Hurricane Isabel was the hardest hit that Hampton Roads Virginia has taken from a storm in over 20 years. It caused devastation from Virginia Beach to Yorktown, Virginia.
Because of the widespread flooding, many homes in low lying areas have since been raised so that they are not flooded again. This house on Beach Road in Hampton was raised due to the damage it suffered during Hurricane Isabel.
The damage inside the home was so extensive that the interior had to be completely restored. To ensure that the trim matched the original architecture of the home, the carpenters milled all of it onsite.
On this, the 10th anniversary, we had many friends share memories of the storm and the aftermath:
“My parents were given a wraparound porch courtesy of my neighbors 100 yard long floating dock. It actually helped them and protected their house from all the debris and waves. Their other neighbors house? Not so much. Everything bounced off the dock and into theirs and part of the dock knocked the house off of its foundation.” – Doug Jaeger, Washington D.C.
” My parents neighbor that lost his house was a crotchety old man from my first memories of him until his dying days. He was an alcoholic who probably suffered PTSD. Almost all of their worldly possessions were destroyed. I was talking with him the day after and people were driving through the neighborhood looking at all the destruction, taking pictures and gasping at people who lost their homes. He snapped and started yelling and cursing at them for staring at people who had just lost everything, telling them they weren’t some circus side show freak here for their viewing pleasure. For that one moment, I was one of the few friends that he had. Any negative feelings I had towards him disappeared. He was a fighter pilot in Korea and I think the early part of Vietnam. I hope he has found his peace not that he has passed.” – Doug Jaeger, Washington D.C.
“The hurricane and the damage were terrible but, even worse, were the low lifes who parked in front of our house and went through our ruined possessions at the curb. I was crying and they were anxiously waiting to see what else they could score. Sick. ” Kim Hannah, Hampton Virginia
“It was nerve-wracking for sure, but some of our best memories from where we lived in Hampton then were of all of us neighbors coming together to help each other out. I have some funny photos of extension cords running from the neighbors house to our generator…” – Jeanne Fiocca, Yorktown Virginia
“Olde Wythe looked like Armageddon. And we lived like the Amish for 13 days. You knew everyday after work & on weekends, all you could do was join the sympathetic gatherings for watching the endless tree removal … cut out of and off of our neighbors’ houses. Ironically, it put life on pause with a lasting positive impact … we all came out of our little abodes, shared stories of loved ones, distributed thawing freezer food for cookouts, and my ex-husband created fire hazards by jerry rigging all our generators to central electrical panels. When those generators stopped humming & the street lights illuminated again, our brains had trouble adapting to the eery silence but our hearts embraced new found friendships that have lasted 10 years now.” – Anne Shuford, Hampton Virginia
“Mom was at my brother’s when Isabel hit. He was living in Toano at the time. I called her a few days before Isabel hit and suggested that she pack up as many grandkids as she could and bring them to Florida so they could avoid the storm. Let the adults weather that crap. She hemmed and hawed and ended up not doing it. She wished she had after!” – Jim Fidler, Middleburg Florida
“It hit 09/18/03. G & I were on our way to Hawaii to get married & didn’t know if we’d come back to a house or pile of rubble since we live in Poquoson. We had 15″ of water in our garage. G lost some tools but that’s it.” – Crystal Sullivan
“You don’t have to remind me, Jim. I lost my home in Willoughby because of that storm. Watched my deck break off the house in the storm surge and float out to sea. Then the house broke in half after the waves undermined the foundation. Nightmare.” – Markus Hopkins, Virginia Beach Virginia
“It was right after my family came back from NYC where there was a power outage. Then, there was a two-week power outage for Isabel. It was a real sucky month.” – Gail Kent, Newport News Virginia.