Isaias strengthens to Category 1 hurricane; North Carolina remains in forecast track

Hurricane Isaias

Follow the storm with the FOX8 Hurricane Tracker here.

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What was once tropical storm Isaias has now strengthened to a Category 1 hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center.

“Its central pressure has decreased steadily in the past 24 hours,” FOX8 Meteorologist Emily Byrd said. “It is expected to maintain hurricane strength, briefly becoming a category 2 storm as it brushes past the Bahamas.”

As of the Friday 2 p.m. advisory, the storm is about 365 miles south-southwest of Great Abaco Island moving northwest at 16 mph.

It has maximum sustained winds of 75 mph.

Tropical storm conditions and heavy rains are spreading into the central Bahamas.

Convection has increased over it’s center, and radar from the Bahamas shows Isaias is trying to build an inner core. Organization of an inner core would make Isaias more resistant to wind shear and dry air. 

“As Isaias approaches the southeastern tip of Florida late Saturday, it will slow down and begin to turn to the north,” Byrd said. “It will slowly work its way toward the Florida/Georgia line through the day Sunday as a minimal, Category 1 hurricane. Monday is when the Carolina beaches will feel the brunt of Isaias with tropical storm-force wind gusts being felt through the day along with periods of heavy rain.  The extreme eastern Outer Banks may briefly experience hurricane-force winds, though most of the stronger winds will remain on the east side of Isaias’ center. In the Piedmont, we may feel very little effect from Isaias.  We are expecting scattered showers and a few thunderstorms with a steady breeze out of the east-northeast Monday.  Highs will be in the mid-80’s.”

By Tuesday, conditions will rapidly improve as Isaias zips up to the northeast. 

Related: Watch FOX8’s special presentation: Hurricane Ready 2020

A Hurricane Watch has been issued for portions of the Florida east coast from north of Deerfield Beach northward to the Volusia-Brevard County Line.

A Tropical Storm Warning has been issued for portions of the Florida east coast from north of Ocean Reef northward to Sebastian Inlet and for Lake Okeechobee.

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT:

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for:
Northwestern Bahamas including Andros Island, New Providence, Eleuthera, Abacos Islands, Berry Islands, Grand Bahamas Island, and Bimini
Southeastern Bahamas including the Acklins, Crooked Island, Long Cay, the Inaguas, Mayaguana, and the Ragged Islands
Central Bahamas, including Cat Island, the Exumas, Long Island, Rum Cay, and San Salvador

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for:

North of Deerfield Beach to the Volusia-Brevard County Line

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:

Turks and Caicos Islands

North of Ocean Reef northward to Sebastian Inlet

Lake Okeechobee

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