The Coast Guard on Saturday urged commercial and recreational boaters in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey to prepare for possible high surf, dangerous rip currents, heavy wind, heavy rainfall, and coastal flooding from Hurricane Isaias, which has the potential to impact the region.
The storm, which snapped trees and knocked out power in Bahamas on Saturday, was churning toward the Florida coast and was expected to reach the Northeast by Tuesday. Heavy rain and strong wind gusts have been predicted.
Captains of the Ports of New York and Long Island Sound both encouraged boaters to be proactive and prepare for the impending weather. Recreational boaters were urged to pull small boats out of the water and secure any gear. Owners of large boats were urged to move the vessels to inland marinas and pull trailer-able boats from the water, storing them in locations not prone to flooding.
“Storms such as this can be unpredictable, and it is important that both commercial mariners and recreational boaters prepare accordingly,” said Capt. Jason Tama, Sector Commander for Sector New York, in a written statement.
Isaias snapped trees and knocked out power as it blew through the Bahamas on Saturday and churned toward the Florida coast, threatening to complicate efforts to contain the coronavirus in places were cases are surging.
Florida authorities closed beaches, parks and virus testing sites, lashing signs to palm trees so they won't blow away. The governor said the state is anticipating power outages and asked residents to have a week's supply of water, food and medicine on hand. Officials wrestled with how to prepare shelters where people can seek refuge from the storm if necessary, while safely social distancing to prevent the spread of the virus.
Authorities in North Carolina ordered the evacuation of Ocracoke Island, which was slammed by last year’s Hurricane Dorian. Meanwhile, officials in the Bahamas opened shelters for people in Abaco island to help those who have been living in temporary structures since Dorian devastated the area, killing at least 70 people.
The storm's maximum sustained winds declined steadily throughout Saturday, and were near 70 miles per hour (110 kilometers per hour) at 5 p.m., when the U.S. National Hurricane Center downgraded it its status. But the agency said it is expected to pick up strength overnight as it heads over warm water toward Florida.