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OUTER BANDS OF HURRICANE ISABEL MOVING ONSHORE;
WEATHER SHOULD GRADUALLY WORSEN;
Preparations to Protect Life and Property Should Be Rushed to Completion

(See the NOAA National Hurricane Center for the latest information on this storm. Complete advisories are posted at 11 a.m., 5 p.m., 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. All times are Eastern. Advisories are posted more frequently as the storm nears the USA mainland.)

NOAA satellite image of Hurricane Isabel with its outer bands onshore taken on Sept. 17, 2003, at 11:15 p.m. EDT.Sept. 17, 2003 ó The NOAA National Hurricane Center in Miami, Fla., reports that at 11 p.m. EDT the center of Hurricane Isabel was located by an Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft near latitude 31.9 north, longitude 73.9 west or about 250 miles south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, N.C. Isabel is moving toward the north-northwest near 13 mph. A turn to the northwest with an increase in forward speed is expected prior to landfall. On the forecast track, the center of Isabel is expected to make landfall in eastern North Carolina during the day Thursday. However, conditions will deteriorate over a large area well before the center reaches the coast. Tropical storm conditions are already spreading across the coastline. (Click NOAA satellite image for larger view of Hurricane Isabel with its outer bands onshore taken on Sept. 17, 2003, at 11:15 p.m. EDT. Click here to see latest view. Please credit “NOAA.”)

NOAA Morehead City, N.C., Doppler radar image of the outer bands of Hurricane Isabel onshore taken on Sept. 17, 2003, at 11:41 p.m. EDT.Maximum sustained winds are near 105 mph with higher gusts. A slight increase in strength is possible prior to landfall. (Click NOAA Morehead City, N.C., Doppler radar image for larger view of the outer bands of Hurricane Isabel onshore taken on Sept. 17, 2003, at 11:41 p.m. EDT. Click here to see latest NOAA Doppler radar image. Please credit “NOAA.”)

Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 115 miles from the center, and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 315 miles. A buoy located west of the hurricane recently reported wind gusts to 74 mph and 32 foot waves.

An Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter plane recently reported a minimum central pressure of 956 mb, 28.23 inches.

NOAA tracking map of Hurricane Isabel.Storm surge flooding of 7 to 11 feet above normal tide levels, along with extremely large and dangerous battering waves, is expected near and to the north of where the center crosses the coast. Storm surge flooding of 4 to 8 feet above normal tide levels is expected in the Chesapeake Bay and the tidal portions of adjacent rivers. (Click NOAA tracking map of Hurricane Isabel for larger view.)

Storm total rainfalls of 6 to 10 inches, with locally higher amounts, are likely in association with Isabel.

There is a threat of isolated tornadoes over eastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia on Thursday.

NOAA WARNS OF INLAND FLOODING THREAT

DANGEROUS FLOODING EXPECTED WITH HURRICANE ISABEL

Consider the following: When it comes to hurricanes, wind speeds do not tell the whole story. Hurricanes produce storm surges, tornadoes, and often the most deadly of all—inland flooding. Read more...

A hurricane warning remains in effect from Cape Fear, N.C., to Chincoteague, Va., including Pamlico and Albemarle sounds, and the Chesapeake Bay south of Smith Point. A hurricane warning means that hurricane conditions are expected within the warning area generally within 24 hours.

All preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion in the hurricane warning area.

A tropical storm warning remains in effect south of Cape Fear to South Santee River, S.C., and north of Chincoteague to Sandy Hook, N.J., including Delaware Bay. A tropical storm warning also remains in effect for the Chesapeake Bay from Smith Point northward and for the Tidal Potomac.

NOAA DOPPLER RADAR SITES TRACKING THE ARRIVAL OF ISABEL
Wilmington, N.C. Mt. Holly, N.J. Wakefield, Va. Baltimore / Washington National Doppler Radar

SPECIAL LOCAL STATEMENTS FROM NOAA NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FORECAST OFFICES IN THE AFFECTED AREAS

For storm information specific to your area, please monitor products issued by NOAA National Weather Service local forecast offices.

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Relevant Web Sites
Significant River Flood Outlook

NOAA Inland Flooding Information

NOAA National Hurricane Center — Get the latest advisories here

NOAA Atlantic Hurricanes Database — 150 Years of Atlantic Hurricanes

NOAA Forecasters Say Six to Nine Hurricanes Could Threaten in 2003

Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale

NOAA River Forecast Centers


NOAA Flood Products

NOAA Rainfall Graphics
24-hour Observed Precipitation as of 8 a.m. today

Latest rainfall data as of 8 a.m. EDT today

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NOAA Tides Online

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NOAA Hurricanes Page

NOAA Storm Watch — Get the latest severe weather information across the USA

Media Contact:
Frank Lepore, NOAA Hurricane Center, (305) 229-4404