Puerto Rico surveys Isaias damage as Florida braces for possible impacts

WSAV Hurricane Central

(NBC News) – Puerto Rico residents are surveying damage from then-Tropical Storm Isaias as those in South Florida prepare for possible effects.

Isaias knocked out power and caused flooding and small landslides across Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic Thursday. Overnight, the system strengthened into a hurricane while moving toward the Bahamas and U.S. east coast.

The storm’s maximum sustained winds of 60 mph turned several streets into fast-flowing rivers and toppled trees and some telephone and electrical cables in Puerto Rico, which is still recovering from previous hurricanes and earthquakes.

The National Guard rescued at least 35 people, including two newborns.

Authorities in a northwest town reported a woman missing after floodwaters swept her away when she tried to drive across a bridge.

In this GOES-16 satellite image taken Friday, July 31, 2020, at 8:40 a.m. EDT., and provided by NOAA, Hurricane Isaias churns in the Caribbean. Hurricane Isaias kept on a path early Friday toward the U.S. East Coast as it approached the Bahamas, parts of which are still recovering from the devastation of last year’s Hurricane Dorian. (NOAA via AP)

Government workers in the Dominican Republic used loudspeakers to urge people to evacuate ahead of the worst of the storm, while police arrested a handful of surfers in the capital of Santo Domingo accused of violating government storm warnings.

Especially hard hit was Puerto Rico’s southern region, which still shakes daily from aftershocks. Heavy rains inundated neighborhoods weakened by the tremors, causing some recently abandoned homes to collapse.

Hurricane Isaias is expected to impact the Bahamas with 80 mph winds throughout the day Friday and is predicted to begin impacting the eastern U.S. coast this weekend.

Floridians are preparing for what could be potential landfall, securing boats and boarding up homes. Others have already made trips to grocery and hardware stores for needed supplies.

Meanwhile, the storm has caused local leaders to temporarily close down some coronavirus testing sites.

Locals say they aren’t panicking but are preparing.

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