View Full Version : Dangerous catagory 5 Hurricane Isabel may hit the east coast

September 13th, 2003, 12:30 AM
Take a look at this computer forecast model

If that thing hits we're all gonna be in trouble. Forecasters have warned about this for many years, and the area is long overdue for a Hurricane. Long Island hasnt had a hurricane hit since hurricane Gloria back in the mid 80s. And that caused a widespread loss of power. And LIPA aint any better than LILCO, so we can expect being without power for 3-7 days at least. What worries me more is being stranded. When Gloria hit I lived in Wantagh, and fortunately there were less trees, but alot of them were downed.
Up here where I live now its like the middle of a forest, and if this thing hits I could be stranded for days. I will have to make plans to be somewhere else if it hits. I am moving to a new place soon, hopefully I can get the keys next week so I can weather the storm out there.
If you think Glen Cove is isolated now, just wait till the only road out of town is blocked by fallen trees.
Storm surge will be a huge problem for areas along the shore. And if this thing hits close to NYC there could be alot of flooding in the subways.
We sure have had enough disasters here. Hurricanes do interest me, and if this thing hits it will be interesting to observe it, since the last one I saw was Gloria and I was only a kid.
Hopefully the models are wrong, but if this forecast trend continues I'd advise to start getting ready (stocking batteries, food, flashlights,and a radio). Also windows may needed to be boarded up. And if you have a car keep the tank full.

September 15th, 2003, 12:06 AM
September 15, 2003

East Coast Waits as Forecasters Warn of Dangerous Storm


With weather forecasters all but certain Hurricane Isabel will strike the central Atlantic coast late this week, state and local governments up and down the Eastern Seaboard are bracing for what is expected to be an extremely dangerous storm.

Computer models showed yesterday that a region from New Jersey to North Carolina was at highest risk for a direct hit, with Washington nearly in the dead center of the storm's projected path, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported.

Michelle Mainelli, a meteorologist for the administration's National Hurricane Center, said the most recent forecasts showed tropical-storm-force winds lashing the coast of North Carolina early Thursday and hurricane-force winds of 71 miles per hour or more striking Maryland's Chesapeake Bay area later that day. The hurricane could veer as far north as New York and New England or as far south as South Carolina.

Weather experts acknowledged that such predictions were never ironclad. But for the first time in the eight days that federal officials have issued advisories about the storm, they said there was almost no chance it would miss the coast entirely.

"Everything points to a landfall," Ms. Mainelli said.

Forecasters said they expected Isabel to weaken slightly as it neared land, falling from a Category 5 or 4 storm, the most destructive classes of hurricane, to a Category 3.

Joe Bastardi, a hurricane expert for Accuweather.com, said that would not be a reason to relax.

"As it comes ashore, a storm like this can expand as it weakens, pulling more and more energy into it and becoming a much more extensive storm," Mr. Bastardi said.

The hurricane had sustained winds of 140 to 160 m.p.h. as it churned through the South Atlantic last week. Much of yesterday, it registered winds just shy of 155 m.p.h., which is the threshold for the Category 5 rating, as it roiled slowly westward, about 300 miles north of Puerto Rico.

The National Hurricane Center has not yet issued a hurricane warning, and no areas have been evacuated. But emergency management teams up and down the coast yesterday watched the storm's progress warily and went over emergency evacuation procedures.

Some states may reverse the traffic flows on major coastal roadways to accommodate what will probably be "a mass exodus," said Stephen Leatherman, director of the International Hurricane Research Center at Florida International University in Miami. Virginia's Interstate 64 and South Carolina's Interstate 26 will both flow only westward if a storm strikes, state officials said.

The decision to route all I-64 traffic west would have to come from the governor, said Bob Spieldenner of the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. The National Guard and the state police would help move traffic out of the area.

In North Carolina, official decisions about coastal-county evacuations were being held off until Monday or Tuesday. But some residents were already taking precautions.

Home-supply and grocery stores had a rush of customers over the weekend, with plywood, generators, batteries, flashlights and bottled water the top sellers.

"No more bottled water," read a sign on the door of a Roanoke Island grocery store this afternoon.

Gordon Rainey of Nags Head said he planned to get his family off the island. "This is a severe storm," Mr. Rainey said. "I'll ride out anything under 100 miles per hour, but sustained winds of 160 miles per hour will wipe this island clean. We're not prepared for this."

Delaware emergency management officials were concerned about Isabel's potential impact on this weekend's Nascar races at Dover International Speedway and the 200,000 fans more than six times the population of Dover expected to arrive for the races.

Teleconferences will update emergency, state and local government authorities on a regular basis, said Jamie Turner, director of Delaware's Emergency Management Agency. If it appears that hurricane-force winds will hit the area, he said, advisories will be issued as early as possible to give people time to get their belongings together and leave the area.

In New Jersey, a few shoppers were already buying generators and plywood at the Home Depot in Absecon, across the harbor from Atlantic City. But with sunny weather over much of the state on Sunday, the idea of a major storm seemed an ocean away to most residents.

"We had a couple of people," said the store's manager, Pete Giordano. "There's no mad rush or anything."

Dr. Leatherman of the International Hurricane Research Center said more people seemed to be preparing for a brush with Hurricane Isabel than they did in 1999 for Hurricane Floyd, which crashed into the Carolina coast. He said he had heard reports that hardware stores were running out of plywood.

"People are taking this one pretty seriously," Dr. Leatherman said. "It's almost the perfect hurricane. It's like a top out there turning 160 m.p.h. round and round."

In the Hamptons, where vacationers are enjoying the last moments of summer, store shelves are depleted of batteries and conversations have turned to the threat of a hurricane, said Sam Swint, a Southampton resident.

Mr. Swint, who said he planned to spend Wednesday and Thursday staking down his smaller trees and clearing his yard of debris, said it had been a decade since a hurricane struck Long Island. People, he said, were eyeing Isabel with a gambler's eye.

"We're somewhat due, to say the least," he said.

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

September 15th, 2003, 02:55 PM
Urgh. It'll be one of those times I'll be wishing I was in school.

I don't know how well this house, or the trees around it, can tolerate 100mph+ winds.

At least sustained winds are down to 140 today.

September 15th, 2003, 03:06 PM
Watch out for those old trees. Man, I am not looking forward to this.

September 15th, 2003, 03:24 PM
Actually, there are no old trees in within striking distance of the house anymore. The freak squall five years ago took care of them.

TLOZ Link5
September 15th, 2003, 06:09 PM
Are we certain of where Isabel is going to hit? I heard that in likelihood she'll pass over Georgia and the Carolinas before hitting the City; she'll have lost a lot of momentum travelling over land by then.

September 17th, 2003, 09:16 AM
September 17, 2003

The New York Times

September 17th, 2003, 09:18 AM
September 17, 2003

In Gathering Storm, Surf Meets City


As Hurricane Isabel churned up the Atlantic yesterday, many communities around New York were stoked with fear. But one group New York City's surfers was just plain stoked, dude.

It takes dedication to be a surfer in the city. Entire summers can go by with nothing to ride but knee-slappers. But hurricane season often brings a reprieve. That is when urban surfers hop the A train to the Rockaway Peninsula in southern Queens.

Yesterday, a legion of wave-starved surfers from all over the city were hitting the waves off Beach 90th Street with a fervor usually associated with big surf destinations like the Banzai Pipeline in Hawaii or Malibu Beach.

While Isabel had not yet shown up, the waves definitely had, and they were much welcomed, along with that other stranger to these parts a bright, sunny day.

"We wait all year for this," said Christian Miller, 26, a carpenter from Long Beach, on Long Island, who was shredding waves to ribbons with his sleek six-foot surfboard. "I've surfed all over the world: Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Barbados, but in New York this is about as good as it gets. If the storm's coming here tomorrow, I'll throw some plywood over my windows and get in the water."

The warm water was packed with surfers: the hang-doggies, the grommets, the cutbackers, the rail-grabbers, the spongeheads. And they planned to be back today. The city police Emergency Services Unit watched them from the boardwalk as mammoth waves rolled in like mountains of water. Light offshore winds obliged the surfers all day by holding up the waves like sloping glassy walls for a few moments before they broke on the shore.

The beach, just south of the Cross Bay Bridge, is the Rockaways' most popular surf spot, and while many surfers spend a small fortune on vacations to Costa Rica and Hawaii, many New York surfers simply spend $2 each way in subway fare.

Rick Graham, 42, of Astoria, Queens, woke up early yesterday morning and lugged his "seven-ten" a 7-foot, 10-inch surfboard, onto the subway. Three trains later, he arrived in Surf City. Mr. Graham is a freelance computer consultant, and like many surfers he arranges the rest of his life around local surf conditions. And surfing always takes priority.

"I must love surfing because I don't make much money working this way," he said. "The last big hurricane here, the cops stopped us and tried to arrest us for reckless endangerment."

Gary Lindeman was happy with the surf but not with the sudden arrival of all the outsiders. Rockaway surfers guard their turf with a tenacity that defies the laid-back surfer stereotype.

He came out of the water and snarled about all the "mutts" the big surf was attracting and said that the best local break should be enjoyed by the locals.

"It's not so much that they're outsiders, but 90 percent of them don't know what they're doing," he said. "At least next month they'll all be gone, and we'll have it all to ourselves again."

In the water, the surfers were jovial with one another, until it came time to compete for a choice wave. They crowded to the tip of the stone jetty. The large waves were breaking onto the jetty, sending salty spray high in the sky.

Between sets of waves, the surfers most of them in wet suits bobbed on their boards to a backdrop of apartment buildings and housing projects and the miles of boardwalk. Jets overhead approached Kennedy International Airport, and the bulldozers moved sand to shore up sections of the beach for the coming storm.

The most daring surfers flocked to the tip of the rocky jetty. The trick was to catch a large wave before it crashed onto the boulders, and then be shot out of a large churning barrel of a wave.

At one point, a young woman in a floral print bikini paddled out and immediately positioned herself at the front of the lineup near the teeth of the rock jetty. The woman, Jianca Lazarus, 24, grabbed the first big wave to come rolling in

"I'm going, I'm going," she yelled, as she paddled in front of its peaking, crashing crest and then dropped down its steep, eight-foot face. Two other men beside her took nosedives into the churning whitewater, but Ms. Lazarus rode the wave until its crest came crashing over her head, creating a barrel-shaped wave around her. She was in surf heaven: she was tubed.

"Man, it is so hollow out here right now," she said, paddling back out to the floating surfers. Ms. Lazarus, who lives in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, grew up in South Africa and surfed legendary Johannesburg Bay. "Everybody is just so stoked about the hurricane."

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

September 17th, 2003, 12:27 PM
If their predictions are correct, landfall will happen at the best possible place: the mostly uninhabited barrier islands of Cape Lookout National Seashore, surrounded by sparsely populated shore communities along the Outer Banks. It is the least densely populated stretch of shoreline on the east coast.

September 18th, 2003, 11:44 AM
I'm not too worked up about this. Remember when Giuliani shut the city down for Hurricane Floyd in 1999? I paid double for batteries I never used.

September 22nd, 2003, 09:32 AM
September 22, 2003

Nature Tries to Shift Outer Banks but Man Keeps Shoveling It Back


State Highway 12 was washed out by Hurricane Isabel outside Hatteras, N.C., leaving Hatteras cut off from the rest of the island.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C., Sept. 21 Nature endowed the Outer Banks of North Carolina with great beauty long ribbons of sand with Atlantic Ocean waves on one side and marsh-fringed bays and sounds on the other.

But the people who flocked to the Banks have been interfering with this fragile natural landscape for decades, and the infrastructure they have built in particular the highway that runs along the islands that make up the Outer Banks and possibly the artificial dune that lines their beaches has diminished the islands' natural ability to survive a storm like Hurricane Isabel and recover from its effects, geologists say.

So, as engineers contemplate eroded beaches, a broken highway and a new inlet cutting across Hatteras Island, they are struggling to find a way to restore the Outer Banks tourism infrastructure while respecting the demands of its landscape. In particular, they are looking for a way to maintain State Highway 12, the main road, while allowing the islands to shift, as they would naturally, in response to episodes of heavy weather and long-term rising seas.

That will not be easy. The Outer Banks is really only filaments of sand running across ancient river channels, relics of the last ice age, when sea levels were far lower and the coastline was hundreds of miles farther out than it is today, said William A. Birkemeier, chief of the Army Corps of Engineers Field Research Facility at Duck, N.C., an Outer Banks village about 60 miles north of where the hurricane made landfall.

Monitoring, measuring and other research efforts undertaken before, during and immediately after the storm will eventually provide useful guidance for coastal engineers, Mr. Birkemeier said. But the problems are pressing now.

In this era of rising sea levels, the Outer Banks is trying to migrate inland. Much of this migration is accomplished in storms like the latest one, when sand washes across the island from sea to sound. Marsh plants colonize the sound, the beach ecosystem colonizes the marsh, and the island gradually shifts position. This is the process coastal geologists say has been hindered on much of the Outer Banks.

Though it looks natural, the dune that runs for 50 miles along the Banks was man-made, created out of wood and brush and sand by the Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps. Some coastal geologists say the dune has functioned as a kind of sea wall, blocking much of the overwash of sand from beach to marsh. Today only a major storm carries much sand across the island, they say.

Without the dune, the beaches of the Outer Banks "would be overwashed constantly," said Orrin H. Pilkey Jr., a Duke University geologist who is famous in North Carolina for his advocacy of letting nature take its course on the coast. Also, he said evidence suggested that the presence of the dune altered wave action such that the slope of the beach in the surf zone steepened, which, in turn, would cause waves to strike it with greater force.

Engineers like Mr. Birkemeier and some coastal geologists are not convinced.

"I don't think the artificial dune has made the island more vulnerable," said Rob Young, an associate professor of geology at Western Carolina University, who studied with Dr. Pilkey and who was out on the Banks as the sun rose on Friday, the day after the storm.

"Primarily what that dune did was provide a false sense of security and put off the inevitable, Dr. Young said. "The real danger is Highway 12."

There is wide agreement that efforts to keep the road in place have harmed the islands of the Outer Banks. When heavy storms bury it in sand, the sand is typically swept up and carried back onto the beach in crude piles. The marsh, deprived of this sand, shrinks as sea levels rise. Because the islands are so flat in some places, geologists say, their natural elevation is only about three feet even a small rise in water level can make drastic inroads on both marsh and beach. And in places the islands have narrowed sharply, to the point that in some spots the walk from ocean to sound is 100 yards or fewer.

There are parts of the seashore, Dr. Young said, that are where they are "only to keep Highway 12 in place."

"If Highway 12 was not there, these portions would be able to migrate back naturally," he said. "They might not have giant dunes, but they would be functioning ecosystems. Because Highway 12 has to stay where it is, every time Highway 12 is overwashed it is scraped back up into hideous, debris-filled dunes. And they are getting larger and larger, and after this storm they are going to be extremely large."

Overwashed in other storms, Highway 12 actually broke up in spots this time, as it was undermined and collapsed. So engineers must decide how and where to rebuild. Stretches of the highway, so important to the Banks that its mileposts function as addresses, have been moved inland before, but now the road builders are bumping up against the marshes and duck ponds that line the sound.

But as Dr. Pilkey notes, "they have no way to move back along most of this without getting into the wetlands and the duck ponds."

Michael A. Turchy, a biologist with the North Carolina Department of Transportation, said the department was considering building a causeway that would run behind the islands. But this would be a complicated engineering effort, and its environmental effects might be substantial. Anyway, Mr. Turchy added: "In looking at what happened with Isabel, you have to wonder what's going to happen in the next storm. A future causeway could be vulnerable to future storms."

Just as pressing is the decision about what to do between the villages of Hatteras and Frisco, where the latest storm cut a substantial inlet through the barrier island. Normally, inlets like this close on their own, but this one is so big it was 150 yards wide on Friday, Dr. Young said that it may be a permanent feature.

As a result, the village of Hatteras is its own small island now, cut off except for the ferry that runs west to the small island of Ocracoke, where other ferries take more than two hours to reach Cedar Island or Swan Quarter, small towns on the quiet western shore of Pamlico Sound.

Temporarily, Mr. Turchy said, the North Carolina Department of Transportation is considering altering the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry run to include stops across the new inlet at Frisco. But a dock would have to be built there, he said. "We're not sure how long that would take. It hasn't been done."

Also, it is not clear that this kind of ferry service could accommodate tourism traffic or allow timely evacuation in future storms.

Engineers might also consider filling the inlet. That is what was done after the Ash Wednesday storm of 1962, still the benchmark for bad weather on the Atlantic Coast, when an inlet was cut at Buxton, not far from the new inlet.

"It was very difficult to fill it in," Dr. Pilkey said. "It took several tries. You really have to marshal all your forces and throw it in all at once, otherwise it gets washed out."

The new inlet is the first to form on the Banks since then. There are only two other inlets Oregon Inlet and Ocracoke Inlet on Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds. "There have been more in the past," Dr. Young said. "We should not be too surprised that the Outer Banks could easily accommodate a third or even a fourth inlet that would remain open."

Dr. Young recalled that an inlet opened on Pawley's Island, S.C., during Hurricane Hugo in 1989.

"That inlet was nothing compared to this," he said. "They closed it, but it wasn't easy. This one is way bigger."

He said engineers might want to bulldoze sand from either side of the inlet to fill it, "but the adjacent portions of the barrier island have lost their sand they are just three feet in elevation. There is no sand. It's in the sound, offshore, but not on the beach."

As a result, he said, he feared there would be pressure to bridge the inlet.

"I hope they take a deep breath and don't rush into making a decision," he said. "I am sure there is some panic because Hatteras village is isolated right now. I am worried there is going to be tremendous political and emotional pressure to do something fast like build a bridge right away."

That, he said, would be "another example where the National Seashore will be sacrificed to create infrastructure; because the shoreline does not need a bridge."

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company