Tracking Isaias: Florida battens down as hurricane starts churni

Ruben Fields
August 2, 2020

"A general northwestward motion with some decrease in forward speed is expected for the next day or so, followed by a north-northwestward motion by late Sunday". Meanwhile, officials in the Bahamas cleared people out of Abaco island who have been living in temporary structures since Dorian devastated the area, killing at least 70 people.

Isaias was carrying top sustained winds of 85 miles (135 kilometers) per hour and was located about 115 miles (185 kilometers) south-southeast of the Bahamas capital Nassau at 2 a.m. (0600 GMT), heading northwest, the US National Hurricane Center in Miami said. The storm strengthened slightly on its way to Florida and set to approach the southeast of the state later in the day before traveling up the eastern USA seaboard.

Still idled because of the no-sail order from the coronavirus pandemic, chips have been asked to vacate the two popular ports due to the impending arrival of Hurricane Isaias. State-run virus testing sites are closing in areas where the storm might hit because the sites are outdoor tents, which could topple in high winds.

On Saturday morning, the storm was near Andros island in the Bahamas with maximum sustained winds nearing 85 miles per hour, causing power outages and toppling trees.

It is the archipelago's first hurricane since Dorian, a Category 5 storm past year that devastated two islands, pummeling them for three days.

Most of the rain will occur between Monday night and Tuesday night. The space agency was monitoring whether the SpaceX Crew Dragon could safely bring its two astronauts back from the International Space Station for a splashdown Sunday in the Gulf of Mexico. "This state of emergency will ensure localities and communities have the assistance they need to protect the safety of Virginians, particularly as we continue to deal with the COVID-19 crisis".

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Such restrictions would include the nearly complete shutdown of Melbourne's public transport network, starting from Wednesday. Melbourne's streets have been quiet this week as cases continued to spiral.

Bahamian officials said they were concerned about a Category 1 storm hitting amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Before reaching hurricane status, Isaias caused widespread flooding, power outages and landslides in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic on Thursday.

The southern US states of Florida and North Carolina have declared hurricane warnings.

Florida's daily Covid-19 death toll rose to a record earlier this week. In Puerto Rico, the National Guard rescued at least 35 people from floodwaters that swept away one woman, whose body was recovered Saturday.

Governor Ron DeSantis and President Donald Trump declared an emergency, while billions of dollars of economic damage are likely if the system rakes up along the eastern seaboard.

The Republican governor told a morning news conference that the state is prepared with stockpiles of personal protective equipment, generators, bottled water and meals ready to be distributed. At one of four shelters in Palm Beach County on Saturday afternoon, people had their temperatures checked before entering.

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