Traffic surged Tuesday off the Outer Banks island chain as more than 100,000 people were urged to evacuate the North Carolina coast before the arrival of Hurricane Isabel.
Meanwhile, Missouri Task Force One sent a 32-member team to Fort A.P. Hill, Va., Tuesday morning to help with the potential disaster. The deployment is scheduled to last 10 days but could change with the severity of the storm.
While Isabel has weakened considerably during its approach, it remained a dangerous storm still tracking toward land. The National Hurricane Center posted a hurricane watch from Little River Inlet, S.C., to Chincoteague Island, Va. At 1 p.m. Tuesday, Isabel’s maximum sustained wind had slowed to near 105 mph, down from about 125 mph at 4 p.m. Monday, making it a Category 2 storm. Hurricane center meteorologist Eric Blake said people should not let their guard down even though the storm was weakening. “Hurricanes are notorious for gaining strength as they cross the Gulf Stream,” he said.
Missouri Task Force One is one of 28 Federal Urban Search and Rescue teams. Rob Brown, chief of staff at the Boone County Fire Protection District, said it’s important that the task force arrive early at the scene. “Even though this thing may reduce to a tropical storm, it’s the best thing to do for the people in the affected areas,” he said.
Adam Behsudi of the Missourian staff contributed to this report.