NOAA plane, Miss Piggy, flew over the Caribbean into the eye of Hurricane Isaias on July 31. The plane helps gather data for forecasters to prepare advisories.
Isaias weakened to a tropical storm Saturday night as it approached the southeast coast of Florida, but forecasters say it will likely restrengthen overnight as it continues its track along the coastline of Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas.
A hurricane warning is in effect along Florida’s coast from Boca Raton north of Miami, about 200 miles north to the Volusia-Flagler county line.
The National Hurricane Center warned of a possible dangerous storm surge along the Florida east coast from Jupiter Inlet to Ponte Vedra Beach, where water could rise as much as 4 feet above ground level.
The storm is predicted to slowly weaken starting Sunday night and through Monday. As it tracks north, it is also expected to pick up speed.
At 5 p.m. EST, the storm was centered about 115 miles southeast of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, moving northwest at 10 mph with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph.
Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 105 miles from the center.
Expected rainfall from Isaias, from Friday night through Tuesday in South and east Central Florida, could be 2 to 4 inches, with isolated totals of 6 inches, the Hurricane Center said.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has declared a state of emergency in every coastal county of Florida’s Atlantic Coast, stretching from Miami-Dade to Nassau counties, on Friday in preparation for the storm.
The Florida governor said the state was “fully prepared for this and any future storm during this hurricane season,” with stockpiles of personal protective equipment, generators, bottled water and meals ready to be distributed.
Hurricane Isaias: How did the storm get its name, and how do you pronounce it
But he urged people to have seven days of food, water and medication on hand and said state-run coronavirus testing sites in the areas where the storm could hit would be closed.
Isaias to reach Carolinas on Monday likely as a tropical storm
In South Carolina, forecasters said Isaias would likely arrive as a tropical storm, with winds battering the state Monday and Monday night.
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said he did not plan to call an mandatory evacuation ahead of the storm.
“We’ve been through these before, as you know, so we’re fully prepared,” McMaster said. “We’re hoping this storm will not hit us hard, if it hits at all.”
Authorities in North Carolina ordered the evacuation of Ocracoke Island, which was slammed by last year’s Hurricane Dorian, starting Saturday evening.
As hurricane Isaias gathered strength in the Caribbean, it snapped trees and knocked out power in the Bahamas on Saturday. Meanwhile, Miami officials closed beaches, marines and parks as Isaias churned its way through the Bahamas.
Contributing: Associated Press
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