Isabel Aiming At Charlottesville

silkyzephyr writes: As of 11:00am Wednesday Sept. 17, the National Weather Service Hurricane Center is forecasting the center of Hurricane Isabel to track through central Virginia and almost directly over Charlottesville. The storm is estimated to arrive here Friday morning around 6:00am, with sustained winds at that point of 50 to 70 mph. Updates are available at

25 thoughts on “Isabel Aiming At Charlottesville”

  1. Well, I’m sure someone on AM radio is already blaming Clinton, and I’m sure that some evangelist is already blaming homosexuals.

  2. Most school systems in the area have already closed for Thursday, included Charlottesville and Albemarle public schools. Presumably more stuff than that will close as well…

  3. Now, if I’m reading these charts correctly, this one is indicating that around 2 – 4 am Friday morning the eye will be passing over our area. Then I take a gander at this one, and it seems to indicate that in that time period the sustained (1 minute) wind speeds will be roughly 60 – 70 mph.

    If we really do get winds like that, I believe that it’s a given that power will be out, trees toppled, and the like. Our phone lines are above ground, so I’ll most likely be unable to connect to the ‘net as well (the horror!).

    This promises to be interesting.

  4. How exactly does one access the internet with no power, even if one does have working telephone lines?

    That being said, as a Nelson County resident recently departed to Providence, Rhode Island, my best wishes are with you. We’re actually jealous up here!

  5. I’ve never experienced a hurricane before. I have stocked up on water and food, but should I just get the hell out of town? I survived years of tornadoes in Indiana. Is this any worse, or just prolonged for hours on end?

  6. It can be really awful inland. At least on the coast one can feel the ebb and flow, check the tides, and batten down the hatches when the going gets tough. Hugo destroyed Charlotte in ’89. We sit on the same piedmont plateau and can expect to see shit flying by at 40+ mph tonight. It could be really bad on Pantops and Schuyler (higher, exposed altititudes) and, god forbid, Monticello. Let’s hope those massive specimen trees are well anchored. Indeed, one imagines what could happen to Poplar Forest, the most majestic strand of virgin forest in the East. Let’s all hope that OBX takes the brunt (which it’s built to do) and that all the aerosols the gov’t sprayed (chemtrails anyone?) over CVille yesterday dissolve the front adequately.

  7. In response to the questions about what to do: hurricanes cut off power for a day or two, sometimes three, and flood roads.

    1. Assume your power will be out. Fill the bathtub with water so you can use a bucket to re-fill and hence flush, your toilet.

    2. Flashlights and candles obviously.

    3. Bottled water and food for the day or two street flooding may keep you from reaching grocery stores.

    4. Don’t panic. It was storm surge–mounded up ocean water–that drowned all those people in Galveston back around 1905. In Nelson county a hurricane cost some lives, but that was mostly people living close to rivers who’d had no flood warning. Nobody in Charlottesville is going to drown.

    Our main problem will be wayward trees, and if you are scared of the trees in your yard, you can always go to an emergency shelter overnight.

    Otherwise enjoy the sound and light show. Hurricanes are much fun for kids, and there is a little of the child in all of us.

  8. Thanks for the well wishes dkachur.

    As for how I’d connect without power… batteries are our friends. I’ve got a good 4 – 6 hours on my laptop, and some UPSes that can run my DSL modem if the phone lines are up. But I’m pretty sure that if any of our lines go, they all will, since it’d probably be due to trees, and all our lines are above ground.

  9. You shouldn’t worry too much, ragnar. Silkyzephyr gave some great advice below. Basically, just prepare for several days worth of power outage, and make sure that you bring in or otherwise anchor anything in your yard that you wish to keep (including small trees).

    I’d be pretty surprised if city/county water went. But if you’re on a well, obviously, the pump will quit working when the power goes out. And if you go ahead and prepare to be without water for a while, well, all your surprises will be pleasant ones. :)

    Oh, and don’t park your car under a tree.

  10. Assuming the winds will not be that much of a threat the danger will be from flooding especially since the ground is pretty well soaked from our recent rains. In 1968 (notice I don`t say "back in" LOL) for instance water rose well above the High street bridge.

    Other than that, discomfort from lack of power will probably irritate most of us.

    One guy`s opinion.

  11. basements will flood, I assume. many flood around here in just a regular rainstorm.

    bring everything off your deck and porch that might become a hurtling projectile aimed at your windows.

  12. i blame pat robertson for not praying quite hard enough to get this hurricane to, as he put it, turn away from land and go harmlessly out to sea.

    1. does he understand meteorological physics?

    2. how is harmless out at sea when there are undoubtedly some fishing boats and others out there?

  13. My prediction? This is all a lot of media hype for those of us west of Richmond. Winds will top out around 30 mph, which will bring down a few heavy branches and a shingle or two. Saturated soil may cause a few trees to go over and there will be some flooding. There will be some local power outages but the main problem will be that all the line crews will be in the eastern part of the state where the real damage is, so it may take a while to get power restored if you’re one of the unlucky ones to lose it.

    Nobody’s lawn chairs are about to become lethal projectiles – this is hardly another Camille and we’re 300 miles from where it’s making landfall. I already keep candles, flashlights, batteries, canned goods, and a camp stove on hand; the only precaution I’ll take is to fill the bathtub since I am on well water. But other than that I’m not exactly gearing up for the end of the world here.

    What makes me laugh is that right now winds are around 10 mph and there’s about 1/50" of rain and all the fat lazy little precious darlings are home from school eating cheesy poofs and playing video games. It seems like we close the schools nowadays every time a dark cloud passes over.

  14. REMEMBER THIS: This area will shut down if there was a half of inch of snow. Everyone is lazy here anyways.

  15. Nobody in Charlottesville is going to drown.

    I hope that goes for Albemarle and everyone else as well. I’m theoretically evacuated–I say “theoretically” because I live in Sugar Hollow, and the county issued an evacuation warning for everyone below the dam all the way to Brown’s Gap Turnpike. My house is 150 feet above the level of Moormans River, so it’s above any theoretically possible floodwaters, even if the whole dam went. In fact, the bladder on top of the dam wasn’t inflating and deflating properly the other day, according to what I heard, so there were fears that if it failed the four feet of water behind it would suddenly cascade out (and maybe that could lead to failure–I’m no engineer). As of mid-afternoon they seemed to have it working again, and were releasing a lot of water in advance of the storm. Still I wouldn’t want to be anywhere lower than 50 feet above the river, and am prepared to be cut off from town for a day or two.

  16. Looks like things are starting to peter out a bit. The western arm of the storm didn’t succeed in swinging back into the eye so the eye has begun to close (according to the NWS), which is the point at which a hurricane begins to come apart. Sustained winds have dropped below 70mph and are expected to decrease further as the storm travels faster. Rainfall is also decreasing, lessening the risk of flooding. It seems possible that it’ll be downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it reaches you guys. Good luck, y’all!

  17. I measured a low barmetric pressure of 872.5mb last night, it is now 984.4mb. Our rain gauge overflowed, but from 3 large buckets I measured *14* inches of rainfall overnight.

    The Rockfish creek is now a raging torrent. I dont know how high it is, but it is well over its banks, and it appears to have been a few feet higher overnight. The roar is very loud. Several large standing waves.

    The James is at 19.5 feet, and CLIMBING! That is just a few feet shy of the rail road tracks. They are calling for 21.5 foot crest in scottsville. The farther downstream you go the higher the levels. They are calling for 27 foot crest at bremo bluff.,00060

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