Isaias near hurricane strength as it crawls toward Carolinas

Isaias near hurricane strength as it crawls toward Carolinas


VERO BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Isaias was forecast to be near hurricane strength as it approached the Carolinas Monday, just a day after bands of heavy rain from the tropical storm lashed Florida's east coast.

Officials dealing with surging cases of the coronavirus in Florida kept a close watch on the storm that was weakened from a hurricane to a tropical storm Saturday afternoon, but still brought heavy rain and flooding. Parts of the Carolinas were due for up to 6 inches (15 centimeters) of rain, storm surge and possible tornadoes Monday.

Isaias was just shy of a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds at 70 mph (110 kph), according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center's 2 a.m. advisory. A Category 1 hurricane has winds of 74 to 95 mph (119 to 153 kph).

The tropical storm was centered 330 miles (530 kilometers) south of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and 65 miles (105 kilometers) northeast of Cape Canaveral, Florida, forecasters said.

“Don't be fooled by the downgrade,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis warned at a news conference after the storm — pronounced ees-ah-EE-ahs — spent hours roughing up the Bahamas.

Upper-level winds took much of the strength out of Isaias, said Stacy Stewart, senior hurricane specialist at the hurricane center in Miami.

“We were expecting a hurricane to develop and it didn't,” Stewart said Sunday. “It's a tale of two storms. If you live on the west side of the storm, you didn't get much. If you live east of the storm, there's a lot of nasty weather there.”

Authorities closed beaches, parks and virus testing sites, lashing signs to palm trees so they wouldn't blow away. DeSantis said the state is anticipating power outages and asked residents to have a week’s supply of water, food and medicine on hand. Officials wrestled...

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