Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Reflections on Floyd

Posted September 16, 2009 9:31 a.m. EDT

What are your memories of Hurricane Floyd? I know it is painful for many of you but I would like to start a discussion today of North Carolina's deadliest and costliest hurricane which came ashore ten years ago today. What is your personal story from Floyd? What did the storm teach you? What lessons have we learned? What are your visual images? What are your emotional scars? What stories of goodwill and heroism rose up out of those devastating floodwaters?

I hope you will join WRAL Television tonight at 7:00PM for a special documentary on Floyd. You will be able to relive the tragedy but also see a lot of positive changes that have resulted from corrective action. We now have updated flood maps in NC. We also have a much better communications system linking local, state and federal authorities.

I remember how wrong I was the morning of Hurricane Floyd. Driving into work for WRAL's Morning News I remember thinking Floyd didn't seem nearly as bad as Hurricane Fran three years earlier. I compared the morning's commute to the nightmarish drive into work during the height of Hurricane Fran with trees crashing down and utility lines tumbling into piles of sparks. But we would soon get a feel for just how bad it was downeast. I took a phone call from a man trying to get out of his house along the Tar River. The water was rising fast. It was just the beginning .

Soon we would see see the surreal images of hogs, coffins and street signs floating down highways turned into rivers by relentless rains. Many people tried to navigate the flooded streets in their cars. This was the biggest problem with Floyd. 52 died in North Carolina during Floyd. Many of them perished in their cars.

Floyd came after Tropical Storm Dennis pounded the state with heavy rains. It was that one-two punch that saturated the soil and triggered a tragedy of epic proportions.

What are your reflections on Hurricane Floyd? Please share.