Hurricane Isaias lashes Bahamas while Florida battens down

Hurricane Isaias lashes Bahamas while Florida battens down

"The maximum winds had increased to 80 miles per hour with higher gusts making the storm a Category 1 hurricane".

New Hurricane Isaias kept on a path early Friday expected to take it to the U.S. East Coast by the weekend as it approached the Bahamas, parts of which are still recovering from the devastation of last year's Hurricane Dorian.

"There is a risk of impacts from winds, heavy rainfall, and storm surges along portions of the U.S. east coast, beginning this weekend in Florida", the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said, adding that tropical storm or hurricane watches could soon issued. "Hurricane conditions and unsafe storm surges are expected in portions of the Bahamas today and Saturday, and hurricane warnings are in effect for these areas".

It was forecast to pass over the southeastern Bahamas during the night, be near the central Bahamas late Friday and move near or over the northwestern Bahamas and near South Florida on Saturday.

"A hurricane during a pandemic is double trouble but the state has been preparing for this scenario so that we can do our best to keep people safe from the weather as well as the virus". "Hurricane conditions are expected to begin in the southeastern Bahamas this morning and spread into the central and northwestern Bahamas tonight and into Saturday", it added.

"Localized flooding is expected throughout the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands as Isaias is forecast to produce rainfall amounts of 4 to 8 inches", the Bahamas Meteorology Department said on Friday.

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A hurricane watch was in effect from north of Deerfield Beach northward to the Volusia-Brevard County Line.

The NHC is predicting a general north westward motion with some decrease in forward speed for the day or so followed by a turn toward the north-northwest.

Current projections from the National Hurricane Center show the storm on course to be in the area early next week, most likely Tuesday. It is moving toward the northwest at about 17 miles per hour. The rain could result in isolated flash and urban flooding, especially in low-lying and poorly drained areas, as well as isolated minor river flooding. We're ready. We have no intention of issuing an emergency evacuation order at this time.

DeSantis said COVID-19 testing sites would remain open on Florida's west coast, and testing at hospitals and community centres may also continue.

"If an individual has COVID symptoms, they will be redirected to a non-congregate sheltering option where they can more easily isolate", a statement from Cooper's office says.

Safety concerns about the storm prompted the Florida Division of Emergency Management to close all state-supported COVID-19 testing sites for several days, starting Thursday evening. If the track moves farther east and out to sea, then our impacts will be far less.

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