Tropical Storm Isaias is forecast to strengthen into a Hurricane on Friday as the vicious storm edges closer to South Florida.
As of Thursday evening the storm was swirling with maximum sustained winds of 60mph over the Dominican Republic headed northwest at 20 mph.
The National Hurricane Center announced Thursday evening the storm will escalate into a hurricane by Friday or Friday evening and is forecast to move near South Florida on Saturday.
At the moment the storm’s cone of uncertainty will see it brush Florida and continue on towards Connecticut and possibly New York. It’ll likely reduce to a Tropical Storm again by the time it rise the up the Eastern Seaboard.
Current storm predictions show Isaias passing just off New York’s coast on Tuesday, though the path could change, forecasters say.
Tropical Storm Isaias is forecast to strengthen into a Hurricane on Friday as the vicious storm edges closer to South Florida. The storm’s current cone of uncertainty sees it spiral up the Eastern Seaboard hitting the Carolinas on Monday and near connecticut and New York on Tuesday
A firefighter using a machete cuts a tree that was knocked down by the wind and rain in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on Thursday as the storm passed over
View of a flooded street, after the passage of tropical storm Isaias, in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Thursday above
On Thursday afternoon the storm was located about 85 miles southeast of Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic early Thursday afternoon, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. A woman pictured with a towel over her head to protect herself from the rain in Santo Domingo on Thursday
This satellite image from the National Hurricane Center shows heavy rainfall over the Dominican Republic on Thursday as Tropical Storm Isaias passed over the island of Hispaniola
The National Hurricane Center warned Thursday evening that Isaias will strengthen into a hurricane Friday or Friday evening
The storm unleashed small landslides and caused widespread flooding and power outages on Puerto Rico, still recovering from previous hurricanes and earthquakes, the the Dominican Republic on Thursday.
The news of the storm’s approach and threat of turning into a hurricane led Flordida to close state-supported COVID-19 testing sites on Thursday at 5pm local time ‘to keep indiviudals operating and attending the sites safe.’
The testing sites will remain closed until it is safe to reopen though officials anticipate all sites to be back open and running by August 5 at 8am at the latest.
The threat of the hurricane only complicates the coronavirus crisis crippling Florida with its recent rise in infections.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said to CNN Thursday he’s concerned about evacuating locals which could further spread the virus.
‘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. That’s a concern,’ he said.
The storm could make landfall along the North Carolina coast by Monday, bringing with it heavy wind and a deluge of rain
‘When you’re not testing is also a concern. But the greater danger, the immediate danger has to be taken care of first, and that’s getting our people out of harm’s way.’
On Thursday Floridians headed to local grocery stores in hordes, emptying shelves as they stocked up on food and water preparing to bunker down for the storm.
Isaias is the ninth named storm of 2020.
However the path of the volatile storm remains uncertain as some forecast models show a weak storm hitting the southern coast of Florida and others show it hitting the east side of the state, moving towards the Carolians.
How the storm interacts with Hispaniola – the Dominican Republic and Haiti – will determine its intensities as it moves over mountains that could tear it apart.
‘We should have a better idea of how strong Isaias will become near the US after reconnaissance aircraft sample the storm and after it passes Hispaniola later today,’ the NHC said Thursday afternoon.
In Puerto Rico Tropical Storm Isaias also toppled trees and some telephone and electrical cables across Puerto Rico.
Especially hard hit was the territory’s southern region, which still shakes daily. Santos Seda, mayor of the southwest coastal town of Guánica, told The Associated Press that he has received reports of downed trees and inundated neighborhoods where earthquake-damaged homes still stand.
The storm left some 400,000 electricity clients without power across Puerto Rico, including hospitals that switched to generators, and left some 150,000 customers without water, according to government officials.
‘The emotional state of people is deteriorating more every day,’ he said.
Fire and rescue members cut the branches of a tree that fell under the heavy rain caused by the Isaias Storm in Santo Domingo on Thursday
A man rides a motorcycle under pouring rain caused by the Isaias Storm in Santo Domingo Thursday
The passing of the tropical storm Isaias leaves a missing person, 300,000 people without electricity and several roads cut in Puerto Rico, where, in addition, large areas of the capital and the south of the island were flooded. A person pictured trying to unclog a sewer in San Juan above
The streets of San Juan were flooded with water on Thursday due to the storm
Municipal employees check the condition of a street after the passage of the tropical storm Isaias, in San Juan, Puerto Rick on Thursday
Young people walk in the rain in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on Thursday
Meanwhile, crews opened the gates of one dam that last month had such a low water level it led officials to cut service every other day for some 140,000 customers. Outages also were reported in the neighboring U.S. Virgin Islands.
Minor damage was reported elsewhere across Puerto Rico, where tens of thousands of people still use tarps as roofs over homes damaged by Hurricane Maria in September 2017.
José Pagán, a 22-year-old who lives in the eastern mountain town of Juncos, said his power went out before dawn.
‘I didn’t think it was going to be this strong,’ he said of the storm, adding that his home is slightly flooded. ‘It’s a rather difficult experience because it reminds us of Maria.’
More than 50 people sought shelter in Puerto Rico, said Gov. Wanda Vázquez, who urged those living near swollen rivers to find refuge and said officials rescued at least one family from rising waters. Many remained wary of shelters, however, given a spike in COVID-19 cases on the island.
Coronavirus testing sites closed early on Thursday and will remain closed until August 5, officials anticipate, as the state prepares for a storm. A coronavirus testing center above in Miami on July 22
City of Hialeah employees loading up food and vegetables to hundreds of cars lined up for hours early during a drive-thru food distribution at the Goodlet Park in Hialeah, Florida as the coronavirus pandemic continues and South Florida braces for Isaias
A line of cars wait at the entrance to a kosher food drive-thru distribution site, Wednesday, in Miami
In the western town of Mayaguez, Alan Rivera, a 40-year-old engineer, said the street in front of his house turned into a flowing river — something that didn’t even happen during Hurricane Maria. He and his family planned to temporarily move in with his parents despite concerns about the coronavirus.
‘We have to take the risk,’ he said. ‘There’s no other alternative.’
U.S. President Donald Trump approved an emergency declaration in Puerto Rico as a result of the storm.
Thursday afternoon the storm was located about 85 miles southeast of Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic early Thursday afternoon, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.
It was moving northwest at 20 mph and its center was forecast to move near the southeastern Bahamas by early Friday.
Isaias was already toppling trees in the Dominican Republic as government workers in some impoverished neighborhoods used loudspeakers to urge people to evacuate ahead of the worst of the storm. Police also arrested a handful of surfers in the capital of Santo Domingo accused of violating government storm warnings.
Tropical storm warnings were issued for the Turks and Caicos Islands and portions of the Dominican Republic, Haiti and the Bahamas.
Isaias was expected to produce 4 to 8 inches of rain across Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and northern Haiti, with isolated maximum totals of 10 inches.