Washington, 2 August 2020 (dpa/MIA) – The US national hurricane service (NHC) on Saturday said that Hurricane Isaias was downgraded to a tropical storm but was expected to restrengthen overnight as it approached Florida.
“Hurricane conditions are expected along portions of the Florida east coast on Sunday with tropical storm conditions expected to begin tonight,” the NHC said in a bulletin at 5 pm (2100 GMT).
The service said Isaias was set to produce heavy rains and “potentially life-threatening flash flooding” in the Bahamas as well as flash flooding and urban flooding along the east coast of the US, “especially in low-lying and poorly drained areas.”
The NHC said the Isaias has weakened to a tropical storm but it is expected to restrengthen to a hurricane as it approaches south-eastern Florida.
“Don’t be fooled by the downgrade, we do think it will be upgraded back to a hurricane later on this evening,” Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis said in a news conference.
The governor said that states of emergency had been declared in 16 counties including Miami-Dade and Nassau, three more since Saturday morning.
“Even if it’s tropical storm force winds, you can pretty much be assured you are going to see power outages … people should be prepared for that,” DeSantis said as he reminded Floridians to stock up on water, food and medicines for the week ahead.
Earlier on Saturday, the NHC had forecast that the storm, which formed over the Caribbean Sea, would deliver winds of up to 120 kilometres per hour and veer to the north east and lose strength upon reaching Florida’s coast.
US President Donald Trump on Wednesday declared an emergency and ordered federal assistance to supplement local response efforts.
Meteorologists in the US expect a tougher-than-average hurricane season over the Atlantic this year.