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.
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