This week marks 22 years since Hurricane Fran made landfall along the North Carolina coast. It was the last major hurricane (category 3 or stronger) to make a direct hit on the state.

  • Hurricane Fran hit on Sept. 5, 1996.
  • It made landfall near the mouth of the Cape Fear River.
  • Nine inches of rain were recorded in Raleigh.

Fran came inland on the night of Sept. 5, 1996 near the mouth of the Cape Fear River with estimated sustained winds around 115 mph. Gusts reached up to 137 mph in Wilmington. An estimated 75 percent of the homes in Wilmington sustained some type of damage.

The storm weakened as it moved inland but still produced hurricane force gusts of nearly 80 mph in Goldsboro, Fayetteville and Raleigh. As many as 1.7 million people lost power during the storm just in North Carolina. Another 400,000 outages were reported in Virginia.

Along the immediate coast, the storm surge was just as destructive as the wind. Topsail Island was almost completely overwashed by the surge that reached as high as 12 feet.

Heavy rain from the storm also produced flooding in eastern and central North Carolina. Just under nine inches of rain fell in Raleigh.






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