Update, July 31: The National Weather Service has upgraded Isaias to a Category 1 hurricane, and it's expected to become a Category 2 hurricane as it moves over the Bahamas. Forecasters say heavy rain could hit South Florida by Friday night.
Good morning! How'd you sleep last night? Were you kept awake by your crippling thoughts of Miami's ever-rising coronavirus case count, or perhaps by nightmares of being snatched into an unmarked van by your very own government?
Fuggetaboutit! The year of our lord 2020 has another ghoulish surprise in store. Last night, the National Weather Service officially declared Tropical Storm Isaias the latest thing Floridians need to worry about. Meteorologist Jim Cantore tweeted this morning that the storm has "many models eventually making it a hurricane," which means he's definitely already packed a duffel bag full of windbreakers and dad caps.
Today, Isaias is over Puerto Rico, where some 400,000 residents suffered through a power outage before the storm even hit. Already, the island is experiencing "small landslides" and widespread flooding, according to the Associated Press.
The current forecast says the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas, and Cuba should also prepare for heavy rainfall.
While it's too soon to know whether the storm will hit Florida, the Sunshine State is still in the forecast cone, with Isaias possibly to arrive by Saturday afternoon. The Florida Division of Emergency Management says residents should start making preparations now.
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Tropical Storm #Isaias finally named overnight with 60 mph winds... battering #PuertoRico this morning... what it does after hitting the #DR is a big question mark... here’s the latest track, that will change... pic.twitter.com/JRe6x7GcUG— Rob Marciano (@RobMarciano) July 30, 2020
While Tropical Storm Isaias could bring some rainfall and wind impacts to portions of Cuba and Florida later this week and this weekend, it is too soon to determine the location or magnitude of those impacts. Interests there should monitor the progress of this system. pic.twitter.com/GnOKj69vp8— NHC_TAFB (@NHC_TAFB) July 30, 2020
This year's hurricane season, of course, brings new challenges thanks to the coronavirus. Here in Miami-Dade, shelters are being designated with enough room for families to socially distance from others, with the possibility that hotels could also be used in an emergency. County Mayor Carlos Gimenez says the folks who staff the Emergency Operations Center are prepared to operate remotely.
And if you need a COVID-19 test, you better hurry: Out of concern for the tropical storm, all state-run testing centers will shut down tonight and remain closed until at least Tuesday, according to officials.