Isabel Approaching N.C.'s Outer Banks

Hurricane Isabel closed in on North Carolina's Outer Banks on Wednesday with 105 mph winds and the potential for up to a foot of rain, threatening to cause ruinous flooding across a huge swath of the already soggy East.


John and Rita Razze's home in Chadds Ford, Pa., was flooded with several inches of water when rain earlier this week caused the nearby Brandywine River to overflow. Now, with everything pumped out and cleaned up, he worried that the ground would be unable to absorb any of Isabel's rain.

He left work Wednesday afternoon to pull his heater out of the basement and take everything he could carry to the second floor. Furniture and anything else that was too big to move was propped up on chairs.

``Usually we stay here and wait it out. This time, we're going to get the heck out of here,'' he said. ``Once the water starts coming in, you can't stop it. There's nothing you can do but watch it.''

At historic Jamestown, Va., archaeologists blanketed a dig of the first permanent English settlement in America with a tarp and anchored it with sandbags. More than 500,000 artifacts from Jamestown Island are stored in a storm-proof vault.

In Kill Devil Hills, N.C., museum curators prepared to move artifacts and photographs collected for the centennial celebration of the Wright brothers' first flight.

In the middle of Chesapeake Bay, most of the 295 residents of Maryland's Smith Island packed up and left for the mainland, but 50 to 60 stayed behind.

``I've been here 65 years. I've never left for one yet. I was here for Hazel when the eye came right over the island,'' said waterman Eddie Evans, 65, sitting on a dock after tying down his crab traps.

Seventy-eight patients were evacuated from a nursing home at tiny Sea Level, N.C., which is literally at sea level on Core Sound north of Cape Lookout. Many of the patients at the Carteret General Hospital home are in early stages of Alzheimer's, and the staff's preparations included taking along movies that the residents are accustomed to watching.

``We're just going on a little vacation,'' nursing assistant Michelle Sanderling reassured 80-year-old Jane Condon. ``Everything's going to be all right.''