HURRICANE IRENE: Two Years Later

By: Carly Swain, Charlie Ironmonger
By: Carly Swain, Charlie Ironmonger
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Around 7:30 in the morning, two years ago today, Hurricane Irene made landfall on Eastern Carolina.

Stalling over the Pamlico Sound, Irene brought flooding that destroyed nearly a thousand homes statewide.

With winds marked at 85 miles-per-hour, trees snapped like pencils, falling on homes and cars below. The west side of the storm was unusually strong, matching the wind speeds on the east side of the storm. This was due to the relatively low central pressure of the storm (952 mb), which kept winds rotating at rapid speeds despite traveling over land.

660,000 homes were left without power in stretches of time that ranged from hours to days after the Category 1 storm swept across the east.

Damage was surveyed from Beaufort to Pamlico counties and all along the Crystal Coast. The total damage estimates across the state were around $1.2 billion.

While homeowners stripped their houses of carpet, walls, and even sub-flooring to ensure their homes were safe from mold, FEMA surveyed the damage and contributed more than $160 million in state and federal disaster relief.

The Sheraton in Atlantic Beach underwent a $5-million renovation after the storm and two years later became The DoubleTree by Hilton Atlantic Beach Oceanfront.

The Bogue Inlet Pier lost 225 feet of length in the storm, but rebuilt and reopened for St. Patrick's Day weekend in 2012.

In total, Hurricane Irene left 49 people dead, seven from North Carolina, in it's path and $15 billion dollars of damage.


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