The Story: Overview

North Carolina has faced its share of hurricanes. Hazel blew across the state in 1954, causing 19 deaths in the state and millions of dollars in property damage; Hugo's high winds tore a path from the coast to Western North Carolina, causing 29 counties to be declared federal disaster areas in 1989; and in 1996, Fran caused massive flooding and destruction as far inland as Raleigh. The worst natural disaster to ever strike the state, surpassing all of these hurricanes, was the storm that made landfall at Cape Fear on September 16, 1999 - Hurricane Floyd.

Learn about the storm and what it felt like to experience Floyd from the North Carolinians who lived through it. Their words are presented here as a record of this devastating natural disaster and how it affected the people and communities of eastern North Carolina. The complete oral histories are stored in the Oral Histories of the American South collection at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library. As you read and hear their stories, think about the true impact of a hurricane. A storm can destroy property and cause crushing financial loss, but in what other ways can it do damage?

Damaged home in Rocky Mount, NC
FEMA bulldozers clear debris from destroyed home
Raymond and Eunice English of Dpulin County, NC