Cape Fear Unearthed: Hurricane-force history

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New podcast episodes explores the Cape Fear’s hurricane history from 1713 to 1954’s Hurricane Hazel.

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WILMINGTON – In Coastal North Carolina, hurricanes are an undeniable fact of life.

For the storms that ravaged the region in the 1990s to last fall’s Hurricane Florence, there is a living history of residents who can still tell the stories of these storms.

But what about the hurricanes that rolled through further back in the Cape Fear’s history – 100 or 200 years ago?

This week’s new episode of the Cape Fear Unearthed podcast travels through 250 years of local history to look at the most destructive hurricanes to hit the region since 1713. It all leads up to a discussion of the state’s most infamous storm, 1954’s Hurricane Hazel, which made landfall 65 years ago this fall.

Joining the conversation is historian Jay Barnes, whose book “North Carolina’s Hurricane History” is now in its fourth edition. Barnes speaks with hoat Hunter Ingram about how colonial and antebellum residents of the region would have prepared for storms without radar, why hurricanes were originally only named after women and how locals learned to face hurricanes head on.

The episode arrives as the coast enters into the heart of hurricane season, which ends on Nov. 30.

Now in its third season, Cape Fear Unearthed has released recent episodes on the lighthouses of Bald Head Island, the 1975 Wilmington plane crash that almost killed pro wrestler Ric Flair, the region’s first permanent settlement at Brunswick Town, Trouble the whale that washed ashore at Wrightsville Beach in 1928 and the Yellow Fever epidemic of 1862.

This season is sponsored by Northchase Family Dentistry and Tidewater Heating & Air Conditioning.

The entire catalogue of Cape Fear Unearthed episodes is available to stream for free on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Stitcher and TuneIn. You can also listen at

Listeners can also join the Cape Fear Unearthed Facebook group, where you can find extra content for each episode like pictures and video. You can find that group by searching “Cape Fear Unearthed” on Facebook.

Reporter Hunter Ingram can be reached at 190-343-2327 or