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Hurricane Isaias makes landfall in North Carolina

VERO BEACH, Fla. — Hurricane Isaias has made landfall near Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The hurricane touched down just after 11 p.m. with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph.

Coastal shops and restaurants have closed early and both residents and tourists have abandoned the beaches as a newly restrengthened Hurricane Isaias speeds toward the Carolinas.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center upgraded Isaias again to a hurricane Monday evening with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph. It was centered about 40 miles east northeast of Myrtle Beach.

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The U.S. National Hurricane Center warned oceanside home dwellers to brace for storm surge up to 5 feet and up to 8 inches of rain in spots, as Isaias moves up the coast.

Isaias (pronounced ees-ah-EE-ahs) killed two people in the Caribbean and roughed up the Bahamas but remained at sea as it brushed past Florida over the weekend, providing some welcome relief to emergency managers who had to accommodate mask-wearing evacuees in storm shelters.

Since forming last week, the storm has been buffeted by competing forces both trying to kill and strengthen it, said University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy.

“Of all the places it could be, it found the warmest water it could,” which fuels storm development, McNoldy said. “And yet it is struggling.”

That’s because dry air kept working its way into the storm at low and mid-levels, which chokes storms.

Isaiah’s passage was particularly unwelcome to authorities already dealing with surging coronavirus caseloads in Florida. The storm brought heavy rain and flooding to the state, where authorities closed outdoor virus testing sights along with beaches and parks after lashing signs to palm trees so they wouldn’t blow away.

About 150 people had to keep masks on while sheltering in Palm Beach County, which has a voluntary evacuation order for people living in homes that can’t withstand dangerous winds, said emergency management spokeswoman Lisa De La Rionda.

Isaias was blamed for two deaths in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, where it uprooted trees, destroyed crops and homes and caused widespread flooding and small landslides. The storm snapped trees and knocked out power Saturday in the Bahamas. Shelters were opened on Abaco island to help people still living in temporary structures since Dorian devastated the area, killing at least 70 people in September 2019.

Copyright © 2020 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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