Isaias snapped trees and knocked out power as it blew through the Bahamas on Saturday and churned toward the Florida coast, threatening to complicate efforts to contain the coronavirus in places where cases are surging.
Isaias weakened from a hurricane to a tropical storm on Saturday afternoon, but was expected to regain hurricane strength overnight as it barreled towards Florida in the early hours of Sunday, overnight.
‘We’ll start seeing impacts tonight,’ Florida Governor Ron DeSantis warned at a news conference.
‘Don’t be fooled by the downgrade.’
The forecast track as of Saturday night saw Isaias’ center moving within miles of Florida’s east coast on Sunday, with it possibly turning back into a Category 1 hurricane and making landfall
The maximum sustained winds are now around 70 mph as the storm moves through the Florida Straits.
The skies over Miami darken as Isaisas edges ever closer. The outer bands of the tropical storm led to some rough surf
Storm clouds are seen over the city as Hurricane Isaias approaches the east coast of Florida on Saturday in Miami
Some minor flooding was reported across Miami as the outerbands of the tropical storm Isaisas began to hit on Saturday
Late on Saturday night, Florida’s east coast was braced for Isaisas to hit the shoreline as a category one hurricane
Winds of up to 75mph are expected on Sunday evening as the storm barrels up the coastline and heads towards the northeast
Wind gusts of up to 50mph are expected in West Palm Beach as the storm moves up Florida’s east coast on Sunday morning
Dry air and wind shear helped to temporarily weaken the storm, he said, but severe impacts are likely along much of the Sunshine State’s east coast.
The National Hurricane Center downgraded it its status from a hurricane at 5pm on Saturday but the agency said the storm was expected to pick up strength overnight as it heads over warm water toward Florida.
The center of the storm was forecast to regain strength and approach the southeast coast of Florida early Sunday morning, then travel up the state’s east coast throughout the day.
A hurricane warning is in effect from Boca Raton to the Volusia-Flagler county line, which lies about 150 miles north. A storm surge watch is in effect for Jupiter Inlet to Ponte Vedra Beach.
People cross police tape to access the closed the beach in Miami beach. Hurricane Isaias weakened and lost intensity after passing over the Bahamas but it is still on course to arrive off the coast of Florida on Sunday morning
Daytona Beach is seen crowded with beachgoers on Saturday. Isaias is expected to return to hurricane strength on Sunday
Miami Beach was eerily quiet as the outer bands of Tropical Storm Isaisas begin to hit south Florida on Saturday
Workers install panels and sand bags at the entrance of a CVS Pharmacy in Miami Beach, Florida on Saturday
Donald Bowen, left, and Doug Smith put shutters over the windows of their business as Tropical Storm Isaias approaches
Anthony Perrone pulls the hurricane shutters closed on his home in Lake Worth, Florida. Perrone said he closed the shutters to prepare his home for the possible arrival of Isaias
A boarded up home is shown Saturday in Briny Breezes, Florida. Hurricane Isaias is headed toward the Florida coast, where officials have closed beaches, parks and coronavirus testing sites
Chris Nagiewicz, left, watches as his wife Mary screws in a hurricane panel on Saturday on a trailer home in Briny Breezes, FL
It is expected to remain a hurricane through Monday then slowly weaken as it tracks up or just off the Atlantic seaboard. Heavy rain, flooding and high winds could batter much of the East Coast this week.
Isaias is piling another burden on communities already hard-hit by previous storms and the pandemic.
Florida authorities closed beaches, parks and virus testing sites, lashing signs to palm trees so they would not blow away.
The governor warned residents to expect power outages and asked to have a week’s supply of water and food on hand.
DeSantis warned residents to expect power outages, even from a tropical storm. Restoring power will take longer than usual because of Covid-19 precautions, officials have said.
‘A 70 mile-an-hour wind will be enough to take down trees and limbs that obviously interact with power lines and so, that will happen, and people should be prepared for that,’ DeSantis said.
Walmart customers buy last minute supplies as the outer bands of Tropical Storm Isaisas begin to hit Miami, Florida
Shoppers wait in line at a Costco with the Florida governor urging Florida residents to stock up on a full week of supplies
Lake Worth resident Juan Avila stocks up on water and paper towels at the Lantana, Florida Costco as Isaias nears
Officials wrestled with how to prepare shelters for people to seek refuge, if need be, while safely social distancing because of the virus.
Concerns about the coronavirus and the vulnerability of people who are still recovering from Dorian last September were adding to storm worries.
Coronavirus cases have surged in Florida in recent weeks and the added menace of a storm ratcheted up the anxiety.
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.
Natalie Betancur, stocking up at a grocery in Palm Beach Gardens, said that the storm itself doesn’t cause her a great amount of concern.
‘The hurricane is not that serious, but I feel that the public is really panicking because it’s a hurricane and we’re in the middle of a pandemic,’ she said.
Dozens of utility trucks are lined up to be processed by Florida Power & Light at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday. Thousands of electric lineman crews are waiting to assess the likely damage caused by the impending Isaias storm
Sea spray, sand and winds sweep across South Ocean Boulevard in Palm Beach, Florida as Palm Beach County readies
A wrapped parking meter is seen in Miami beach. The storm is expected to hit the area early on Sunday morning
A man runs to escape the rain in Miami beach, pictured on Saturday, with people urged to hunker down as the storm nears
In Palm Beach County, about 150 people were in shelters, said emergency management spokeswoman Lisa De La Rionda. The county has a voluntary evacuation order for those living in mobile or manufactured homes, or those who feel their home can’t withstand winds.
‘We don’t anticipate many more evacuations,’ she said, adding that the evacuees are physically distant from each other and are wearing masks, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Authorities in North Carolina ordered the evacuation of Ocracoke Island, which was slammed last year by Hurricane Dorian.
Meanwhile, officials in the Bahamas opened shelters for people in Abaco island to help those who have been living in temporary structures since Dorian devastated the area, killing at least 70 people.
Isaias’s maximum sustained winds dipped steadily on Saturday and were near 70 mph around 11pm.
By Saturday night, the storm was about 80 miles east-southeast of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
A storm surge is expected of between 2-4′ feet along Fort Pierce and Melbourne on the east coast of the state
The path of the storm remains unclear although it is believed that it will track more or less directly up the eastern seaboard
The above map shows the amount of rainfall predicted through Tuesday with 12′ in the Bahamas, between 3-5′ near the coast
Isaias was downgraded to a tropical storm on Saturday night as it neared the eastern coast of Florida
It was expected to be near Florida’s southeast coast early on Sunday morning then hug near or along the state’s Atlantic coast during the day.
Isaias is expected to remain a hurricane through Monday, then slowly weaken on its climb up the Atlantic seaboard.
It is expected to move offshore of the coast of Georgia en route toward the mid-Atlantic states.
Heavy rain, flooding and high winds could batter much of the East Coast during the week.
Isaias has already been destructive in the Caribbean: On Thursday, before it became a hurricane, Isaias uprooted trees, destroyed crops and homes and caused widespread flooding and small landslides in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.
One man died in the Dominican Republic while in Puerto Rico, the National Guard rescued at least 35 people from floodwaters that swept away one woman, whose body was recovered on Saturday.
In Puerto Rico, the National Guard rescued at least 35 people from floodwaters that swept away one woman, whose body was recovered Saturday.
Miami’s beaches have been closed and this time it’s not for coronavirus but for an approaching hurricane which is closing in
No swimming signs are posted at Deerfield Beach as Hurricane Isaias tracks towards Florida
Bonnie Gruner boards up the building she manages in downtown West Palm Beach on Saturday. Gruner says, ‘The building is from the 1920’s, we are prepared with color coded shutters–we’ve been doing this a long time.’
People are now hunkering down throughout Sunday as Isaias takes aim at the sunshine state
People in the Dominican Republic clean and dry their belongings after the passage of tropical storm Isaias, with which heavy rains caused the overflowing of the Magua River in Hato Mayor
Locals try to rescue their belonging after the overflow of the Magua river caused by heavy rains caused during Isaias storm in the city of Hato Mayor, northwest of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
A man remains outside his home, where teddy bears were hanged from a window to dry after the passage of tropical storm Isaias, with which heavy rains caused the overflowing of the Magua River in Hato Mayor, Dominican Republic