Hurricane Isabel

2003 | September 18, 2003

On September 18, 2003, Hurricane Isabel, a Category 2 hurricane, made landfall on the Outer Banks of North Carolina (NC).

The storm caused extensive power outages and structural damage in northeastern NC and southern Virginia. In NC, approximately 762,000 residents lost power during the storm, and the shelter population peaked at an estimated 16,600 persons.

Six storm-related fatalities were reported, and 26 eastern NC counties were included in a federal disaster area declaration.


The North Carolina Division of Public Health (NCDPH) activated the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response and seven Public Health Regional Surveillance Teams to conduct a rapid community health and needs assessment for the affected population. CDC deployed staff to provide technical support to NCDPH. The assessment determined that most public health emergencies resulted from electric power outages, which affected access to food, water, and medical care.