How does Isaias compare to other storms to hit the DC region?

Tropical Storm Isaias barreled up the coast Tuesday, bringing damaging winds and buckets of rain that flooded some D.C.-area roadways.

But how does Isaias stack up to other tropical disturbances that have hit the D.C. region?

For one thing, Isaias is far from the worst storm to impact the region, but it does share something with those other more powerful storms: a common first letter.

The D.C. region seems to attract “I-named” storms.

For example, the last hurricane to directly impact the region was Irene in 2011. The storm made landfall on Aug. 27, 2011, near Cape Lookout, North Carolina, as a Category 1 storm and brought heavy rainfall to the region — up to 11.5 inches in some areas in Southern Maryland.

In 2004, the remnants of Hurricane Ivan spawned several tornadoes in Maryland and Virginia — the largest outbreak ever in Virginia.

People look over the water damage from Hurricane Isabel in flooded historic downtown Annapolis, including the market house, background, Friday, Sept. 19, 2003. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

The year before that, in 2003, Hurricane Isabel brought tropical storm force wind gusts and surge flooding. Then-Virginia Gov. Mark Warner called it “probably the worst storm in a generation.”

Isabel was the deadliest, costliest and most intense hurricane in that Atlantic hurricane season, according to meteorologist Chris Strong with the National Weather Service in Sterling, Virginia.

“It’s a very devastating track for storms coming at us directly rather than something that’s coming more up the coast,” he said. “And Isabel was just massive amounts of tidal flooding and trees down, knocking power out to many, many people.”

However, earlier storms packed even more powerful punches to the region.

Workers are busy in Washington, disposing of trees felled on the U.S. Capitol grounds by Hurricane Hazel, Oct. 16, 1954. (AP Photo)

Another storm that was the worst to hit the region in terms of the powerful winds was in 1954: Hurricane Hazel brought wind gusts of 98 mph and set a record that has yet to be broken.

Back-to-back Hurricanes Connie and Diane in 1955, as well as Agnes in 1972, were just as destructive — but through major flooding instead of high winds. Agnes dumped more than 12 inches of rain in a short amount of time, washing away homes and roads, and killing 13 people in Virginia and 19 people in Maryland.

More tree damage in Leonardtown, Maryland. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
Sheared-off trees on Point Lookout Road, in Leonardstown, Maryland. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
An overturned RV in Leonardtown, Maryland. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
An uprooted tree in Leonardtown, Maryland, Aug. 4, 2020. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
One of the many huge, uprooted trees near Charlie Mills’ home along Point Lookout Rd. in Leonardtown, Maryland, where the National Weather Service said a tornado was seen touching down Tuesday morning. (Michelle Basch/WTOP)
Windflowers (yes, that’s the common name) in the D.C. area survived Isaias. (Kate Ryan/WTOP)
A Pepco crew assesses a fallen oak tree on 27th Street Northwest, south of Military Road, on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
truck accident on West Lake Drive
On West Lake Drive near Tuckerman Lane in Montgomery County, a truck driver was struck by a falling tree. (Courtesy Montgomery Co. Fire and Rescue/Pete Piringer)
car travels through a puddle
A car passes through a deep puddle on flood-prone Broad Branch Road in Northwest D.C. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
Main Street in Ellicott City looked good around 8 a.m. Tuesday morning but with several hours of rain still to come. If rain becomes torrential, new alarms can warn of flooding. (Neal Augenstein/WTOP)
Main Street in Ellicott City flows downhill to the Patuxent River. While a rising river after lots of rain is always a potential problem, in Ellicott City the 2016/2018 devastating floods were from torrential rain in short period of time. (Neal Augenstein/WTOP)
No Parking signs in place on Main Street. Many businesses in this stretch were devastated in 2018 and 2016 floods. (Neal Augenstein/WTOP)
Old Town Alexandria sandbags in front of a business
Sandbags are up against the doors of Old Town Books in Alexandria. Old Town is prone to flooding. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)
Old Town Alexandria is prone to flooding. The city ran out of sandbags when they were distributed on Aug. 3. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)
truck accident on West Lake Drive
car travels through a puddle
Old Town Alexandria sandbags in front of a business

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Jack Moore

Jack Moore joined as a digital writer/editor in July 2016. Previous to his current role, he covered federal government management and technology as the news editor at, part of Government Executive Media Group.

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