Several states in the southeastern United States were preparing for the approaching Hurricane Isaias Friday night – expecting it to impact the region this weekend and early next week.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Friday declared a state of emergency for all counties in the state along the Atlantic coast. The statement concerns 19 of Florida’s 67 counties, and all beaches, marinas and parks have been closed in those areas. Twenty evacuation centers were also on standby.
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The hurricane, which forecasters could hit the shores of Florida first, is expected to strike “late at night until tomorrow morning, with the potential to increase in strength in Category 2 [hurricane]”DeSantis said at a press conference.
At 11 p.m. EDT Friday, the hurricane was a Category 1 hurricane with winds up to 80 mph, and is expected to strengthen on Friday night or later in the weekend.
It was located about 135 miles southeast of Nassau in the Bahamas and 265 miles southeast of Freeport on Grand Bahama Island, the National Hurricane Center said in a bulletin.
The governors of North Carolina and Virginia have also declared a state of emergency.
The hurricane is expected to hit North Carolina on Monday, Governor Roy Cooper told reporters at a press conference Friday.
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Cooper advised people to try and stay with family and friends, away from the coast or in hotels if they can. Some shelters will be opened as an emergency precaution, but shelter capacity will be limited due to COVID-19 precautions.
“With the right protection and shelter, we can protect people from the storm while trying to avoid making the pandemic worse,” Cooper said on Friday afternoon. “A hurricane during a pandemic is double the problem, but the state has prepared for this scenario so that we can do our best to protect people from inclement weather and the virus. ”
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam said the hurricane is also expected to affect coastal areas in that state, and he activated the state of emergency response as a precaution.
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“Hurricane Isaias is a severe storm, and current forecasts indicate it could impact parts of Virginia as early as this weekend,” Northam said in a press release. “This state of emergency will ensure localities and communities the assistance they need to protect the safety of Virginians, especially as we continue to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.
The Virginia Emergency Support Team (VEST) was monitoring the situation and preparing for extreme weather conditions, but Virginians were urged to plan if their area was a coastal community and to watch for weather alerts throughout the week. -end.