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Hurricane warning issued for Carolinas as strengthening Isaias takes aim on East Coast

3 min read
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/08/03/tropical-storm-isaias-track-forecast-become-hurricane-carolinas/5571118002/
  • Isaias is forecast to make landfall as a hurricane in the Carolinas Monday night.
  • Flood watches were posted all the way from the Carolinas to New England.
  • The storm could also spin up a few tornadoes, the hurricane center said.

While Florida may have been spared the worst of Tropical Storm Isaias, that won’t be the case for the Mid-Atlantic and northeastern U.S. 

Isaias is forecast to make landfall as a hurricane in the Carolinas on Monday night and will bring dangerous storm surge and flash flooding to most of the Eastern Seaboard over the next few days, the National Weather Service said.

The National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane warning from South Santee River, South Carolina, to Surf City, North Carolina, meaning winds of at least 74 mph are expected there.

“We are forecasting it to become a hurricane before it reaches the coast this evening,” senior hurricane specialist Daniel Brown said. “It’s forecast to produce a dangerous storm surge of 3 to 5 feet in portions of North and South Carolina.”

Isaias – pronounced ees-ah-EE-ahs – could bring heavy rains, too – up to 8 inches in spots as it moves up the coast, Brown said, and “all those rains could produce flash flooding across portions of eastern Carolinas and mid-Atlantic, and even in the northeast U.S.”

Waves driven by Tropical Storm Isaias crash over the jetty on the north side of the Palm Beach Inlet in Palm Beach Shores, Fla., Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020.

As of 8 a.m. Monday, the center of Isaias was located about 100 miles east-southeast of Jacksonville, Florida, and was moving to the north at 13 mph, the hurricane center said. The storm’s winds clocked in at 70 mph, which is just 4 mph below hurricane level. 

Flood watches were posted all the way from the Carolinas to New England. In all, some 55 million people live where flood watches are in effect. These watches include the Washington D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York City metro areas.

Hurricane center director Ken Graham said 90% of fatalities from tropical storm systems are from water. “So that’s a dangerous situation – too much precipitation,” Graham said. “If you’re out and about, don’t drive your car where water covers the road.” 

There could also be power outages and some tree damage in areas that experience stronger wind gusts along the East Coast, Weather.com said. This includes areas from the eastern Carolinas to the coastal mid-Atlantic, New York City, Long Island and parts of eastern New England.

The storm could also spin up a few tornadoes, the hurricane center said. The tornadoes will be possible over coastal South Carolina beginning Monday evening, spreading across eastern North Carolina into Tuesday morning.

Tornadoes will also be possible on Tuesday from eastern Virginia northeastward into southern New England.

Isaias is the earliest named ninth Atlantic tropical cyclone on record, Weather.com said. The previous record was Irene on Aug. 7, 2005.

Meanwhile, forecasters were watching yet another system out on the Atlantic. A weather disturbance located a few hundred miles north of the Leeward Islands is producing disorganized showers and thunderstorms, the hurricane center said. “Environmental conditions could allow for some slow development of this system during the next several days, with a tropical depression possibly forming later this week,” the hurricane center said.

Contributing: The Associated Press; Haley Walters, the Greenville (S.C.) News

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