Hurricane Floyd: 20 Years Later – Part 1


PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — 20 years ago this month, much of the Mid-Atlantic region experienced the wrath of Hurricane Floyd.

Although it was a fast moving storm, Floyd left behind a lot of problems for the Hampton Roads metro and northeastern North Carolina, and an even bigger problem for the small town of Franklin.

Floyd started as a tropical wave off the Africa coast on September 2, 1999. By September 8, tropical storm Floyd was named, and within three days, had intensified to a major hurricane by September 11, 1999, reaching near to category 5 status with 155 mph winds at its strongest point.

Even before Floyd hit the area, there were concerns about what its effects would do, all thanks to Hurricane Dennis, which drenched the area in August of 1999.

Fast forward to the night of September 15 … Floyd was bearing down on the North Carolina coast. Hampton Roads was scrambling to finish preparations. Much of the area had already seen several inches of rain that extended well north from the center of the storm. Flooding had already started in the typical spots around the area. The Sandbridge section of Virginia Beach, as well as parts of the Outer Banks, were evacuated.

Floyd roared ashore in the overnight hours of September 16. However, Hampton Roads saw a bulk of the storm during the daylight hours of that day.  

High winds caused power outages and a combination of heavy rain and high tides resulted in widespread flooding across the area. Between 15 and 20 inches of rain was measured in parts of Hampton Roads. The storm surge along the North Carolina coast reached 15 feet, some of the highest measured up to that point. Several tornados were also reported in North Carolina during the storm.

In all, Floyd killed 87 people — 52 in north Carolina and 4 in Virginia. 2 people died in the WAVY News 10 viewing area, one in Accomack County, and one in Bertie County, North Carolina.

The quick movement of Floyd in and out of the area was a relief to many people. 

However, people in the town of Franklin had yet to face the worst. That would come beginning the day after Floyd moved out of the area.

More on that, plus how the town recovered, and how things have changed since Floyd, in part 2 of our series, Hurricane Floyd: 20 Years Later … Tuesday night on WAVY News 10 at 6 p.m.

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