Story at a glance
- Hurricane Isaias is expected to make landfall off the coast of North Carolina.
- Several states are working to prepare for winds and rainfall while simultaneously battling the coronavirus.
With Isaias growing into a hurricane from a tropical storm over the past week and already causing mass flooding in Puerto Rico, forecasts anticipate it to strengthen and make landfall along the North Carolina coast next week.
Isaias stands to grow into a Category 1 hurricane, with winds of approximately 75 miles per hour.
A tropical system bringing heavy rain to the Caribbean could soon form into Tropical Storm #Isaias. Its long-term forecast and possible U.S. impacts remain highly uncertain: https://t.co/Xq0HaLbjyM pic.twitter.com/U8oYFJ5q9n— The Weather Channel (@weatherchannel) July 29, 2020
WBTV reports that per tracking from the National Hurricane Center, Isaias will hover toward the Bahamas on Friday, move to the eastern coast of Florida and up toward Georgia over the weekend and hit along the Carolina coast from late Sunday into Monday.
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Landfall is a possible outcome for some regions of the Carolinas, like Cape Hatteras and parts of the Outer Banks, which extend further into the Atlantic Ocean. Since the storm does not yet have a defined center, tracking is unusually difficult at this time. The U.S. National Weather Service issued an alert saying the first impacts of the storm will be an elevated surf and rip currents arriving over the weekend.
About 2 to 4 inches of rainfall could also be seen along the southern and east-central regions of Florida. This prompted officials to close state-run coronavirus testing sites in anticipation of the inclement weather.
“ALL sites will be closed at close of business tomorrow,” the Florida Department of Emergency Management reportedly wrote in an email to testing site managers. The locations are expected to be fully operational again on Wednesday.
The worst case scenario for states with high levels of coronavirus transmission in Isaias’s path, such as Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas, would be enforcing social distancing mandates in conjunction with evacuation procedures.
“Look, if we have a major hurricane here, then we're going to have to evacuate a number of people and then we're going to have to ... try to keep them separated as much as possible,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Giménez said. “That's a concern.”
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