Government officials and residents in Florida were in full preparation mode on Friday as Hurricane Isaias pounded the Bahamas with strong winds and heavy rains, and moved closer to the U.S. mainland. Isaias was packing 75-mph winds late Friday afternoon, down from its peak sustained winds of 80 mph earlier in the day.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency in every coastal county of Florida’s Atlantic Coast, stretching from Miami-Dade to Nassau counties, on Friday in preparation for the storm. Meanwhile, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) issued a hurricane warning for portions of Florida’s Atlantic coast.
Later Friday evening, DeSantis requested a pre-landfall emergency declaration from President Donald Trump ahead of Isaias.
Residents in Florida were bracing for impact and stocking up on essentials ahead of Isaias’ potential arrival, all while wearing masks — a sign of the confluence of hurricane season with a global pandemic.
Isaias rapidly strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane Thursday night, shortly after pulling away from Hispaniola. AccuWeather forecasters expect it to make a run along the Eastern Seaboard of the United States this weekend into early next week and could result in a multi-billion-dollar disaster.