Florida authorities closed beaches, parks, and virus testing sites, and put signs on palm trees so they wouldn’t blow away. The governor said the state is anticipating a power outage and asked residents to have water, food and medicine on hand for a week. Officials struggled to prepare shelters where people can take refuge from the storm if necessary, while safely taking social distance to prevent the spread of the virus.
About 150 people were in shelters in Palm Beach County, said Lisa De La Rionda, emergency management spokeswoman. The county has a voluntary evacuation warrant for people living in mobile or fabricated homes, or those who feel their home cannot withstand wind.
“We don’t expect many more evacuations,” she said, adding that the evacuees are physically distant from each other and wearing masks because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Isaias is putting a new burden on communities already severely affected by other storms and diseases.
The storm’s maximum sustained winds declined steadily throughout Saturday, reaching 100 mph (100 mph) on Sunday morning, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in an opinion.
The center of the storm was predicted to approach the southeast coast of Florida early Sunday morning and then travel the state’s east coast all day. According to the forecasters, little change was expected in the strength of the storm in the coming days.
Heavy rain, floods and strong winds can affect much of the east coast this week, as the system is expected to follow just off the Atlantic coast.
Isaias was already destructive in the Caribbean: on Thursday, before it became a hurricane, it uprooted trees, destroyed crops, and homes, causing widespread flooding and minor landslides in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. A man died in the Dominican Republic. In Puerto Rico, the National Guard rescued at least 35 people from flood waters that wiped out one woman, whose bodies recovered on Saturday.
Isaias broke trees and turned off the power as it blew through the Bahamas on Saturday, snaking toward the Florida coast.