By Anne Butler
Known as Isaias, the category 1 hurricane hit landfall on the east coast Monday evening, bringing buckets of rain and flooding with it in the Carolinas.
Florida was first hit by the watery effects of Isaias on Sunday and Monday when it was downgraded to a tropical storm. Though the storm didn’t touch landfall in Florida, residents were still bombarded with sustained winds of 70 miles per hour. Reports claim that as many as 27,000 Florida residents were left without power over the weekend but that number quickly dwindled to a couple of thousand by the end of the weekend.
Compared to the Bahamas, however, Florida got lucky. In Freeport, Bahamas, the tropical storm ravaged the town, bringing 3-foot tall floodwaters with it.
Even though the tropical storm has passed by Florida and has made landfall in the north, residents are still expected to protect themselves from flash flooding due to the heavy rainfall. Worse yet, meteorologists posit that the storm could lead to tornado warnings in northern Florida as the week progresses. These warnings are expected to last throughout the rest of the week, similar to the average cold lasting only 10 days or so.
As Isaias traveled north, it gained momentum and became a category 1 hurricane yet again as it crashed into the border of North Carolina and South Carolina. According to North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, there has been one Isaias-related death at this time. Other residents are stockpiling goods to stay safe in their homes as they wait out the storm.
As of Tuesday morning, Hurricane Isaias has been downgraded to a tropical storm yet again. But CNN meteorologist Chad Myers claims that we’re not out of the woods yet.
“By mid-Tuesday morning, Isaias had knocked out power to more than 500,000 electricity customers,” he reports. In the wake of the tornado warnings and storm surges, he notes that “this is going to be a power problem.”
Typically, hurricanes and tropical storms tend to lose their intensity as they make landfall. Hurricanes gain their power from warm waters in the lower Atlantic Ocean and lose steam as they make their way north. However, meteorologists fear that Isaias might be an anomaly thanks to its timing with a strong upper-level jet maximum. As such, it’s possible that Isaias will maintain its intensity as it rolls through Pennsylvania and New York all the way into Canada.
This could be a big problem for northern states that aren’t used to coping with the more dire effects of a serious tropical storm or hurricane. While flash flooding isn’t unheard of up there, four in 10 Americans love their car and might not be able to store it safely by the time the tropical storm hits. According to Wesh, Pennsylvania and southern parts of New York are expected to experience high winds reaching up to 70 miles per hour in some areas.
New York City is preparing for the inclement weather by installing temporary barriers in lower Manhattan but it’s up to the individual homeowner to ensure the safety of their house and family. It’s likely that many will have to update their roofs following this event. As many as 65% of roof replacements occur after bad weather conditions. It wouldn’t be surprising to see countless east coast-dwelling Americans to invest in home repairs following this storm surge.
Perhaps the most worrying, however, is the current COVID-19 pandemic. New York City is one of the most affected cities in the country and coping with two health crises at the same time is not an ideal situation. States like Maryland have even paused COVID-19 testing sites in certain communities until the storm has passed.
As the hurricane continues to work its way north, its reach will stretch out as much as 140 miles from its center. Citizens should contact their local government to follow protocols should emergency warnings get announced.