It has been 67 years since powerful Hurricane Hazel made landfall close to the North Carolina/South Carolina border near Myrtle Beach, S.C., on the morning of Oct. 15, 1954. The storm wreaked havoc across the eastern United States and Canada on its way to the record books. Hazel is considered one of the worst natural disasters in North Carolina's history, and one of the most destructive hurricanes to impact the U.S.. The National Hurricane Center, says Hazel made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane with wind gusts up to 150 mph. Records for the most rain ever received in one calendar day in October were set in Greensboro, N.C., with 6.24 inches and in Pittsburgh, Pa., with 3.56 inches. Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and New York City all recorded their highest wind gusts on record at 94 mph, 98 mph and 113 mph respectively. Winds were actually sustained above hurricane force in Washington DC at 78 mph. Wind gusts were measured at 100 mph on the shore of Lake Ontario in northern New York. The storm's winds remained so strong inland as it traveled north at an amazing 55 mph and reached Ontario, Canada, that night. The hurricane was the strongest ever to strike so far to the north. All fishing piers from Myrtle Beach to Cedar Island, N.C., were destroyed and 15,000 homes and structures were destroyed in North Carolina alone. The devastation along the North Carolina beaches was enhanced as Hazel made landfall during the full moon of October, which was the highest lunar tide of the year. Storm surge reached a remarkable 18 feet in some locations, wiping out beaches. Dozens of people were killed in the U.S. and Canada.
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