U.S.Isaias strengthens to Category 1 hurricane ahead of projected landfall in the Carolinas
“We are forecasting it to become a hurricane before it reaches the coast this evening,” senior hurricane specialist Daniel Brown said. “It’s forecast to produce a dangerous storm surge of 3 to 5 feet in portions of North and South Carolina.”Calling the surge „life threatening,” the hurricane center warned that „the combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline.” Isaias – pronounced ees-ah-EE-ahs – could bring heavy rains, too – up to 8 inches in spots as it moves up the coast, Brown said, and “all those rains could produce flash flooding across portions of eastern Carolinas and mid-Atlantic, and even in the Northeast U.S.”President Donald Trump, speaking during a Monday press briefing, said he has issued emergency declarations for Florida, South Carolina and North Carolina. He added personnel from FEMA are „on the ground in all areas.”A tropical storm warning was in effect for a huge portion of the eastern U.S., all the way from Georgia to Massachusetts, impacting 114 million Americans, according to the Weather Service. Waves driven by Tropical Storm Isaias crash over the jetty on the north side of the Palm Beach Inlet in Palm Beach Shores, Fla., Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020. As of 9 p.m. Monday, the center of Isaias was located 55 miles south-southeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, moving north-northeast at 18 mph, the hurricane center said. The storm’s maximum sustained winds winds clocked in at 85 mph.”Some additional strengthening is possible before landfall,” the National Hurrcaine center wrote in its 8 p.m. advisory. „Only gradual weakening is anticipated after Isaias makes landfall in the Carolinas and moves across the U.S. mid-Atlantic region tonight and Tuesday.” Flood watches were posted all the way from the Carolinas to New England. In all, about 54 million people live where flood watches are in effect. These watches include the Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York City metro areas.Hurricane center director Ken Graham said 90% of fatalities from tropical storm systems are from water. „So that’s a dangerous situation – too much precipitation,” Graham said. „If you’re out and about, don’t drive your car where water covers the road.” There could also be power outages and some tree damage in areas that experience stronger wind gusts along the East Coast, Weather.com said. This includes areas from the eastern Carolinas to the coastal mid-Atlantic, New York City, Long Island and parts of eastern New England.The storm could also spin up a few tornadoes, the hurricane center said. The tornadoes will be possible over coastal South Carolina beginning Monday evening, spreading across eastern North Carolina into Tuesday morning.Tornadoes will also be possible on Tuesday from eastern Virginia northeastward into southern New England.Isaias is the earliest named ninth Atlantic tropical cyclone on record, Weather.com said. The previous record was Irene on Aug. 7, 2005.Meanwhile, forecasters were watching yet another system out in the Atlantic. A weather disturbance located a few hundred miles north of the Leeward Islands is producing disorganized showers and thunderstorms, the hurricane center said. „Environmental conditions could allow for some slow development of this system during the next several days, with a tropical depression possibly forming later this week,” the hurricane center said.Contributing: The Associated Press; Haley Walters, Greenville (S.C.) NewsThis article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Hurricane Isaias surges toward Carolinas with 85 mph winds
After narrowly missing Florida, the looming Isaias threat is far from over as the hurricane focuses its track along the East Coast. By Monday afternoon, the storm was running parallel to the Georgia coast. The ninth-named storm of the busy 2020 hurricane season is expected to strike the Carolinas directly.
On Monday evening, Isaias was upgraded from a tropical storm to a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph. This change in status occurred just hours before it is projected to make landfall along the North Carolina coast.
With its sights set on landing between Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Wilmington, North Carolina, Isaias ignited a state of emergency in North Carolina and spurred residents to make plans for possible evacuations or sheltering needs.
While the hurricane was approaching, the storm spawned a tornado that touched down on Bald Head Island, North Carolina. A tornado watch was issued for parts of eastern North Carolina until 6 a.m. EDT.
|The center of Isaias is evident on radar with rain associated with the storm reaching far inland on Monday, Aug. 3, 2020. (AccuWeather)|
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper urged people on Twitter to heed the state warnings in order to stay safe from not only the hurricane but also the coronavirus pandemic.
„It’s essential to listen to local officials and follow evacuation orders when they are issued,” Cooper said. „During the pandemic, your home has been the safest place, but that may change as Isaias arrives. The most important thing is to get out of harm’s way if you are told to evacuate.”
In its Monday advisory, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) issued a hurricane warning from South Santee River, South Carolina, to Surf City, North Carolina. The storm was moving north-northeast at 16 mph.
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has yet to order evacuations and said last week that he has no intention to do so. He added that the state has been planning for the dangerous pandemic-hurricane duo „all along and we’ll have to be careful.”
On Ocracoke Island in North Carolina, however, those evacuation mandates came on Friday. Officials in Hyde County, the area that was hit particularly hard by Hurricane Dorian last year, ordered residents to evacuate on Saturday.
Mandatory evacuations were enacted for nearby Hatteras Island in Dare County as well. The national parks in the area, the Cape Hatteras National Seashore and the Wright Brothers National Memorial, were both closed on Monday ahead of the storm’s impacts.
Isaias is forecast to be a 1 on the AccuWeather RealImpact™ Scale for Hurricanes due to the projected flooding downpours and possibly damaging winds.
To prepare for those potential floods, cities throughout the East Coast have offered free sandbags to residents. In Charleston, South Carolina, a limit of 10 bags per car was applied to residents.
On Monday morning, Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg issued an emergency ordinance to close certain streets for flooding safety precautions and to set curfews if needed.
„An AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 10 inches is possible, especially in the higher terrain. This amount of rainfall can lead to flash flooding across the region,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Maura Kelly said. „In addition to the rain, storm surge of 3-6 feet expected to the east of where Isaias makes landfall, in particular over the Outer Banks, could cause coastal flooding. A total of 1-3 feet of inundation is expected elsewhere in the Southeast.”
Farther south, the Georgia Department of Transportation began closing coastal bridges on Monday morning in preparation for the strong winds. The Department of Health also announced that COVID-19 testing would be suspended in the Coastal Health District on Monday „due to the potential for wind and rain associated with Tropical Storm Isaias.”
Preparation efforts have extended far beyond the Southeast coast as well, as officials in Baltimore made sandbags available, encouraged residents to move their cars off the street and requested for homeowners to clear storm drains to help with the water runoff.
|Tropical storm warnings extended as far north as Boston on Monday, with tropical storm watches in effect through the central Maine coast. (AccuWeather)|
In New Jersey, coastal towns and cities have begun preparing for the wind and rain impacts which could arrive on Tuesday. Boaters in the Garden State, along with boaters from New York and Connecticut, were urged by the Coast Guard to prepare for possible high surf, heavy wind and coastal flooding.
A tropical storm warning was also enacted for New York City, which could endure its second storm of the season following Tropical Storm Fay in early July. According to AccuWeather Meteorologist Brandon Buckingham, this would mark the first time since 1985 that the state endured two named storms so close in the same season. Projections on Monday showed that Isaias could pass within 30 miles of New York City after Fay came within 15 miles of the Big Apple in July.
AccuWeather founder and CEO Joel N. Myers said Isaias could cause between $2 billion and $3 billion in damage and economic loss as the storm charges up the Eastern Seaboard.
Projections for Isaias have fluctuated in recent days as the storm weakened to a tropical storm on Saturday afternoon near the coast of Florida. However, in the days prior, its impacts were certainly felt through the Bahamas and Puerto Rico.
The National Guard rescued at least 35 people who were swept away in floodwaters in Puerto Rico, harkening memories of Hurricane Maria in 2017.
At least two deaths were blamed on Isaias’ impacts in the Dominican Republic, Reuters reported. Civil Defense officials said 53-year-old Chiche Peguero was killed by a high-voltage power line that fell in Río San Juan. On Thursday, a 5-year-old boy was also killed after a tree crushed his home, according to elCaribe, a local news organization.
There were no fatalities from Isaias in the Bahamas, a much-appreciated relief for the island that is still recovering from Dorian last summer. However, heavy flooding and 70-mph winds did leave most of the island’s residents, many of whom are also without power, a lot to clean up. Adrian Gibson, a local government official, posted on Facebook and noted the extensive damage suffered by farmers and the severe hit some crops took from Isaias.
|Hurricane Isaias churned along the coast of South Carolina on Monday, Aug. 3, 2020. (AccuWeather)|
AccuWeather users can track Isaias from home using our local hurricane tracker pages that provide detailed information about a specific location. Click on the city name to track how Isaias will impact each place as it churns northward: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Hilton Head, South Carolina; Virginia Beach, Virginia; Ocean City, New Jersey; New York City; and Boston, Massachusetts.Keep checking back on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.
Roof Destroyed on Myrtle Beach’s Apache Pier as Hurricane Isaias Hurls Toward Coast by August 4, 2020, 4:28 AM Residents of the Carolinas braced for the arrival of Hurricane Isaias on Monday, August 3, as the storm was upgraded from a tropical storm to a Category 1 hurricane ahead of making landfall.The hurricane was packing maximum winds of 75 mph as it moved north at 16 mph, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in its 8 pm EDT update on Monday. The storm was about 60 miles south of Charleston, South Carolina, as of 8 pm.The storm was forecast to make landfall in the Carolinas on Monday night. Strong winds, heavy rainfall and a risk for tornadoes were forecast for the Carolinas and other states along the East Coast on Monday night through Tuesday, the NHC said.This video, posted to Twitter by user @ObiWanKaineobi shows strong wind blowing on Apache Pier in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, damaging the roof of Apache Pier Refreshments. According to reports, the area was under a hurricane warning and rain, wind and storm surges were reported across the beachfront. Credit: @ObiWanKaineobi via Storyful