Isaias weakened in a tropical storm on Saturday hitting the Bahamas en route to Florida.
The storm could intensify as Sunshine State approaches, and local authorities have warned residents to prepare for a weather event amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“The most important thing we want people to do now is stay vigilant,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said, according to The Associated Press.
The storm had maximum sustained winds of 75 miles per hour on Saturday afternoon, dropping from the start of the day, the US National Hurricane Center said. However, it is expected to regain momentum as it passes over warmer waters.
The center of the storm is expected to hit the southeast coast of Florida on Sunday morning and could remain until Monday before dissipating.
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Florida officials have closed beaches, parks and COVID-19 testing sites in anticipation of inclement weather, the AP reported.
Miami-Dade mayor Carlos Gimenez told residents on Friday to take all necessary precautions to prepare for Isaias’ arrival.
He also urged residents to have a contingency plan in case the storm is more intense than expected, CBS 4 reported. He added that 20 evacuation centers will be made available if necessary and that officials will continue to follow the path of the storm.
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“There is still a lot of uncertainty on the track and we will continue to post updates,” he said. “So, to repeat, we have 20 evacuation centers on standby. They are not open. If we have to open them, we will install them with COVID-19 security measures. It is still too early to tell, so we are monitoring the situation closely. ”
The governors of North Carolina and Virginia have also declared a state of emergency. The storm is expected to hit North Carolina on Monday, Governor Roy Cooper told reporters at a press conference Friday.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam said the storm was expected to affect coastal areas of the state and he had activated the state of emergency response as a precaution.
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DeSantis said 12 counties have adopted a state of emergency, but no immediate evacuation orders have been issued. He also said hospitals will not be evacuated, including coronavirus patients, according to the AP.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.