RALEIGH, N.C. -- In the places where the storm did its worst, people don't call it by its name, Hurricane Floyd. When they talk about it at all, it's just "the flood," as if there had never been another. As if there never could be again.
For certain, there hadn't been one like this, a meteorological monster 300 miles wide with 110-mph winds that proved less lethal than its rains. Once it made land on Sept. 16, 1999, Floyd moved inland and dumped a foot to 2 feet of rain on ground still soaked from Tropical Storm Dennis less than two weeks before. Rain on top of rain, Floyd filled creeks and rivers and lakes until they overflowed. Then it filled the neighborhoods around them, and downstream from them, from Raleigh to the coast.
Reminders of what the water wrought are everywhere, but they've melded into the scenery, like the lazy streams that travelers barely notice now on their way to the beach but that leapt from their banks a decade ago, snatching cars off roads and houses off foundations. Floyd killed 52 people in North Carolina and caused $6 billion in damage. It was the worst natural disaster in the state's history.
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