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Hurricane Isabel

North Carolina - Sept 18, 2003

G Kourounis in Surge

Horizontal Rain

Storm Surge

Hold On

I wade out into Hurricane Isabel's storm surge as the sea begins to take over the land.

Stinging, horizontal rain in the eyewall of Isabel pounds everything in its path.

Huge waves pound the steps that lead down to the beach in New Bern, North Carolina.

I hang onto the railing of a bridge as I test Hurricane Isabel's winds. The holes in the bridge are actually meant for water drainage but the wind is so strong that the water is blasting UP out of them!

Landfall - Sept. 18th, 2003. Isabel made landfall in North Carolina as a category 2 hurricane and pounded the state with torrential rain, high winds and flooding storm surge. We were able to intercept the eye of this powerful storm as it moved through the state and travelled north towards Virginia. We encountered incredible storm surge and flooding in New Bern, NC and at one point we were driving through the floodwaters and I looked beside the truck and there was a fish jumping out of the water on the road. The numerous downed trees became a huge problem as one by one, our road options dwindled due to blocked roads. We were able to clear a few of the roads ourselves by using a tow rope but there were just too many huge trees in the way. The eye of the storm was very calm with almost no wind and a very slight drizzle falling. Quite the contrast to the screaming wind and stinging rain that we were encountering just minutes before. With travel to the north blocked by trees, fuel running low and no electricity, we eventually had to give up the chase and we stayed in Williamston for the night.

Many thanks to my chase partners Ron Gravelle & Jack Kertzie and special thanks to the great people of North Carolina who offered us food and shelter after the storm passed.

Isabel
Satellite image of Hurricane Isabel making landfall in North Carolina
Sept 18th, 2003
(2.5 Mb) Quicktime Movie
Image courtesy Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC.

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Shopkeepers in Virginia Beach, Virginia board up their windows and some even get creative and add some poetry

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Shops near the boardwalk anticipate Isabel's storm surge.

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Some of the business owners hope for the best.

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The owners of Coastal Edge seemed to be challenging the Hurricane.

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Many of the people in Virginia Beach added an artistic touch when boarding up their windows.

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Downed trees became a huge problem as one by one, the roads in North Carolina became impassable.

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A bird house floats across the flooded roadway.

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Floodwaters begin to take over the buildings and roads.

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Flooding damage is extensive in North Carolina.

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People's yards became vast waterways as the rainfall and storm surge peaked.

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"No Outlet" - This road was too flooded to safely pass. Between the flooding and the downed trees, our road options dwindled quickly.

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Ron Gravelle and I out on an exposed causeway.

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Seaside park in New Bern, North Carolina. Now completely underwater.

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Swings sets abandoned. The surge had flooded inland and overtaken the park.

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Taking wind speed measurements in the eyewall of the hurricane.

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What's left of the beach in New Bern, North Carolina as the storm surge rises.

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We meet up with a local T.V. station crew in New Bern.

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Palm trees near Williamston, North Carolina.

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Rough waters lash at the dock structures.

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"Dead End" is a bit of an understatement.

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A pickup truck plows through the floodwaters.

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A boat sinks after being flooded by Isabel.

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Wind damage to agricultural buildings.

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Filming in the storm surge.

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Curious locals attempt to "ride out the storm".

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Driving becomes quite treacherous.

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The flooding comes right up to the front door.

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Much of the flooding remained the day after Isabel came through.

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Church steeple knocked over.

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A large tree uprooted by the storm, now resting on a house.

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A gas station destroyed by the storm.

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"High Water"....No kidding!!?

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