Damage to hauled boatsThat our boat survived the storm without even a tiny leak through a cabin portlight was something we didn't appreciate until later. The boats of friends rode so high on the storm tide that their dock lines floated off the pilings and sent the boats adrift. Acquaintances who took the precaution of having their boats hauled didn't necessarily fare well.

Damaged ferry pierDamage to the marine infrastructure--something you don't think about unless you live on the water--was dramatic. River crossings served by ferry were out of commission. Watermen lost private boathouses and piers.

Damaged boat house in DeltavilleIt was the trees that suffered the most damage, though, and I felt sorry for them. The leaves on trees still standing were shredded on the windward side. They looked battered and exhausted. Extended drought in years before Isabel had weakened their roots and shrunk the soil away. These gentle and patient sentries lay toppled in the woods like chimneys following an earthquake, their roots exposed to the moldy air and their root holes filled with tannic water. Chainsaws moaned through the woods, debris-filled vehicles traversed the highways, and tree-related injuries kept the rescue squads busy for two years following the storm.

The strategy for restoring power after an event like hurricane Isabel is to give priority to places where the greatest number of customers can be served. Areas of Richmond had power within a day. Nobody in Northumberland County saw any power trucks for six days, during which time information (usually erroneous) about water and ice distributions from FEMA spread through the county over the wobbly emergency radio network. Our house was the last one down Forrest Landing Road and, after 11 powerless days, we were among the last households whose power was restored. After our road was cleared, we relied on facilities at the generator-equipped resuce squad station for showers and hot meals. The only storm damage we sustained personally was a shingle on a lean-to shed, punctured by a wind-driven stick. Our chipper was undamaged in the center of a triangle formed by three uprooted trees.