RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)–Storm chaser and photographer William Hark documented Hurricane Isabel as the destructive storm hit North Carolina and Virginia, 10 years ago on September 18, 2003.
Hark saw the guestbook posted on WTVR.com and contacted the station. He said told us that he “certainly did not expect the extent of damage and power outages.”
It was definitely, in his words, a “wild and scary storm.”
“There was extensive power outages, trees across the road and I barely made it home. It was pretty shocking to see the damage,” Hark said.
Hark shared a ten minute video, that starts in Richmond at 3 p.m. as the outer bands of the storm begin to hit the city. Already, giant trees had dropped onto homes. By 6 p.m. you hear Hark say, “there’s no electricity anywhere.”
He captures the widespread damage all the way down to Gaston, North Carolina, documenting hours of the storm. He even gets trapped by downed trees along Interstate-95, with all lanes blocked.. The video includes damage survey of the Fan area the next day.
The traffic backup last more than five hours, with drivers sleeping on the highway through the storm. Around 2:30 a.m., state troopers wake up drivers. It took Hark almost nine hours to travel back an 80 mile distance.
“I was amazed at the power of Mother Nature; I knew it was going to be bad,” Hark said. “I knew there were going to be power outages and damages, but I didn’t think it was going to be that bad.”
Damages left from the storm added up to an astounding $1.9 billion dollars. For comparison damages from Hurricane Irene, in 2011, were calculated at $39 million. [CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS]
Thirty-two people died in the state of Virginia. The storm damaged more than 10,000 homes and almost 1,500 businesses. More than 1,000 homes were completely destroyed.
Nearly 80 percent of the state was without power in the storm, with many not getting power back for more than a week. FEMA records shows that 93,000 people register for assistance.
What was your experience like? How long were you without power? Did you go stay with friends or relatives? Did you help out neighbors? What Fan bar did you flock to? What act of kindness stand out in your mind? Sign our guestbook here.
CBS 6 reporter Greg McQuade is interviewing this photographer, and others who were affected by the massive storm ten years ago today. The evening news starts at 5PM.