CHARLESTON, S.C. (News Nation) — Isaias restrengthened to a hurricane as it moves toward the Carolinas on Monday night, the National Hurricane Center said, bringing with it dangerous winds and storm surge.
A hurricane warning has been issued for parts of South Carolina and North Carolina – from the South Santee River to Surf City, North Carolina.
The storm, which lashed Florida’s east coast with heavy rains Sunday, is now about 55 miles south-southeast of Myrtle Beach, according to the NHC’s 9 p.m. EDT update. The update shows Isaias has strengthened to 85 mph winds with higher gusts, and is moving north-northeast at 18 mph.
Forecasters predict the storm will make landfall Monday as a category 1 hurricane near Myrtle Beach. It’s then expected to move inland over eastern North Carolina Monday night and along the coast of mid-Atlantic states on Tuesday into the northeastern United States by Tuesday night. It’s expected to pick up strength before it reaches the coast of the Carolinas Monday night and slowly weaken as it makes landfall and moves across the mid-Atlantic Monday night and Tuesday.
Overall, 3-6 inches of rain is expected across South Carolina’s Grand Strand with 2-4 inches of rain inland. Winds will range at or below tropical storm force Inland. Storm surge issues and a tornado threat east of I-95 sometime Monday afternoon into the overnight are also possible.
During a 3 p.m. news briefing Monday, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper told residents to be prepared “for a lot of rain — as much as seven inches in some places.” Cooper reminded people not to drive into water on roads, which in the past has been the way most people died after storms.
Officials said during the briefing that 150 soldiers with the North Carolina National Guard were activated and standing by in six forward locations. They also said that power companies were expecting widespread outages.
The hurricane center projects Hurricane Isaias will then move quickly north up to the Virginia-North Carolina border, before switching back to a tropical storm (winds below 74 mph) around 3-5 a.m. Tuesday. The eye is expected to move between Emporia and Franklin, Virginia.
City officials in Hampton and Newport News have released information about storm preps on the peninsula.
Around 8 a.m. Tuesday the storm is expected to be between Norfolk and Richmond, and then rapidly move northeast.
Monday night, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency effective 5 a.m. Tuesday.
Connecticut’s shoreline was hit hard by Tropical Storm Irene nine years ago this month, and Old Saybrook and East Haven are taking storm preparations seriously.
“Once there’s a tropical storm watch or warning or hurricane, it triggers specific events such as pre-positioning staff, supplies, and resting our shelters and emergency center,” Old Saybrook Police Chief Michael Spera told News Nation afilliate WTNH.
In Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts, the Tropical Storm Watch was upgraded to a “Tropical Storm Warning” for the region. A “warning” means tropical storm force winds are likely by late Tuesday afternoon and evening.
Isaias is expected to pick up forward speed and race through western New England Tuesday evening when the brunt of the impacts will be felt in the area.
Below are the current watches and warnings in place:
A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for:
- Folly Beach, South Carolina to Cape Fear, North Carolina
- Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds, including the Neuse and Pamlico
- Oregon Inlet, North Carolina to the North Carolina/Virginia border
A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for:
- Cape Fear to Oregon Inlet, North Carolina
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for:
- South Santee River, South Carolina to Surf City, North Carolina
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:
- Edistor Beach, South Carolina to South Santee River, South Carolina
- North of Surf City, North Carolina to Stonington, Maine
- Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds
- Chesapeake Bay
- Tidal Potomac River
- Delaware Bay
- Long Island and Long Island Sound
- Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, and Block Island
A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for:
- North of Stonington to Eastport Maine
News Nation affiliates WFLA in Tampa, WBTW in Myrtle Beach, WNCN in Raleigh, WGHP in Greensboro, WAVY in Portsmouth, WTNH in New Haven, and WPRI in Providence contributed to this report.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.