Tropical Storm Isabel Kills Six, Firefighters Among Those That Respond

Hurricane Isabel plowed into North Carolina's Outer Banks with 100 mph winds and pushed its way Thursday up the Eastern Seaboard, weakening to a tropical storm by evening but not before swamping roads and knocking out power to more than 2.5 million...

``My wife's been calling me on the cell phone all day. ... The power's been off,'' said Hokies fan Lee Wagstaff, whose wife and dairy farm were deep in Isabel's path in Clarksville, about 100 miles away on the North Carolina border.

Why wasn't Wagstaff at home? ``Hey, it's a Tech ball game, man!''

Isabel was expected to move north across Virginia and cut through western Pennsylvania and western New York state before dissipating in Canada by Saturday.

Up to a foot of rain was possible in West Virginia's hilly Eastern Panhandle and 6 to 9 inches was forecast for parts of Pennsylvania.

President Bush declared major disasters in North Carolina and Virginia, ordering federal aid to both states. The governors of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey and Delaware declared state emergencies.

Well over 1,500 flights were canceled at airports in the major Eastern cities, said David Stempler, president of the Air Travelers Association. As the storm moved north, all flights to and from the Washington metropolitan area's airports were likely to be canceled, he said.

The federal government shut down in Washington. Amtrak halted service south of Washington, and the Washington-area Metro system shut down all subway and bus service.

Miss America pageant organizers went ahead with plans for their annual parade Friday night in Atlantic City, N.J., hoping the boardwalk would escape damage.

For many, the hurricane's passing was merely a sightseeing event.

``For me, this is just like another little rainstorm, but you take what you can get,'' storm chaser Warren Faidley said as he videotaped the frothy, 15-foot swells on Atlantic Beach, N.C.

He was impressed that in the middle of the hurricane, he was able to get a hot sausage biscuit at a pier right on the beach.

``Hot food during the hurricane,'' he said, chewing away. ``This is the most gentlemanly chase of all times.''