Photo: Susan L. Eggert

So much rain fell on North Carolina during the 1999 hurricanes that the water that normally stays in the sound for about a year flushed out to sea in only two months.
Has Pamlico Sound become another 'Dead Zone,' a twin of the infamous dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico?1 According to researchers tracking water quality in the sound over the past year, the answer is a resounding "No."

One year ago, three hurricanes--Dennis, Floyd, then Irene--slammed into the North Carolina coast, bringing torrents of rain. Floyd, the worst of the lot, alone dropped 20 inches. Runoff from the triple whammy sent a witches' brew of sewage and animal carcasses--thousands of gallons of urban and agricultural waste--into waterways such as the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico Rivers, which empty into Pamlico Sound. More than 30,000 dead hogs and 2.5 million poultry floated in the muck, according...

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