[VHS] Hurricane Fran Coastal Destruction Video (North Carolina Highway Patrol)





This was broadcast on television shortly after Hurricane Fran in September 1996. Before drones and Social Media (or really, reliable Internet service) the only way to find out whether or not your house was damaged was to watch this tape, produced via helicopter by the N.C. Highway Patrol, the day after Fran when almost no one besides the National Guard was allowed onto these beaches. The introduction reads:

“Hi, this is Trooper E.C. Manus (?) of the North Carolina Highway Patrol Video Station. First of all, let me thank the fine people here at the CIty of Raleigh Community TV for their efforts in giving you this program of some of the video that we shot during the Hurricane Fran situation.

[Instructions to tape / get a copy of the tape]

The idea for this program actually came from the Kernel of the North Carolina Highway Patrol, Colonel E.W. Horton, who is our commanding Officer. He gave me a call at the training center, where my office is, Saturday morning at 10 o’clock, and told me that we would like to send our “video staff” — which you’re looking at right now, me myself and I — along with one of our pilots, and one of our helicopters, down to the coast to film the damage from North Topsail Beach, or the Topsail Beach area, all the way down to the Kure Beach area, which was hit probably the hardest of any of the places during this storm.

So, we jumped in a helicopter, and went down, and we did, quite a lot of filming, almost four hours or so, of filming, from the air, trying to get as much of the area as we could. There were I guess two reasons for doing this. One, of course, was, in order to give the people of North Carolina and this area a chance to see what kind of damage might have been done to their homes down there. And of course the other reason is to cut down the traffic, from people going down to try to get to the island to see their homes or try to get in, because of the fact, when they got down there, most of you would not be able to get in, because there was so much damage, there were roads washed out and things of this nature, that you could have not gotten in.

So we started out with the idea of just showing this at our troop headquarters, and it was such a big success when we showed it all afternoon and morning long that people called our troop headquarters and called other various offices of state government and asked if we could do it again, so we did it again Monday afternoon, and the fine people here at the City of Raleigh Community TV wanted to be sure that maybe we could get this out to more people, so that’s why we’re doing the program now.

We’re going to be covering the areas, as I said, of North Topsail Beach, Surf City, South Topsail Beach (which I was corrected, many times during our programs that we’ve already done. One lady told me, she said ‘There’s no South Topsail Beach; it’s Topsail Beach.’) So, either way, we’re going to show you all of Topsail Beach. And we’ll also show you Figure Eight Island, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach and Kure Beach.

We tried to do as much as we could by going down the coastline, and getting some wide-scan shots, and then coming up the middle rows, and giving you some of the areas of the second and third rows. And I’ll try to give you a little narration during the film to let you know where we are and everything, and you’ll also see some graphics.

I’d like to first and last of all thank two people that were very valuable in this program. One is, of course, is our pilot, Todd Woodard (?), that flew us, he is just a great pilot, to be able to stay steady in the air that long, with a guy trying to shoot video out the back, like I was, takes a lot of tough work, and we were real happy with the job that he did, and I would like to personally thank him, and I’m sure all of you would too, after you see the video.

And also, we’d like to thank Governor Hunt’s office, who has been very supportive of the Highway Patrol’s effort in this, to get it out to the people of the state of North Carolina, and thank him and his staff, they’ve worked numerous hours to help get this out. So, we hope this helps you in some way, and we’re going to start the video and let you… It’s pretty self-explanatory.”

[Additional Commentary Throughout]

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3 thoughts on “[VHS] Hurricane Fran Coastal Destruction Video (North Carolina Highway Patrol)

  1. Thank you so much for posting this. Hurricane Fran inspired me to become a meteorologist. Topsail Island is also very near and dear to my heart. I've been looking for something like this for a long time. Is there any way I can get a copy of this video from you?

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