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Editorial: Isabel: 20 years later

What remains after a great disaster is cleaned up? Memories. Remembering the physical endurance required, the hardships encountered, the sheer muscular effort to move the debris, the hard mental work in getting back to normal.

Well over 100 homes were destroyed when Hurricane Isabel swept through Gloucester and Mathews 20 years ago on Thursday, September 18, 2003. For those property owners, “back to normal” meant a new normal of moving away, or rebuilding, and purchasing new furnishings, cars, boats … whatever was swept away.

We suffered a direct hit from Isabel. Before extremely high tides battered and sometimes destroyed waterfront homes, the usual effects of a storm were already taking place. High winds. Soaking rain. Trees down, power out, generators running. Venturing out for a look, hunkering down against the howling embrace.

We look through the photographs of Hurricane Isabel and remember the hundreds who took shelter, emergency distributions of food and ice, and the f...

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