Portal:Tropical cyclones/Featured article/Hurricane Isabel

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Hurricane Isabel approaching North Carolina's Outer Banks

Hurricane Isabel was the costliest and deadliest hurricane in the 2003 Atlantic hurricane season. The ninth tropical storm, fifth hurricane, and second major hurricane of the season, Isabel formed from a tropical wave on September 6 in the tropical Atlantic Ocean. It moved northwestward, and within an environment of light wind shear and warm waters it steadily strengthened to reach peak winds of 165 mph (265 km/h) on September 11. After fluctuating in intensity for four days, Isabel gradually weakened and made landfall on the Outer Banks of North Carolina with winds of 105 mph (165 km/h) on September 18. It quickly weakened over land and became extratropical over western Pennsylvania the next day.

In North Carolina, the storm surge from Isabel washed out a portion of Hatteras Island to form what was unofficially known as Isabel Inlet. Damage was greatest along the Outer Banks, where thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed. The worst of the effects of Isabel occurred in the state of Virginia, which reported the most deaths and damage from the hurricane. About 64% of the damage and 68% of the deaths occurred in the two states alone.

Moderate to severe damage extended up the Atlantic Coastline and as far inland as West Virginia. Roughly 6 million were left without power in the eastern United States from the strong winds of Isabel. Rainfall from the storm extended from South Carolina to Maine, and westward to Michigan. Throughout the path of Isabel, damage totaled about $3.6 billion (2003 USD, $3.95 billion 2006 USD). 16 deaths in seven states were directly related to the hurricane, with 35 deaths in six states and one province indirectly related to the hurricane.

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