Forecasters have declared a hurricane warning for parts of the Florida coast as Hurricane Isaias drenched the Bahamas on a track for the US east coast.
Isaias had maximum sustained winds of 130km/h late on Friday and was expected to strengthen through early Saturday, the US National Hurricane Center in Miami said.
The storm was centred about 215km south-southeast of Nassau in the Bahamas and was moving northwest at 24km/h.
The hurricane knocked shingles off roofs and tumbled trees as it carved its way through an archipelago still recovering from Dorian’s devastation.
The Hurricane Center said heavy rains associated with the storm “may begin to affect South and east-Central Florida beginning late Friday night, and the eastern Carolinas by early next week, potentially resulting in isolated flash and urban flooding, especially in low-lying and poorly drained areas.”
A hurricane warning was in effect from Boca Raton, just north of Miami. A hurricane watch was in effect south of Boca Raton to Hallendale Beach.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said that the state was “fully prepared for this and any future storm during this hurricane season,” with stockpiles of personal protective equipment, generators, bottled water and meals ready to be distributed.
But he urged people to have seven days with of food, water and medication ready and said that state-run coronavirus testing sites in the areas where the storm could hit will be closed.
Miami’s mayor said people who are infected with the new coronavirus and need to evacuate will be isolated in classrooms separate them from the general population.
In Daytona Beach and Polk County, authorities began distributing sandbags and other officials advised people to have emergency provisions at home sufficient for three to seven days.
A hurricane warning was in effect for northwest and central Bahamas.
On Thursday, while still a tropical storm, Isaias toppled trees, destroyed crops and caused widespread flooding and small landslides in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, where hundreds of thousands of people were left without power and water.
Officials reported that a man died in the Dominican Republic when he was electrocuted by a fallen electrical cable.
More than 5000 people were evacuated, and more than 130 communities remained cut off by floodwaters.
In Puerto Rico, the National Guard rescued at least 35 people from floodwaters that swept away one woman who remains missing.
Isaias was expected to produce 10-20cm of rain in the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
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