Hurricane Isabel

Hurricane Isabel stayed alive from September 7-20. It caused mostly flooding and power failures. At one time, while in the Atlantic Ocean it was a Category 5 hurricane, but luckily it had weakened significantly and was barely hurricane strength by the time it began to push through North Carolina. Even though the storm was not that strong it still was devastating. It killed 42 people and left 6 million power customers without service as far north as New York.

Less than one billion dollars in damage was estimated. A Swiss insurer said some 90 percent of the claims arose from home-owner, auto, and commercial property policies. Analysts have estimated the hurricane related claims will reach 100-120 million dollars.

In North Carolina, about 7,800 customers remained without power nine days after the storm had hit the region. The day the hurricane first crossed the state, 700,000 customers lost power. Virginia had drastic damage also. Virginia had 1.8 million people lose power the day of the storm. Nine days after the storm, 87 percent had their power back. Dominion Virginia Power had to replace over 1,000 miles of wire and 10,705 broken poles.

It is hard to imagine what the damages would have been like if Hurricane Isabel would have stayed a Category 5 hurricane. The last Category 5 Atlantic hurricane was Mitch in 1998, which killed about 11,000 people in Central America. The last two Category 5 hurricanes to strike the United States were Andrew in 1992 and Camille in 1969.