Local News

Before and After: Hurricanes Alter the NC Coast

Posted May 30, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— In the Triangle, we got a rare, first-hand lesson in just how much damage a single, relatively weak hurricane can cause. But on the North Carolina coast, the lesson was more than doubled with the arrival of not just one storm, but two.

WRAL-TV5'sTerri Gruca discovered how a really close look at hurricane damage can reveal more changes than you might think.

Wrightsville Beach took it on the proverbial chin from both Bertha and Fran. Joe Freeman owns a home there and he says he'll never forget how it all looked to him when he got his first post-Fran look.

Last year was an active season, particularly for the Carolina coast. But now, less than a year later, It's hard to believe how much the beaches have been cleaned up. There are just a few distinct reminders marking mother nature's blow to the shoreline.

Freeman thought he had seen it all. He's owned his home at the beach for more than 20 years, but when he came back to Wrightsville Beach after last year's storms, he discovered there was still plenty he hadn't yet seen. He says the damage to his home was amazing.

But it was something untouchedinsidehis house that showed him just how much the storms had altered the area -- a photograph of the view from his deck that was taken before the storms.

Freeman decided to snap another shot of the same view afterthe storms came through.

Wrightsville Beach has its own sand renewal project that calls for rebuilding up the dunes every four years. The next scheduled sand replenishment is scheduled for February, 1998.