Sept 18-20 2003

IMPORTANT....INSURANCE INQUIRIES. Certified data CAN ONLY be obtained through the National Climatic Data Center

Virginia Beach Pier during Isabel

HURRICANE ISABEL PHOTO GALLERY

SATELLITE VIEW

Satellite overview

Click To Enlarge

STORM TRACK

Hurricane Isabel's Track

Click To Enlarge

STORM SURGE

Various Storm Surge Reports

Click To Enlarge

 

 

RADAR

 

Radar image

Click To Enlarge

 

 

HIGH WINDS

 

Various Wind Recordings

 

RAINFALL TOTALS

rainfall plot

 

 

 

 

000
ACUS71 KAKQ 091311 AAD
PSHAKQ
VAZ0048-049-060>100-MDZ021>025-NCZ012>017-030>032-102-100600-

PRELIMINARY POST STORM REPORT...HURRICANE ISABEL...UPDATED
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WAKEFIELD VA
910 AM EDT THU OCT 9 2003 

...GENERAL INFORMATION...
ISABEL BECAME A TROPICAL STORM ON SEPTEMBER 6...EAST OF THE LEEWARD 
ISLANDS...STRENGTHENING TO A HURRICANE ON SEPTEMBER 7.  ISABEL 
INCREASED TO A CATEGORY 5 HURRICANE ON SEPTEMBER 11...NORTHEAST OF 
THE LEEWARD ISLANDS...PEAKING IN STRENGTH ON SEPTEMBER 12...WITH 
160 MPH WINDS.  ISABEL WEAKENED TO A CATEGORY 2 HURRICANE ON 
SEPTEMBER 18...WHEN LANDFALL OCCURRED NEAR OCRACOKE INLET IN NORTH 
CAROLINA.

STRONG HIGH PRESSURE OVER NEW ENGLAND AND SOUTHEAST CANADA... 
PREVENTED ISABEL FROM TAKING THE TYPICAL NORTH TO NORTHEAST TRACK 
THAT PARALLELS THE EAST COAST OF THE UNITED STATES.  INSTEAD THE 
HIGH PRESSURE SYSTEM DEFLECTED ISABEL TO THE NORTHWEST...THROUGH 
EASTERN NORTH CAROLINA AND CENTRAL VIRGINIA.  BY MIDDAY SEPTEMBER 
19...ISABEL HAD TRACKED INTO WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA.

THE WIND FIELD OF ISABEL EXPANDED WELL NORTHWARD AS IT TRACKED 
THROUGH NORTH CAROLINA AND VIRGINIA...DUE TO THE PRESSURE GRADIENT 
BETWEEN ISABEL AND THE STRONG HIGH PRESSURE TO THE NORTH.  SUSTAINED 
TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS...WITH FREQUENT WIND GUSTS APPROACHING 
AND EXCEEDING HURRICANE FORCE...WERE OBSERVED OVER AN UNUSUALLY 
EXTENSIVE AREA OF NORTH CAROLINA...VIRGINIA AND MARYLAND.

THE WINDS ALSO CONTRIBUTED TO THE MOST SIGNIFICANT TROPICAL CYCLONE 
RELATED STORM SURGE ON THE OUTER BANKS OF NORTH CAROLINA...HAMPTON 
ROADS...AND THE MAIN STEM RIVERS FEEDING INTO THE CHESAPEAKE 
BAY...SINCE THE 1933 CHESAPEAKE-POTOMAC HURRICANE. IN SOME 
CASES...THE STORM SURGE ON THE MAIN STEM RIVERS EXCEEDED THE 1933 
STORM SURGE.

HEAVY RAIN CAUSED FLOODING OVER CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN VIRGINIA... 
CAUSING HIGH WATER ON MANY ROADS UNTIL LATE ON FRIDAY...SEPTEMBER 19.

ISABEL WILL BE REMEMBERED FOR THE GREATEST WIND...AND STORM SURGE IN 
THE REGION...SINCE HAZEL IN 1954...AND THE 1933 CHESAPEAKE-POTOMAC 
HURRICANE.  ISABEL WILL ALSO BE REMEMBERED FOR THE MOST EXTENSIVE 
POWER OUTAGES EVER IN VIRGINIA...AND PERMANENT CHANGE TO THE 
LANDSCAPE FROM ALL THE FALLEN TREES...AND STORM SURGE.

A.  HIGHEST WINDS...ALL WINDS IN MPH AND TIMES IN UTC
ANEMOMETER AT CHESAPEAKE BAY BRIDGE TUNNEL AND CHESAPEAKE LIGHT
ARE AT ROUGHLY 90 FEET ABOVE THE WATER.

     LOCATION       SUSTAINED WIND   MAX GUST   MAX GUST TIME
DUCK NC (DUCN7)          73             92         1834 UTC 
ELIZABETH CITY NC**      59             74         1543 UTC (KECG) 
ROANOKE RAPIDS NC**      37             63         2147 UTC (KRZZ) 
BAY BRIDGE TUNNEL (CBBT) 61             74         2048 UTC 
CHESAPEAKE LIGHT (CHLV2) 72             93         2137 UTC 
KIPTOPEKE VA             45             68         2218 UTC
LANGLEY AFB VA           53             76         1808 UTC (KLFI) 
LEWISETTA VA             53             68         2300 UTC   
NEWPORT NEWS INTL ARPT** 44             65         1756 UTC (KPHF) 
NORFOLK INTL AIRPORT VA**47             74         2049 UTC (KORF) 
NORFOLK NAVAL STATION    58             83         2110 UTC (KNGU) 
OCEANA NAVAL STATION     55             69         2056 UTC (KNTU) 
RICHMOND INTL ARPT       38             73         0013 UTC (KRIC) 
SEWELLS POINT VA         57             73         1954 UTC
WALLOPS ISLAND VA        50             62         1747 UTC (KWAL)
GLOUCESTER PT VA (VIMS)  69             91         2200-2300 UTC 
CAMBRIDGE MD             45             57         2055 UTC
OCEAN CITY MD            41             53         2252 UTC (KOXB)
SALISBURY MD             37             51         2009 UTC (KSBY)

** - OBSERVATIONS AT THESE LOCATIONS ARE BASED UPON ALL AVAILABLE 
DATA...AS THESE LOCATIONS LOST POWER AND WERE POTENTIALLY UNAVAILABLE
WHEN THE HIGHEST WIND GUSTS OCCURRED.

OTHER WIND GUSTS (ONLY GUSTS AVAILABLE)
ANEMOMETERS AT MOST OF THESE LOCATIONS ARE NOT AT THE STANDARD 33 
FOOT LEVEL.  ANEMOMETERS AT HAMPTON AND GWYNNS ISLAND ARE AT
THE TOP OF BUILDINGS...POSSIBLY ABOVE THE STANDARD 33 FOOT LEVEL.

LOCATION                    GUST SPEED      TIME OF GUST
ELIZABETH CITY NC              97 MPH            1900-2000 UTC   
(FROM CLEMSON UNIVERSITY OBSERVATION SITE IN ELIZ. CITY)
HAMPTON VA (SPOTTER)           92 MPH            2130 UTC
(SUSTAINED 67 MPH)
RICHMOND VA (WWBT-TV)          63 MPH            UNKNOWN
PORTSMOUTH VA (SPOTTER)        55 MPH            1944 UTC
CHASE CITY VA (SPOTTER)        53 MPH            2010 UTC
RICHMOND COUNTY VA (SPOTTER)   65 MPH (ESTD)     UNKNOWN
(SUSTAINED 48 MPH)
CHINCOTEAGUE VA                47 MPH            2315 UTC
SMITH ISLAND VA                83 MPH            UNKNOWN 
CHINCOTEAGUE VA (USCG STATION) 71 MPH
OAK HALL VA (ACCOMACK CO.)     57 MPH
ONLEY VA (ACCOMACK CO.)        62 MPH
PARKSLEY VA (ACCOMACK CO.)     65 MPH
FIVE FORKS VA (JAMES CITY CO.) 80 MPH
REEDVILLE VA (MIDDLESEX CO.)  100 MPH
GWYNNS ISLAND VA (MATHEWS CO.)107 MPH            0042 9/19
HURLOCK MD (DORCHESTER CO.)    62 MPH
OCEAN PINES MD (WORCESTER CO.) 60 MPH
POCOMOKE MD (WORCESTER CO.)    50 MPH

B.  PRESSURE DATA...ALL TIMES IN UTC (SUBTRACT 4 HOURS FOR EDT)

NORFOLK VA (ORF)                             990 MB/2151 9/18
                                             29.24 INCHES
OCEANA NAVAL STATION (NTU)                   991 MB/2056 9/18
                                             29.26 INCHES
NEWPORT NEWS VA (PHF)                        990 MB/2237 9/18
                                             29.24 INCHES
HAMPTON VA (LFI)                             992 MB/2348 9/18
                                             29.29 INCHES
MELFA VA (MFV)                              1000 MB/2102 9/18
                                             29.53 INCHES
WALLOPS ISLAND VA (WAL)                     1003 MB/0012 9/19
                                             29.62 INCHES
OCEAN CITY MD (OXB)                         1006 MB/2257 9/18
                                             29.71 INCHES
SALISBURY MD (SBY)                          1005 MB/0331 9/19
                                             29.68 INCHES
DUCK NC (DUCN7)                              984 MB/1900 9/18
                                             29.06 INCHES
DUCK NC (ARMY COE FIELD RESEARCH FACILITY)   984 MB/1734 9/18
                                            29.06 INCHES
ARROWHEAD BEACH NC (NEAR EDENTON)***         957 MB/2030 9/18
                                            28.26 INCHES
CHESAPEAKE LIGHT (CHLV2)                     991 MB/2100 9/18
                                             29.26 INCHES
FALSE CAPE (44014)                           996 MB/1900 9/18
                                             29.41 INCHES
DELAWARE BAY BUOY (44009)                   1007 MB/0000 9/19
                                             29.74 INCHES
PORTSMOUTH VA                                987 MB/2225 9/18
                                             29.15 INCHES
CHESAPEAKE BAY BRIDGE TUNNEL VA              992 MB/2154 9/18
                                             29.29 INCHES
SEWELLS POINT                                991 MB/2200 9/18
                                             29.26 INCHES
LEWISETTA VA                                 997 MB/0012 9/19
                                             29.44 INCHES
RAPPAHANNOCK LIGHT HOUSE VA                  995 MB/0000 9/19
                                             29.38 INCHES
WACHAPREAGUE VA                             1002 MB/2300 9/18
                                             29.59 INCHES
CAMBRIDGE MD                                1003 MB/0400 9/19
                                             29.62 INCHES
***DENOTES LOWEST PRESSURE OBSERVATION REPORTED TO NWS WAKEFIELD. 
THIS OBSERVATION WAS TAKEN WITH UNOFFICIAL EQUIPMENT AND MAY BE 
SLIGHTLY LOW.

C.  RAINFALL...STORM TOTALS IN INCHES

                  ...RAINFALL...

LOCATION (COUNTY OR SITE ID)    AMOUNT (INCHES)
ELIZABETH CITY NC (KECG)            2.72
AMELIA VA (AMELIA)                  5.50
ASHLAND VA (HANOVER)                5.20
BLACKSTONE VA (NOTTOWAY)            7.00
BOWLING GREEN VA (CAROLINE)         4.22
BUMPASS VA (LOUISA)                 5.45
CARSON VA (DINWIDDIE)               6.20
CARTERSVILLE VA (GOOCHLAND)         4.91
CHARLES CITY VA                     4.90
CHESTER VA (CHESTERFIELD)           5.50
CHESTERFIELD VA (CHESTERFIELD)      5.80
CHINCOTEAGUE VA                     1.50
CREWE VA (NOTTOWAY)                 5.10
EASTVILLE VA (NORTHAMPTON)          1.52
EMPORIA VA (DOWNTOWN)               6.41
EMPORIA VA (WATER TREATMENT PLANT)  5.53
FARMVILLE VA (PRINCE EDWARD)        5.00
GLENN ALLEN VA (HENRICO)            5.50
GREEN BAY VA (PRINCE EDWARD)        4.76
HEATHSVILLE VA (NORTHUMBERLAND)     2.00
HOPEWELL VA                         6.00
HOMEVILLE VA (SUSSEX)               7.10
JORDANS POINT VA (PRINCE GEORGE)    5.67
LANGLEY AFB VA                      2.67
MECHANICSVILLE VA (HANOVER)         4.50
MONTPELIER VA                       4.00
NEWLAND VA (RICHMOND COUNTY)        3.50
NEWPORT NEWS VA                     3.70
NEWPORT NEWS INTL ARPT (KPHF)       3.16
NORFOLK INTL AIRPORT (KORF)         4.02 (NOTE CHANGE)
NORFOLK NAVAL STATION               4.21
ONLEY VA (ACCOMACK COUNTY)          1.25
PAINEVILLE VA (AMELIA COUNTY)       4.17
PARKSLEY VA (ACCOMACK COUNTY)       1.40
PETERSBURG VA                       5.59
PORTSMOUTH VA (WEST CRADDOCK)       4.04
POWHATAN VA (POWHATAN)              5.00
PRINCE GEORGE VA (PRINCE GEORGE)    6.00
REEDVILLE VA                        1.00
RICHMOND VA (WBBT-TV/MIDLOTHIAN)    6.88
RICHMOND VA (WTVR-TV)               4.01
RICHMOND INTL AIRPORT (KRIC)        4.32
RUTHER GLENN VA (CAROLINE)          4.22
SANDSTON VA (HENRICO)               5.08
SHORT PUMP VA (HENRICO)             3.78     
SUFFOLK VA                          4.79
TOANO VA (JAMES CITY)              10.60
URBANNA VA (MIDDLESEX)              7.00
WAKEFIELD VA (NWS OFFICE)           5.76
WALLOPS ISLAND VA (KWAL)            0.80
WATKINS LANDING VA (POWHATAN)       4.00
WESTMORELAND COUNTY VA              3-5 INCHES COUNTY WIDE 
WILLIAMSBURG VA (DOWNTOWN)          4.50
WILLIAMSBURG VA (RT 199 AND RT 5)   4.78
WILLIAMSBURG VA (2 SW)              3.15
WEST POINT VA (KING WILLIAM)        3.86
CAMBRIDGE MD (DORCHESTER)           2.20
OCEAN CITY MD (KOXB)                1.97
OCEAN PINES MD (WORCESTER)          2.66
POCOMOKE MD (WICOMICO)              0.96
SALISBURY MD (WBOC-TV)              2.66
SALISBURY AIRPORT MD (KSBY)         2.08
STEELES NECK MD (VIENNA MD)         3.20

D.  STORM SURGE/TIDES

STORM SURGE VARIED SIGNIFICANTLY ACROSS THE REGION. AT SEWELLS POINT 
VA...THE MAXIMUM WATER LEVEL WAS 7.9 FEET ABOVE MEAN LOWER LOW WATER 
(MLLW). THIS REPRESENTED A 5 FOOT STORM SURGE. 5 FOOT SURGE LEVELS 
WERE ALSO SEEN AT CAMBRIDGE MD (6.2 MLLW)...LANCASTER COUNTY VA... 
AND MATHEWS COUNTY VA...WITH NEARLY 5 FOOT SURGES REPORTED AT THE 
CHESAPEAKE BAY BRIDGE TUNNEL (4.6 FOOT SURGE, 7.3 MLLW). LOCAL 
RESIDENTS INDICATED THE SURGE IN MATHEWS COUNTY TO BE ABOUT 12 
INCHES LOWER THAN THE 1933 HURRICANE. ELSEWHERE IN MARYLAND...STORM 
SURGE VALUES NEAR 8 FEET WERE REPORTED IN THE HOOPERS ISLAND 
AREA...WITH 4 TO 5 FOOT SURGE VALUES REPORTED ON THE WICOMICO AND 
NANTICOKE RIVERS.

AT GLOUCESTER POINT...THE WATER LEVEL REACHED 8.32 
FEET...REPRESENTING A 6.4 FOOT SURGE. MONEY POINT VIRGINIA RECORDED 
A MAXIMUM WATER LEVEL AT 8.3 FEET MLLW.  BEFORE DATA WAS 
LOST...MAXIMUM WATER LEVELS AT SCOTLAND AND KINGSMILL WERE 6.5 MLLW 
AND 6.8 FEET MLLW...RESPECTIVELY. OCEAN CITY MARYLAND WATER LEVELS 
PEAKED AT AROUND 6.5 FEET MLLW...WHILE KIPTOPEKE VIRGINIA PEAKED AT 
6.5 FEET MLLW.  DUCK PEAKED AT 7.8 FEET MLLW BEFORE DATA WAS LOST.

EVEN HIGHER SURGE VALUES WERE NOTED UP THE RIVERS IN EASTERN 
VIRGINIA...SUCH AS THE JAMES...POTOMAC...YORK AND RAPPAHANNOCK. 
STORM SURGE VALUES AROUND 9 FEET WERE ESTIMATED AT WEST POINT 
VIRGINIA. WATERS LEVELS AT WEST POINT WERE 18 TO 24 INCHES HIGHER 
THAN THE 1933 HURRICANE. AT RICHMOND CITY LOCKS...A MORE THAN 8 FOOT 
SURGE WAS NOTED (12.1 FOOT RIVER LEVEL VS. 3.5 FOOT EXPECTED LEVEL). 
SMITHFIELD VIRGINIA ALSO RECORDED AN 8 FOOT STORM SURGE (9.65 
MSL/10.75 MLLW). AN ESTIMATED 8 FOOT SURGE ALSO OCCURRED NEAR THE 
INTERSECTION OF THE JAMES AND APPOMATTOX RIVERS IN HOPEWELL. A WATER 
MARK AT CRITTENDEN VIRGINIA...IN THE NORTHERN PART OF SUFFOLK...WAS 
ESTIMATED TO BE 32 INCHES ABOVE THE 1933 BENCHMARK. LEWISETTA AND 
WINDMILL POINT VIRGINIA RECORDED MAXIMUM WATER LEVELS AROUND 3.5 TO 
3.8 FEET MLLW.  COLONIAL BEACH LOST DATA JUST AS WATER LEVELS ROSE 
TO 5.4 FEET MLLW. HOWEVER...A SUBSEQUENT STORM SURVEY INDICATED A 
SURGE AROUND 6.5 FEET AT COLONIAL BEACH. ON THE RAPPAHANNOCK...SURGE 
VALUES BETWEEN 5.5 AND 6.0 FEET OCCURRED AT TAPPAHANNOCK AND 
DOWNSTREAM NEAR DUNNSVILLE.

ON THE ALBEMARLE SOUND...STORM SURGE VALUES AROUND 7 FEET OCCURRED AT
EDENTON...WITH A SURGE AROUND 5 FOOT OBSERVED ON THE PASQUOTANK RIVER
IN ELIZABETH CITY.

E.  BEACH EROSION

SIGNIFICANT EROSION OCCURRED FROM OUTER BANKS CURRITUCK COUNTY 
THROUGH NEWPORT NEWS AND HAMPTON.  IN VIRGINIA BEACH...15TH STREET 
FISHING PIER WAS SIGNIFICANTLY DAMAGED...AND BUCKROE AND LYNNHAVEN 
PIERS WERE DESTROYED.  SIGNIFICANT EROSION WAS OBSERVED AS FAR NORTH 
AS THE MIDDLE PENINSULA AND NORTHERN NECK. IN ADDITION...MANY 
PRIVATELY OWNED PIERS...AS WELL AS SOME PUBLIC PIERS WERE DAMAGED OR 
DESTROYED BY STORM SURGE AND/OR WAVE IMPACTS IN THIS REGION. WAVE 
HEIGHTS PEAKED AT 21 TO 22 FEET AT CHESAPEAKE LIGHT AND THE DELAWARE 
BAY BUOY...RESPECTIVELY.  PEAK WAVES AT THE ARMY COE FIELD RESEARCH 
FACILITY IN DUCK NORTH CAROLINA PEAKED AT 11 TO 12 FEET ON THE 
BEACH...BUT 30 TO 35 FEET 2 MILES OFFSHORE.

F.  FLOODING

INLAND FLOODING DUE TO HEAVY RAINFALL OCCURRED OVER PARTS OF CENTRAL 
AND SOUTHERN VIRGINIA.  HIGH WATER WAS REPORTED ON ROUTE 460 IN 
PRINCE GEORGE AND RT 40 IN SUSSEX COUNTY.  SOME AREAS IN COLONIAL 
HEIGHTS AROUND SWIFT CREEK ALSO REPORTED HIGH WATER...SUCH AS AROUND 
PINEHURST DRIVE.  SOME AREAS IN CHESTERFIELD COUNTY...SUCH AS BEACH 
ROAD ALSO HAD HIGH WATER.  MINOR TO MODERATE FLOODING WAS OBSERVED 
ON THE RIVANNA AND JAMES RIVERS.  MODERATE FLOODING WAS OBSERVED ON 
THE APPOMATTOX RIVER...AND MODERATE TO MAJOR FLOODING OCCURRED IN
THE MEHERRIN...NOTTOWAY AND BLACKWATER RIVERS.  THE JAMES RIVER AT
WESTHAM PEAKED AT 17.1 FEET...WHILE THE CITY LOCKS PEAKED AT 15.15
FEET.  THE RIVANNA RIVER AT PALMYRA CRESTED AT 25.92 FEET.  THE
MEHERRIN RIVER AT EMPORIA PEAKED AT 25.09 FEET...WHILE LAWRENCEVILLE
CRESTED AT 28.67 FEET.  THE APPOMATTOX RIVER AT MATOACA PEAKED AT
12.86 FEET.  THE BLACKWATER RIVER AT FRANKLIN CRESTED AT 16.8 FEET.
THE NOTTOWAY RIVER AT STONY CREEK CRESTED AT 20.36 FEET. 

G.  TORNADOES

ONLY ONE TORNADO HAS BEEN CONFIRMED TO OCCUR DURING ISABEL...IN THE 
OCEANVIEW SECTION OF NORFOLK AROUND 6 PM ON THE 18TH.  THIS TORNADO 
HAS BEEN VERIFIED ONLY BY VISUAL CONFIRMATION FROM LAW ENFORCEMENT...
SINCE THERE IS SUCH EXTENSIVE HURRICANE RELATED WIND DAMAGE.

H.  STORM EFFECTS

EIGHT DEATHS CAN BE DIRECTLY ATTRIBUTED TO HURRICANE ISABEL IN THE 
NWS WAKEFIELD VIRGINIA AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY. SEVEN OF THESE DEATHS 
(FIVE IN VIRGINIA AND ONE EACH IN MARYLAND AND NORTH CAROLINA) WERE 
THE RESULT OF WIND...THE OTHER DUE TO FLOODING. THERE WERE MORE THAN 
15 DEATHS INDIRECTLY ATTRIBUTED TO THE STORM.

OVER 2 MILLION CUSTOMERS OF DOMINION VIRGINIA POWER WERE WITHOUT 
ELECTRICITY.  LOCAL ELECTRICAL COOPERATIVES ALSO REPORTED THOUSANDS
OF CUSTOMERS WERE WITHOUT POWER.   THE UNUSUALLY LARGE WIND FIELD
UPROOTED MANY THOUSANDS OF TREES...DOWNED MANY POWER LINES...DAMAGED
HUNDREDS OF HOUSES...AND SNAPPED THOUSANDS OF TELEPHONE POLES AND
CROSS ARMS. HUNDREDS OF ROADS...INCLUDING MAJOR HIGHWAYS...WERE
BLOCKED BY FALLEN TREES. VERY PRELIMINARY ESTIMATES INDICATE MORE
THAN 700 MILLION DOLLARS IN DAMAGE IN VIRGINIA...WITH DAMAGE FIGURES
FOR MARYLAND AND NORTH CAROLINA ALSO RUNNING IN THE MILLIONS OF
DOLLARS.  DAMAGE FROM STORM SURGE WAS NOTED AS FAR INLAND AS COLONIAL
BEACH...WEST POINT...TAPPAHANNOCK AND HOPEWELL...WHERE HOMES AND 
MANY BOATS AT LOCAL MARINAS WERE DAMAGED OR DESTROYED.  THE NUMBER 
OF EVACUATIONS IS UNKNOWN.  HOWEVER...MANDATORY EVACUATIONS WERE 
ORDERED FOR PARTS OF CURRITUCK COUNTY AND HAMPTON ROADS.

$$

NS/WRS/PFM
&&
UPDATED WIND GUSTS...RAINFALL...STORM EFFECTS...AND STORM SURGE/TIDES