Coastal, NC Hurricane IONE Tears Into Coast, Sep 1955




Morehead City (U.P.) -- Awesome Hurricane Ione smashed the North Carolina coast today with 120-mile-an-hour winds -- flooding towns and fishing villages, and tearing the Diamond Shoals lightship from her moorings off lonely Cape Hatteras.
The mighty howler struck the extreme eastern end of North Carolina, already punished by previous visitations from the tropics, and aimed for Norfolk, Va., 140 miles to the north-northwest.
No deaths or injuries were reported in early stages of the storm, but the coast all the way to New England was alerted for what appeared to be the year's mightiest hurricane.
Lashing winds and mountainous waves tore the Diamond Shoals lightship from her moorings at 8:10 a.m. today and set her adrift at Ione's mercy.
A Coast Guard spokesman said the vessel was under way trying to maintain her position. The lightship was under standing orders to hold her post at all costs to warn other ships away from the rocky shallows shome 13 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras light.
The lightship with 15 men aboard measures only 128 feet.
"That's like a canoe out there today," the Coast Guard spokesman said.
The Coast Guard cutter Mendota out of Charleston, S. C., was ordered to proceed at full speed to the lightship's aid. The Mendota was 200 miles south of Cape Hatteras, following the hurricane.
The Hatteras Coast Guard station was keeping constant radio contact with the lightship and trying to plot her position with radar.
At 9:38 a.m. the lightship reported she was approximately on station and holding her own.
Winds in the area were reported 65 to 75 miles per hour and seas were "mountainous."
Two Navy jet pilots who flew through the giant storm said they were awed by the "monstrous" seas it kicked up just before it hit the coast.
Much of the Pamlico Sound area in North Carolina was blacked out by power and communications failures. Fragmentary reports indicated damage from winds up to 107 miles per hour was light, but there was no word on the fate of dozens of small fishing towns isolated by flooded roads.
"The worst flooding conditions" in its modern history were reported at New Bern, a city of 13,000 persons.
Water was reported as high as four feet in the streets at New Bern and other cities.
The mighty storm, most furious of the season's tropical hurricanes, pounded on a northward path that would rake the upper North Carolina coast and the Norfolk-Portsmouth, Va., metropolitan area this afternoon.
The chief threat appeared from high tides, sweeping in at 10 feet or more above normal. The same North Carolina coastal counties suffered tremendous losses from flooding and sea water damage in two previouos hurricanes -- Connie and Diane -- only last month.
Gov. LUTHER H. HODGES, taking personal charge of disaster operations in the coastal area, reported by radio that floodwaters were in the streets of several towns.
About 100 feet of a fishing pier at Kitty Hawk was washed away by the pounding sea.
The high winds knocked a score or more eastern North Carolina radio stations off the air. Power failures were reported at Morehead City, Kinston, Jacksonville, New Bern, Williamston, Washington, Greenville, Havelock and Plymouth.
The hurricane swept into the extreme eastern tip of the state just east of here, before daybreak. By 8 a.m. (EST), following an erratic course, the storm's center was located by the U. S. Weather Bureau near the Cherry Point Marine Air Station, 20 miles north-east of Morehead City.
That location placed the center only 140 miles south-southwest of Norfolk, Va., and the great U. S. naval base at Hampton Roads, Va.
Highest winds near the center were at 120 m.p.h. Gales extended outward as far as 300 miles north and east and 160 miles to the west.
In the Norfolk area winds reached 54 m.p.h. in gusts over Norfolk at 8 a.m.
The weather bureau warned of "dangerously high" tides as the storm bore on a north-northwesterly course at a speed of about 15 m.p.h.
Gale force winds were expected to hit as far north as New England early tonight.
Hurricane warnings were flying from Wilmington to Atlantic City, N. J., and northeast storm warnings were displayed elsewhere from Eastport, Me., to Charleston, S. C. A hurricane alert was in effect from Atlantic City, N. J., to Provincetown, Mass., including the New York City area.

The Daily Independent Kannapolis North Carolina 1955-09-19





New Bern (U.P.) -- Hurricane Ione's vicious sweep across costal North Carolina left two persons drowned and property damage estimated in the "tens of millions" of dollars today.
Damage in New Bern alone was set at 15 million dollars.
More millions in damages was caused to crops and farmlands. And highway officials feared distruction to the many flooded highways and roads might run into millions.
Hardest hit were New Bern on the Neuse River, Morehead City near the Outer Banks, and Washington on the Pamlico River.
At New Bern, where two were drowned, and 2,000 persons had to be evacuated, city officials called it the worst disaster since a fire swept 40 city blocks in 1922.
Three-fourths of Washington, just north of New Bern, was inundated at the worst of the storm. The town was reported under "several" feet of water.
A 10-block area of Morehead City was under five feet of water for a time. Water appeared to be undermining many waterfront buildings and homes.
Flooding also occurred in Beaufort, Swansboro, Aurora, Belhaven, Lowland, Hobucken, Oriental, Havelock, Atlantic Beach and Edenton, and dozens of other coastal fishing communities.

Washington (INS) -- Hurricane Ione swung farther out to sea today, lifting much of the threat to the Atlantic coast, but weather forecasters warned the storm is still potentially dangerous.
At 11 a.m., EDT., the Washington Weather Bureau's bulletin placed the hurricane at about 90 miles east-northeast of Norfolk, Va., and moving in a northeasterly direction at about 10 or 12 miles an hour.

The Daily Independent Kannapolis North Carolina 1955-09-20