Near hurricane strength, Isaias heads for Carolinas

bdmetronews Desk ॥ Isaias was forecast to be near hurricane strength as it approached the Carolinas Monday, just a day after bands of heavy rain from the storm lashed Florida’s east coast.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane warning from South Santee River, South Carolina, to Surf City, North Carolina, in its 5 a.m. advisory. Tropical Storm Isaias had maximum sustained winds of 70 mph (110 kph) and was expected to strengthen into a Category 1 hurricane, with winds of 74 mph (119 kph) or more.

“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 (0.9 to 1.5 meters) in portions of North and South Carolina.”

Isaias — pronounced ees-ah-EE-ahs — could bring heavy rains, too — up to 8 inches (20 centimeters) 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.”

Forecasters said Isaias was still centered east of Jacksonville, Florida, and 280 miles (455 kilometers) south-southwest of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, but was expected to speed up Monday as it moved north.

Over the weekend, Isaias brought heavy rain and flooding to Florida as officials kept a close eye on the storm while dealing with surging cases of the coronavirus.

The storm had weakened from a hurricane to a tropical storm on Saturday afternoon, and its most damaging winds remained offshore.

VERO BEACH, Fla. (AP)

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