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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- 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.

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Hurricanes with names that start with the letter "I" are historically the most dangerous, according to AccuWeather.



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 at 8 a.m. EDT. The storm's center was located 40 miles (70 kilometers) east-southeast of West Palm Beach.

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.

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For the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, forecasters predict 14 to 20 tropical storms, seven to 11 hurricanes, and four to six major hurricanes, according to AccuWeather.



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.

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Tags: tropical storm weather tropical storm u s world hurricane the bahamas

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Tropical storm warning issued for tri-state space as Isaias approaches

A tropical storm warning was issued Monday for the tri-state space as Tropical Storm Isaias is forecast to achieve close to hurricane energy on its trek towards the Carolinas – earlier than unleashing pounding rain and powerful winds on the Massive Apple and surrounding areas Tuesday.

The storm had most sustained winds of 70 mph, forecasters stated. A Class 1 hurricane has winds of 74 to 95 mph.

The Nationwide Hurricane Heart issued a hurricane warning in South Carolina from South Santee River to Surf Metropolis in its 5 a.m. advisory.

Heavy rain and powerful winds are anticipated to brush within the tri-state space on Tuesday – with a tropical storm warning in impact for the Massive Apple, Lengthy Island, and elements of New Jersey and Connecticut.

Palm timber blow within the winds from Tropical Storm Isaias earlier than daybreak on Palm Seaside, Fla.AP

Isaias’ high wind gusts will vary from 50 to 70 mph as soon as the system arrives in New York Metropolis, in accordance with the Nationwide Climate Heart.

The New York Metropolis Emergency Administration Division stated it was keeping track of Isaias. A flash flood watch has been issued for town from 6 a.m. Tuesday till 6 a.m. Wednesday.

“Tropical Storm Isaias is forecast to maneuver up the East Coast the following couple of days, in accordance with the Nationwide Climate Service. “Tropical moisture will run up effectively forward of the particular system. Regionally heavy rainfall shall be doable Tuesday morning via night.”

Durations of average to heavy rainfall related are doable Monday night time, with the heaviest rainfall anticipated Tuesday night time, forecasters stated.

[8:00pm] Here is the newest on Tropical Storm Isaias. Tropical storm watches have been issued for the Tri-State, and we count on impacts (heavy rain, wind, harmful seas) to start Tuesday into Wednesday. Take a look at our newest full briefing at: https://t.co/wTqdsoEiL9 pic.twitter.com/RFGBLEqsOF

— NWS New York NY (@NWSNewYorkNY) August 2, 2020

“We’re forecasting it to turn into a hurricane earlier than it reaches the coast this night,” senior hurricane specialist Daniel Brown stated concerning the storm’s arrival in South Carolina.

“It’s forecast to provide a harmful storm surge, of three to five toes (0.9 to 1.5 meters) in parts of North and South Carolina,” he stated.

Individuals stroll the seaside in Jupiter as Tropical Storm Isaias passes Palm Seaside County, Fla.AP

Isaias might carry heavy rains, too — as much as eight inches in space because it sweeps up the coast, Brown stated —and “all these rains might produce flash flooding throughout parts of jap Carolinas and mid-Atlantic, and even within the northeast US.”

With Publish wires

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