Isaias weakens but expected to strengthen as it nears Florida

Isaias weakens but expected to strengthen as it nears Florida

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Isaias snapped trees and knocked out power as it blew through the Bahamas on Saturday and churned toward the Florida coast, threatening to complicate efforts to contain the coronavirus in places were cases are surging. Isaias weakened from a hurricane to a tropical storm Saturday afternoon, but was expected to regain hurricane strength overnight as it barrels toward Florida. “We’ll start seeing impacts tonight,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis warned during a news conference. “Don’t be fooled by the downgrade.” Isaias is piling another burden on communities already hard-hit by other storms and sickness. Florida authorities closed beaches, parks and virus testing sites, lashing signs to palm trees so they won’t blow away. The governor said the state is anticipating power outages and asked residents to have a week’s supply of water, food and medicine on hand. Officials wrestled with how to prepare shelters where people can seek refuge from the storm if necessary, while safely social distancing to prevent the spread of the virus. Authorities in North Carolina ordered the evacuation of Ocracoke Island, which was slammed by last year’s Hurricane Dorian. Meanwhile, officials in the Bahamas opened shelters for people in Abaco island to help those who have been living in temporary structures since Dorian devastated the area, killing at least 70 people. The storm’s maximum sustained winds declined steadily throughout Saturday, and were near 70 miles per hour (110 kilometers per hour) at 5 p.m., when the U.S. National Hurricane Center ...
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