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EYEWALL OF ISABEL COMING ASHORE ON THE NORTH CAROLINA OUTER BANKS

(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 taken on Sept. 18, 2003, at 7:53 a.m. EDT.Sept. 18, 2003 ó The NOAA National Hurricane Center in Miami, Fla., reports that at 11 a.m. EDT the center of Hurricane Isabel was located near latitude 34.4 north, longitude 75.7 west or about 55 miles south of Cape Hatteras, N.C. This position is also about 50 miles east-southeast of Cape Lookout, N.C. The eyewall of Isabel, where the strongest winds are located, is currently coming ashore along the southern Outer Banks. (Click NOAA satellite image for larger view of Hurricane Isabel taken on Sept. 18, 2003, at 7:53 a.m. EDT. Click here for high resolution version, which is a large file. Click here to see latest view. Please credit “NOAA.”)

Isabel has a very large eye, and winds within the eye will diminish before increasing rapidly as the back edge of the eye passes by. People are strongly cautioned not to venture out during the eye passage unless absolutely necessary.

Isabel is moving toward the northwest near 18 mph, and this motion is expected to continue Thursday with a turn to the north-northwest overnight. On the forecast track, the center of Isabel is expected to make landfall between Cape Hatteras and Cape Lookout, N.C., within the next couple of hours and move inland over eastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia over the next 24 hours. (Click NOAA satellite image for larger view of Hurricane Isabel taken on Sept. 18, 2003, at 11:45 a.m. EDT. Click here for high resolution version, which is a large file. Please credit “NOAA.”)

Maximum sustained winds are near 100 mph with higher gusts. Little change in strength is expected prior to landfall. Although Isabel will weaken as it moves inland, unusually strong winds, with gusts to hurricane force, may be experienced far inland over the elevated terrain of Northern Virginia and Maryland, as well as on high-rise buildings and other structures.

NOAA Morehead City, N.C., Doppler radar image of the outer bands of Hurricane Isabel onshore taken on Sept. 18, 2003, at 12:08 p.m. EDT.Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 115 miles from the center, and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 345 miles. (Click NOAA Morehead City, N.C., Doppler radar image for larger view of the outer bands of Hurricane Isabel onshore taken on Sept. 18, 2003, at 12:08 p.m. EDT. Click here to see latest NOAA Doppler radar image. Please credit “NOAA.”)

At 11 a.m. EDT, Cape Hatteras reported a wind gust of 79 mph, and a gust to 85 mph was reported at Ocracoke, N.C.

The most recent minimum central pressure reported by a hurricane hunter aircraft was 956 mb, 28.23 inches.

Storm surge flooding of 5 to 8 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. Ham radio operators have reported a storm surge of close to 4 feet on the Neuse River at New Bern, N.C.

NOAA tracking map of Hurricane Isabel.Storm total rainfalls of 6 to 10 inches, with locally higher amounts, are likely in association with Isabel. (Click NOAA tracking map of Hurricane Isabel for larger view.)

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

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 tropical storm warning remains in effect north of Chincoteague to Moriches Inlet, N.Y., including Delaware Bay. A tropical storm warning remains in effect south of Cape Fear to South Santee River, S.C., 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


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