“All those rains can cause flooding in parts of the eastern Carolinas and mid-Atlantic, and even the northeastern US,” said Daniel Brown, senior hurricane specialist at the US National Hurricane Center. A tropical storm warning stretched all the way to Maine, where floods were possible in some areas on Wednesday.
The center also warned Monday evening and early Tuesday of possible tornadoes in North Carolina and later Tuesday from eastern Virginia to southern New England.
Isaias (pronounced ees-ah-EE-ahs) was upgraded from a tropical storm to a Category 1 hurricane at 11 p.m. EDT. The storm was centered about 40 miles northeast of Myrtle Beach. It moved northeast at a speed of 22 mph. The Hurricane Center said it expected the storm to make landfall near southern North Carolina early Tuesday.
Isaias killed two people in the Caribbean and ruined the Bahamas, but remained at sea as it passed Florida over the weekend, which was a welcome relief to emergency managers who had to shelter mask-wearing evacuees in storm shelters.
President Donald Trump described Isaias as “very serious” on Monday.
“Storm surge and domestic flooding are possible and everyone must remain vigilant until it’s over,” said Trump.
Authorities in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, ordered swimmers out of the water to avoid rough surf and strong surges. Towards evening, the power started to flicker at beachfront hotels as Isaias crossed the last bit of warm water on the way to the mainland U.S.
But in this part of the coasts of South Carolina and North Carolina, which has been affected to varying degrees by seven tropical storms or hurricanes since 2014, residents weren’t panicking.
“It’s just going to be a lot of wind and tide,” said Mike Fuller, who has lived along the coast for more than a decade.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned residents Monday that the storm could be dangerous despite its strength. He urged those who evacuate to go to shelters as a last resort, citing coronavirus risks and the need to exploit shelters with reduced capacity to allow for social distance.
“Whether it’s a tropical storm or a hurricane, you need to take this storm seriously and make sure your family is ready,” said Cooper.