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Hurricane Eyewitness: Gone But Not Forgotten

Isabel, Gone But Not Forgotten

From Jeremy Bandini, in Raleigh North Carolina

For earlier eyewitness reports from Jeremy Bandini see… N. Carolina Eyewitness Reports Of Hurricane Isabel and Farewell Isabel

Isabel killed 29 people. She caused damage in North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Washington D.C., West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. The total insurance damage is expected to reach $1 billion. It is amazing that such widespread death and destruction could have been much worse. Isabel was a category 5 storm, and was weakened to a category 2 before slamming into the coast of North Carolina.

Isabel did moderate damage in my home city of Raleigh, NC. The coastal regions and some rural areas of my state, however, are reporting that the damage is devastating. Two feet of water drenched Oriental, NC from a flooding Neuse River. Isabel's storm surge and flooding in historic Edenton, NC caused widespread damage. Two North Carolinians were killed in separate incidents when the vehicles they were riding in were hit by falling trees. Utility worker Harold Anderson of Salter Path, NC was killed by electrocution while attempting to restore power to residents in his area. 283,000 North Carolinians are still without power.

Cape Hatteras, NC, the town with the nation's tallest lighthouse, has a new inlet carved by Isabel. Isabel created the new, 300-400 feet wide inlet overnight, cutting off Hatteras Village from the rest of the Outer Banks.

Captain Duncan Hughes of the Bertie County Rescue Squad said, "This is something Eastern North Carolina didn't need. This is another financial hit. We're rural, and we're poor, and we just don't need this." News & Observer.

State and federal declarations of emergency will help fund the clean up, but is not expected to cover everything. Now it is up to the state congress to compensate and fully fund the clean up.

I intended to photograph some of the damage in my area, but most of the damage here was superficial. It is easy to forget about the tragedy Isabel has wrought when so little of the destruction is visible in my city. All of the people I know with property on the coast survived Isabel with little damage. Most benefitted by being just to the south of Isabel's eye which was the weaker part of the hurricane. Others were simply lucky.

Hurricane season is upon us in the Carolinas. Isabel was the first to reach us this season, but she will likely not be the last. For more information about Isabel, read some of the 2,270 news articles generated by her destruction.

- Jeremy Bandini

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