Like any other late summer day, September 18, 2003 started out a little windy but generally not threatening. As the day wore on, the wind picked up. By 5 p.m. most area residents knew we were in trouble.
At twilight, the local news stations warned that it was time to hunker down. Isabel dumped six-inches of rain on the area before the winds strengthened to a sustained 38 mph with gusts of 70 mph and began to uproot trees, slowly dropping them on houses, cars, power lines and businesses.
Isabel did over $5 million in damage in central Virginia and “will be remembered for the greatest wind...and storm surge in the region,” according to the National Weather Service.
The fast moving storm moved through Virginia during the evening of the 18th and through the night of Sept. 19. By the morning of September 19 the eye of the storm had passed over us and there was nothing left to do but clean up.
Friday morning smelled like crushed leaves and generators were a hot commodity with 1.8 million homes without power. Some area residents were without power for two weeks.
The storm, a Category 2 when it hit the coast of North Carolina, was the worse since Hazel hit here in October 1954.
Seventeen police cars were damaged, during the storm, 140 officers were on duty.
Facts and figures cannot define the effects of the storm on area residents. Emotions ran high and neighbor to neighbor camaraderie has never been as apparent since.
As we enter another hurricane season remember Isabel and her wrath upon Chesterfield. But out of great hardships comes great cooperation and friendships.