Ten years since Floyd's wrath

September 16, 2009 9:23:22 AM PDT
It's hard to believe, but it's been a decade since Hurricane Floyd ravaged North Carolina.Unlike most hurricanes, the storm isn't best known for its punishing winds or vicious storm surge. While Floyd had both, he's known most for all the rain he dumped on the state, and the incredible flooding that followed.

Like most hurricanes, Floyd began as a tropical wave that slid off the coast of Africa. The storm formed on September 2, 1999 and began to quickly move across the Atlantic.

Click here to track the storm

By September 12, Floyd was a major hurricane lashing the Bahamas with 155 mph winds. Many islands felt a storm surge of over 20 feet.

As the storm threatened the US mainland, emergency managers ordered one of the largest evacuations in the country's history as some 2.6 million residents from Florida north were told to seek higher ground.

Click here to watch some of our coverage from 1999

Floyd took a turn to the up the east coast, lightly brushing Florida before dumping up to 20 inches of rain in North Carolina. To make matters worse, Hurricane Dennis had dumped up to 15 inches just a week before, and the ground was already saturated.

Every river basin in the southeastern part of the state flooded - exceeding 500 year flood levels in many areas.

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The Tar River was one of the hardest hit. It crested 24 feet above flood stage and nearby Rocky Mount was inundated. Much of downtown Tarboro was under several feet of water, and the nearby town of Princeville was just about destroyed when its levee failed.

In all, some 7,000 homes were destroyed statewide. 10,000 people were left living in temporary shelters. Floyd was blamed for 57 deaths - 35 of those were in North Carolina. Damage totaled more than $4.5 billion.

Click here for tips on how to prepare a hurricane preparedness kit.

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