Well, that escalated quickly. Isaias became a tropical storm yesterday, and the National Weather Service has now issued a hurricane watch for the east coast of Florida from Deerfield Beach to the Titusville area.
The current forecast has the storm moving over the Bahamas today, up toward Florida's east coast Saturday afternoon through Sunday, and on to the Carolinas early next week. The 11 a.m. advisory does not include any hurricane watches or warnings for Miami for now.
That said, South Florida is expected to get a dumping of rain. Starting tonight until Monday, the area could see two to six inches of rain, plus flash flooding in low-lying areas.
In other years, this sort of outlook would have Miamians breathing a collective sigh of relief. A rainy weekend with no anticipation of major damage on the horizon? There are no better conditions for a hurricane party.
And yet, amid the coronavirus pandemic, that is not an option right now. Last night, Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis begged residents of the island nation — which is still recovering from severe damage from Hurricane Dorian last year — not to host any hurricane parties.
"It will not help us and it can be devastating. We will see the aftereffects, if not in two weeks, possibly later," he said, referencing the possibility for the virus to spread among friends.
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis expressed a similar sentiment in an interview with the Weather Channel earlier today.
"We also want to ensure that people just don't go to their friends' house and have hurricane parties, because that's where the virus is spreading," Trantalis said. "Be sure that you shelter in place. Stay at home. This is not the time to be interacting with friends."
To be frank, throwing a house party has been a reckless and inconsiderate idea for months now. In Florida, public-health officials believe house parties are partially to blame for July's spike in COVID-19 cases. There's nothing so deserving of celebration that it would be worth the possible death of a family member or friend — not to mention those outside your immediate circle who might also be affected.
This year, you'll have to eat your hurricane snacks and drink your warm bottles of red wine alone or with your quarantine-mates. But hey, at least you won't have to share.
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