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Home » Isaias Live Updates: Fires, Flooding and Tornadoes as Storm Charges Over Land

Isaias Live Updates: Fires, Flooding and Tornadoes as Storm Charges Over Land

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageFlooding in North Myrtle Beach, S.C., as Hurricane Isaias approached on Monday night.
Credit…Jason Lee/The Sun News, via Associated Press

Now a tropical storm, Isaias continues its march north.

Isaias slammed the Atlantic Coast overnight with storm surges and winds as fast as 85 miles per hour, spawning tornadoes and leaving a trail of fires and hundreds of thousands of people without power.

The storm, which made landfall on Monday night in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C., as a Category 1 hurricane, weakened as it pushed through North Carolina and into Virginia on Tuesday morning. Still, forecasters warn that Isaias will bring powerful winds and heavy rains as it continues marching north toward New York and New Jersey and into New England.

At least one person was killed after a tornado touched down in Bertie County, N.C., and caused significant damage to a neighborhood there, the authorities said.

The National Hurricane Center warned early Tuesday of life-threatening storm surge flooding along North Carolina’s coast and nearby waterways, adding that widespread, sustained tropical-storm force winds and gusts would affect much of the Mid-Atlantic coast through the day.

Tornadoes had already landed in parts of northeastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia overnight, the center said. Tornado threats would continue north along the coast and into New England overnight. The storm was projected to pass close to Philadelphia around 2 p.m.

Heavy rainfall was already battering parts of the East Coast on Tuesday morning, and Isaias could cause flash flooding around much of the Mid-Atlantic region, the center said, with “potentially life-threatening urban flooding” possible in Washington, Baltimore and other cities along and just west of I-95.

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Updated 2020-08-04T12:21:59.139Z

Officials in North Carolina were working early Tuesday to assess the damage, which included reports of downed trees and coastal flooding. The storm had delivered only a glancing blow to Florida as it skirted the coast there, with officials expressing relief that it failed to cause the level of damage they had feared. Georgia was largely spared as well.

Forecasters warned that Isaias, which is written as Isaías in Spanish and pronounced ees-ah-EE-ahs, remained dangerous as it hurtled toward the northeast. Gov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey declared a state of emergency for the entire state that began at 5 a.m., and he also closed state offices.

A tropical storm warning remained in effect as far north as Martha’s Vineyard. Forecasters expected the storm, which was moving at 33 m.p.h., to gradually weaken as it advances along the mid-Atlantic states during the day on Tuesday before crossing into Canada at night.

The storm is knocking out power over wide areas as it barrels north.

With storm-force winds extending out 140 miles from its center and sustained winds of 70 m.p.h. near its core, Isaias is disrupting electricity service to hundreds of thousands of customers in its path.

As of 8 a.m. Eastern time, about 360,000 utility customers in eastern North Carolina and another 300,000 in Virginia, mainly in the Tidewater region, had lost power, according to, a website that tracks and aggregates reports from utilities. There were also scattered outages in Maryland.

Storms can disrupt power in a number of ways. Strong wind gusts can sometimes snap cables and poles directly, though utilities try to build and maintain their infrastructure to be wind-resistant. Often the culprit is a broken tree limb or debris from a building that strikes a power line, or a skidding vehicle hitting a pole. Lightning strikes can damage equipment, and so can wind-driven rain or flash floodwaters.

Downed power lines can remain dangerous even when the lights nearby seem to be out, and wet conditions add to the danger. Utility companies in the region like Dominion Energy warn the public to stay at least 30 feet away, and not to attempt to move them.

Duke Energy, a major utility in North and South Carolina, said on Twitter that it had more than 2,200 workers prepared to respond to power disruptions.

The coronavirus makes it trickier to shelter people from the storm.



N.C. Governor Tells Residents to ‘Take This Storm Seriously’

Gov. Roy A. Cooper urged North Carolinians on Monday to properly prepare for Tropical Storm Isaias.

The status or category of a storm can be misleading. Whether it’s labeled a tropical storm or a hurricane, you should take this storm seriously and make sure your family is ready. That means taking care of your pets, too. This storm threatens our coastline with storm surge and damaging winds, but the inland areas are also at risk. Be prepared for a lot of rain, as much as seven inches in some places. Shelters will screen people for coronavirus symptoms. If someone has Covid-19 or shows symptoms, they’ll be directed to a sheltering option for isolation or medical attention. Shelters will have P.P.E. and will honor social distancing. Now I know that North Carolinians have had to dig deep in recent months to tap into our strength and resilience during the pandemic, and that hasn’t been easy. But with this storm on the way, we have to dig a little deeper. Let’s keep each other safe from the wind and water, as well as from the virus.

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Gov. Roy A. Cooper urged North Carolinians on Monday to properly prepare for Tropical Storm Isaias.

Storm shelters in North Carolina, where Hurricane Isaias made landfall late Monday, prepared to deal with a dual threat from severe weather and the coronavirus by screening for symptoms of the virus and socially distancing people who took shelter.

“Our state has weathered our fair share of storms in recent years,” Gov. Roy Cooper said on Sunday. “We know how to plan, prepare and respond when it’s over. Nothing about that has changed, but this time, we’re going to have to do it with a mask on.”

The state’s Department of Public Safety also urged residents to bring their own blankets and bedding, and asked people to stay at motels or with relatives if possible. Shelters will serve meals in sealed containers rather than in typical serving lines.

Gov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey also urged residents to take shelter, but not to break social distancing guidelines by staying with large groups of friends or relatives.

“I’m not a fan of hurricane parties,” Mr. Murphy said on Monday, referring to the events that became something of a tradition in Florida during minor storms. “If it’s a hurricane party, you’re inside. It just doesn’t make sense, folks. It doesn’t end well. And we know that.”

Reporting was contributed by Patrick J. Lyons, Rick Rojas, Daniel Victor, Will Wright and Alan Yuhas.


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