17 September 2003

Isabel taking aim at NC coast...

Since yesterday at this time, the storm has remained basically the same,
perhaps organizing a bit more.  She's still a CAT2 hurricane, and a
significant change in intensity is unlikely before landfall.

As of 15Z today, Isabel was located at 30.0N 72.6W and tracking NNW at
8kts.  Maximum sustained winds are 95kts with gusts to 115kts, and the
MSLP is 957mb.  The combined effects of wind-driven water plus the dome
of water under the Low pressure is expected to result in a storm surge
of 7-11' in northern NC and much of VA, and 4-7' in the Chesapeake Bay. 
And along with the 130mph wind gusts, rainfall could be nearly 12"
during the course of her passage.  Inland flooding could be a serious
threat for NC, VA, MD, DE, WV, NJ, and PA through Friday evening. 

The wind field associated with Isabel is very large, and hurricane-force
winds extend as far out as 115 miles from the eye, and
tropical-storm-force winds extend as much as 315 miles from the eye. 
So, the exact location of where the eye crosses the coastline is not
important.  Conditions will become rough well before the eye reaches the
coast, and rather far from that location as well.

A Hurricane Warning is in effect from Cape Fear, NC to Chincoteague,
VA.  A  Hurricane Warning is also in effect for the southern Chesapeake
Bay.  Tropical Storm Warnings extend from Cape Fear, NC to South Santee
Rover, SC and then from Chincoteauge, VA to Sandy Hook, NJ.  TS Warnings
also for the northern Chesapeake Bay and tidal Potomac River.  You can
find the latest warning graphic at

Parts of NC and VA have already been declared states of emergency to
expedite disaster relief teams and Red Cross assistance (however, CNN
reports that the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund is empty).  There are
some mandatory evacuation orders in place along the NC coast, and
numerous optional evacuations.  The extent of mandatory evacuations
could grow today just to make sure threatened residents stay safe.

Landfall is expected midday Thursday near Cape Lookout, NC.  Winds and
storm surge will be worse to the north of the eyewall.  She is then
expected to pass over VA early Friday morning and over central PA midday
Friday.  Winds could still be brisk, but rainfall will most likely be
the key player by this time.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

No comments:

Post a Comment