Isaias, downgraded from a hurricane but still a powerful tropical storm, moved along Florida’s eastern coast yesterday, bringing strong winds but no longer posing a storm surge threat.
The storm is forecast to move upward along the East Coast and reach Washington, Philadelphia and New York City tomorrow before proceeding into New England.
By 11am (1500 GMT), Tropical Storm Isaias was about 55 miles (90km) southeast of Fort Pierce, Florida heading northwest with top sustained winds of 65mph (100kph), the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said.
On its current path, Isaias will move near or over Florida’s east coast, the Miami-based NHC said, with its centre moving from offshore of the coast of Georgia into the southern mid-Atlantic states today or tomorrow.
Little change was expected in the storm’s strength in the next couple of days, the NHC said.
The Palm Beach area, where President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort is located, emerged largely unscathed from the storm after it brushed off its coast, with the authorities reporting no widespread damage and no flooding.
“We still are experiencing some winds,” Lisa DeLaRionda, a spokeswoman for Palm Beach County said yesterday. “However, based on the latest forecast, those winds should be dying down early afternoon.”
Although it appeared that Isaias’s impact on Florida would not be severe, the storm provided local emergency management with a “real-world scenario” of what extreme weather preparation and response could look like in the midst of a public health emergency as the states battles the coronavirus pandemic, DeLaRionda said.
The NHC discontinued a storm surge watch for Florida yesterday, but warned that the South and North Carolina coast could still be hit by storm surges – when a storm pushes tidal levels above normal – of up to four feet (1.22m).
A tropical storm warning was issued for both states, according to the NHC.
Isaias caused at least two deaths in the Dominican Republic and knocked out power for thousands of homes and businesses in Puerto Rico, according to media reports.
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