National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Hurricane Hazel Stories

“In 1954 I had just turned 16, and got my first driver’s license. Living in the center of North Carolina, I was not directly affected by Hurricane Hazel. I did hear a lot of news on the radio about the damage. Being quite curious a friend and I drove to Carolina Beach to see for ourselves. This was about a week after the storm.

I remember the Carolina Beach area, from prior visits, as a really fun place. There was a boardwalk that seemed a mile long, with small wooden hotels side by side on the top of the dunes. There was a fishing pier about every thousand feet or so. There must have been a dozen from there to adjoining Kure Beach.

To my surprise and disappointment, the dunes were gone along with the boardwalk, hotels and all. One pier, known as the "Steel Pier", made of steel pilings, was the only one left. Everything else was just wiped out, with wood and other debris just scattered around…”

Lawrence H Cox (Wilmington, NC)


"My grandmother, Stella S. Meyer, lived on Wrightsville Beach in 1954. She had actually just moved in to a first-floor apartment on what was then the town’s extreme north end, right where N. Lumina Avenue ended at the Surf Club, at the end of September. I have a letter she wrote to my father, describing her “dream” apartment, with views of both ocean and sound, etc. In one ominous foreshadowing, she writes, “I feel as if I am in heaven and will wake up and find it was a dream.” The day she moved in, she reported, she watched surf generated by the offshore Hurricane Edna coming up into her street.

As it happened, my parents were already making plans to visit her, and were on the road when the hurricane struck, arriving a few days later. I have a postcard that my grandmother wrote by flashlight the night of the hurricane, after being taken to an evacuation center at the Wilmington Moose lodge, and then to a downtown hotel. “My apt. is said to have five feet of water in it, connecting ocean and sound. May have to take boat to get there. Telegraph, telephone and lights out. Much minor damage in Wilmington. River up two blocks in business district. Wind and rain beyond description. It has been fun, though.”

In the immediate aftermath, my father took a series of Kodachrome photos of the damage at Wrightsville Beach, which are the only color photographs from Hazel’s immediate aftermath that I’ve ever seen. Some of these were published in the Sunday StarNews in October 2004, part of the paper’s 50-year coverage of the story.”

John Meyer (Wilmington, NC)


“I was in 10th grade at High Point High School that day. I had classes with several people who lost their parents that day. There were three or four families parents lost from High Point. I believe they were at Ocean Isle. The wind and rain blew so hard here that you could not see out the windows. It was a terrible day and one that NC residents never forgot.  One thing that I have always remembered – almost everything on the coast of North and South Carolina was destroyed, but the next time we went down there the one thing standing at Windy Hill beach as far as I know was an old fishing shack on the beach.  Everything else was gone and that shack had for years looked like the first hard wind would blow it away.”

Opal Dehart


“I was seven years old, living in Richmond, Virginia.  My mother was a weather buff - always watching the barometer and keeping up with the weather reports, such as they were, on radio or tv - ours was the only one in the neighborhood.  The day was rainy and windy, then suddenly cleared.  My sister (12) and I quickly darted outside to play, much to my mother's distress.  She was frantically trying to find us and haul us back inside - fortunately before the backlash hit.  That was my first remembered experience of a hurricane.  I have had a healthy respect for them all my life - no doubt recalling the terrible damage the city suffered in its path. Many, many old but sturdy trees were toppled throughout the city.

My uncle was on the farm in Mecklenburg County, Virginia.  He rode out the storm in his pickup truck, having been caught in the initial downpour.  He said it was one of the most frightening experiences he ever had.

- Christian Roberts (Charlottesville, VA)


“I was only 3 years and 2 months old when Hurricane Hazel struck our community of Micro, NC in Johnston Co. I don’t remember much about the actual storm itself only a lot of wind and heavy rain.  The things I remember most are the aftermath.  The most amazing thing I remember is that our house was raised up on jacks so that it could be underpinned.  The house was not moved or damaged; maybe because the wind could travel under the house and maybe that cut down on the resistance to the gusts and allowed the house to stand.  I remember my Daddy and men who were helping jack up and underpin the house talking about it was a miracle that the house was not blown off the jacks.  My parents operated a grocery store and I remember a lot of people coming in to the store and talking about the damage and I remember seeing some tobacco barns and other buildings destroyed.  A large tree was blown over in our yard and I played on the fallen trunk and limbs for several days or weeks until it was cleared.  A large tree was also blown over in our neighbor’s yard that I also played on and around.”

— L. C. Smith (Micro, NC)


“Wow, that long already! I grew up in Langley, Virginia and vividly remember Hazel coming through our property. We lived in a wooded section of Langley/McLean and had many large oak trees. My Dad was excited as he thought we'd have some tree damage and we'd have some firewood for winter. Was he ever right. I was only eight years old back then, but I'll never forget those black oaks bent over almost double and the sound of the wind and the rain...”

Eric Pangman 


“I was 12 years old and living in Jackson, NC. My family gathered in a neighbor’s basement as the hurricane passed. When the winds calmed down, Billy (son of the family that had the basement), and I got on our bikes to ride around town to see the damage. Our knowledge of hurricanes wasn't like today so we didn't know that we were simply in the eye with more to come. As the winds started picking back up, we had to leave the bicycles and literally fight our way back to Billy's house (probably about 3/4 of a mile) grabbing on to different things until we finally made it. We certainly learned about the eye of a hurricane that day. I've never forgotten Hazel.”

Spencer Barnes


“[My] Great Aunt had a house on Topsail Island. When they bought it, it was two streets behind the shoreline, after Hazel it was then beach front property.”

— Kelli Connolly (Watha, NC)


“I was a young boy when Hazel hit but I can still remember the sights and sounds of that storm very clearly. I lived in Wilmington in the Chestnut Heights [neighborhood]. At the height of the storm, the wind was blowing so hard that it was coming in around the weather-stripping of our front door. The weather stripping was made of what looked like brass and it was making a screeching sound that would raise the hair on the back of your neck as the wind whistled around it. A little later the wind driven rain started coming in the windows on the front of the house. My Dad put towels under the windows to keep the water off the floors. After the storm passed, we rode around to look at the damage. I was amazed to see boats stacked up in front of Babies Hospital like cord wood. Hazel had hit during an astronomically high tide with landfall south of Wilmington which meant we saw the right quadrant containing the largest storm surge. We couldn’t go onto the beach until several days later, but the scene there was like something out of a horror movie. There were whole rows of houses that were gone and many others that were severely damaged. The next weekend, we went to my Grandfather’s property at Porter’s Neck. His small fishing shack that was located on the strip of beach at the bottom of the bluff that protected the rest of the property was gone. We took Granddaddy’s boat and my Uncle’s boat and searched for the shack. We found it on one of the islands down from Granddaddy’s place. Of course it was not salvageable. It took many years for this area to recover from that mighty storm and the havoc it wreaked on our beaches. People who have never been through a storm like Hazel have no idea what these storms can do. I worry that people new to this area think that storms like Fran and Floyd are as bad as it gets here. I’m here to tell you that there is no comparison!”

Kerry Williams (Wilmington, NC)


“I have vivid memories of Hurricane Hazel.  I was a second grader at Troy Elementary School in Montgomery County, North Carolina on the Friday the storm hit.  Since we are in the center of North Carolina, I have always believed the school and/or weather authorities did not expect the storm to travel inland as far as it did.  Because of that, we were in school early on that day.  I lived about a mile from school on the other side of Troy.  Sometimes during the morning as the weather quickly got worse, school was dismissed.  I was a walker.  I can remember starting home in a torrential rain and wind storm by then.  Being a kid, I can remember taking time to play in the rain and wind, not realizing the danger I was in.  I did get home safely that day and I can remember sitting with my family as the day went on looking out the windows at the fierce storm.  For some reason, I have always remembered the rain on that day more than the wind.  Looking back though, the wind was fierce on that day also.  I can remember my Dad taking us out in the car I think after a couple of days to look at some of the damage around the county.  The most vivid memory I have of that is riding by a drive-in theater in the county and seeing the giant screen virtually destroyed.  I never forgot the day Hazel hit.”

Wayne Wooten (Biscoe, NC)


“[My father] was an Air Traffic Controller stationed at Bleuthenthal Field which is now New Hanover County Airport.  He went in for the morning shift as soon as it was possible to get out after the eye had passed.  About the same time a light aircraft was warming up for takeoff.  The pilots name was Hall Waters and there is a road named after him at the airport now. He flew for hire, mostly as a spotter for commercial Menhaden Ships off shore. Evidently on that morning Waters he was on a no charge community service mission. He flew many miles North and South along the coast, all the while he was relaying what he saw to my Dad, who was on the phone with a local radio announcer who was broadcasting live and real time. The more that time goes on and technology out-paces us, the more I appreciate the significance this had at that time…”

Harry Hankins (Wilmington, NC)


“I am 65 years old and I was approximately 5 years old when hurricane Hazel came through our area. We lived in a rural area in Bladen County NC. We knew the storm was going to be a bad one and due to lack of information that was available because of that era, we just braced ourselves for a bad storm. A tree in our back yard blew over and hit our house in the kitchen area. We assumed the storm was over and thought it was safe to go outside and see how much damage the tree had done to our house… After a while, after being outside, we begin to see and feel the wind begin to pick up again and didn't know what was going on. We decided we better get back inside for our safety. We were bracing ourselves for another hurricane, but little did we know we were in the "Eye of The Storm".”

Virgil M.


“I was just a teenager in upstate New York, city of Cortland, when Hurricane Hazel hit.  I was with friends at a high school football game and the sudden high winds had us leaving in droves and running for cover.  My buddies and I decided to go up to Main Street, a few blocks away, but we were thrown up against buildings so decided to get to the house of a friend closest to us  Every step was a struggle but we made it. Her parents put us up for the night and were so relieved to see that we had survived.  Lots of damage seen the next day.”

— Cynthia N.


“Hi, just a word or twelve about Hazel. We were living in Fayetteville, N.C. (hometown) when that thing paid a visit. It was on my eighth birthday (what a gift, huh). Besides the howling wind and horizontal rain, I distinctly remember watching my favorite big `ol climbing trees falling like bowling pins. Of course an eight year old doesn`t see danger as an adult would, I was watching all this from a screened-in back porch. But my ever vigilant mom spotted me and uh, convinced me to come inside...”

— Jerry S.


“I was born in 1939, so I remember Hazel well.  The thing I remember most was my Father's story about being at Holden Beach.  They watched houses float out and break up.  They went back to the cabin on the second row to have breakfast, but water started coming over the dunes, and Dad said they thought they had best leave.  I don't remember if the bridge was completed then, but he did say that there was water on the road as they drove out.  He said the worst thing was having to leave a plate of country ham on the table!”

Joe Nicholson


“I was in the fourth grade at Winter Park School in Wilmington when Hurricane Hazel struck on Friday, October 15, 1954. I sat on my screened-in front porch and watched the whole thing. It was the first time I ever saw a trash can fly. My mother worked at the Atlantic Tobacco Company which was located on Water Street. The employees went to work as usual that morning but by ten o'clock the Cape Fear River was coming in the back of the building. The phones and power went out and she had to walk up Market Street to the Groceteria, a supermarket that still had lights and power, to call my Dad to come get her as she did not drive. As she walked on Market Street, store windows were blowing out and she narrowly missed being hit by flying glass. The storm began around nine o'clock that morning and by Noon it was all over.

A few days later we somehow got onto Wrightsville Beach and I was amazed at the amount of damage. I particularly remember seeing homes that had been totally destroyed and the toilets littering the streets. It was a sight I recall to this very day. Three elements combined to make Hazel particularly devastating. It struck on the full moon at the time of the high tide...

Most importantly for me, it led to a life-long fascination with weather and I am now the meteorologist for WHIG-TV in Rocky Mount, North Carolina.”

Fred Holdsworth (Rocky Mount, NC)


“On October 15th, 1954 I was 6 years old and lived in Wilmington, N.C. in the Sunset Park residential area. My parents and I lived in a garage apartment. As Hurricane Hazel approached the city and its force and magnitude was upon us, it wasn’t long before the potential danger was realized. The approaching winds were powerful and strengthening in force to bend the large pine and oak trees in a way that had never been witnessed. As the bands of rain began to pound and arrive in waves, it sounded like pebbles/rocks hitting the roof and windows. The building shook with the onset of the wind gusts. We were frightened and my parents decided we were not safe. We then drove a few blocks to our church (Sunset Park Methodist) where we spent the night in the basement. A battery powered radio provided some insights and warnings. As I recall this was from station WMFD. The warning concerning the “eye” was key. Some people thought that once the eye was over the city, the storm was over and it was safe to go out. Technology was nothing like today, so everyone did the best they knew how and learned a lot from Hazel!!! I remember my father listened to the details concerning the “eye” on the radio, and we went outside to observe. While we found it to be quiet and not raining, there was debris everywhere. Shingles from roofs, limbs from trees, garbage cans, lawn furniture, etc. were everywhere. As the eye passed and the hurricane continued, we went back into the basement of the church. After Hazel passed, it looked like a war zone. The Power of the wind and rain was respectfully humbling. The senses of sight, hearing, and touch provide a memorable reflection.

There was tremendous devastation. We loved our beaches and Wrightsville Beach was the one we visited most often. The Wilmington Star-News published a recap and had pictures of the damage at Wrightsville Beach. We drove to Wrightsville Beach, and it was frightening to see the aftermath. Much of Johnnie Mercer’s Pier and Crystal Pier were missing. Cottages were flooded and some pushed substantial distances from their original foundation. Ocean front cottages were impacted the most of course. The erosion was significant and covered the streets and properties. In those days, Jetties were thought to help with erosion and they could not compete with Hazel.”  

Jim J.(Rocky Mount, NC)


“I was in the first grade at Y. E. Smith Elementary School in 1954 when hurricane Hazel hit. Miss Jennie Belvin was my teacher.  The schools were all let out early that day, due to the oncoming storm, and the teachers encouraged the children to hurry home.

My daddy was working some distance away and had started home, but due to the weather, traffic was slow and he wasn't close enough to pick me up. My mama was at home with my three younger siblings. She recounted to me many times over the years how she saw children passing our house and felt great relief thinking that I would be home momentarily but the minutes ticked away and I was not there.  She said that she was constantly watching down the street as the rains and wind accelerated and her anxiety was increasing by the moment as the parade of school kids passed by and I did not appear.

Finally, as she was beside herself with worry, she saw my little frame emerging through the weather. At last I arrived home, significantly wind-blown and drenched from the pouring rain. My mother immediately asked the obvious question of, "Whatever took you so long?  All the other children got home long before you did."  I promptly replied that I had left my penny from my purchase of extra milk at our break so when I realized it, though I was almost home, I returned to the school for my penny!  My family has teased me about this for years, but at 6 years old, in 1954, a penny was a pretty big deal and I wasn't about to risk it even if there was a hurricane!

Hazel left her mark on our yard, too, as our big pear tree, by our house, blew completely out of the ground.  The tree was laden with ripe fruit so my grandma and my mama made gallons of pear preserves which our family enjoyed for a long time.  They were so delicious on mama's hot biscuits!”  

— Teresa S.


“My story is not catastrophic, but remembrances from childhood.  I was only two years old when Hazel came through North Carolina.  Our family farm in Denton, North Carolina was 165 miles from the coast.  The only damage I can remember my parents speaking of on the farm must have been from tornadoes spawned from the weather system.

The corn crib (a ventilated rude construction building meant to house and dry corn for the consumption of farm animals) was blown off its pilings during this storm.  That one event instilled a respect of hurricanes and weather anomalies that carried from my parents to me as a child. 

Hazel also demolished beach homes that were family vacation havens on Carolina Beach.  From that time forward, our annual family beach trips were to Ocean Drive and Cherry Grove beaches in South Carolina (now North Myrtle Beach).

The stories of Hazel left me with an appreciation of our coast, its volatility and an earnest zeal to protect the amazing resource we have in our beaches in North Carolina.”

— Candace Hobbs


“Hurricane Hazel floods my memory. I was age 9, growing up in the inland city of Rochester, New York, yet Hazel blew straight through our town.  We kids were all playing on our street (of tightly packed houses) as usual in the evening, when the wind and rain suddenly began a ferocious attack. We all bolted toward our respective porches. On my way, I stopped, held back (I don't know how) for just a second, when a major tree branch fell a foot or two in front of me. What if??? I owe my life to my guardian angel! The next morning some of those marvelous old maple trees lay on the sidewalk, totally uprooted, but, fortunately, they had not crashed into the houses. I could have BEEN the story instead of telling it.”

— Joyce Stolberg


“…Mother and Daddy had gone on a trip to the Outer Banks with some friends just a day or so before Hazel. We were left with our grandparents. The people who lived and worked on the Outer Banks paid close attention to the weather and that was the first my parents knew of Hazel. They all hurriedly left and came home the day before Hazel. They picked me up but left my sister and brother with my grandparents who lived about 10 miles from the beach.

We woke up before daylight the next morning with the wind and rain beating down. Mother made some breakfast and coffee and we spent a few hours looking out the windows of the Bingo parlor. As it got light enough to see, we began to see the destruction of the ocean front homes directly in front of us. Most of them probably dated from the early 40's but a few of them looked even older. Many of them were 2 story but most were one story and all on pilings. I believe that area was the first part that was developed.

I watched many of those homes be undermined by the waves and then start to slide down towards the waves and the next giant wave would hit them and they'd explode like a bomb had gone off.

I don't remember being scared at any time, I think I was more awestruck than anything. But Mother and Daddy got very concerned as we watched everything in front of us and as far as we could see in either direction, began to disappear into the waves. When the eye came over, the winds and rain died to almost nothing so we got the car out, a 1953 Ford Convertible, and Daddy put the top down because the plastic window in the back was broken and he said he was afraid a gust of wind might flip the car.

He drove though water almost knee deep till we got to the street going to the bridge. He drove slow because we didn't know what might be in the water and we also didn't want the water to splash up and stall the car. Along the way I watched more houses slide down into the waves to be destroyed and as we passed the other recreation center, I watched it literally melt like a lump of sugar into the pounding surf. It was a two story concrete block building about 50 ft. by 100 ft. The building was maybe 150 ft. away from the road we were on. That building, and the business, belonged to John Holden. I found out later that he was out of town that week with his family.

When we got to the bridge, someone Daddy knew was there on the mainland side and we almost parked the car behind a gas station there and rode with him into Shallotte but Daddy decided not to leave it because we wouldn't have any transportation then. We drove on in to Shallotte and rented the upstairs of a house from the White family, who owned the theater and the oil company locally.

After Daddy picked up my brother and sister and brought them back, he got word that Mr. Luther Holden was missing and he went with a group of men who started searching and they found him in the back of a sand dune in a hole he'd apparently dug out when he realized he'd never be able to get to the bridge and get off the beach. He was sandblasted but alive.

It was our good fortune that Daddy didn't leave the car at that service station because later that afternoon we drove back to the bridge and the wall on the backside of that station had been blown over in the exact spot where he would have parked. There was white stuff all over everywhere and I remember thinking shredded mattresses or clothing but I found out years later that the man who owned the station had moved his cotton harvest into the station's bays to protect it. Obviously, that didn't protect it.

As we had left the beach, there was a Corp of Engineers buoy tender tied up to the bridge fenders but it was gone when we came back. The next day we found out that it was in the edge of the woods on the mainland and the anemometer head had blown away and the needle was stuck on 140 MPH. They ended up digging a canal about a 1/4 mile into the woods to float the boat back out. I don't think it had any major damage, just a lot of dings and things like antennas broken.

When we finally got to our recreation center, the only things visible were an old floor safe we had downstairs and the Wurlitzer juke box. The only other things on the slab was a little trash and some sand, but no building.

The next day, we found the wooden second and third stories of the building. It had been moved probably 1,000 ft. or so from where it was. It ended up closer to the Inland Waterway but still not really near it and moved closer to the eastern end of the beach. It was essentially in one piece but twisted since it was now sitting on some smaller sand dunes. It was still facing in almost exactly the position it was in before the storm. Some water had gotten in to the living quarters but only enough to destroy photographs and books that were on the floor near the window that was left partially open.

A cup of coffee, half full, that I had left sitting on the stove, was still on the stove, with not one drop in the saucer. Right outside the entrance to the apartment was the stairwell that had been the stairs from the first floor to the skating rink and our apartment. There was no evidence that water ever came into that opening which was probably 15 ft. wide and 20 ft. long. In fact, there was no evidence anywhere that water got inside that building except where that window was left partially open and that appeared to be rain water.

We couldn't find any of the bowling alleys and thought they were gone. Only months later did we find out that most of the bowling alleys were under the remaining building and were actually part of the humps that we originally thought were sand dunes that distorted the building. Just two years ago, I found out that some parts of the bowling alleys and many of the pins were found in the Varnum Town area on the mainland, several miles away.

My father had hired one of my uncles to salvage all the timber in the building and he found the bowling alleys while he was dismantling the building.

The official numbers say that all but 12 out of 150 houses on Holden Beach were literally gone. Of those 12, not all of them were still sitting straight on their foundations. Of those 12, two were side by side and if you'd seen a photo of one, you had seen the other. Both of them were two story, wood frame second story on a concrete block first story. Both of them had green fiberglass garage doors, those flimsy almost see through doors. Both garage doors were in place and intact but at one of those houses, a jeep was sticking through the concrete block wall in the back. I never could figure out how that happened without the garage door being blown down.

The material that was salvaged from our recreation center was trucked to Emerald Isle where we built a fishing pier. The material was used to build the pier house and a home there on the beach where we were the first permanent family. That same uncle who helped my father build the recreation center and then dismantle the building for salvage also built most of the new home at Emerald Isle.

The Pier opened in 1955. Part of the pier was opened while construction was ongoing and there was another 50 ft. to build when Connie hit and toppled the crane and about 75' ft. of the existing pier into the water.  We elected to cap off the pier where it was and not do any more construction. The wreckage proved good for bottom fishing but did collect a bunch of tackle for a while.

Of course having a fishing pier in the ocean created a whole new chapter in our lives and conflict with hurricanes, many hurricanes.

There's just no way I could write this to convey what I felt and what I saw on that day in October 1954. Only someone who has personally seen it happen up close to them can ever appreciate the might, the majesty and the awesomeness of what's happening at that moment. If there's ever a moment when a cartoon is right, this would have been the cartoon with your jaw hitting your feet and your eyeballs sticking out on stalks...”

Wayne Thompson


“Sinks, toilets, shingles, and boards were scattered in the sand where streets used to be.  Deep sand covered streets and filled the ground floor of houses and buildings, the ones left standing, from the oceanfront westward for two blocks.  At that point, debris from the rising water covered the streets for another two blocks.  In our small coastal community of Carolina Beach, North Carolina, Hurricane Hazel proved to be more devastating than we could have imagined.

My two brothers and I were excited during the preparations for the storm.  Everyone was supposed to evacuate, but Daddy was a member of the Volunteer Fire Department and he had to stay on the beach to help with emergencies that might arise.  Since we lived several blocks from the waterfront, we stayed with him.   We knew the routine.  We filled the tub and empty containers with water, knowing we would have no water after the storm if it stayed on track.  Mama got out the lamps and candles, so we could see after the lights went out.  Easy open and eat foods were on hand. All loose items outside were moved, tucked away.  I was only nine at the time, but I remember being very quiet and still while the wind and rain were raging outside.  But I don't believe any of us could have been prepared for what awaited us after the storm.

My nine-year old mind was in awe of the devastation.  Sand covered many of the streets - all of those within two blocks of the ocean. Some houses looked like they had been ripped apart with sinks, toilets, and flooring just hanging from what was left of the second floor of houses.  The bottoms of the houses were filled with sand.  Furniture, appliances, timbers, and personal items were everywhere.  Rising water had washed boats, large and small, ashore into yards and streets.  Our town's boardwalk was ripped asunder as were the piers.  South of the boardwalk, the oceanfront was practically wiped clean.  The houses were gone, the lots bare, not to be built on again until the housing boom two decades later when the memories of this storm had waned.  Two of my friends, classmates, lost their homes during Hazel.  Our home suffered little damage, but a rental property on the oceanfront had been gutted on the ground floor, the porches beaten off by waves that roared ashore on a full-moon high-tide.

Hurricane Hazel made history.  It was the storm by which all future storms were measured by local residents who knew her.  She has been talked about for decades, and many tales have been told and retold of heroic survivals.  Those of us who knew Hazel chuckle when people new to the area speak of surviving Bertha, Bonnie, or Floyd.  They confidently build their homes or condos on the oceanfront thinking they have seen the worst of storms; but, even though we are getting old, those of us who were there on October 12, 1954, remember Hazel and know better.

 Jean Ellis


Hurricane Hazel Letter image Image of First Page of Hurricane Hazel Report by a NWS EmployeeImage of First Page of Hurricane Hazel Report by a NWS EmployeeCoastwatch issue featuring 60th Anniversary of Hazel

 If you were affected by Hurricane Hazel when it struck in 1954, or have a story of anyone else that was, we invite you to share your memories of the storm and its aftermath. This historic hurricane had an extensive and overwhelming impact on life and property, as the strongest Category 4 hurricane to ever hit the North Carolina coast. Scroll down to comment in the thread below.