Fran was a Cape Verde hurricane that moved across the Atlantic during the peak of the hurricane season. It made landfall on the North Carolina coast as a category three hurricane on the Saffir/Simpson Hurricane Scale, resulting in huge storm surge that flooded the North Carolina coast, caused widespread wind damage over North Carolina and Virginia, and caused extensive flooding from the Carolinas to Pennsylvania.
Hurricane Fran formed from a tropical wave that emerged from the west coast of Africa on 22 August. Deep convection associated with the wave was organized in a banding-type pattern and animation of satellite images suggested a cyclonic circulation. Ship reports soon confirmed that the circulation was on the surface. The post-analysis "best track" shows that the system became a tropical depression just southeast of the Cape Verde Islands at about 5:00pm.
On August 3rd, 1996, a small town in North Carolina was just beginning to recover from the damage caused by hurricane Bertha 8 weeks prior, when hurricane Fran hit the exact same city, but with much more power. She took the lives of 27 people and caused over three billion dollars in damage when she hit. She also left over four thousand without homes, and destroyed over 750 businesses when she struck.
Fran was number three on a list of the top thirty costliest hurricanes. Andrew was number one with over 26.5 billion dollars in damage. The name Fran has been permanently retired because of the severity of her damage. The people of North Carolina will never forget what happened that day, but now they are at least a bit more prepared for more storms of the future.