CHICAGO (News Nation) — Hurricane watches and warnings have been issued for parts of Florida’s east coast as Isaias continues to move over the Bahamas and toward the United States.
Tropical Storm Isaias strengthened to become a Category 1 hurricane overnight and lashed the southeastern Bahamas and Turks and Caicos with strong winds and heavy squalls on Friday. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) issued a special advisory around midnight, saying Isaias had strengthened to a Category 1 hurricane.
The 5 p.m. ET update from the NHC says Isaias has wind speeds of 75 mph. It is expected to strengthen later Friday and early Saturday and is forecast to remain a hurricane in the coming days.
The latest forecast track has Isaias over or near the southeastern Bahamas. It is expected to reach the central Bahamas later Friday night. The forecast then brings it near or over the northwestern Bahamas and near the east coast of the Florida peninsula on Saturday afternoon through Sunday.
Friday afternoon, Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency ahead of Hurricane Isaias for North Carolina — which is projected to go over the N.C. coast around the start of next week.
“The state Emergency Operations Center – already activated for COVID-19 – has been activated as well for Hurricane Isaias, and state and local response teams are at the ready. And today, I have declared a state of emergency to help our state prepare,” said Cooper during a briefing held on Friday afternoon.
Cooper said that while the models showing the track and destination for the hurricane vary, now is the time to prepare. He also recognized that preparations will be complicated given the COVID-19 pandemic.
Friday evening, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam also issued a State of Emergency ahead of Isaias’ arrival.
“Hurricane Isaias is a serious storm, and current predictions indicate that it may impact parts of Virginia as early as this weekend,”said Governor Northam.
A Hurricane Warning has been issued for parts of the east coast of Florida – from Boca Raton the Volusia/Brevard County line. A Hurricane Warning means hurricane conditions are expected
somewhere within the warning area within about 36 hours.
A Hurricane Watch is in effect for Florida from Hallendale Beach to south of Boca Raton and from the Volusia/Brevard County line to the Flagler/Volusia County line. A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area.
A Storm Surge Watch has been issued for Florida from the Jupiter Inlet to Ponte Vedre Beach.
The storm is expected to dump 2 to 4 inches of rain on South Florida and east-Central Florida from Friday night through Monday. The heavy rains could cause isolated flash and urban flooding.
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for:
- Boca Raton to the Volusia/Brevard County Line Florida
- Northwestern Bahamas
- Southeastern Bahamas
- Central Bahamas
A Hurricane Watch is in effect for:
- Hallendale Beach to south of Boca Raton Florida
- Volusia-Brevard County Line to the Flagler/Volusia County Line
A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for:
- Jupiter Inlet to Ponte Vedre Beach Florida
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:
- Turks and Caicos Islands
- North of Ocean Reef to south of Boca Raton Florida
- Lake Okeechobee
A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for:
- Flagler/Volusia County Line to Ponte Vedre Beach Florida
News Nation affiliates WFLA, WAVY and WBTW contributed to this report