Michigan Weather History: Hurricane Isabel in 2003

Credit: NASA MODIS Satellite
By  | 

MID-MICHIGAN (WJRT) (9/18/2019) - On this day back in 2003, parts of Michigan were affected by the remnants of the famous Hurricane Isabel.

Isabel developed into a named tropical storm all the way across the Atlantic Ocean by the Cape Verde Islands on Sept. 6, 2003. It quickly strengthened into a hurricane the next day and reached Category 5 status with winds 156 mph or higher by Sept. 11.

The storm went through several weakening an restrengthening cycles as it journeyed across the Atlantic. In fact, it reached Category 5 strength three different times.

Isabel was massive in scale. The outer bands of the storms began affecting the North Carolina coastline while it was still 350 miles offshore.

Thankfully, the storm weakened but was still a powerful Category 2 storm when it made landfall in North Carolina on Sept. 18, 2003.

The storm was so huge in scale that the same day it made landfall it left its impacts across eastern Michigan and Canada. It raced northward at up to 25 mph. For a hurricane, that's fast.

The outer bands of Isabel were so localized that they left some areas in Southeast Michigan soaking wet while others were bone dry. That had a direct affect on temperatures.

Some areas only 25 miles away from the rain bands were over 10 degrees warmer.

All in all, the impacts were minimal to The Mitten. They could have been much worse, however. Most of the Mid-Atlantic was left with heavy tree damage and no power.


Isabel during Category 5 strength and landfall at Category 2 strength.
Isabel was massive in scale.
Credit: NASA MODIS Satellite
This image shows the high temperature and the rainfall the day Hurricane Isabel's remnants moved through parts of Michigan.