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A look back at the Triangle’s last major weather disaster, Hurricane Fran

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News: Hurricane Irma Josh Morgan-USA TODAY Sports

Weather is funny because we all know stories about disasters but choose to think it can never happen to us.

For anyone who lived in the Triangle in 1996, the memories of Fran are indelible. Massive oaks fell all over the city, the power grid was thrashed, big parts of the area were was just a gigantic mess.

It was made worse by the already saturated ground which allowed trees to fall more easily.

After the storm passed, people in Raleigh learned another hard lesson: no power means no food, no ice and no functional gas pumps. Add in blocked roads due to all the fallen trees and it was just a question of sitting and waiting for help (well not all sitting. About nine months later, hospitals reported a surge in births including more than a handful of babies named Fran, Franny and Frances/Francis).

Anyway, to get back to the point, if you live anywhere in North or South Carolina, but particularly if you live close to the coast, get your plan together now. Stores are beginning to run out of supplies and by last night gas stations were putting yellow bags on pumps. You really don’t want to be without gas when there’s a disaster.

If you need a reminder of what can happen, here’s WRAL’s documentary about Fran. Bottom line: when Mother Nature gets an attitude there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s best to just get out of the way.

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