Hurricane Isabel and Me

These NASA photographs (thanks, guys!) show the almost incomprehensible scale of Hurricane Isabel, back in September of 2003.

Satellite shot from NASA of eye of Hurricane Isabel

Hurricane Isabel Eye from Space

Satellite photo from NASA of Hurricane Isabel hitting East Coast of USA

Hurricane Isabel Hits East Coast

Let’s be clear at the outset: There is nothing fun or funny about hurricanes. People are displaced, hurt, or killed; homes and businesses are damaged or destroyed; beach, delta, and estuary ecosystems are ripped up by hurricane-force winds or damaged by the salt from tidal surges.

Having acknowledged that, I did enjoy collecting headlines about Hurricane Isabel, 12 years ago.

“It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good.”

Initial Warnings

Headlines from Hurricane Isabel's approach to USA

Anticipated, Imminent, and Actual Landfall

Headlines from Hurricane Isabel's landing on east coast of USA.

Analysis of Impact

Headlines on Hurricane Isabel's landfall.

Last Word

My hurricane strategy is to stay away from them, in space or in time.

Isabel Gibson on wooden stairs beside high-water-mark plaque for Hurricane Isabel.

Isabel in 2006 beside high-water-mark plaque for Hurricane Isabel in 2003.

To think of living in a place with a hurricane season is almost beyond belief. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration doesn’t have the luxury that I do – sitting, slackjawed, clipping headlines as these things hit. Here’s what they’ve been doing to build resilience since Hurricane Katrina, ten years ago.

And here’s a less sanguine view of whether America is ready – technically or politically – for another hurricane like Katrina. Or Isabel.



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2 Responses to Hurricane Isabel and Me

  1. Jim Taylor says:

    I’m feeling a little miffed. It seems no one has ever named a hurricane, or even a tropical storm, after me. I did find a Hurricane James, but it turned out to be a hypothetical hurricane, which hasn’t even begun until October 23.

    Hypothetically yours, Jim T

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Jim – I’m surprised. I’d have bet money that there had been a Hurricane James: It’s not an unusual name. As for hypothetical hurricanes – I bet they don’t make good, pithy headlines.

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