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Boston Weather: 39.0°F | A Few Clouds and Breezy

Weather: Hurricane Isabel Hits Mid-Atlantic Hard

By Samantha L. H. Hess
STAFF METEOROLOGIST -- After six years of MIT, I had learned how to deal without many things, such as sleep and sanity. Water and power, however, are another story.

Isabel hit the outer banks of North Carolina around 2 p.m. on Thursday. Three hours before then, hundreds of miles inland, in Richmond, Virginia, there was already a wind-driven downpour. At my house, cable (and therefore Internet) went out by 4 p.m., and the power died at 5 p.m. At 9 p.m., with the storm still intensifying, the battery-powered radio alerted us to prepare to lose running water, which we did the next day for about 14 hours. Power is still out nearly four days later; about 25 percent of Virginians will have to wait more than a week to regain power. Some are still waiting for water. Most of the state sustained heavy damage unlike anything we've seen in decades.

Richmond was relatively lucky. Although there were sustained winds in the 40-60 mph range, with gusts up to around hurricane strength, it was not as strong as at the coast. We “only” received five inches of rain; some locations received more than a foot. However, the incredibly wet summer had created soggy, loose soil conditions. Isabel was easily able to knock over even large oak trees; fallen trees, and the destruction they caused, consituted most of the damage.

The city of Boston prepared for Isabel by removing the Swan Boats from the Public Garden early... but this was an unnecessary precaution. After this pretty weekend, however, rain is on the way.

Extended Forecast

Today: Showers, heavy at times. High 73°F (23°C).

Tonight: Showers ending, then clearing. Low 57°F (14°C).

Wednesday: Mostly sunny. High 76°F (24°C), low 54°F (12°C).

Thursday: Clouds moving in, showers at night. High 74°F (23°C), low 56°F (13°C).