Want to know how bad 1954’s Hurricane Hazel really was for Wrightsville Beach? A project by a local Boy Scout gives visitors to the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History a first-hand look at the extent of the storm surge created by some of the most noteworthy hurricanes to hit the area.
Dylan Rosbrugh, 16, is a junior at Hoggard High School and Wrightsville Beach resident, set up a 10-foot piling at the museum last weekend that shows how much storm surge the famous storms hit. Leading the way is Hazel, which created up to 18 feet of storm surge. Since the museum is nine feet above sea level, storms had to generate at least that much storm surge to register on Rosbrugh’s presentation.
In additional to Hazel, other hurricanes marked on the exhibit include Fran, Floyd, Emily and Bonnie.
“It’s a good visual representation of the actual storm surge,” he said. “Eighteen feet can be hard to picture.”
The project is part of Rosbrugh’s work to earn Eagle Scout as a member of Boy Scout Troop 232, which meets regularly at Little Chapel on the Boardwalk in Wrightsville Beach. Rosbrugh got help building the exhibit from fellow Troop 232 scouts Tab Taylor and William Shakar. The three painted the signs on Saturday, while Rosburgh also added flags, lighting and a placard that gives more information about storm surge.
Rosburgh talked about the storms with visitors to the museum on Saturday. Many said they remembered the storms, but didn’t realize how powerful they were.
Museum director Madeline Flagler said that Hazel’s perch high atop the piling helps show the power of the storm that is still considered the worst to ever hit Wrightsville Beach. “
A lot of people ask, ‘Was Hazel really that bad?’” Flagler said. “This shows how bad it was.”