INTERVIEW: Irene Vs. Isabel - Are there similarities between the storms?

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – With all eyes on Hurricane Irene, many people in Central Virginia can't help but think about Hurricane Isabel. That storm hit back in 2003 virtually paralyzing part of the area. Meteorologist Jim Duncan is here to tell us more about the two storms and how they are similar and different.

RYAN: And I've asked people on facebook and twitter how they're preparing for Irene, and it seems like Isabel always comes up because that's what people remember as what was really a worst case scenario back in 2003.

JIM: For Richmond, it was worst case, and it's because of the track of it. Everybody remembers Isabel, it was only eight years ago, 2003, so we've had to do the math quickly there, but the eye of the storm, what was left of it, came through as a strong tropical storm just west of Richmond, so that typically brings us on the worst side of the hurricane. And we're on the northeastern corner of it and we had the strongest winds for the longest time and the heaviest rain right here in Central Virginia.

RYAN: And the way the track of Irene is headed right now, it's appears we're not going to have the same kind of impact because when we talk about these lingering problems we deal with, it usually means power is out, flooding, and the way the track is heading towards us now, doesn't look like we'll have those kind of residual effects, at least from what you can tell now, they're not the strong winds and heavy rains you get from the northeast quadrant.

JIM: We're going to have strong winds here, but not the strongest. We do have the potential for flash flooding, but this is not an Isabel for Central Virginia, it may be for southeastern Virginia where they're going to have more serious impacts, but we'll have heavy rain, strong winds, potential for flash flooding, but again, not the Isabel type situation where you have that continuously pounding the area, the worst part of the storm. The worst part of this storm will be to the southeast.

RYAN: And can you -- I know that meteorology is never an exact science, but where we are at this point, you feel confident in making that prediction is there a way it could take a westward turn at the last minute.

JIM: You put me on the spot.

RYAN: I'm not asking you to guarantee it. I know as it comes closer, you feel more confident.

JIM: The timing is everything with these because as the time gets closer to when it hits, that's when we can narrow in. Yes, a lot more confidence, going to track into southeast North Carolina around Morehead City tomorrow morning, it' s going to track just east of Virginia Beach tomorrow evening, and Kevin will be here in a few minutes with the details, so we're confidence of that track.

RYAN: Not as bad as Isabel, but if you take those same precautions, you will are prepared.

JIM: Yes, that cliché, be prepare for the worst. But around here it's going to be a stormy afternoon. It's the eastern part of the state which would be like an Isabel, which would be Tidewater, lower mouth of the bay, that area.

RYAN: Thank you for your expertise, Jim. We appreciate it.

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