Gov. Roy Cooper declares State of Emergency ahead of Hurricane Isaias

Hurricane Isaias

Governor Roy Cooper declared a State of Emergency in North Carolina on Friday in preparation for Hurricane Isaias.

As of the 11 p.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center, the storm is about 135 miles south-southeast of Nassau moving northwest at 15 mph. It has maximum sustained winds of 80 mph.

A hurricane warning has been issued for portions of Florida’s east coast.

North Carolinians could be most impacted by the storm on Monday and Tuesday due to heavy rains and rip currents along the coast, Cooper said.

The state Emergency Operations Center – already activated for COVID-19 – has activated for the storm as well, and state and local response teams are at the ready, according to a statement released by the governor’s office on Friday.

“Although the track and arrival of the hurricane could still change, now is the time for North Carolinians to prepare,” Cooper said. “Hurricane preparations will be different given the COVID-19 pandemic, and families need to keep that in mind as they get ready.”

The current forecast is for Hurricane Isaias to increase in intensity over the next 24 hours.

North Carolina Emergency Management (NCEM), NC National Guard (NCNG), and the NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT) are coordinating on where to stage Unmanned Aircraft Systems drone teams in the field based on the storm’s track to provide post-event damage assessments. 

Some local governments have already issued evacuation orders. While the state is still combating the COVID-19 pandemic, the state is urging people to make every effort to stay with family and friends, or even a hotel, as the first option. The state will coordinate shelters for those who need to evacuate and this will be an option for those who need it.

People should follow local evacuation orders should they be issued. Evacuees may find that sheltering looks different this year. Some changes may include: 

  • Residents and visitors seeking shelter will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms. If an individual has COVID symptoms, they will be redirected to a non-congregate sheltering option where they can more easily isolate. 
  • Social distancing means fewer residents in shelters, and if needed, more facilities and volunteers to shelter the same amount of people as in previous seasons.
  • Maximizing space requirements may mean not all shelters will offer cots. Be prepared to provide your own bedding and care items.
  • Meals will be served in sealed containers and shelters will move away from serving lines or buffets to minimize the potential exposure of everyone in the shelter.

For more information storm preparation visit www.readync.org/

North Carolina has recently introduced the Know Your Zone program in the 20 North Carolina coastal counties. For more information or to learn your zone, visit knowyourzone.nc.gov.

Read the Executive Order declaring a State of Emergency for Hurricane Isaias.

Follow the storm with the FOX8 Hurricane Tracker here.

HERE IS WHAT YOU NEED IN YOUR HURRICANE KIT

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.

“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. 

A mandatory evacuation was ordered for Ocracoke Island due to Hurricane Isaias, according to a statement from Hyde County.

The order becomes effective for visitors at noon today (Friday) and residents and non-resident property owners at 6 a.m. Saturday.

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:
– Boca Raton to the Volusia/Brevard County Line Florida
– Northwestern Bahamas
– Central Bahamas

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for:
– Hallandale Beach to south of Boca Raton Florida

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:
– North of Ocean Reef to south of Boca Raton Florida
– Lake Okeechobee

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for:
– Flagler/Volusia County Line to Ponte Vedra Beach Florida

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