A hurricane watch has been upgraded to a hurricane warning for parts of Florida as Hurricane Isaias churns closer to the Sunshine State and threatens the entire East Coast of the United States.
Florida’s hurricane warning came on a sunny day when some businesses and residents in South Florida raced to erect storm shutters and others filled sandbags ahead of the Category 1 storm, which was expected to strengthen before potentially bringing what might now be hurricane conditions in some heavily populated areas of South Florida late Saturday and Saturday night.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency Friday in every coastal county that is likely to be affected by the storm along Florida’s east coast from Miami-Dade County in South Florida to Nassau County north of Jacksonville.
“The most important thing people can do right now is just remain vigilant and pay close attention to local warnings and local news,” DeSantis said, noting the state has set up a PPE reserve for hurricane season that includes 20 million masks, 22 million gloves, 1.6 million face shields, 10 million gowns, 270,000 coveralls and 20,000 thermometers. “You should presume that if you are in the path of the storm, you could lose power, so prepare accordingly. Make sure that if you do live in an evacuation zone, you know that if you are ordered to evacuate, you take it seriously and follow suit.”
The hurricane warning was in effect from Boca Raton in Palm Beach County up to the Volusia-Brevard county line, according to the National Hurricane Center.
A hurricane watch was in effect from Hallandale Beach in Broward County up to Boca Raton and from the Volusia-Brevard county line to the Volusia-Flagler county line.
A tropical storm warning was in effect from north of Ocean Reef to south of Boca Raton and Lake Okeechobee.
A tropical storm watch was in effect from the Volusia-Flagler county line to Ponte Vedre Beach while a storm surge watch was in effect for Jupiter Inlet to Ponte Vedra Beach.
The forecast cone shifted slightly westward on Friday, which increases the possibility that Isaias will come much closer to shore in South Florida than previously anticipated.
Pablo Santos, the meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service office in Miami, said any minor shift of the forecast cone could bring hurricane-force winds to areas under a watch or warning.
Isaias was packing maximum sustained winds of 80 mph as of 8 p.m., which represents a 5 mph increase over the previous update. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles from the center of Isaias, while tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles.
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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: AP
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