Hurricanes that have affected North Carolina
Gale Roars Down Over Carolinas
Coastal Cities 'Dig In' In Face of Terrific Wind
Shipping Nears Standstill Before Threat of Hurrican Sweeping Up Coast From Florida;
Storm Expected to Hit Hardest at Cape Hatteras, Wilmington and Virginia Beaches
Published in The Daily Times-News, Burlington, NC, 15 Sep 1933
Wilimngton, Sept 15 - Taking every precaution, residents of the Carolinas and Virginia "dug in" today to guard against the vicious winds of a tropical storm that is expected to strike the coast tonight or early Saturday.
Coastwise vessels and residents along the beaches were warned that the winds were of great instensity, and the hurricane winds would be over a sonsiderable area.
The storm is expected to strike the Atlantic coast between Cape Hatteras and Wilmington. Reports at 11:30 am, chartered the hurricane as approximately 300 miles east of Savannah, Ga, and 200 miles south of Cape Hatteras, moving northwest or northwest by north, with the center reaching the southern coast of North Carolina late tonight or Saturday morning.
Terrific Winds Coming Up
Falling barometers in the area forecast the approach of the terrific winds, Charleston, SC, reported increasing winds, although that port was believed to be out of the greatest danger from the storm. Hurricane warnings were not posted at Charleston, but they were raised from Wilmington to Cape Hatteras.
City officials at Southport, NC, warned citizens of the storm and made preparations for extra forces to keep communication lines repaired in case of damage. Residents of both Southport and Brunswick county prepared for the storm.
Police were making a hours-to-house canvass at Willoughby Beach and Ocean View, hit so hard by the hurricane that struck in Virginia, August 23. The residents were being advised to leave their homes, although they were told they could use their own discretion. The storm will reach its height at 6 am Saturday in that area, it was predicted.
The barometer was slightly below normal at Norfolk, Va, and was falling fast at Cape Hatteras.
Manteo, Sept 15 - Residents of Willoughby beach and Ocean View so hard hit by the hurricane of August 23, this morning were being warned by police of another storm, believed to be more severe, approaching and to vacate their homes.
Acting on the weather forecast of a hurricane tonight, predicted to reach its height tomorrow at 6 am, police were making a house to house canvass, telling people they can use their own discretion but advising them to leave their homes.
The barometer was slightly below normal here but was falling fast at Cape Hatteras on the North Carolina coast, where the weather bureau says the storm will strike first. The entire Carolina-Virginia coast has been warned of its approach.
Morehead City In Path
Elizabeth City, Sept 15 - Advices received at coast guard headquarters here at noon today indicated the brunt of the hurricane will be felt at Cape Lookout, Beaufort and Morehead City.
The sea was reported running fairly high at Nag's Head and Kill Hill on the outer banks of the coast.
Weather was unsettled here with rain and brisk north and northeast winds. No serious blow was anticipated in this area.
Published in The Daily Times-News, Burlington NC, 16 Sep 1933
NC Reels Under Hurricane's Blow
Gale Rages With Unabated Force Causing Widespread Damage Over Coastal Areas
Waters Sweep Out New Bern-Neuse Bridge
New Bern and Other Towns Count Damage in Millions
Storm Gaining in Intensity
Roaring winds of a tropical hurricane lasthed the North Carolina and Virginia coasts today, bringing with them exceedingly high tides and rains that were adding to the damage.
Two persons were known to have drowned while a third man was reported missing. The damage was estimated in several millions.
Several towns in the path of the storm were reported to be partially inundated while crippled communication lines to other cities hindered a complete report of damage in those sections.
The storm, which struck the coast cities last night and this morning, was the second to come out of the tropics this week. A hurricane sweeping the Mexican coast earlier caused 32 deaths and great property damage.
Norfolk, Va, which suffered the vicious winds of a tropical disturbance last month, again was flooded today by water almost a foot deep. Rains deluged the city and winds of 55 miles an hour were recorded.
The storm centered near Cape Hatteras at noon, and is moving northward about 10 miles an hour, expecting to pass near Cape Henry on the Virginia coast this afternoon or early tonight. Residents in that area had taken to safety to escape the storm's fury.
New York and New Jersey coasts also have been swept by rains the past four days with streets and cellars flooded.
Neuse River Bridge Washed Away
Coast guard headquarters at Norfolk reported the bridge over the Neuse river at New Bern, NC, had been swept away by high tides, but highway engineers at Raleigh expressed the opinion that only part of the mile long bridge erected at a cost of $300,000 had been swept away. Damage in the New Bern area was estimated at $1,000,000.
Communication with Morehead City, Beaufort and Elizabeth City, NC, and at Hatteras, Va, was disrupted by the winds. Roofs were blown away from small buildings.
The excessive rains and high tides were doing much damage to crops, according to reports. Rain was reported as worse at Ocean View and Willoughby Beach, hit by the hurricane last month, than on any other place along the Virginia coast.
The deaths reported thus far occurred at sea where a seaman was swept to his death as a wave struck the motorship Sun, and a negro fisherman was drowned late yesterday near Nag's Head, NC. Maxie Barry, a negro coastguardsman, was thought lost between Manteo, NC, and the Sea Island coast guard station.
70-Mile Gale At Plymouth
Plymouth, Sept 16 - A gale of 70-mile velocity swept Plymouth between 9:30 and 10:30 o'clock this morning, causing widespread damage to property but no casualties.
The town's populace "dug in" after the first blow in face of forecasts that the full force of the hurricane will strike here between noon and 2 o'clock this afternoon.
Roofs of many homes throughout the town were blown away and trees were uprooted. The lower part of the city was partially flooded with water.
It was still raining heavily at 12:30 pm and the barometer continued to fall.
New Bern Suffers Severely
New Bern, Sept 16 - The center of the tropical hurricane struck New Bern at 1 o'clock this morning with wind velocity between 65 and 80 miles an hour.
The mile-long bridge over the Neuse river was washed away by the highest tide in 30 years. Hundreds of persons were marooned by high water.
Damage in the city of New Bern and Craven county was estimated at approximately $1,000,000.
Commander D F DeOtte, commander of the Coast Guard Cutter Pamlico, estimated the center of the storm hit here at 1 am today.
New Bern at 10:30 am had not established communication with Morehead City, Beaufort or other points on the coast of Carteret county below here. The waterfront here was piled with wreckage and debris and many small craft werer destroyed. Fall crops were practically destroyed by heavy rains.
Norfolk Again Inundated by Heavy Floods
Virginia Beach and Other Resorts in Path 65-Mile Gale
Heavy Rains Widespread
Norfolk, Va, Sept 16 - Norfolk was flooded again today by water almost a foot deep as rain deluged the city with winds in excess of 55 miles an hour.
A 65-mile gale was reported at Virginia Beach, accompanied by high tides.
There were no available communications with Elizabeth City, NC, below here, but the center of the hurricane had not reached that point.
Rain was reported as worse at Ocean View and Willoughby Beach than any other place along the Virginia coast.
Water reached the hub caps of automobiles on streets here.
Published in The Daily Times-News, Burlington, NC, 18 Sep 1933
NC Counts 15 Dead in Hurricane
Suffering is Widespread in Coastal Towns
Red Cross Rushes Aid With State and Federal Funds
Many Sections Still Isolated
Beaufort, Sept 18 - The known death toll of the hurricane in eastern North Carolina has mounted to 15 persons today.
By late afternoon it was still impossible to establish communication with Manteo, county seat of Dare county, located on Roanoke Island, from where radio calls for help were received late Sunday.
A radio station on the island sought immediate assistance but static made reception of the calls almost impossible and extent of damage could not be determined.
Partial List Of Dead
Word reached here late Sunday from stricken areas that had been isolated since Friday night, that four men on a barge had drowned in Albemarle sound, while three girls and a woman lost their lives in Carteret county (Beaufort).
A partial list of the dead:
Two young daughters of Elijah Dixon, of Merrimon
The 17 year old daughter of Herbie Carraway, of Merrimon
Mrs Ella Delmar, 51, of South River
Two white men and two negroes as yet unidentified.
A sailor who was washed off the motorship Sun, and a negro fisherman who was drowned near Nag's Head.
An eleventh person, a negro coast guardsman, was reported missing.
Flood Waters Fatal
Water rose to a height of 16 feet in the Merrimon community 20 miles from here. The Dixon family sought refuge in an upper story of their home, but the building was swept into Back Creek, Dixon, his wife, and young son clung to wreckage until rescued 24 hours later.
The two young girls were swept to their death.
Carraway's daughter was crushed beneath a razed house.
Mrs Delmar drowned when South River overflowed.
The four men on a lumber barge were thrown into the water when their craft upset. The negroes bodies were found, but the white men had not been located.
Meanwhile, late reports from Kitty Hawk and Nag's Head indicated that inhabitants had abandoned their homes which had been buffeted by the hurricane late Friday and early Saturday.
Millions of Dollars Damage
Reports of damage mounted as more sections were heard from today and is expected to amount to millions of dollars.
At Elizabeth City, the sale of kerosene lamps boomed at a lively rate when electric power was shut off to prevent possible electrocutions from faulty insulation or other defects.
In Carteret county alone damage was expected to exceed $1,000,000. It had been cut off from communication with the rest of the state since Friday night, and first reports trickled out late Sunday.
The storm center also struck New Bern and Craven county, and Pamlico county, all near here, causing millions of dollars damage to property, merchants goods and crops, and washing away the $300,000 Neuse river bridge at New Bern.
Storm damage in the Elizabeth City area was comparatively small, being confined chiefly to uprooted trees, damaged communications and disrupted power service.
Wires from Elizabeth City to Dare county and Roanoke island, where great damage and suffering is feared, were snapped early Saturday and traffic to Nag's Head and Manteo was said to have been halted just beyond the Wright Memorial bridge by several washouts in that already badly damaged beach highway.
Red Cross Spreads Relief
Meanwhile, Red Cross workers pushed into the storm area to spread relief among thousands of persons who lost their homes or who were injured and many who were hungry and needed medical attention.
The Red Cross opened emergency relief headquarters at Morehead City, Beaufort and Atlantic, all in Carteret county. A coast guard boat was dispatched to Hatteras village, near Cape Hatteras, with food and clothing requested by fishing villages of the island. Another boat carried supplies to Salter Path across the sound from Morehead City.
Reports were awaited anxiously from Ocracoke island, another point on the storm-torn sandy outer banks which run up the coast from Carteret county to Virginia.
Mrs Thomas O'Berry, of Goldsboro, state director of relief, visited New Bern and after an inspection tour announced whatever federal money is needed for relief will be made available.
Red Cross and local relief agencies will expend the federal funds.
The New Bern-Morehead City highway had been cleared of debris by highway workers who pushed on through here and towards Atlantic farther up the coast where state highway No 10, the main street of North Carolina, ends at the sea.
All along the outer banks, new channels and inlets were cut thru by the hurricane-whipped seas.
It is reported that the Nag's Head beach highway was under water for 10 miles.
New Bern reported that 55 out of the 165 spans washed away from the Neuse river bridge had been located and anchored, and that highway workers were searching for the others.
Twenty people, including several babies, were marooned in a tobacco barn near Oriental all Saturday night, Mrs O'Berry reported. Oriental is in Pamilco county. Water in the barn often reached a depth of several feet and mothers had to hold their babies over their heads to prevent them from drowning.
From many sources came reports of harrowing experiences, of persons being marooned for almost 23 hours while high water almost took their homes away.
Hurricane Barbara, 1953
One Killed, Five Hurt as Hurricane Rips NC Coast
Published in The Robesonian, 14 Aug 1953
Elizabeth City, N C (AP) -- A shrieking hurricane swept its away across the eastern North Carolina capes last night and early this morning. Winds up to 90 miles an hour were reported.
At least one man was killed and five more were reported injured.
The big storm, first major hurricane of the season, moved on into Virginia and headed up the coast after lashing a wide area from Morehead City to Elizabeth City.
Striking Norfolk at 6 am the hurricane moved steadily northward and headed for southern New Jersey where it was expected to strike this afternoon. Hurricane warnings were displayed as far north as Cape May, N J, and storm warnings were up to Cape Cod, Mass.
The Norfolk Weather Bureau reported shortly after 6 o'clock that the winds had begun to diminish dropping to an average of 35 miles per hour with top gusts of 56 miles per hour. It had reached its peak at Norfolk at 4:30 a.m., with an average of 53 miles per hour and a top gust of 76 miles per hour. At Cape Henry the average velocity was 55 miles per hour. The hurricane itself bears winds up to 80 miles per hour over a small area near the center and gales extend outward 140 miles.
On the North Carolina coast power and communication lines were torn down, trees uprooted and broken, roofs and signs blown away. High tides and torrential rains flooded streets, highways and basements.
Forewarned, however, residents battened down everything that could be, evacuated the most dangerous areas and craced for the blow. Damage, as a result, was relatively light. Much of the North Carolina area swept by the storm is sparsely populated.
The long, sandy beaches from Wilmington to Kitty Hawk were packed with vacationers when the storm was reported. There was no general evacuation order, but thousands moved inland before the hurricane struck.
Houston Jernigan, 46-year-old Dunn, N C, department store owner, was blown off a fishing pier by fringe winds at Wrightsville Beach, near Wilmington, and carried out to sea.
Boatswain's Mate 1-C Dudley Lewis, skipper of a Coast Guard picket boat trying to rescue Jernigan, was thrown by the churning water through his boat's windshield and had to be hospitalized.
Four Marines at the Cherry Point Marine Airbase were reported slightly injured.
There were narrow escapes, too. Concrete blocks nicked the heels of a couple fleeing from their trailer when a 60-foot-long wall at the Morehead City yacht basin was blown flat. The trailer and several automobiles were smashed.
90 Mile Wind
The strongest winds -- an estimated 90 miles an hour -- struck Cape Hatteras and Cherry Point. Elsewhere 70 miles was reported near the peak.
The 398-foot Norwegian tanker, Marna, was out of control and directly in the storm's path some 22 miles southeast of Cape Lookout, N C. But a Coast Guard officer reported later the vessel apparently weathered the storm.
Called Barbara for the second letter of the alphabet, the storm was discovered only Wednesday 325 miles east of Daytona Beach, Fla. Yesterday it skirted along the South Carolina coast before banging into land along North Carolina's outward bulge. It ripped into Morehead City and Beaufort and the surrounding beaches. Gales hit the big Marine base at Camp LeJeune, but caused only superficial damage. Cherry Point was harder hit, but not damaged seriously. Training craft had been flown to inland bases and big planes firmly anchored. Occupants of trailer camps were moved into brick buildings on the base for safety.
New Bern, where the Neuse and Trent rivers converge, suffered most from high water. Then the storm swept northward into Elizabeth City as it also isolated the small communities along the outer banks.
In many places refugees from exposed areas crowded candle-lit hotel lobbies and schools, singing old refrains and casting only an occasional shudder at the storm raging outside.
The storm whipped into Morehead City and Atlantic Beach with sheets of rain and generally estimated 70 mile winds.
The resort area of more than 12,000 persons was blacked out by power failures and blown down telephone and telegraph wires -- but apparently escaped with little serious damage.
On exposed Atlantic Beach, a roof was lifted from a garage apartment and smashed against a neighboring cottage. A house also was unroofed at nearby Newport.
A roofing company in Morehead City also lost its roof.
A dozen or so large trees, one to 2 feet in diameter, were uprooted in Morehead City, some falling against the houses.
But there were no immediate reports of serious injuries in the Morehead City -- Atlantic Beach area.
Shelter Set Up
Some 2,000 vacationers along the beach headed for shelters set up in schools, hotel lobbies and other buildings in Morehead City and further inland, leaving the Beach area almost deserted.
Atlantic Beach Mayor Alfred Cooper, Morehead Police Capt Buck Newsome and Chief R B Newell, commander of the Ft Macon Coast Guard Station, all estimated peak winds at 70 to 73 miles per hour. The storm carried a 1-2 punch. IT first struck with strong force from about 4:30 to 6 pm. Then there was a strange lull with only fitful rain and breezes, until about 8:30 when the gales started howling again and torrential rain resumed.
F D Hollowell, Red Cross field representative, said about 300 persons were taking refuge in the high school shelter in Morehead City with hundreds of others scattered among other shelter centers.
The lowest point on the barometer at the Coast Guard Station was 29.19. It dipped there about 5 pm and remained at the low point until it began rising slowly about 8:30 pm.
Streets and highways were under up to two feet of water in places but most of them were passable.
The same general picture of damage followed the storm's path across North Carolina.
At New Bern, eight to ten stores were flooded as high water filled the lower portions of the business district. Three fire alarms sounded during the storm. One was a quickly-extinguished fire in the switchboard of the Gaston Hotel. A suburgan house burned to the ground. Firemen couldn't get over the Jack Smith Creek bridge to reach it.
Most of the coastal shrimp fleet found safe harbor early, many of them putting in at Washington, N C.
Rescue workers organized quickly as the storm approached.
The Coast Guard cancelled all leaves for personnel on ships and shore stations. Four Coast Guard planes flew over the outer banks dropping messages warning residents. Red Cross workers were alerted. Members of the North Carolina emergency radio network and the Civil Air Patrol worked throughout the night handling messages to and from the blacked out area.
The town of Avon on Hatteras Island was islolated for a time by water over the highway.
The Salvation Army set up first aid headquarters for Elizabeth City and the beach areas and the high for evacuees.
The Oregon Inlet ferry suspended operations about 4:30 pm, yesterday because of high winds and rough water.
At the North Carolina 4-H Club at Mantco a group of farm youngsters from the Albemarle area played games in the dark recreation hall as they waited out the storm. The building is sturdy and situated on high ground.
Plans to evacuate two boys camps -- Camp Morehead near Morehead City and Camp Seagull in Pamilco county -- were cancelled as heavy rains subsided there.
Water poured over roads and highways throughout a large area during the storm, but all except a few remained passable. Highway 17 was closed by high water for a time between Elizabeth City and Hertford; and near Edenton.
Winds ranging between 60 and 65 miles per hour were reported at Little Washington.
Storm Damage In Beaufort High
Washington, N C (AP) -- Storm damage in Beaufort County was estimated at one million dollars today by W L McGahey, county farm agent.
McGahey said farm crops, mostly corn, beans, cotton and tobacco, suffered from the fringe of the hurricane which swept up coastal North Carolina yesterday and last night.
Indications were that damage in neighboring Hyde County would run to about one-quarter million dollars, also mostly to farm crops.
Although some roof coverings were blown off and trees uprooted, there apparently was no major damage to buildings in the area.
Corn appeared hurt worst. Since most of the tobacco crop has been harvested. It did not suffer major damage, McGahey said.
Hurricane Edna, 1954
Edna Expected to Skirt Hatteras
Published in The Robesian, Lumberton, NC, 10 Sep 1954
Jacksonville, Fla - Hurricane warnings were hoisted at 11 am today from Morehead City, NC, to the Virginia Capes as Hurricane Edna whirled its 115 mile winds in the direction of Cape Hatteras.
Storm warnings flew north and south of the hurricane area, from Myrtle Beach, SC, to Eastport, Maine.
Grady Norton, chief storm forecaster in the Miami Weather Bureau, ordered the warnings up in an 11 am advisory and said the center of the tropical storm should pass near but slightly outside of Cape Hatteras by or before midnight.
"Precautions should be taken for very high tides and dangerous winds on the North Carolina and Virginia Capes this afternoon and tonight," he said.
The storm at 11 am was centered about 225 miles south of Hatteras and moving about 10 miles an hour on a course slightly east of north.
Hurricane force winds extend 100 miles out from the center in the eastern semi-circle and about 50 miles to the west. Gale winds extend outward 150 to 200 miles from the center in all directions.
"Dangerous gales and high tides should be felt along the North Carolina Capes during the afternoon, increasing until the storm passes," said Norton.
Norton's forecasting territory ends at Cape Hatteras and predictions for areas north of there are made at Washington. Norton was reluctant to discuss the storm's possible effect on the North Atlantic coastal area "because it would tie the responsible forecasters' hands."
Storm warnings were flying from Myrtle Beach, SC, to Portland, Maine.
Residents of the New York and New England coasts were jittery as the hurricane lumbered in a northerly direction at 10 to 12 miles an hour. Norton said it will begin to speed up its forward movement during the day.
Small craft all along the coast from South Carolina northward were cautioned to remain in port.
Winds were expected to reach gale force (39 to 54 miles per hour) along the Carolina and Virginia coasts this afternoon and early tonight.
Edna, named for the fifth letter of the aphabet, had hurricane force winds (75 miles an hour or more) outward from the center 100 miles to the north and east and 50 miles to the west. Gale force winds reached out 200 miles.
Earlier, a high pressure area to the north blocked Edna's forward progress and the big storm inched northward at five to six miles an hour. When the high pressure system moved out to sea, it cleared a path for Edna.
Very rough seas were reported over the Atlantic between the storm area and the coast line.
Two ships rode out the storm as it crept northward off the Florida coast. The SS Fairland, out of Mobile, Ala, put into Miami after passing through the eye of the storm Wednesday. It encountered winds estimated at 120 miles an hour.
The Norwegian steamship Askvin reported herself in the hurricane's "eye" yesterday and asked the Miami Coast Guard to stay tuned to her radio frequency. Later the Coast Guard said the vessel apparently came through safely and continued to Barranquilla.
An "area of suspicion" was reported in the Gulf of Mexico between 900 and 1,000 miles southwest of Miami.
A hurricane hunting plane from Jacksonville was sent out to check the weather disturbance some 200 to 400 miles northeast of Vera Cruz, Mexico.
Forecaster Walter Davis said reports from ships in the area showed winds with "broad circulation" ranging up to 22 miles per hour.
"Possibly there could be something in there," he said.
Thirteen aircraft were transferred last night from the Norfolk, Va, Naval Air Station inland to Danville, Va, to elude the approaching hurricane. Thirty-five more, including a number of four-engined planes, were expected to make the trip early today.
Published in the Gastonia Gazette, Gastonia, NC, 11 Sep 1954
New England Gets Set For Storm's Fury
Sixty-Mile-An Hour Winds Buffets Beach at Atlantic City -- Flights Canceled
New York - Hurricane Edna raged toward the eastern tip of Long Island today where landsmen felt the first thrust of its fury since its birth many days ago far down in the Caribbean.
At 10 am, the center of the storm's 125-mile-an-hour winds was charted 100 miles south of Montauk Point, the tip of Ling Island 125 miles east of New York City.
Disaster directors there reported the Montauk highways inundated by the rising waters of the Atlantic and the tip of the island cut off. About 500 persons had been evacuated from the Montauk area by early today, said Charles Monsir, head of the Red Cross disaster unit in East Hampton.
The winds were rising fast and the ocean was white and combing on the long beaches.
New England braced itself. It had more advance warning and was better prepared than when hurricane Carol smashed through the area 11 days ago, leaving 58 dead and property damage of nearly a half billion dollars.
The hurricane was gathering headway speed as it spun toward southern New England.
Loafing off the Carolina coast at 10 miles an hour yesterday, it now was bearing down at 30 miles an hour.
In a million coastal homes people watched and waited. The Carolinas, Virginia, Maryland and southern New Jersey felt heavy winds and rain -- but most of the hurricane stayed at sea.
New York harbor, normally the busiest in the nation, was quiet. Ships rode at double anchor, crews alerted. Only ferried and an occasional brave coal barge rode the high tides in the swirling rain.
Coast Guardsmen, police and Red Cross officials were evacuating residents of low-lying areas on Long Island. Hundreds of other were evacuated from low-lying areas of Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island long before the storm was due.
Everywhere people recalled the fury of the 1938 New England hurricane which piled up tidal waves that swept over lowlands with a loss of hundreds of lives.
In Atlantic City, where Miss America of 1954 is to be picked tonight, 60-mile-an-hour winds buffeted the beaches at 8:30 am. At that hour the center of the storm was 100 miles due east of the resort city.
Flights to and from New York's LaCuardia Field were canceled. Many civilian as well as all military planes have been dispersed from the northeast's danger zone -- some as far west as Ohio.
Red Cross headquarters in Washington said it had prepared the largest mobilization since the 1938 hurricane. It has 59 emergency shelters open in New England, 43 of them in Rhode Island.
Hotels were crowded all along the coast as householders deserted their beachfront homes. The largest hotel in New Bedford, Mass, was filled as early as last evening. This pattern was repeated throughout southern New England.
Some trains to the Boston and Cape Cod areas were canceled by the New Haven Railroad which declined to move passengers into that danger zone.
The alert extended all the way along the coast to Maine -- and even to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where vessels scurried for port.
The destiny of Hurricane Edna -- the season's fifth and named after the fifth letter of the alphabet -- still was in doubt in midmorning. Time would tell whether she was the worst hurricane of the year. Certainly she was the best advertised.
Perhaps smarting under criticism that it didn't give enough advance warning of hurricane Carol, the Weather Bureau from Miami to Maine bore down on Edna. Bulletins moved out from all coastal bureaus with alaerity. Reconnaissance planes penetrated to the calm eye of the storm to chart its speed and course.
Hurricane Connie, 1955
Connie Moves Across Eastern North Carolina Picking Up Speed; Leaves Tremendous Damage
Moves Inland at Morehead City; Headed for Washington at 12 mph
Published in The Robesian, 12 Aug 1955
Washington (AP) -- The Weather Bureau here reported today that Hurricane Connie moved inland at Morehead City, N C, and is moving northward at 12 miles an hour. The hurricane was about 270 miles south of Washington, DC.
Wilmington, N C (AP) -- Hurricane Connie, pounding the North Carolina coast with destructive 100-mile winds and high seas, again became a threat to the rest of the eastern seaboard today.
The big tropical storm speeded up on a course along the North Carolina coast leading to the open ocean where her force could be maintained. Hurricanes usually lose their force in crossing land and Connie appeared headed landward yesterday. The east coast had been under hurricane alerts for three days while Connie floundered offshore. The alert was lifted late yesterday.
The Weather Bureau today extended hurricane warnings on up the coast from the Virginia Capes to the Delaware Breakwater and northeast storm warnings all the way to Provincetown, Mass.
The hurricane flags still flew as far south as Myrtle Beach, S C, but further danger from wind appeared past south of the North Carolina border.
At 7 am EST, Connie was centered about 35 miles south of Morehead City, N C, and was moving north-northeastward (a little east of north) at about 12 miles an hour.
Connie's peak winds of 100 miles an hour were mostly in squalls 40 to 60 miles from the center. Hurricane winds -- 75 miles or more -- fanned out 120 miles north and east and 60 miles southwest. Gales reached 300 miles to the northeast and 150 to the southwest.
Meanwhile the season's fourth tropical storm -- named Diane -- was centered 520 miles south-southeast (more south than east) of Bermuda early today. Diane had center winds of 60 miles an hour as she moved northwest at 11 miles an hour in much the same path Connie took several days earlier.
Diane was expected to become a full hurricane later today.
Connie's center winds have been up to 135 miles but they diminished somewhat as she neared the coast.
Tides ran up to eight feet above normal ahead of Connie's eye.
Cape Hatteras, a lonely outpost on North Carolina's Outer Banks which is a frequent port of call on the hurricane path from the Caribbean braced for arrival of Connie's center about noon.
The Carolina coast was pounded steadily from late yesterday afternoon all through the night as the big storm loafed along.
Towering waves smashed fishing piers, and dwellings and other shore installations, many of them newly rebuilt since Hazels visit last year.
No casualties had been reported.
Coastal residents had plenty of warning during the days Connie had remained almost stationary off the coast. The vast majority of moved to safety inland. But some were marooned and rescue efforts went on through the night and today.
Nobody made any estimate of damage. Many beach communities and fishing villages were isolated. The damage continued to pile up.
Evacuees by the thousands crowded into schools, churches and other sturdy concrete buildings from Morehead City to Charleston, S C.
There was an easing of tension farther north along the Atlantic Seaboard as hurricane warnings were lowered, the threat of Connie either diminished or gone entirely. The hurricane alert of the last three days was lifted from the Delaware breakwater north late yesterday.
The greatest danger continued along the North Carolina and Virginia coasts.
All warnings were lowered from Myrtle Beach, S C, southward at 2 am.
Falling power lines forced many hospitals to turn to auxiliary power. Radio stations in many places were off the air.
At New Bern, N C, well inland, heavy rains flooded bridges over the Trent and Neuse rivers, closing U S Higlway 17, the main coastal route from Miami to New York, and the main road to the big Marine air station at Cherry Point.
National Guard trucks evacuated more than 2,000 persons in New Bern from homes near the water front to higher ground.
It was a common sight to see parents standing in shoulder deep water, holding their children over their heads waiting for the guardsmen to come and get them.
Thousands of residents left the city by the highway westward toward Kinston, the only route still open.
Gov. Luther Hodges ordered the National Guard unit at Washington, N C to duty to assist in evacuation of 1,000 refugees from the rapidly rising Pamlico River. Other Guard units were called out to prevent looting.
Hodges, who left the Governors Conference in Chicago to fly home when the hurricane appeared imminent, personally directed operations against the storm after a tour of the beach.
Atlantic Beach, near Morehead City, reported highest winds, up to 100 mph last night. Wilmington had winds of 83 miles. In other places along the beaches, gusts above 75 miles were reported.
Heaviest damage was caused by a combination of high winds and high tides. Some points reported waves 25 to 35 feet.
Myrtle Beach, hard hit by Hazel last year, escaped with but little damage, although higher tides than usual were reported. At Garden City, S C, south of Myrtle Beach, the new fishing pier was partially destroyed. It had been built to replace one swept away by Hazel.
At Southport, N C, 80-year-old Mrs Jessie Taylor, a U S weather observer, staunchly refused to leave her post. "There was nothing heroic about my refusal to leave," she said, "I'm just plain stubborn."
The power supply at Wilmington went out at 8 pm last night. Telephone lines were unaffected.
Southport was without municipal power most of yesterday and last night.
Breakers 25 to 30 feet high smashed at the island of Salter Path, where 150 residents were evacuated Wednesday by the Marine Corps.
New Bern was without electric power. The town's two hospitals were operating on auxiliary units.
Radio Station WOOW remained on the air too despite winds which reached 70 mph.
At Cherry Point Marine Air Station gusts of 90 miles an hour were reported. No damage was done to permanent installations at the base. Some 175 refugees from communities closer to the coast were housed in the station theater. Another 300 were sheltered in the new Graham A. Barden School near the base.
In New Bern it was high water rather than wind that caused the greatest trouble. Homes close to the waterfront had as much as six feet of water in their front yards. Cars left standing in the streets were almost submerged. Only their tops visible.
A similar situation was reported at Bridgeton where the Neuse River flooded the streets and some dwellings.
Effects of the hurricane were felt as far inland as Charlotte and Asheville. In Charlotte the Weather Bureau reported winds of 23 mph with gusts reaching 45 mph. Rain squalls also hit the city.
At Asheville the Weather Bureau said the threat of heavy rain and gusty northerly to westerly winds would continue to affect Rutherford, Caldwell, Burke, Wilkes, McDowell and Polk counties.
The storm also cancelled the appearance of Miss Virginia, Betty Matthews of Norfolk, at the "The Lost Colony" drama on the Outer Banks.
At Rodanthe on Hatteras Island a three-day celebration honoring members of the Old U S Life Saving Service and the present Coast Guard was postponed for two weeks.
The State highway Patrol said that only about 85 persons out of the normal summer population of 1,000 remained at Kure Beach, south of Wrightsville Beach.
The Red Cross had set up 70 shelters at key points along the coast. Sixteen were at Wilmington. Each station was staffed with a nurse and was capable of providing 1,000 persons with food, clothing and shelter.
Civil Defense headquarters in Raleigh reported that Civil Air Patrol mobile generators were supplying power for Washington's two hospitals.
The CAP also said it has 50 mobile two-way radio units in the coastal area from Wilmington northward, manned by 75 to 100 communications men.
About 100 additional CAP communications workers with mobile units were on a standby basis at Greensboro and Kinston.
Reports from New Bern later in the morning said the situation there was much improved, although some dwellings along the Neuse River still were vacated.
Bridges across the Neuse and Trent rivers, which converge at New Bern, were opened to traffic this morning.
Most public services in New Bern were operating on emergency power.
Task of Totaling Connie's Damage Begins on Coast
By The Associated Press
The North Carolina coast, ravaged by Hurricane Hazel and still not completely restored, had the grim task today of assessing the havoc wrought by Hurricane Connie.
Connie's furious winds and raging seas spread destruction along a wide path from the South Carolina border north toward Cape Hatteras, fishing piers, beachfront housing and businesses, and public facilities took a staggering blow.
Nobody had made any estimate of damage. But as the storm loafed along from the South Carolina border northward, damage continued to pile up.
Virtually all the beaches along the coast reported losses -- some more extensive than others.
At Topsail Beach, 30 miles north of Wilmington, five dwellings were unroofed and another was carried out to sea.
At Southport, south of Wilmington, the city dock was damaged. HARRY SELL, a ham radio operator, said roofs had blown off several dwellings.
At Atlantic Beach, near Morehead City, the police chief and one of his men -- the last two to leave the area -- reported seven cottages demolished.
The steel pier at Emerald Isle, also near Morehead City, was heavily damaged. Also taken away by high breakers were the piers at Camp Morehead for boys and at several fishing camps.
At New Bern damage came mainly from flood waters of the Neuse River. Homes near the waterfront were reported flooded and automobiles left in the streets were submerged but for their tops. The city was without power and many telephone lines were down.
The Cherry Point Marine Air Station reported only minor damage to shrubbery and trees. There as no damage to permanent buildings.
At Kure Beach a fishing pier was swept away. Dwellings thre were reported to be undermined. Some had collapsed.
A large section of the fisherman's steel pier at Carolina Beach also was reported destroyed.
Chief State Highway Engineer W H Rogers said at least 100 feet of Oregon Inlet had been washed out.
At Long and Holden beaches several dwellings were reported unroofed.
Gov Hodges heard reports of damage from officials of coastal communities. He said he was "very concerned."
Hodges assured property owners that the state would "back them just as it did after the last storm."
Hodges met with officials last night after an inspection tour of Wrightsville Beach.
At Tarboro, the Carolina Telephone & Telegraph Co reported that communications were interrupted at Tabor City, Topsail Island, Marshallburg, Atlantic and Oriental. The company said some of its long distance lines between Morehead City and New Bern were down well before the center of the storm approached.
No one except policemen and firemen were allowed on Wrightsville Beach after the storm passed and the extent of damage could not be learned immediately.
Carolina Beach also was off limits even to residents, until the National Guard could move in to prevent any looting.
There was considerable damage at Carolina Beach, especially in the amusement section. The boardwalk was smashed. Debris and sand covered side streets and one immediately behind the ocean front. About half of the $75,000 Fisherman's Steel Pier at Carolina Beach was destroyed. Another pier there and on south of Carolina Beach seemed, at a distance, to be relatively intact.
Only about 100 feet on the landward side of the Kure fishing pier remained.
Waterfront cottages at Carolina Beach apparently escaped major damage such as that from Hazel. Some large masonry structures in the amusement area were undermined by pounding surf. Their foundations settled on the seaward side and the walls buckled and cracked.
Ben Best, a Carolina Beach fireman, said there was less damage and less debris and sand in the streets than after Hazel. His home is on 3rd St. The water didn't reach there this time, but during Hazel was well past his home.
At the City Hall early today a pretty stenographer and a janitor swept water and mud out of the building. Records and office equipment had been stacked up on chairs above the 18 inches of seawater that flooded into the building. The water was about a foot deeper than that during Hazel.
Water across the road blocked passage from Carolina to Kure Beach at midmorning.
Major damage at Wilmington seemed confined to roofs trees, power lines, and poles, and plate glass windows.
Hurricane Helene, 1958
Helene Pounding State Coastal Areas With 100-Mile Winds, Mounting Damage
Course Keeps Center in East
Published in The Daily Times-News, Burlington, NC, 27 Sep 1958
Wilmington - Hurricane Helene howled ashore in southeastern North Carolina late this morning with winds above 100 miles an hour.
First reports told of mounting damage but no deaths.
City docks at Southport, port town 30 miles south of Wilmington, washed away, the Weather Bureau said.
The Highway patrol said a few houses at Kure Beach, east of Wilmington, had collapsed under the wind force.
Streets at Wrightsville and Carolina, both widely known summer play spots near here, ran deep with water as torrential rains pounded the coastline.
Hardest reported winds were 120 miles an hour which were clocked at Frying Pan Shoals lightship, off Cape Fear.
The Weather Bureau's 1 pm advisory located Helene about 40 miles south-southeast of Wilmington, moving northeastward about 10 miles an hour.
The advisory added: "Unusually high storm tides, high waves and heavy seas will flood coastal lands from Myrtle Beach, SC, to Hatteras, NC, to heights of seven to ten feet above normal and probably higher in some places."
"It is imperative that island beaches and coastal lowlands be evacuated from Cape Fear to Cape Hatteras. Tides north of Hatteras to Norfolk, Va, are expected to rise three to five feet above normal by tonight."
"The expected course and speed of Hurricane Helene will move the center along the southeast of North Carolina, passing near Cape Hatteras at midnight. The highest winds reported so far were 120 miles per hour at Frying Pan Shoals lightship off Wilmington."
This "dangerous" hurricane, her central winds spinning 125 miles an hour, was located at 9 am 40 miles south of Cape Fear, a point of land jutting into the seething Atlantic 30 miles south of Wilmington. The storm's forward speed was 10 miles an hour.
Helene, making the classic turn of Atlantic hurricanes to the north, altered course in the night, apparently sparing South Carolina coastal lands the brunt of her full blow.
Yesterday and last night she had followed a northwest course, but today she swung to the north.
"This would indicate that the center would move very close to Cape Fear late this forenoon attended by winds of 90 to 125 miles per hour in this area and north-eastward to Cape Hatteras," said the Weather Bureau's 9 o'clock advisory.
After the 9 am advisory, North Carolina's Gov Luther Hodges left his Raleigh office and flew to Wilmington, the Cape Fear River port city of 50,000 about 25 miles upstream from the ocean.
Hurricane force winds already had struck the Frying Pan Shoals light ship, which guards the river entrance.
Lesser winds struck beaches east of Wilmington, knocking roofs from lightly built houses. Power lines lay in yards and streets.
Stinging rains poured down, flooding streets and low areas.
Other beaches of the area, particularly Wrightsville and Carolina, were evacuated last night and early today.
Winds of near hurricane force battered beaches near the coastal village of Shallotte, NC, and blew waves across the beaches. Several persons drowned in this area in a 1954 hurricane.
Whitesville, NC, a town 36 miles inland, lost its power when 60 mile winds blew down wires.
Myrtle Beach, SC, a summer playground with a year-round population of 15,000, took on a cheery note as the storm center by-passed it.
"It's looking good here," said Myrtle Beach Mayor W E Cameron after a tour along the waterfront. He said he saw only inconsequential damage. Two stores suffered broken display windows. The Civil Aeronautics Administration said Myrtle Beach's hardest winds were gusts of 63 miles an hour.
Hurricane warnings, black and red banners, spanked in the winds northward to North Carolina's treacherous Cape Hatteras coastline and southward to Charleston. Beaches along the 300-mile coast from Charleston to Cape Hatteras were largely deserted.
One death was attributed to the storm, a highway fatality on a rain slicked highway as hurricane fringe rains deluged the coastal areas.
Old hands breathed easier on learning that the highest winds would not hit shore -- as feared earlier -- at high tide.
But it was scant consolation. Water poured across Seagull Street at Wrightsville Beach, NC two hours before high tide.
Hurricane emergency flags were dropped at Charleston, SC, once directly in the path of the storm and it seemed certain that that city of 200,000 and the threatened area south of there would be spared any serious damage.
The Weather Bureau said winds near the center of the storm will decrease rapidly after the storm moves inland, but the size of the storm, some 300 miles in diameter, will remain the same and gales can be expected. Heavy rains will cover eastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia.
Myrtle Beach is the largest of the beach communities that string almost entirely along the South Carolina and southern North Carolina coasts. It has about 15,000 permanent residents and has been credited with having housed 100,000 during the height of the vacation season. It is the site of the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, a jet fighter base.
One death already was attributed to the storm. Richard Wats, 40, was killed near Whiteville, NC, when his car skidded on a wet highway and overturned.
The US Weather Bureau made clear very early that Helene was an extremely dangerous storm. It warned that storm tides would be 10 feet higher than normal -- perhaps higher in some places. Low coastal areas would be flooded and people who didn't get out before the storm hit wouldn't get out.
With the marks of 1954's Hazel and 1955's Connie, Diane and Ione still visible in some places, beach residents took the warning seriously.
Civil Defense officials, National Guardsmen, the Civil Air Patrol, highway patrolmen and local officials organized swiftly to see that lives -- and as much property as possible -- were safeguarded.
In some communities evacuation was mandatory. In others only a handful of property owners stayed in the exposed areas.
Only disaster workers and guards remained on Carolina Beach, NC, a community of some 3,500 permanent residents. A survey showed only five families remaining on Wrightsville Beach, a community of 3,400.
The others sought safety in nearby Wilmington, NC, some 500 in public shelters.
The same picture was painted along the South Carolina beaches.
Officials feared the storm would throw its biggest punch at high tide.
Red Cross representative Howard Anderson, who witnessed the devastation of Cameron, La, by hurricane Audry last year, said: "The biggest damage is the flooding water. When that water is driven by high winds, it can be rough."
The hurricane shifted slightly toward the north early today. Its earlier course would have pushed the center between Charleston and Georgetown, SC.
The Red Cross announced in Washington that 48 emergency shelters had been set up along the coast for evacuated families.
More than 50 disaster workers were routed to the area from Beaufort, SC, north to Wilmington, NC It was one of the greatest concentrations in recent years.
An emergency radio communications unit was established at Florence, SC.
North Carolina's Gov Luther H Hodges, attending a crusade sermon of evangelist Billy Graham in Charlotte, NC, left in the middle of the service. He flew to the capital at Raleigh to confer with Civil Defense officials on disaster plans.
About 15 families on the Isle of Palms refused to seek inland shelter.
Mayor S V Settle said, "We pleaded and begged with them to leave but they were determined to sit it out -- they want to try and protect their property as much as possible."
Just north of Charleston, on low-lying Goat Island, Henry and Blanche Holloway also refused to leave. The couple, in their 80's said, "God is going to take care of us all right."
Civil defense operations in South Carolina were being directed from the governor's office in Columbia. Guard units were alerted in 10 South Carolina communities that might fall in the path of the storm.
Such large resort areas as Wrightsville and Carolina beaches in North Carolina, both hard hit by Hurricane Hazel, put their disaster plans into operation early last night.
Helene was the first hurricane to strike or seriously menace the Carolinas in more than three years. But the marks of the killer Hazel in 1954 and Connie, Diane and Ione in 1955 still have not been wholly erased.
Carol and Edna also struck the US in 1954, sweeping on into Long Island and New England and causing some 80 deaths between them.
Hurricane Ione, 1955
Mighty Ione Smashes Coastal Area
Fishing Villages are Flooded, Wind Rugged
Diamond Shoals Lightship Torn From Cape Moorings
Published in The Daily Independent Kannapolis, NC, 19 Sep 1955
Morehead City - Awesome Hurricane Ione smashed the North Carolina coast today with 120-mile-an-hour winds -- flooding towns and fishing villages, and tearing the Diamond Shoals lightship from her moorings off lonely Cape Hatteras.
The mighty howler struck the extreme eastern end of North Carolina, already punished by previous visitations from the tropics, and aimed for Norfolk, Va, 140 miles to the north-northwest.
No deaths or injuries were reported in early stages of the storm, but the coast all the way to New England was alerted for what appeared to be the year's mightiest hurricane.
Lashing winds and mountainous waves tore the Diamond Shoals lightship from her moorings at 8:10 am today and set her adrift at Ione's mercy.
A Coast Guard spokesman said the vessel was under way trying to maintain her position. The lightship was under standing orders to hold her post at all costs to warn other ships away from the rocky shallows shome 13 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras light.
The lightship with 15 men aboard measures only 128 feet.
"That's like a canoe out there today," the Coast Guard spokesman said.
The Coast Guard cutter Mendota out of Charleston, SC, was ordered to proceed at full speed to the lightship's aid. The Mendota was 200 miles south of Cape Hatteras, following the hurricane.
The Hatteras Coast Guard station was keeping constant radio contact with the lightship and trying to plot her position with radar.
At 9:38 am the lightship reported she was approximately on station and holding her own.
Winds in the area were reported 65 to 75 miles per hour and seas were "mountainous."
Two Navy jet pilots who flew through the giant storm said they were awed by the "monstrous" seas it kicked up just before it hit the coast.
Much of the Pamlico Sound area in North Carolina was blacked out by power and communications failures. Fragmentary reports indicated damage from winds up to 107 miles per hour was light, but there was no word on the fate of dozens of small fishing towns isolated by flooded roads.
"The worst flooding conditions" in its modern history were reported at New Bern, a city of 13,000 persons.
Water was reported as high as four feet in the streets at New Bern and other cities.
The mighty storm, most furious of the season's tropical hurricanes, pounded on a northward path that would rake the upper North Carolina coast and the Norfolk-Portsmouth, Va, metropolitan area this afternoon.
The chief threat appeared from high tides, sweeping in at 10 feet or more above normal. The same North Carolina coastal counties suffered tremendous losses from flooding and sea water damage in two previouos hurricanes -- Connie and Diane -- only last month.
Gov Luther H Hodges, taking personal charge of disaster operations in the coastal area, reported by radio that floodwaters were in the streets of several towns.
About 100 feet of a fishing pier at Kitty Hawk was washed away by the pounding sea.
The high winds knocked a score or more eastern North Carolina radio stations off the air. Power failures were reported at Morehead City, Kinston, Jacksonville, New Bern, Williamston, Washington, Greenville, Havelock and Plymouth.
The hurricane swept into the extreme eastern tip of the state just east of here, before daybreak. By 8 am, following an erratic course, the storm's center was located by the U. S. Weather Bureau near the Cherry Point Marine Air Station, 20 miles north-east of Morehead City.
That location placed the center only 140 miles south-southwest of Norfolk, Va, and the great US naval base at Hampton Roads, Va.
Highest winds near the center were at 120 mph. Gales extended outward as far as 300 miles north and east and 160 miles to the west.
In the Norfolk area winds reached 54 mph in gusts over Norfolk at 8 am.
The weather bureau warned of "dangerously high" tides as the storm bore on a north-northwesterly course at a speed of about 15 mph.
Gale force winds were expected to hit as far north as New England early tonight.
Hurricane warnings were flying from Wilmington to Atlantic City, NJ, and northeast storm warnings were displayed elsewhere from Eastport, Me, to Charleston, SC. A hurricane alert was in effect from Atlantic City, NJ, to Provincetown, Mass, including the New York City area.
Published in The Daily Independent, Kannapolis, NC, 20 Sep 1955
Heavy Property Damage left in Wake of Storm
Towns on NC Coast Inundated
2,000 Persons are Evacuated from Hard Hit New Bern
New Bern - Hurricane Ione's vicious sweep across costal North Carolina left two persons drowned and property damage estimated in the "tens of millions" of dollars today.
Damage in New Bern alone was set at 15 million dollars.
More millions in damages was caused to crops and farmlands. And highway officials feared distruction to the many flooded highways and roads might run into millions.
Hardest hit were New Bern on the Neuse River, Morehead City near the Outer Banks, and Washington on the Pamlico River.
At New Bern, where two were drowned, and 2,000 persons had to be evacuated, city officials called it the worst disaster since a fire swept 40 city blocks in 1922. Three-fourths of Washington, just north of New Bern, was inundated at the worst of the storm. The town was reported under "several" feet of water.
A 10-block area of Morehead City was under five feet of water for a time. Water appeared to be undermining many waterfront buildings and homes.
Flooding also occurred in Beaufort, Swansboro, Aurora, Belhaven, Lowland, Hobucken, Oriental, Havelock, Atlantic Beach and Edenton, and dozens of other coastal fishing communities.
Washington - Hurricane Ione swung farther out to sea today, lifting much of the threat to the Atlantic coast, but weather forecasters warned the storm is still potentially dangerous.
At 11 am, the Washington Weather Bureau's bulletin placed the hurricane at about 90 miles east-northeast of Norfolk, Va, and moving in a northeasterly direction at about 10 or 12 miles an hour.
Return to North Carolina Home
© 2013 - Present Ancestral Trackers & Jeanne Hicks This site may be freely linked, but not duplicated without consent. All rights reserved. Commercial use of material within this site is prohibited. The copyright(s) © Ancestral Trackers, on this page must appear on all copied and/or printed material - when used with the permission of host.