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Hurricane Isaias Nearing South Florida Coast Tonight

Hurricane Isaias Nearing South Florida Coast Tonight”

Florida authorities closed beaches, parks and virus testing sites, lashing signs to palm trees so they wouldn't blow away. Mayor Carlos Gimenez says the county has 20 evacuation centers on standby that could be set up with COVID-19 safety measures.

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.

Isaias had maximum sustained winds of 75 miles per hour (120 kph) Friday afternoon and was expected to strengthen during the night, the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said. Isaias is moving toward the northwest at around 16 miles per hour, and the NHC expects a turn toward the north-northwest to occur.

Though the storm was not expected to make landfall in Florida, local meteorologists said it would bring unsafe storm surges, possible flash-flooding, and high winds to sections of Florida's east coast.

"The most important thing we want people to do now is remain vigilant", said Gov. Ron DeSantis.

"If you are positive, we have worked with the school system so we can put them in classrooms and separate them from the general population", he said.

"Please do not engage in hurricane or covid parties", he said.

Paula Miller, Mercy Corps director for the Bahamas, told The Associated Press that people on the island were still standing in line for gas on Saturday ahead of the storm.

"We don't anticipate many more evacuations", she said, adding that the evacuees are physically distant from each other and are wearing masks, due to the virus. "We will have thousands of tests that will not be conducted until we get these test sites up and running again".

According to the National Hurricane Center's 2 p.m. public advisory, there is a hurricane watch in effect from north of Deerfield Beach to the Volusia-Brevard County line.

More news: Remnants of Hurricane Isaias to gust through Quebec Wednesday and Thursday

In this image made from video, a large tree toppled by tropical storm winds is seen in Alto Trujillo, Puerto Rico, Thursday, July 30, 2020. One man died in the Dominican Republic, where more than 5,000 people were evacuated, hundreds of homes were damaged or destroyed and more than 130 communities were cut off by floodwaters. In Puerto Rico, the National Guard rescued at least 35 people from floods that swept away one woman, whose body was recovered Saturday.

A hurricane warning was in effect for Andros Island, New Providence, Eleuthera, Abacos Islands, Berry Islands, Grand Bahama, Bimini, Acklins, Crooked Island, Long Cay, the Inaguas, Mayaguana, Ragged Islands, Cat Island, the Exumas, Long Island, Rum Cay, and San Salvador. Meanwhile, officials in the Bahamas cleared people out of Abaco island who have been living in temporary structures since Dorian devastated the area, killing at least 70 people.

Officials on Long Island are urging residents to be ready for a potential impact from Isaias.

In the Bahamas, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis relaxed a coronavirus lockdown as a result of the storm, but imposed a 10 p.m.to 5 a.m. curfew. He said supermarkets, pharmacies, gas stations and hardware stores would be allowed to remain open as long as weather permitted.

Florida authorities said they have prepared shelters, but didn't expect to have to evacuate people.

The Bahamas has reported more than 570 confirmed COVID-19 cases and at least 14 deaths.

Coronavirus cases have surged in Florida in recent weeks, and the added menace of a storm ratcheted up the anxiety.

The prime minister urged young people to stay safe from the approaching storm and to respect social distancing measures.

All nursing home and assisted living facilities have working generators on-site, as well as all 21 of the COVID-19 exclusive nursing facilities, the governor said.



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