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Willie Drye

Willie Drye is an award-winning author and a contributing editor for National Geographic News. He and his wife live in North Carolina, dividing their time between Wilmington and Plymouth.

Residents Of Historic Windsor, NC Uneasy About Future After Frequent Flooding

A couple of weeks after Hurricane Matthew sent floodwaters spilling into some of eastern North Carolina’s historic river towns, an old friend of Cal Bryant, editor of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, stopped by his office in Ahoskie. His friend was from the nearby town of Windsor. The small, colonial-era town on the Cashie River had been…

Hurricane Matthew: The Timeline

Hurricane Matthew was one of the most destructive storms of recent years, killing more than 1,000 people during its savage trek from the Caribbean to Cape Hatteras. The hurricane’s storm surge and torrential rainfall caused severe flooding from Florida to North Carolina and inflicted damage in the US estimated by analysts at a minimum of…

Live-Blogging Hurricane Matthew

I’m the author of Storm of the Century: The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, published by National Geographic Books, and the IPPY Award-winning For Sale-American Paradise: How Americans Were Sold An Impossible Dream In Florida. I’ve also been writing about hurricanes for National Geographic News since 2003. 10-10-2016 I’ve been blogging about Hurricane Matthew’s rampage…

Florida Prepares For Worst Hurricane In Decades; 10 Million Could Lose Power In Southeast

Residents along a 350-mile stretch of Florida coastline from Miami to Jacksonville are preparing for a brutal beating from powerful Hurricane Matthew as the strengthening storm barrelled northward Thursday after pounding the Caribbean and Bahamas with devastating winds. The hurricane is expected to be one of the most powerful to strike Florida in decades. Its…

Islanders Trying To Save Ancestors’ Eternal Resting Place

Residents of North Carolina’s slender, sandy Outer Banks have been wrestling with the sea for centuries. And they know that the sea–the Atlantic Ocean to the east and large sounds to the west–eventually gets its way. About the best they can usually hope for is figuring out a way to accommodate the inevitable. Sometimes, however,…

Recent Books Recount Horror of 1928 Lake Okeechobee Hurricane (Part 2)

Eighty-eight years ago, a savage hurricane tore across the Caribbean, killing thousands. Its winds probably reached 160 mph at times. The storm turned and crossed the Bahamas before smashing ashore at West Palm Beach, Florida on September 16-17, 1928. It tore across the Everglades to giant, shallow Lake Okeechobee, where uncounted thousands of migrant workers…

Recent Books Recount Horror of 1928 Lake Okeechobee Hurricane

Eighty-eight years ago, a savage hurricane tore across the Caribbean, killing thousands. Its winds probably reached 160 mph at times. The storm turned and crossed the Bahamas before smashing ashore at West Palm Beach, Florida on September 16-17, 1928. It tore across the Everglades to giant, shallow Lake Okeechobee, where uncounted thousands of migrant workers…

Will U.S. Luck Hold During Peak of Hurricane Season?

Although dozens of powerful hurricanes have formed in the Atlantic Basin during the past decade, the last time a major hurricane with winds exceeding 110 mph struck US shores was when George W. Bush was president during the stormy summer of 2005. So as we head into the time of year that author Ernest Hemingway…

Big Black Bears Celebrated in Big Way in Washington County, North Carolina

On a recent spring morning, photographer Doward Jones and a friend were looking for photo opportunities in the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge near Plymouth, North Carolina. As they cruised through the refuge in an SUV, they spotted a black bear helping himself to wheat in a farmer’s field. The young male bear was enjoying…

Uncertainties Cloud Forecast For 2016 Hurricane Season

Meteorologists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration think as many as 16 named tropical storms could form in the Atlantic Basin—which includes the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean—during the 2016 hurricane season, which begins June 1. A summer that produced 16 named storms would be well above the dozen storms that…

William Gray, 86, Pioneer Of Hurricane Meteorology

Pioneering meteorologist William Gray, who devised seasonal forecasting for hurricane activity, died earlier today surrounded by his family in Fort Collins, Colorado. He was 86. His death was announced by the Colorado State University News Service, but word of his passing was posted on Facebook before the university’s official announcement. Gray joined the CSU faculty…

How the American Dream Took Its Modern Form in Florida Nearly a Century Ago

  National Geographic news correspondent and book author Willie Drye provides a synopsis of his latest book, For Sale–American Paradise: How Our Nation Was Sold an Impossible Dream in Florida. The book, published by Lyons Press, tells the story of the great Florida Land Boom of the 1920s, when millions of Americans flocked to Florida seeking fun, sun and…

El Niño Calms Atlantic Hurricanes, Roils Pacific

A very powerful El Niño kept the lid on the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season, but simultaneously created a spawning ground for powerful hurricanes in the Pacific Ocean. Only 11 named tropical storms formed in the Atlantic Basin, which includes the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. Four of those storms became hurricanes with…

World War II Weathermen Recognized for Sacrifice During Battle of the Atlantic

In the summer of 1942, the tide of World War II was turning against the fascist Axis powers, but the struggle for control of the North Atlantic shipping lanes between the U.S. and Great Britain was still being fought in the sprawling Battle of the Atlantic. And if German submarines could continue sinking thousands of…

NOAA Expects 2015 To Be Warmest Year On Record

October 2015 was the warmest October since record-keeping began in 1880, and scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday that 2015 likely will become the warmest year on record. Temperatures last month averaged 1.76 degrees Fahrenheit above the averages for the 20th century, said Jon Gottschalck, chief of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center-Operational Prediction…