Hurricane Opal Damage At Coweeta LTER

Network News Spring 1996, Vol. 19 No. 1
Site News

On October 5, 1995, after causing heavy damage along the Gulf of Mexico shoreline, Hurricane Opal moved inland. Damage at the Coweeta LTER site near Franklin, North Carolina consisted of extensive treefalls and road washing due to more than 23 cm of precipitation and heavy winds. Damage was most severe on sites with thin soils and hence poorly rooted trees.

Though local utilities were offline for more than one week in some locations, the main administrative building area at Coweeta and most major research locations experienced no significant damage.

However, one plot in the current Rhododendron Removal Project was decimated by extensive treefalls. Since all temperature sensors were still operating underneath the treefalls and access to all streambed wells and two of three sets of soil lysimeters was reestablished, research on the plot will continue.

More than two years of extensive baseline measurements on the plot will allow for some unique comparisons between pre- and post-damage conditions.

Brian D. Kloeppel, Coweeta