Published On: Sat, Aug 1st, 2020

Hurricane warning now in place for part of Florida as Isaias approaches

A hurricane warning was issued for part of Florida’s eastern coast on Friday as Hurricane Isaias approached the state after soaking parts of the Bahamas, forecasters said.

Isaias, which had maximum sustained winds of 80 mph, was expected to be near the east coast of the Florida peninsula starting Saturday afternoon through Sunday.

By late Friday, a hurricane warning had been issued for the Florida coast from Boca Raton, which is around 40 miles north of Miami Beach, to the county line between Volusia and Flagler counties, the National Hurricane Center said.

That stretch of the coast is around 200 miles. At sustained winds of 80 mph, that would make Isaias a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

Palm Beach County, which is in the warning area, said it was opening four shelters and one for animals Saturday morning. The shelters are for residents of mobile or manufactured homes and other housing deemed substandard.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis assured residents Friday that “the state of Florida is fully prepared for this, and any future storm during this hurricane season.” He has urged residents to have a plan and to have seven days’ worth of food, water and medicine.

The state is also dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, and DeSantis said emergency officials have stockpiled personal protective equipment for the hurricane season.

“It is hard to imagine that we are talking about a storm event on July 31st,” Howard Tipton, administrator for St. Lucie County, which is north of Palm Beach County, said at a news conference.

“It’s just kind of been the way 2020’s going so far, but we roll with it, right? We don’t get to determine the cards that we’re dealt.”

Anthony Perrone pulls the hurricane shutters closed on his home in Lake Worth, Florida on July 31, 2020.Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Miami-Dade County ordered parks, beaches, marinas and golf courses closed through at least Saturday. The Port of Miami said it would close at midnight.

Florida Power & Light Company said it activated its emergency response plan and recruited around 2,000 people from 10 states to help restore power. The utility expects a large part of its coverage area to feel the storm’s effects.

The Miami area was under a tropical storm warning, and the National Weather Service said to prepare for 25-35 mph winds, which could damage roofs and topple trees, but no storm surge inundation was expected there.

County Mayor Carlos Giménez said Friday morning that it had 20 evacuation centers on standby. “It’s really too early to tell yet, so we are closely monitoring the situation,” he said.

Authorities in North Carolina ordered the evacuation of Oracoke Island, which was slammed by last year’s Hurricane Dorian, starting Saturday evening.

Bahamas evacuated people in Abaco who have been living in temporary structures since Dorian and people on the eastern end of Grand Bahama. The hurricane knocked shingles off roofs and tumbled trees as it carved its way through the archipelago.

In Florida, tropical storm warnings and watches covered other parts the state near the coast, including in Orlando and the Fort Lauderdale area where there was also a hurricane watch.

In the warning area in Florida, hurricane conditions are expected to arrive late Saturday and Saturday night, the hurricane center said. It will be preceded by tropical storm-force winds, and “preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion,” the center said in an advisory.

The hurricane center said late Friday in a discussion statement that “westerly shear” was limiting the intensification of the storm, but that some strengthening was still possible Saturday.

Even if it does not make landfall, the storm is relatively large and its effects could extend beyond the hurricane’s center.

On Thursday, while still a tropical storm, Isaias toppled trees, destroyed crops and caused widespread flooding and small landslides in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, where hundreds of thousands of people were left without power and water.

Officials reported that a man died in the Dominican Republic when he was electrocuted by a fallen electrical cable. More than 5,000 people were evacuated, and more than 130 communities remained cut off by floodwaters.

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