The southern region of Puerto Rico, which is still shaken by daily tremors, has been particularly affected. Santos Seda, mayor of the southwestern town of Guánica, told The Associated Press he had received reports of downed trees and flooded neighborhoods where there are still houses damaged by the earthquake.“The emotional state of people is deteriorating more and more with each passing day,” he said, adding that teams would deploy to assess the damage once the weather clears.
Isaias was centered about 250 miles southeast of the southeastern Bahamas on Thursday afternoon, according to the US National Hurricane Center. It was moving northwest at 20 mph and its center was expected to touch the southeastern Bahamas by Thursday evening.
Isaias was already knocking down trees in the Dominican Republic as officials in some poor neighborhoods used loudspeakers to get people to evacuate before the worst of the storm hit. Police also arrested a handful of surfers in the capital of Santo Domingo on charges of violating government storm warnings.
Isaias cut power to more than 400,000 customers in Puerto Rico and left some 150,000 customers without water, government officials said. Crews opened the gates of a dam that last month had such a low water level that it led authorities to cut service every two days for around 140,000 customers. Blackouts have also been reported in the neighboring U.S. Virgin Islands.
Minor damage was reported elsewhere in Puerto Rico, where tens of thousands of people still use tarps as roofs on homes damaged by Hurricane Maria in September 2017.
José Pagán, a 22-year-old who lives in the town of Juncos, in the east of the mountain, said the electricity was cut before dawn.
“I didn’t think it was going to be that strong,” he said of the storm, adding that his house was slightly flooded. “It’s quite a difficult experience because it reminds us of Maria. ”
Tropical storm warnings have been issued for parts of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the southeast, central and northwest of the Bahamas. A tropical storm watch has been issued for parts of the east coast of Florida.
Isaias is expected to produce 4 to 8 inches of rain in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and northern Haiti, with isolated maximum totals of 10 inches.
The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands could see 4 to 8 inches of rain while Cuba could see 1 to 2 inches, with isolated maximum totals of 4 inches.
“These amounts of rain will lead to flash floods and potentially fatal landslides, as well as river flooding,” the hurricane center warned.
Isaias is the ninth-oldest named storm in the Atlantic to form, according to Phil Klotzbach, a hurricane researcher at Colorado State University. The previous record was Irene on August 7, 2005, Klotzbach tweeted.
So far this year Cristobal, Danielle, Edouard, Fay, Gert and Hanna have also been the first Atlantic storms named for their alphabetical order.