Isaias due to hit Carolinas, expected to regain hurricane strength

by Reuters
Monday, 3 August 2020 18:29 GMT

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By Peter Szekely

HATTERAS ISLAND, N.C., Aug 3 (Reuters) - Tropical Storm Isaias is expected to regain hurricane strength on Monday as it moves up the U.S. East Coast, threatening a deadly storm surge before making landfall in North Carolina or South Carolina by Monday night.

The National Hurricane Center said the storm could strike a course that included Washington, Philadelphia and New York.

In the areas of the Carolinas where the storm could make landfall - including the South Carolina tourist resort of Myrtle Beach and the North Carolina port city of Wilmington - "preparations should be rushed to completion," the center said.

The hurricane center also warned of "life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline," a reminder of 2018's Hurricane Florence, which killed 40 people and caused $17 billion in damage in North Carolina.

Storm surge warnings were issued for North Carolina's barrier islands.

Hattaras Island was nearly deserted on Monday after officials ordered visitors and residents to leave, but some ignored the warnings.

Kevin Rowe, 63, of Indiana, was not about to let the storm cancel his family's first visit to the Outer Banks.

"We're a little bit of risk-takers," said Rowe, who has been traveling the world for 11 years with his wife in support of missionaries.

Also vacationing on the island, Kennedy Smith, 24, a school teacher from Delaware, said: "We plan on just waiting to ride this thing out."

The storm's center was about 90 miles (145 km) off Georgia at 11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT) with winds of 70 mph (100 kph), the hurricane center said.

Tropical storm warnings were issued further north, including areas near New York City, which was battered by Superstorm Sandy in 2012 and deployed flood protection measures in lower Manhattan on Monday.

"We're in a very vigilant state right now, we are not taking any chances," Mayor Bill de Blasio said. (Reporting by Peter Szekely, Daniel Trotta and Maria Caspani; Editing by Paul Simao and Rosalba O'Brien)

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