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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Early bands of heavy rain from Isaias lashed Florida’s east coast before dawn Sunday as authorities warily eyed the approaching storm, which threatened to snarl efforts to quell surging cases of the coronavirus across the region.

Isaias weakened from a hurricane to a tropical storm late Saturday afternoon, but was still expected to bring heavy rain and flooding as it barrels toward Florida.

“Don’t be fooled by the downgrade,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis warned during a news conference on Saturday after the storm — pronounced ees-ah-EE-ahs — spent hours roughing up the Bahamas.

Florida authorities closed beaches, parks and virus testing sites, lashing signs to palm trees so they wouldn’t blow away. The governor said the state is anticipating power outages and asked residents to have a week’s supply of water, food and medicine on hand. Officials wrestled with how to prepare shelters where people can seek refuge from the storm if necessary, while safely social distancing to prevent the spread of the virus.

In Palm Beach County, about 150 people were in shelters, said emergency management spokeswoman Lisa De La Rionda. The county has a voluntary evacuation order for those living in mobile or manufactured homes, or those who feel their home can’t withstand winds.

“We don’t anticipate many more evacuations,” she said, adding that the evacuees are physically distant from each other and are wearing masks, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Isaias is piling another burden on communities already hard-hit by other storms and sickness.

The storm’s maximum sustained winds declined steadily throughout Saturday, and were at 65 mph (100 kph) by Sunday morning, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in an advisory.

The center of the storm was forecast to approach the southeast coast of Florida early Sunday morning, then travel up the state’s east coast throughout the day. Little change was expected in the storm’s strength over the next few days, forecasters said.

Heavy rain, flooding and high winds could batter much of the East Coast this week as the system is forecast to track up or just off the Atlantic seaboard.

Despite the approaching storm, NASA says the return of two astronauts aboard a SpaceX capsule is still on track for Sunday afternoon. Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are preparing to make the first splashdown return in 45 years, after two months docked at the International Space Station. They are aiming for the Gulf of Mexico just off the Florida Panhandle, and flight controllers are keeping close watch on the storm.

Isaias has already been destructive in the Caribbean: On Thursday, before it became a hurricane, it uprooted trees, destroyed crops and homes and caused widespread flooding and small landslides in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. One man died in the Dominican Republic. In Puerto Rico, the National Guard rescued at least 35 people from floodwaters that swept away one woman, whose body was recovered Saturday.

Isaias snapped trees and knocked out power as it blew through the Bahamas on Saturday and churned toward the Florida coast.

As the storm moves now toward the southeast coast of Florida, a tropical storm warning is in effect from Hallandale Beach, Florida, to South Santee River, South Carolina, and for Florida’s Lake Okeechobee. A storm surge watch is in effect for Jupiter Inlet to Ponte Vedra Beach, and from Edisto Beach, South Carolina, to Cape Fear, North Carolina.

Coronavirus cases have surged in Florida in recent weeks, and the added menace of a storm ratcheted up the anxiety. State-run virus testing sites are closing in areas where the storm might hit because the sites are outdoor tents, which could topple in high winds.

Natalie Betancur, stocking up at a grocery in Palm Beach Gardens, said that the storm itself doesn’t cause her a great amount of concern.

“The hurricane is not that serious, but I feel that the public is really panicking because it’s a hurricane and we’re in the middle of a pandemic,” she said.

Meanwhile, officials in the Bahamas opened shelters for people in Abaco island to help those who have been living in temporary structures since Dorian devastated the area, killing at least 70 people.

___

Coto reported from San Juan, Puerto Rico. Curt Anderson from St. Petersburg, and Cody Jackson in Palm Beach County, Florida, contributed.

Copyright © 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

News Source: wtop.com

Tags: the bahamas

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Tyson Fury trains with dad John on Morecambe beach in front of local fans as he targets fight by end of year

TYSON FURY put on a workout with his dad John in front of local fans at Morecambe beach.

The heavyweight champion, 31, treated his supporters to a training session on the sand.

4Tyson Fury put on a workout with his dad John in front of local fans at Morecambe beach 4Fury was training with dad John on the sand

He hit pads with John with a small crowd cheering on.

Fury, who recently got his dad on Instagram, is preparing for his next fight, having won the WBC title against Deontay Wilder in February.

The pair are signed to a trilogy bout, which was targeted for December.

But US promoter Bob Arum warned the rematch could now be backdated as far back as February.

But according to Fury's UK matchmaker Frank Warren, the Gypsy King is desperate to fight again before the year's out.

And he has been instructed to find the unbeaten heavyweight a bout before 2020 is over.

4

Warren said: “Tyson made it very clear  I’ve got to give him a fight by the end of the year.

"I don’t want him fighting behind closed doors.

“But Tyson’s been in lockdown since February so, by December, it’s ten months out of the ring.”

Fury's chances of immediately defending his belt against 34-year-old Wilder relies on when fans are allowed to return.

Meaning heavyweight division's hero is not ruining out fighting in front of any empty arena.

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Warren said: “The only way the Wilder fight works financially is in front of  a crowd.

“In the meantime, let’s think about what works health-wise for Tyson.

“So a fight here, behind closed doors, is something to look at.”

4Fury is preparing for his next fight, having won the WBC title against Deontay Wilder in February

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