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Facing the Facts of Floyd

Posted at 9:06 AM, Sep 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-18 09:46:18-04

On September 2nd, 1999, a tropical wave originated off the coast of Africa...that tropical disturbance turned into Tropical Storm Floyd six days later. This is a storm many would never forget.

On September 11th, Floyd neared major hurricane strength as it traveled slightly to the north of the Leeward Islands. A major contributor to the rapid intensification of Floyd, was the intense warmth of the ocean water. Floyd strengthened to Category 4 status and was a little over 100 miles offshore from the eastern coast of Florida when it turned more northerly, due to a ridge of high pressure.

After encountering some wind shear, Floyd weakened to a Category 2 hurricane and made landfall at Cape Fear, North Carolina on September 16th. Floyd made landfall with sustained winds of 110 mph with 10-15 feet of storm surge across ocean fronts in North Carolina. This storm led to serious shoreline erosion, damage to homes, and many dunes retreated. Floyd also spawned multiple tornadoes that were observed by spotters. Some of these rotating storms created structural damage to buildings and homes.


Floyd traveled into southeastern portions of Virginia and hugged the lower end of the Delmarva peninsula...entering Maryland's lower Eastern Shore. The heaviest rain fell on the northwest side of the storm, which happened to be over the Eastern Shore. Heavy rainfall began on the morning of September 16th, 1999. Rainfall totals of 10-13" of rain were measured along the Eastern Shore. Record rainfall was reported across portions of Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and New York. According to the USGS, about $14.75 million in damage was a result of the flooding from Floyd in northern parts of the Eastern Shore. Five people were injured from the flooding.


According to the National Weather Service, the strongest winds reported in Maryland were measured south of the city, in St. Mary's county, with wind gusts up to 71 mph! Wind gusts clocked in at 62 mph in Baltimore and 56 mph wind gusts were measured in Annapolis. Wind gusts were above 45 mph in College Park and Towson.