55th anniversary of Hurricane Hazel

Posted by Debra Worley - email

OAK ISLAND, NC (WECT) - One of the most catastrophic hurricanes tore through southeastern North Carolina 55 years ago.

According to the National Weather Service, Hurricane Hazel made a direct hit on the heart of North Carolina and was one of the most destructive hurricanes to strike the United States.

The category 4 storm damaged nearly 40,000 structures and killed 19 people.  There was an estimated $136 million in property damage.

"Just to hear my parents talk about it, it was complete devastation," said Oak Island resident Ronnie Shannon.  "I can't remember the exact number of houses that were left, I think seven or eight out of 300 and some, but there was absolutely nothing here. Of course, they lost everything they had."

Two years ago, a marker was unveiled on Highway 133 and Yaupon Drive, to help people remember those who lost their lives to Hazel.

If you remember Hurricane Hazel, share your stories in the comment section below.

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