Wed | Aug 5, 2020

Bahamas, Florida brace as new Hurricane Isaias bears down

Published:Friday | July 31, 2020 | 9:23 AM
In this image made from video, people look at the level of Canovanas river following heavy rain caused by the storm in Alto Trujillo, Puerto Rico, Thursday, July 30, 2020. (AP Photo)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Hurricane Isaias kept on a path early Friday toward the United States East Coast as it approached the Bahamas, parts of which are still recovering from the devastation of last year’s Hurricane Dorian.

Isaias had maximum sustained winds of 80 miles per hour Friday morning and was centred about 340 miles southeast of Nassau in the Bahamas, the US National Hurricane Center said.

It was moving northwest at 17 miles per hour.

It was forecast to strengthen while moving near or over the Bahamas and it could near South Florida on Saturday and Sunday.

The hurricane centre said heavy rains associated from the storm “may begin to affect South and east-Central Florida beginning late Friday night, and the eastern Carolinas by early next week, potentially resulting in isolated flash and urban flooding, especially in low-lying and poorly drained areas.”

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.

A hurricane warning was in effect for Andros Island, New Providence, Eleuthera, Abaco Islands, Berry Islands, Grand Bahama, Bimini, Acklins, Crooked Island, Long Cay, the Inaguas, Mayaguana, the Ragged Islands, Cat Island, the Exumas, Long Island, Rum Cay, and San Salvador.

Two of those islands, Abaco and Grand Bahama, were battered by Dorian, a Category 5 storm that hovered over the area for two days and killed at least 70 people, with more than 280 reported missing.

People are still living in tents on both islands, and officials said crews were trying to remove leftover debris ahead of Isaias.

Prime Minister Hubert Minnis announced late Thursday that he was relaxing a coronavirus lockdown as a result of the impending storm, but said a 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. curfew would be implemented starting Friday.

He said supermarkets, pharmacies, gas stations and hardware stores would be allowed to be open as long as weather permitted.

Isaias was expected to produce four to eight inches of rain in the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

A tropical storm warning was in effect for the Turks and Caicos Islands and parts of the Dominican Republic.

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