Hurricane conditions are expected along portions of the Florida east coast Saturday night and Sunday.
Isaias is expected to produce heavy rain and wind as well as tidal flooding.
Hurricane warnings and tropical storm watches extend along the Florida coast into Georgia.
It’s expected to hit the Carolinas by Monday and then ride up the east coast. Isaias is expected to impact the Tri-State area on Tuesday.
The Coast Guard is urging the commercial and recreational maritime community in the Tri-State area to practice hurricane preparedness as Hurricane Isaias has potential to affect the region.
The National Weather Service has forecasted Hurricane Isaias to potentially accelerate into the Tri-State area as a tropical storm on Tuesday. Potential hazards include high surf, dangerous rip currents, heavy wind, heavy rainfall, and coastal flooding.
Captains of the Port for New York and Long Island Sound are encouraging boaters to be proactive and prepared ahead of impending heavy weather.
“We are closely monitoring Hurricane Isaias and preparing for potential impacts to the region’s Marine Transportation System,” said Capt. Jason Tama, Sector Commander for Sector New York. “Storms such as this can be unpredictable, and it is important that both commercial mariners and recreational boaters prepare accordingly.”
Isaias snapped trees and knocked out power as it blew through the Bahamas on Saturday and headed toward the Florida coast, where officials said they were closing beaches, parks and coronavirus testing sites. The hurricane is bearing down on places where the virus is surging, threatening to complicate efforts to contain it and piling another burden on communities already hard-hit by other storms and sickness. Florida authorities said they have prepared shelters, but didn’t expect to have to evacuate people.
“The most important thing we want people to do now is remain vigilant,” said Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Authorities in North Carolina ordered the evacuation of Ocracoke Island, which was slammed by last year’s Hurricane Dorian, starting Saturday evening.
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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. Bahamian officials said they were concerned about a Category 1 storm hitting amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“The center of COVID-19 now is in Grand Bahama,” the island’s minister, Sen. Kwasi Thompson, told government-run ZNS Bahamas. “No one wanted to see a situation where we are now facing a hurricane.”
Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis relaxed a coronavirus lockdown as a result of the storm, but imposed a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew. He said supermarkets, pharmacies, gas stations and hardware stores would be open as long as weather permitted. The Bahamas has reported more than 570 confirmed COVID-19 cases and at least 14 deaths. It recently barred travelers from the U.S. following a surge in cases after it reopened to international tourism.
Paula Miller, Mercy Corps director for the Bahamas, told The Associated Press that people on the island were still standing in line for gas on Saturday ahead of the storm. The area was still recovering from Dorian, complicating preparations for this one.
“People are doing the best they can to prepare, but a lot of businesses still have not fully repaired their roofs or their structures,” she said. “Even a lower level storm could really set them back.”
The storm has already been destructive in the Caribbean: On Thursday, while still a tropical storm, Isaias uprooted trees, destroyed crops and caused widespread flooding and small landslides in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. One man died in the Dominican Republic, where more than 5,000 people were evacuated, hundreds of homes were damaged or destroyed and more than 130 communities were cut off by floodwaters.
In Puerto Rico, the National Guard rescued at least 35 people from floodwaters that swept away one woman who remained missing.
As it moves now toward the southeast coast of Florida, a hurricane warning is in effect from Boca Raton to the Volusia-Flagler county line, which lies about 150 miles (240 kilometers) north. A hurricane watch was in effect from Hallendale Beach to south of Boca Raton.
A hurricane warning means that hurricane conditions are expected somewhere within the area, and a watch means they are possible.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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