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Old 09-08-2016, 05:09 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poppydog View Post
I'm from Fayetteville and heard stories about Hazel growing up, but that was before my time. I think the scariest thing about that one was they did not know it was coming. Forecasting back in the 50s was just not very advanced and it was a complete surprise for most folks when it slammed into Fayetteville and else where in NC.

For Fran, we knew. It was freaky, but we knew what was going on.
I was just a kid when Fran hit; but I do vaguely remember conversations and I believe I've heard/read that Fran pretty much snuck up on Raleigh. Obviously they knew it was there and that it would probably make landfall on the coast of NC; but it made a significantly more inland track than they anticipated once it made landfall as a Cat 3 and roared unexpectedly into Raleigh as a strong Cat 1/ Cat 2.
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Old 09-08-2016, 07:29 PM
 
Location: Carolina Shores NC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poppydog View Post
I think the scariest thing about that one was they did not know it was coming. Forecasting back in the 50s was just not very advanced and it was a complete surprise for most folks when it slammed into Fayetteville and else where in NC.
That's right Poppy. My parents said that people knew about Hazel, but little was known about the track until it made landfall near the NC-SC state line. Boom...it got to Raleigh fast. My brother and I watched pine trees snapping and blowing down from the picture window in the living room. It was amazing.
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Old 09-08-2016, 08:30 PM
 
Location: Chapelboro
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I don't think that's quite an accurate characterization of the forecast for Fran, TarHeelNick. We were watching Fran well in advance. It didn't really sneak up on Raleigh. It did change course from what they initially thought, but it was not the big surprise that Hazel was. I was not a kid during Fran and remember it quite well and all of Greg Fishel's prognosticatin'.

My mom said she had no idea about Hazel. My dad was out of town and she was home and I think was pregnant with my brother (I wasn't born yet). Day started off sunny and bright and then bam! Hazel hit and tore everything to bits. I think they knew it was out there but initial forecasts were that it would stay out at sea and even when they realized that it might hit the SC/NC line they didn't know it would track inland so far. It was a cat 4, I believe the strongest storm to ever hit NC, and caused major problems as far north as Toronto. It was also a direct hit on Haiti and caused huge loss of life there.
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Old 09-09-2016, 04:39 AM
Status: "ready for fall." (set 17 days ago)
 
Location: under the beautiful Carolina blue
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poppydog View Post
I don't think that's quite an accurate characterization of the forecast for Fran, TarHeelNick. We were watching Fran well in advance. It didn't really sneak up on Raleigh. It did change course from what they initially thought.
I've enjoyed this thread, having heard about Fran so many times since living here.

I think you hit the nail on the head here, poppy dog. People go off on the media when they relentlessly report these storms, and get angry when they change track and "nothing happens, it was all hype" (see: Hermine). These are not living entities, they cannot be directed - they go where they want to go. I was surprised over the weekend while watching something about Fran that it was a surprise to the Triangle, as it was supposed to go over the Triad. Really? The forecast track is an hour west and people aren't prepared? That makes no sense to me. But it's like Superstorm Sandy where even the day of the storm, people in NJ and NYC and on LI were saying "it's not coming here". I can remember threads to that effect on CD that very day and shaking my head.
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Old 09-09-2016, 07:46 AM
 
Location: NC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poppydog View Post

My mom said she had no idea about Hazel. My dad was out of town and she was home and I think was pregnant with my brother (I wasn't born yet). Day started off sunny and bright and then bam! Hazel hit and tore everything to bits. I think they knew it was out there but initial forecasts were that it would stay out at sea and even when they realized that it might hit the SC/NC line they didn't know it would track inland so far. It was a cat 4, I believe the strongest storm to ever hit NC, and caused major problems as far north as Toronto. It was also a direct hit on Haiti and caused huge loss of life there.
I was not born when Hazel was around, but that storm always captures my attention and imagination. Hard for me to even grasp, but back then, we didn't have ANY satellites in space, so really had very little in the way of weather sophistication, other than to know a storm's history. (eg, it was in Cuba or Haiti, so we "might" be next). Even Hugo, which was also a whopper, we had some predictive capabilities. Hazel, as you described, must have been pure BAM! I can't even imagine. (in the flip-side, there was also no 24 hour cable news to over-hype it.)
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Old 09-09-2016, 07:58 AM
 
Location: Lake Gaston, NC
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I was a young boy (8) when Hazel hit Norfolk, VA. We lived very close to the Chesapeake Bay and my Aunt lived alone in D/T Norfolk. She lived on the 2nd floor of a old D/T row-house. She called and and said the large flat tin roof of the auto painting garage next door was coming off and was going to slam into her house. We ventured out during the storm and picked her up. I still remember the scary sight/sound of that massive mental roof slamming up and down.
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Old 09-09-2016, 08:30 AM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
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This doesn't have to do with North Carolina, but if you want to read a very good book about a hurricane that devastated an area because of the lack of warning or errors in predicting where the storm would go, read Isaac's Storm by Erik Larson. It's about the 1900 hurricane that destroyed Galveston. I read it many years ago when it was a bestseller, and this conversation about predicting the path of hurricanes reminded me of it. I remember being enthralled by it.
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Old 09-09-2016, 08:34 AM
 
Location: Chapelboro
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The Fayetteville Observer has done some nice remembrances of Hazel over the years. It really scored a direct hit there, so that's their big storm story: Remembering Hurricane Hazel 60 years later | Local News | fayobserver.com

Quote:
Although most people in the region say they had not heard Hurricane Hazel was coming, forecasters certainly knew the storm was headed for the Southeast.

They just had no idea where.

Forecasting in the early 1950s was a rudimentary blend of reports from ships unfortunate enough to be caught in the storm and a best guess of approaching air currents. Forecasting computers and orbiting weather satellites were science fiction stuff. Hurricane-hunting aircraft were in their infancy.

Hazel had not been easy to predict, anyway. The storm veered unexpectedly to the north through several Caribbean islands, killing more than 1,000 people in Haiti.

It began sprinting north, then northwest at 25 to 30 mph.

The same heat that had baked the Carolinas created the perfect environment for Hazel, and it grew into what The Associated Press called a "rejuvenated monster."

Hazel was coming in a hurry and, given the limited communications of the time, people in its path would have little time to escape.

On the morning of Oct.14, the best guess by forecasters was a glancing blow to the Outer Banks. Locally, expectations were for clouds, a bit of gusty wind, some welcome rain and clearing, cooler weather for the night's football games.
I read in the article that the day started off overcast with a light rain. I remembered my mom saying it was sunny, but I must have not recalled that right.
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Old 09-09-2016, 10:45 AM
 
2,255 posts, read 2,191,800 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twingles View Post
I've enjoyed this thread, having heard about Fran so many times since living here.

I think you hit the nail on the head here, poppy dog. People go off on the media when they relentlessly report these storms, and get angry when they change track and "nothing happens, it was all hype" (see: Hermine). These are not living entities, they cannot be directed - they go where they want to go. I was surprised over the weekend while watching something about Fran that it was a surprise to the Triangle, as it was supposed to go over the Triad. Really? The forecast track is an hour west and people aren't prepared? That makes no sense to me. But it's like Superstorm Sandy where even the day of the storm, people in NJ and NYC and on LI were saying "it's not coming here". I can remember threads to that effect on CD that very day and shaking my head.
I think you will always have people who want to bury their head in the sand. I was on LI for Sandy and reading Poggly's descriptions of Fran remind exactly of my experience with Sandy. We knew it was coming and prepared but it is not possible to prepare 100% for the unknown, like being without power for 2 weeks. This is different then those who live in the evacuation zone and refuse to leave.
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