Hurricane Isaias was officially downgraded to a tropical storm on Saturday afternoon, shortly before it reached the coast of Florida. The storm has already wreaked havoc throughout the Caribbean and was approaching the east coast with the potential to do even more damage. According to AccuWeather, Floridians still have cause for concern.
Tropical Storm Isaias is on a path towards the eastern side of Florida and is expected to travel along the east coast of the U.S. and Canada right up to Nova Scotia over the next few days. On Saturday afternoon, the storm weakened from a Category 1 Hurricane back down to a tropical storm. Still, it was as a tropical storm that Isaias brought destruction to the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico last week, so experts say that this is not the time to relax.
#Isaias update: Tropical storm conditions are expected to spread northward along the east coast of Florida within the warning area through early Monday. These conditions are expected to spread northward along the coast of Georgia & South Carolina within the warning area on Monday pic.twitter.com/cj5meChr4K— National Weather Service (@NWS) August 2, 2020
Isaias battered the Bahamas as a Category 1 Hurricane on Saturday, dropping an estimated eight inches of rain on the islands. Experts say that several factors in the Bahamas helped to weaken the storm, including wind shear and dry air. As it passed beyond the islands, its sustained wind speeds fell to about 65 miles per hour, and the storm itself slowed to about 8 miles per hour as it cruised towards Florida.
Experts say that Isaias will bring severe storm conditions to Florida as it passes through on Sunday, but the real danger will come when it reaches North Carolina in the days to come. The state faces a serious flooding risk, and Gov. Roy Cooper activated the North Carolina National Guard to help as a precaution.
"A hurricane during a pandemic is double trouble. But the state has been carefully preparing for this scenario," Cooper tweeted on Friday.
Current models show Isaias making landfall in Wilmington, North Carolina on Monday night. It will bring with it heavy flooding and strong winds, even as the storm itself continues to weaken. While experts think that Florida may get two to four inches of rain, North Carolina may get as much as ten inches. The storm surge is likely to bring the water up between three and six feet.
Even as it moves further north into colder waters, experts say Isaias remains a possible threat for the entire east coast. They are urging residents of coastal areas to keep an eye on the updates over the next few days.