Region may feel impact of Hurricane Isabel

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 18, 2003

Unlike people living on the Atlantic Coast, local residents will not have to put plywood over their doors and windows or prepare for a possible evacuation.

But, the effects of Hurricane Isabel could still hit the Tri-State by the end of the week.

Because the hurricane was downgraded earlier this week from a category 5 to a category 2, it should not have as big an impact here as was originally expected, according to Kari Fleegel, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Charleston, W. Va.

Email newsletter signup

"The water off the coast is colder so the hurricane should lose intensity as is reaches the shoreline," she said. "It shouldn't have a big effect here but it may bring rain and gusty winds. The greatest effect will be 100 miles east of here."

Rain may vary but will probably hit the eastern panhandle of West Virginia Thursday night or Friday morning and bring from two to four inches of rain, she said.

"The rain will taper off quite quickly as it moves into Ohio," Fleegel said. "The Ironton area may get light precipitation up to a quarter of an inch."

Gas prices are one area that local consumers should keep an eye on.

Although it is still based on speculation, if there is a high-demand or a decrease in production it could cause gas prices to increase, said Bevi Norris, public relations director of AAA East Central, which serves the Ironton area.

"It could be similar to what we saw during the blackout," she said, although that 10 to 12 cent increase was partially caused by a burst pipeline. "Though we had electricity in our areas, we still felt the effects to our gas prices."

Although she does not expect this to be as dramatic, Norris said the increase in demand could push prices up towards the end of the week or next week.

Gas prices have been on a steady decline since Labor Day and dropped nearly one cent from last week, according to AAA.

Area businesses have not seen much effect yet so far.

Jim Hacker, owner of the Iron City Hardware Co., said he does not really expect to see any effect from the hurricane.

"After that big freeze in March, everyone kind of stocked up on about everything as far as lights and batteries," Hacker said. "I think the county is in good shape."