Hurricane Floyd


Hurricane Floyd formed from a tropical wave which moved off the coast of Africa on September 2nd. The system became a tropical depression on September 7 about 1000 miles east of the Lesser Antilles. It strengthened into a tropical storm early the next day while located about 850 miles east of the Lesser Antilles. Floyd became a hurricane about 240 miles northeast of the Northern Leeward Islands early September 10th. Floyd turned from a westward to a northwest course and its intensification trend temporarily halted. However, as Floyd turned back to the west it strengthened into a major hurricane and then to a strong category four hurricane on the Saffir/Simpson scale with 155 mph winds. Weakening only slightly, the hurricane ravaged portions of the central and northwest Bahamas on September 13-14.

Floyd turned to a northwest and north course while slowly weakening, eventually making landfall near Cape Fear North Carolina as a category two hurricane around 230 AM EDT September 16. The hurricane moved over the eastern part of the state and accelerated north-northeast up the coast, weakening to a tropical storm before moving into New England and losing its tropical characteristics early on the 17th. Floyd is responsible for massive inland flooding over portions of the eastern United States, particularly in North Carolina. The death toll from Floyd makes this the deadliest United States tropical cyclone since Agnes of 1972.


The following preliminary information is for southeast North Carolina and northeast South Carolina (all events occured on September 16, 1999 unless noted):

Highest Winds:
    Wilmington International Airport:
        2 minute sustained wind - 62 mph at 455 AM
        peak gust - 86 mph at 424 AM

    Myrtle Beach International Airport:
        peak gust - 71 mph at 1255 AM

    Grand Strand Airport, North Myrtle Beach:
        peak gust - 66 mph at 123 AM

    Florence, SC Airport:
        2 minute sustained wind - 41 mph at 958 PM on the 15th
        peak gust - 62 mph at 944 PM on the 15th

    Lumberton, NC Airport:
        2 minute susained wind - 44 mph at 1231 AM
        peak gust - 62 mph at 1230 AM

    Frying Pan Shoals Tower:
        10 minute sustained wind - 99 mph at 110 AM
        peak gust - 112 mph at 200 AM

    Other Wind Reports

Lowest Pressure:
    Wilmington International Airport - 959.7 mb or 28.34 inches at 355 AM
    Myrtle Beach International Airport - 979.7 mb or 28.93 inches at 153 AM
    Grand Strand Airport - 977.0 mb or 28.85 inches at 153 AM
    Florence Airport - 991.2 mb or 29.27 inches at 255 AM

Rainfall (Storm total for September 14 through September 16):
    Wilmington International Airport - 19.06 inches
    Moores Creek National Battlefield, Pender County - 21.7 inches
    Myrtle Beach - 16.06 inches
    Florence Airport - 4.04 inches
    Lumberton Airport - 7.62 inches

Storm Tide:
    New Hanover county reported 10.3 feet on sound side of Masonboro Island or 10
    inches less than Hurricane Fran in 1996. Around 13 feet on the north end of Carolina
    Beach or 12 inches less than Fran. Wrightsville Beach Intra-Coastal Waterway reported
    9.5 feet or 1.5 feet less than Fran. On Wrightsville Beach, overwash was reported 3 feet
    deep in spots and water covered the Banks Channel bridge. Estimates along Brunswick
    county beaches, Oak Island around 10 feet.

    Beach Erosion:
        Overwash occurred on the barrier islands of Pender, New Hanover and eastern
        Brunswick counties, erasing sections of dunes. Oak Island lost 30 to 40 feet of beach.
        Considerable erosion on the north end of Wrightsville Beach. On the barrier island,
        much of the sand was swept onto and in some cases over the islands, depositing
        2 - 4 feet of sand on beach roads.

    Flooding:
        Due to the rains, the worst short term flooding on record for southeast North Carolina
        and Horry county, SC. Any road in a low lying area was flooded and impassable.
        Many roads were undermined by water and numerous roads were closed for several
        days.

    Storm effects:
        This was the fourth landfalling hurricane in the Cape Fear area since 1996 and followed
        near landfalling Dennis, that passed Cape Fear on 8/30/1999. While there were many
        downed trees, the incredible rainfall and ensuing flooding were the most serious
        effects of Floyd. 75 feet of the Long Beach Pier in Brunswick county is gone and
        many ocean front homes were heavily damaged.


Radar and satellite images are available for veiwing along with some data plots for the Wilmington International Airport and Frying Pan Shoals Tower. To view a larger version of the images, click on the small image of interest or the text next to it.  Anyone interested in obtaining a copy of the radar or satellite images should contact the National Climatic Data Center.


Data Plots

Winds at the Wilmington Airport Pressure at the Wilmington Airport
Winds at Frying Pan Shoals Tower Pressure at Frying Pan Shoals Tower
Sea Heights at Frying Pan Shoals Tower Map of Floyd's Track
List of Coordinates Four Day Rainfall Totals
River Flooding Crests

Satellite Image Loops

Hurricane Sector Loop from 9/7 through 9/16 Eastern Continental U.S. Sector Loop from 9/11 through 9/16

Radar Images

Radar Image

Radar Loop from 5 PM 9/15 through 5 AM 9/16

Radar reflectivity images Radar velocity images
Radar estimates of rainfall from 12:02 PM 9/13 through 8:04 AM 9/16/1999

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Page created October 1, 1999