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article imageAfter pounding Puerto Rico, T.S. Isaias set it sights on Florida

By Karen Graham     Jul 30, 2020 in Environment
Tropical Storm Isaias is dumping flooding rain on parts of the Caribbean and could eventually track near Florida this weekend and possibly other parts of the East Coast early next week as a Category 1 Hurricane.
The 5:00 p.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center places Tropical Storm Isaias about 155 miles (250 kilometers west-northwest of Punta Cana, the Dominican Republic and close to 250 miles (400 kilometers southeast of the Southeastern Bahamas. Isaias is moving to the northwest at 20 mph (31 kph) with maximum sustaiuned winds of 60 mph (31 kph). The storm's minimum central pressure has dropped to 999 mb (29.50 inches).
The government of the Bahamas has issued a Tropical Storm Warning for the northwest Bahamas. The Tropical Storm Warnings for the central and northwest Bahamas may be upgraded to Hurricane Warnings this evening or tonight.
Tropical Storm Warnings are still in effect for Puerto Rico, Vieques, Culebra, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, St. Martin and St. Barthelemy Saba and St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, the Dominican Republic entire southern and northern coastlines, and the North coast of Haiti from Le Mole St Nicholas eastward to the northern border with the Dominican Republic.
A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for the east coast of Florida from Ocean Reef to Sebastian Inlet. A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.
According to CNN News, Florida has already started closing state-supported Covid-19 testing sites in preparation for Tropical Storm Isaias, which could come ashore as a hurricane. Drive-thru and walk-up testing sites were closed beginning at 5 p.m., the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) said in a statement Wednesday, "to keep individuals operating and attending the sites safe."
The possibility of a hurricane hitting Florida during the coronavirus pandemic is a great concern for Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Giménez. "Look, if we have a major hurricane here, then we're going to have to evacuate a number of people and then we're going to have to ... try to keep them separated as much as possible," he said. "That's a concern."
"When you're not testing is also a concern," he added, according to CNN. "But the greater danger, the immediate danger has to be taken care of first, and that's getting our people out of harm's way."
Forecast after Isaias moves out of the Caribbean
On the forecast track, the center of Isaias will move near the Southeastern Bahamas by late tonight. Isaias is forecast to be near the Central Bahamas Friday night and move near or over the Northwest Bahamas and near South Florida on Saturday.
Strengthening of the storm is forecast during the next day or so, and Isaias is forecast to become a hurricane on Friday or Friday night. Presently, tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 240 miles (390 km) from the center.
The projected path of Asaias shows the system could be located near or east of the Florida Peninsula by this weekend, then gradually moving northeastward along the East Coast. However, let's not get too far ahead of ourselves. There are still several reasons for this uncertainty in both track and intensity.
"We should have a better idea of how strong Isaias will become near the U.S. after reconnaissance aircraft sample the storm and after it passes Hispaniola later today," the NHC said in its forecast early Thursday morning, reports the Weather Channel.
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