Hurricane Fran Damage Report
September 6, 1996
By J. C. Raulston
All day Thursday the area braced for the (predicted) first major hurricane to hit Raleigh since 1989. Grocery stores were packed with people cleaning the shelves of milk, eggs, and good chocolate; gas stations had lines; Raulston's general impression of overreaction to the usual media hype - come on folks, it won't be that bad - we're inland, not a coastal beach after all. A hot, humid sticky day with a definite unease in the air - misty rain off and on, breezes becoming occasionally gusty. Mitzi Hole, the new Arboretum technican, worries all day and sharpens the blades on the chain saws to be prepared.
In the evening we have a final farewell evening (differing from other previous farewell gatherings) scheduled for assistant director Tom Foley who has his last day with the Arboretum tomorrow - and moves to Hines Nursery in Texas next week (does he know something?). He has a lecture for the Friends of the Arboretum to summarize his 10 years of work with the Arboretum. I go home to shave (now a lengthy process with the total head to cover) and by the time I've dressed to return to school and the Arboretum - winds have picked up and it's in a solid light rain. I've got to pick plants from the nursery for our routine drawing - getting soaked in the process of course - why not earlier in the day dummy?
Back to school - Tom arrives - says people have been calling and cancelling like crazy. Why?, I wonder since all we have is some wind and rain at this point - the storm won't hit till early morning. So we set up - he has the Arb video running, is using dual slide projectors, lots of preparation. Cat has bought a cake and drinks for ceremony - and thankfully a handful of people show up - Margaret even comes with the new baby Brigette - the first appearence to most since her birth three weeks ago. Great talk - so much has happened in these years - and new for me to see it thorugh his eyes so central to it all as it happened.
So we all head home about 9:30 - winds have increased and constant rain now. Surprisingly sleep in - awake about 8:30 to total stillness - electricity off.
Find the switch boxes and hopefully turn off all the circuits that may be in the wet zones (leaks in roof) when it returns at some future point. And head out to survey the damage. Two big trees down in my driveway - blocking either end - and taking down the phone line. Immediately I can look up Davie Street toward downtown and the City Market and see trees down or leaning at forty-five degree angles. Pick my way through town - many roads closed with police barricades and trees across the roads. Lots of wires and lines down.
To the old neighborhood where I used to live - to check my rental duplex - which has limbs on it - but at least no huge tree karate chops as feared; also to friend Sallie's house which I must hike into as trees block the road on both ends - her house is OK and she's gone. Hundreds of ancient white oaks down everywhere - 2-4' diameter - amazingly never do see any directly on houses - all seem to come down in roads or between the houses. Of course 'Bradford' pears are split everywhere on roads; the ground everywhere covered with twigs and small branches in solid litter. Lights on in some neighborhoods - but electricity mostly out with wires down everywhere.
Finally on to the arboretum with dread - first checkpoint from a distance is to see if our "Necessary" (bathroom) three story tower is still standing - and it is; albeit with some shingles missing - but intact. The first approach loss noted is the group of three specimen leyland cypresses left when we removed the hedge two years ago - about 45' tall; all toppled - as are most others on the property - the Southall Garden has lost its hedge barrier, as has the White Garden. Driving into the parking lot - see the Cornus 'Eddie's White Wonder' is down, the road hemlocks screen of the Southall Garden, some American hollies.
Then into the White Garden for my greatest concern - and greatly relieved to see the hundred year old cut-leaf Japanese maple is intact - imagined a leyland cypress through the middle of it. However, at the other end of the White Garden - the largest (40') American holly is down - redefining the size of the garden. As the entire garden is being redesigned and will be ripped apart in a month anyway - although painful - it gives the chance to expand the size of the area.
At the northeast corner of the garden - where the strongest winds came from - great damage in the conifers and blue garden Kim Tripp did while here. Lost 3 of the specimen dwarf loblolly pines, the big blue china fir; much of the screening hedge, most of the 'Carolina Sapphire' cypresses. Painful to see half of our specimen Emmenopterys henryi down, the large 25' Parrotia persica just moved in to front the "Necessary". About half of the Betula nigra 'Improved Heritage' gone - unfortunate as it is the original parent plant of that clone.
In the West Arboretum not as much damage as I would have expected - it's over the hill from the direction the winds approached and had some shielding - though there are still broken branches and assorted toppled things. The biggest loss is the 25' specimen Rhus chinensis 'September Beauty' - at peak bloom and now laying on the ground. One of the most surprising of damaged plants was a Acer campestre 'Compactum' - a 7' round globe plant - would seem too low for the wind to catch. The big 'Fantasy' crepe myrtle is OK.
So - it could certainly have been worse, but we also will still have things untouched for repair by the time of our big symposium in 3 weeks we were working toward. Now to go try to dry out the taxa records. Best regards to all.
Hurricane Fran Damage List
|W12||Acer campestre 'Queen Elizabeth'||12'||windthrow||remove|
|S06||Camellia sasanqua||07'||windthrow & snapped off||remove|
|E33||Cedrus deodara 'Deepcove'||12'||windthrow||remove|
|E00||Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy'||18'||broken by falling trees||remove|
|W37||Cercis canadensis var. texensis||15'||windthrow||remove|
|E46||Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Chabo Yadori'||12'||windthrow||remove|
|S10||Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Gold Foliage Selection'||20'||windthrow||remove|
|S06||Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Crippsii'||18'||windthrow||remove|
|W08||Cladrastis lutea 'Rosea'||16'||windthrow||remove|
|W14||Cornus florida||05'||snapped off||remove|
|S08||Cornus 'Eddie's White Wonder'||17'||windthrow||remove|
|E45||Cryptomeria japonica||21'||major limb snapped at ground||remove|
|E45||Cryptomeria japonica var. sinensis||19'||windthrow||remove|
|E25||Cunninghamia lanceolata 'Glauca'||22'||windthrow||remove|
|E09||Cupressocyparis leylandii (3)||45'||windthrow||remove|
|S05||Cupressocyparis leylandii (10)||38'||windthrow||remove|
|W12||Cupressocyparis leylandii (10)||35'||windthrow||remove|
|P06||Cupressocyparis leylandii 'Castlewellan'||28'||windthrow||remove|
|E00||Cupressocyparis leylandii 'Naylor's Blue'||32'||windthrow||remove|
|E00||Cupressocyparis leylandii 'Robinson's Gold'||21'||windthrow||remove|
|E00||Cupressocyparis leylandii 'Silver Dust'||27'||windthrow||remove|
|E05||Cupressocyparis leylandii 'Silver Dust'||18'||windthrow||remove|
|E15||Cupressus macrocarpa||14'||broken branch snapped||prune|
|E45||Emmenopterys henryi||24'||windthrow of one clump||will try to salvage|
|E15||Ilex opaca 'Satyr Hill'||12'||windthrow||will try to salvage|
|S09||Ilex opaca 'Wyetta||18'||windthrow||remove|
|P02||Ilex vomitoria 'Pendula'||20'||windthrow||remove|
|E25||Juniperus communis 'Gold Cone'||03'||windthrow||remove|
|E25||Juniperus virginiana 'Hillspire' (11)||14'||windthrow||remove|
|W41||Juniperus virginiana '?' (check map for ID)||09'||windthrow||remove|
|S09||Juniperus ×media 'Blue and Gold||08'||windthrow||remove|
|E09||Liquidambar styraciflua 'Variegata'||27'||broken branches||prune|
|E44||Magnolia virginiana var. australis||17'||snapped off at girdle point?||remove|
|E11||Osmanthus armatus||09'||windthrow||will try to salvage|
|E48||Pinus taeda 'Nana'||18'||windthrow||remove|
|E48||Pinus taeda 'Cochran'||15'||windthrow||remove|
|E11||Platanus ×acerifolia 'Sutternii'||12'||windthrow||cutting propagate & remove|
|E05||Prunus laurocerasus 'Castlewellan'||18'||windthrow with plant falling||wait to remove|
|E09||Prunus ×yedoensis 'Yoshino'||24'||broken branches||prune|
|W11||Salix daphnoides||17'||windthrow||cutting propagate & remove|
|E09||Sapindus drummondii||37'||broken branches||remove tree|
|E09||Syringa reticulata var. mandschuriana||25'||windthrow||remove|
|W01||Thuja occidentalis 'Emerald' (1 - on end)||09'||windthrow||remove|
|W03||Tilia cordata 'Norlin'||12'||broken by falling trees||likely remove|
|S01||Tsuga canadensis (2)||28'||windthrow||remove|
|E15||Ulmus parvifolia 'Dynasty'||30'||broken branches||prune|
|S09||Zizyphus jujuba||17'||windthrow||remove after fruiting|
|W11/12||Unknown conifer by baptisias - juvenile foliage||windthrow||remove|