19 September 2003

Isabel's aftermath...

Isabel came ashore with notable fury yesterday, eroding beaches,
toppling trees, washing out road networks, downing power lines, and
collapsing buildings.  Geoff Mackley was at Cape Hatteras, NC for
Isabel's landfall, and reports that all services are cut and the storm
surge was major (http://www.rambocam.com/isabel03.html).  Jason and
Sarah Kline in Downingtown, PA report downed trees, limbs and leaves all
over everything, and are still without power.

So far, I'm aware of 15 deaths caused by the storm, scattered across NC,
VA, MD, NJ, PA, NY, and RI as well as about 5 million people without
power.  The U.S. government will remain closed for the second
consecutive day, and some of the affected states' governments will also
be closed today.  States of emergency have been declared in NC, VA, DE,
MD, PA, and NJ.

Isabel is presently over Lake Erie and just about to cross into Canada. 
At 15Z, she was at 42.0N 80.7W and racing N at 26kts, and becoming
absorbed into a midlatitude trough.  She is now just a Tropical
Depression with 30kt sustained winds and a MSLP of 997mb.  The name will
undoubtedly be retired after this season, just for the damage and deaths
she caused, but as far as hurricane records go, she accumulated a total
of 13.25 Named Storm Days, 11.25 Hurricane Days, and 8.0 Intense
Hurricane Days.  She was also one of the longest-lived CAT5 hurricanes
in Atlantic basin history.

One good thing to come from this storm is the preparedness.  Models and
official forecasts were very accurate in both placement and timing of
the hurricane, letting evacuations be well-placed and watches/warnings
be timely and precise.  All affected states had plenty of preparation
time and got exactly what was expected.  This was a great case for
hurricane forecasters, and the outcome is a prepared public.  People
living on or near the coast will never avoid the property damage
associated with landfalls, but success comes in reducing the death toll.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

No comments:

Post a Comment