Hurricane Floyd still impacting Goose Creek Swamp
Ranger says trees will eventually die
By CHRISTINA HALE,Staff Writer
Visitors at Goose Creek State Park can clearly see the effects of hurricanes when walking the boardwalk through Goose Creek Swamp.
Park Ranger Chris Cabral said hurricane Floyd, which hit North Carolina in 1999, made the biggest impact. “It changed our swamp forever,” he said Sunday during a program at the park.
Cabral said the storm surge from Floyd forced salt water into the swamp.
Cabral defined a swamp as an area with trees and water. After Floyd, the trees started dying, which brought in more sunlight and grassy vegetation started to grow.
The effects are not necessary bad. “It’s a natural progression of change,” he said.
North Carolina is a frequently hit state, only second to Florida.
Although Floyd was not a category five hurricane, Cabral said it dropped 15 to 20 inches of rain on the state and was twice as large as an average hurricane.
Over 950 hurricanes have been recorded in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, with 82 passing through North Carolina. Cabral said 28 were direct hits.
The origin of the word “hurricane” came from the Mayan word “Hurakan,” which was the name of an evil god who, they believed, blew his breath across the water and brought forth dry land.
Cabral said, although hurricanes can be deadly, “they do some good.” The purpose of a hurricane is to transfer heat out of the tropics. It maintains global circulation and equilibrium.
With another hurricane season approaching, residents must be ready. Cabral said weather satellites, invented in 1960, saved many lives. “For the first time ever we know when a hurricane is coming.”
Cabral said the state is predicting an increase in activity this season and residents must get ready. As for what effects future storms will have on the park, he says there’s no way of knowing.