Bahamas, Florida brace for newly formed Hurricane Isaias

Katie Ramirez
August 1, 2020

On the NHC forecast track, the center of Isaias will move near or over the Central Bahamas this morning, near or over the Northwestern Bahamas later today, and near the east coast of the Florida peninsula this afternoon through Sunday.

Isaias had maximum sustained winds of 130 kilometres per hour early Friday and was centred about 70 kilometres southeast of Great Inagua Island in the Bahamas, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. The rain could result in isolated flash and urban flooding, especially in low-lying and poorly drained areas, as well as isolated minor river flooding.

The storm could begin affecting South Florida "as early as late tonight into tomorrow morning, with the potential to increase in strength to Category 2", DeSantis said at a news conference shortly before noon Friday.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper also declared an emergency Friday, clearing the way for the state to move trucks and supplies more easily. Some counties will continue testing through their individual health departments.

"Unfortunately, Isaias appears to be taking a somewhat similar track along the United States east coastline, such as Matthew in 2016 and Dorian in 2019", Graves said. The storm's main effect would be to sites set up outside and vulnerable to the wind, he said.

A hurricane warning was in effect for the northwestern Bahamas, including Andros Island, New Providence, Eleuthera, Abaco Islands, Berry Islands, Grand Bahama and Bimini.

Primary evacuation options should be with friends, family, or hotels or motels outside of Evacuation Zones A and B. If there is an evacuation order, the county will open a shelter at Rymfire Elementary School for people who aren't able to make other arrangements. People are still living in tents on both islands, and officials said crews were trying to remove leftover debris ahead of Isaias.

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The storm has caused at least two deaths in the Dominican Republic and torn down trees, flooded streets and knocked out power for thousands of homes and businesses in Puerto Rico.

Its number of confirmed cases recently surpassed NY and is now second only to California, a state with twice as many people.

The National Guard rescued at least 35 people in the US territory, including two newborns. It recently barred travellers from the US following a surge in cases after it reopened to global tourism.

Given the pandemic, the prime minister urged young people booking hotel rooms to stay safe from the approaching storm to respect social distancing measures.

Isaias was expected to drop from 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 centimeters) of rain in the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

"If an individual has COVID symptoms, they will be redirected to a non-congregate sheltering option where they can more easily isolate", a statement from Cooper's office says.

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