Hurricane Isaias lashes Bahamas whereas Florida battens down


San Juan, August 1

Hurricane Isaias snapped timber and knocked out energy because it blew by means of the Bahamas on Saturday and headed towards the Florida coast, the place officers mentioned they have been closing seashores, parks and coronavirus testing websites.

Florida authorities mentioned they’ve ready shelters, however didn’t anticipate to need to evacuate folks.

“The most important thing we want people to do now is to remain vigilant,” mentioned Governor Ron DeSantis.

Residents fill and gather sand luggage earlier than the anticipated arrival of Hurricane Isaias in Doral, Florida, US. REUTERS

Authorities in North Carolina ordered the evacuation of Ocracoke Island, which was slammed by final 12 months’s Hurricane Dorian, beginning Saturday night.

Meanwhile, officers within the Bahamas evacuated folks on Abaco island who’ve been residing in non permanent buildings since Dorian devastated the world, killing at the least 70 folks.

Isaias had most sustained winds of 85 mph (135 kph) on Saturday morning and a few strengthening was attainable, the US National Hurricane Centre in Miami mentioned. The storm was centred about 50 miles (85 kilometres) south of Nassau within the Bahamas and was shifting northwest at 12 mph (19 kph). Forecasters mentioned some lower in its ahead movement was anticipated.

A vendor carrying brooms walks alongside a road after rains following the passage by means of Hispaniola island of Tropical Storm Isaias, which grew to become a hurricane afterwards, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. REUTERS

Bahamian officers mentioned they have been involved a couple of Category 1 storm hitting amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“The centre of COVID-19 now is in Grand Bahama,” the island’s minister, Senator Kwasi Thompson, informed government-run ZNS Bahamas. “No one wanted to see a situation where we are now facing a hurricane.”

Paula Miller, Mercy Corps director for the Bahamas, informed The Associated Press that individuals on Grand Bahama have been nonetheless standing in line for fuel on Saturday forward of the storm.

“People are doing the best they can to prepare, but a lot of businesses still have not fully repaired their roofs or their structures” since Dorian hit, she mentioned, including: “Even a lower level storm could really set them back,” she mentioned.

People transfer alongside a road after rains following the passage by means of Hispaniola island of Tropical Storm Isaias, which grew to become a hurricane afterwards, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. REUTERS

A hurricane warning was in impact for Florida’s east coast from Boca Raton, simply north of Miami, about 150 miles (241 kilometres) north to the Volusia-Flagler county line. A hurricane watch was in impact from Hallandale Beach to the south of Boca Raton.

DeSantis mentioned the state was “fully prepared for this and any future storm during this hurricane season,” with stockpiles of non-public protecting gear, mills, bottled water and meals able to be distributed.

But he mentioned state-run coronavirus testing websites can be closed in areas the place the storm would possibly hit.

“Our sites, because they’re outdoors with tents, if it were to get 40, 50-mile-per-hour winds, it would just collapse,” he mentioned. “Safety is paramount for that.” The pandemic pressured officers to wrestle with social distancing guidelines concurrently catastrophe response.

Residents fill and gather sandbags earlier than the anticipated arrival of Hurricane Isaias in Doral, Florida, US. REUTERS

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Giménez mentioned every individual in shelters wanted to have 40 sq. toes (3.7 sq. metres) and no extra cafeteria-style eating can be allowed. Any evacuees contaminated with the brand new coronavirus can be remoted in lecture rooms separate them from the final inhabitants, Giménez mentioned.

A hurricane warning was in impact for the northwest Bahamas.

“Continue to hunker down,” mentioned Trevor Basden, director of the Bahamas meteorology division.

Prime Minister Hubert Minnis relaxed a coronavirus lockdown on account of the storm however imposed a 10 pm to five am curfew. He mentioned supermarkets, pharmacies, fuel stations and {hardware} shops can be open so long as climate permitted.

The Bahamas has reported greater than 570 confirmed COVID-19 circumstances and at the least 14 deaths. It lately barred travellers from the US following a surge in circumstances after it reopened to worldwide tourism.

On Thursday, whereas nonetheless a tropical storm, Isaias toppled timber, knocked out energy, destroyed crops and induced widespread flooding and small landslides within the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

One man died within the Dominican Republic, the place greater than 5,000 folks have been evacuated, a whole bunch of houses have been broken or destroyed and greater than 130 communities have been minimize off by floodwaters. In Puerto Rico, the National Guard rescued at the least 35 folks from floodwaters that swept away one lady who remained lacking.

Isaias was anticipated to drop from four to eight inches (10 to 20 centimetres) of rain within the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands. (AP)



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