Atlantic Beach. He lives in Pine Knoll Shores.
Read an Excerpt
Excerpt from Chapter 8
FLOYD (SEPTEMBER 16, 1999)
There were thirteen people on the roof, that cold stormy night. It was dark, and every sound you would hear would scare you. My dad, my uncle, and my grandpa had to wade through the water to get to the boat. My dad got gook and gunk all over him when he got back. The water had made a hole in the ground, my uncle fell in it. It scared all of us. We thought he was a goner. Abby McDonald, from Spooky Waters, a 1999 essay for her seventh-grade class at Jones Middle School in Trenton
In the days following the dissipation of Tropical Storm Dennis, the skies over eastern North Carolina returned to their normal pattern for late summer Ä hot, humid, and peppered with frequent afternoon thunderstorms. Rivers, streams, and ditches across the eastern counties flowed heavily with water from Dennis's rains. Saturated soils took in what they could, but gave up excess to flow downstream. More showers fell through early September, with some counties receiving as much as ten additional inches over the course of one week. These rains refilled creeks and swales, and set the stage for the arrival of a more ominous rainmaker Ä and monstrous flood Ä that would later become recognized as the greatest disaster in North Carolina history.
Hurricane Floyd emerged from the central Atlantic at the peak of the busy 1999 season and developed into the year's most awesome hurricane spectacle. It was indeed a very busy year, amidst an extremely active period of tropical activity. The 1999 season produced twelve named storms and eight hurricanes, five of which were major hurricanes. In fact, the five major storms that year Ä Bret, Cindy, Floyd, Gert, and Lenny Ä all reached category-four strength Ä a feat never before observed since reliable record-keeping began in 1886. And, the busy 1999 season capped off a dizzying five-year stretch that produced more Atlantic hurricanes than any similar period in recorded history. From 1995 through 1999, forecasters at the Hurricane Center worked around the clock to keep up with sixty-five named storms, forty-one hurricanes, and twenty major hurricanes with winds exceeding 110 mph. A number of these storms eventually affected North Carolina, including Hurricane Fran, which established itself as the new standard for Tar Heel hurricanes when it rolled across the state in 1996. But records were made to be broken, and it didn't take long Ä just three years Ä for Hurricane Floyd to replace Fran as the state's foremost weather event.
Floyd's course to America can be traced back to a tropical wave that emerged from western Africa on September 2. A depression on the seventh and a named tropical storm by the eighth, Floyd steadily grew in size and strength until it became a large hurricane at 8:00 A.M. on September 10. Its course toward the west was well above the vulnerable islands of the eastern Caribbean and far enough north to also avoid Puerto Rico and Hispaniola. While gathering steam on its approach to the eastern Bahamas, Floyd amassed a considerable volume of tropical moisture and grew to become a large, dynamic hurricane. Little or no wind shear and a ridge of high pressure aloft provided the setting for the storm's intensification. Satellite photos told the story as this monster reached it meteorological peak on September 13. With maximum sustained winds of 155 mph and a barometric low of 27.20 inches, Floyd was a borderline category five when it moved to within just 300 miles of the central Bahamas.
All eyes in the eastern U.S. were fixed on this large and dangerous cyclone, whose own eye was as pronounced as that of any classic hurricane. The storm's size was immediately impressive too, as televised reports in Florida compared satellite images of Floyd to pictures of Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Though the two storms were of similar intensity at nearly the same position in the Atlantic, Floyd's diameter was about three times that of Andrew, covering an impressive swath of the western Atlantic. Hurricane-force winds extended more than 125 miles out from the eye, and the overall storm was more than 400 miles across. Its formidable size and strength commanded the full attention of everyone with a television or radio from the eastern Bahamas to Florida and the southeastern U.S. coast.
Bahamians were the first to be blasted by the storm. On the night of September 13, Floyd changed heading and turned toward the west-northwest, passing only about thirty miles north of San Salvador and Cats Island. Fortunately, some weakening occurred during that evening, for on the morning of the fourteenth the storm's eyewall passed directly over central and northern Eleuthera. After a continued turn toward the northwest and more intensity fluctuations later that afternoon, Floyd struck Abaco Island with at least category-three wind speeds. Few news reports filtered out of the islands during the storm, but it was later learned that many beachfront properties were devastated. At least one Bahamian was killed, and damages were widespread throughout the affected islands.
All through this period, emergency managers and residents on Florida's east coast were thinking the worst and scrambling to execute their plans. A hurricane watch was issued for portions of the Florida coast on the morning of the thirteenth, then upgraded to a warning and shifted northward later that day. This storm appeared to be lunging toward the Cape Canaveral area, and most everyone on the Florida east coast packed their cars and fled. Almost seventy shelters opened along the coastal counties, and another seventy were put on stand-by. From Miami-Dade to Jacksonville, a mass exodus was underway with 1.3 million people told to flee. Highways jammed with cars, NASA's Kennedy Space Center was shut down, and for the first time in its twenty-five year history, Walt Disney World in Orlando was closed.
The hurricane continued to spin toward the northwest, but as the hours rolled by it became apparent that Florida would be spared a direct hit. Hurricane warnings were extended northward as the storm's center tracked parallel to the coast. Though Florida's coastal counties were spared the brunt of the worst winds, high surf crumbled piers and delivered significant erosion along the beaches. The highest reported sustained winds were 55 mph, with some gusts reaching 75 mph. As the eye passed 110 miles east of Cape Canaveral early on September 15, a data buoy rode mountainous seas 120 miles offshore, measuring 55-foot waves every 17 seconds. Floyd was still large and dangerous, and it was now edging up the coast toward the Carolinas.
Table of Contents
|1||Birth of a Hurricane||5|
|3||Watching the Storms||27|
|What's in a Name?||31|
|4||Early North Carolina Hurricanes, 1524-1861||33|
|5||Tar Heel Tragedies, 1875-1900||39|
|September 17, 1876||40|
|August 18, 1879||42|
|September 9, 1881||46|
|September 11, 1883||47|
|August 25, 1885||47|
|August 27-29, 1893||48|
|October 13, 1893||48|
|August 16-18, 1899||49|
|October 30-31, 1899||57|
|6||Hurricanes of the New Century, 1900-1950||63|
|November 13, 1904||64|
|September 17, 1906||64|
|September 3, 1913||64|
|July 14-16, 1916||66|
|September 18-19, 1928||66|
|October 1-2, 1929||66|
|August 22-23, 1933||67|
|September 15-16, 1933||68|
|September 18, 1936||73|
|August 1, 1944||75|
|September 14, 1944||76|
|7||Hurricane Alley, 1950-1960||79|
|Barbara (August 13, 1953)||80|
|Carol (August 30, 1954)||80|
|Edna (September 10, 1954)||81|
|Hazel (October 15, 1954)||82|
|Connie (August 12, 1955)||108|
|Diane (August 17, 1955)||110|
|Ione (September 19, 1955)||114|
|Helene (September 27, 1958)||119|
|Donna (September 11, 1960)||120|
|8||The Modern Era, 1960-1999||133|
|Ginger (September 30-October 1, 1971)||134|
|Agnes (June 20-21, 1972)||136|
|David (September 5, 1979)||136|
|Diana (September 9-14, 1984)||137|
|Gloria (September 26-27, 1985)||143|
|Charley (August 17-18, 1986)||147|
|Hugo (September 21-22, 1989)||149|
|Emily (August 31, 1993)||157|
|Bertha (July 12, 1996)||162|
|Fran (September 5-6, 1996)||172|
|Bonnie (August 26-28, 1998)||204|
|Dennis (August 30-September 5, 1999)||214|
|Floyd (September 16, 1999)||220|
|10||Creatures in the Storm||269|
|11||The Next Great Storm||277|