Isabel knocks out power to more than 1 million
(CNN) -- Hurricane Isabel rolled across North Carolina and into Virginia on Thursday, knocking out power to more than a million homes, and dumping heavy rain from South Carolina to New Jersey.
At 7 p.m. EDT, Isabel's eye was near Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, moving northwest at 20 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida. Top winds were 80 mph.
"The storm is expected to weaken and move on later tonight to Washington -- which already is experiencing 50 mph wind-gusts," said CNN meteorologist Rob Marciano. From there the storm's center is forecast to move into Pennsylvania and make a straight path to Rochester, New York, Marciano said.
U.S. government offices in Washington will remain closed Friday, officials from the Office of Personnel Management said Thursday.
Isabel knocked out electricity to more than 1 million Virginia customers, according to Dominion Virginia Power. "We've got a long night ahead of us," company spokesman Jim Norvelle said. Outages are growing and the damage will be a "multi-day" repair, officials said.
In North Carolina, authorities said at least 67,000 homes were without power.
President Bush on Thursday declared North Carolina a major disaster area, clearing the way for federal aid to the storm-battered state.
The governors of Virginia, North Carolina, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey have declared states of emergency.
One death has been attributed to the storm. A motorist died on Interstate 95 north of Richmond, Virginia, after a vehicle hydroplaned in heavy rain, according to state emergency officials. At least 16,000 residents had sought safety from the storm in Virginia shelters, the officials said.
With 100 mph winds, the storm made landfall at about 1 p.m. EDT near Drum Inlet, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, the hurricance center reported.
A hurricane warning remains in effect from Cape Fear, North Carolina, to Chincoteague, Virginia, and the Chesapeake Bay south of Smith Point. A tropical storm warning remains in effect from Surf City, North Carolina, to Cape Fear and from north of Chincoteague to Moriches Inlet, New York, including Delaware Bay, and the tidal Potomac River, the center said.
Hurricane force winds extended outward up to 75 miles, and tropical storm-force winds stretched more than 345 miles. Forecasters said the storm could dump 6 to 10 inches of rain along its path, and warned that hurricane-force winds could reach inland hundreds of miles from the North Carolina landfall.
The National Hurricane Center said a storm surge of 4 to 8 feet above normal, "along with extremely large and dangerous battering waves," would accompany the storm. Storm surges of 5 to 6 feet were reported at Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.
• The National Guard is attempting two rescues in the waters of Chesapeake Bay, said Dawn Eischen of Virginia's department of emergency management. One is a family of six who were stranded on a boat near Gloucester County. Another rescue is under way near York County, she said.
• On Pea Island, on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, three emergency workers who were sent to rescue three stranded men trapped on the roof of their vehicle became stranded themselves, a Coast Guard spokesman said. All six men are now safe, U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Buddy Dye said. Officials said the life-threatening situation could have been avoided if people had followed days-old warnings to evacuate the barrier islands.
• As many as 2,000 airline flights were canceled Thursday, and hundreds more were rerouted around or over the hurricane. The Federal Aviation Administration said Washington's two main airports, Reagan National and Dulles International were closed. Also shut down were Virginia's Richmond International Airport and Norfolk International Airport, FAA officials said. (Full story)
• In Calvert County, Maryland, south of Baltimore, authorities ordered residents and businesses in several areas along Chesapeake Bay to evacuate. Storm surges in Chesapeake Bay and some of the rivers that empty into it could reach 4 to 8 feet above normal tides, forecasters said.
• The Office of Personnel Management ordered the shutdown of all federal government offices in the Washington metro area, and the city's Metro bus and rail service were shut down at 11 a.m., a statement from the transport agency said.(Full story)
CNN's Patty Davis, Jeff Flock, Kathleen Koch, Beth Lewandowski, Bryan Long, Barbara Starr and Gary Tuchman contributed to this report.