Tropical Storm Isaias has begun its torrent of the Eastern Seaboard, with coastal inundation and heavy rains of 8 inches expected at its peak Monday night. Officials have predicted power outages, airborne debris, tree fall, and minor structural damage. Having dodged the Floridian coast with minimal impact, the storm is now traveling north, and is expected to reach the Carolinas August 3, 2020.
Mapping Isaias’ Projected Path
As of 11AM EST Monday, the center of Isaias was located 90 miles southeast of Brunswick, Georgia and 220 miles from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Passing over the coast of Georgia and traveling north at 13 mph, officials have recorded sustained winds of 70 mph from the storm.
The storm is now heading towards the coast of northeastern South Carolina and southern North Carolina. With current storm projections, the Carolinas are expected to get hit hard: “Heavy rainfall will result in flash and urban flooding, some of which may be significant in the eastern Carolinas and the mid-Atlantic, through midweek along and near the path of Isaias across the East Coast of the United States,” according to the National Hurricane Center.
The center of the storm will move inland over North Carolina on Monday night, reaching the mid-Atlantic states and the Northeast by Tuesday, August 4, 2020. Wind gusts for coastal areas from Georgia to New England have the potential to peak at 60 to 80 mph in Isaias’ attack on eastern coastal regions. Officials believe the tropical storm will reach Hurricane status (with wind gusts of 74 mph) near the North Carolina-South Carolina border, and then temper back to tropical storm status as it glides over the Northeast.
Coastal Communities Evacuated in North Carolina
The projected path for Tropical Storm Isaias has called for evacuations along the East Coast. In North Carolina, Outer Banks communities are notoriously vulnerable to storm destruction – on the southern tip of the peninsula, Hurricane Florence ripped through Ocracoke Island in 2018. Ahead of the storm, the visitors and residents of Ocracoke and Hatteras Island were ordered to evacuate the community on Friday, July 31, 2020.
Further south, the coastal cities Ocean Isle and Holden Beach were issued mandatory evacuation notices as well. The aforementioned areas encompass a stretch of land from Charleston, S.C. to Wilmington, N.C. all under hurricane watch with additional warnings of storm surge flooding.
Northeastern Utility Companies Prepare for Power Outages
As projections see the storm climbing up the Northeastern Seaboard, utility companies have assured customers that their teams are prepared to respond to potential outages with pandemic safety measures in place.
Eversource, the utility company that covers Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, released a statement on Sunday August 2, 2020 that they are monitoring the evolving situation surrounding the tropical storm, preparing extra teams to take on potential power outages.
In New York, Phillip O’Brien ConEdison commented on the company’s preparations for Isaias: “What we are doing now, as of yesterday, is monitoring the storm and preparing for any possible impact in the service area. We are following the path and have different contingencies.”
“One model says it will spin off and weaken, and the other says it could remain a category 1. We are getting designated crew that will go out, which the soonest looks like late Monday or early Tuesday, and determine the appropriate response at that time,” said O’Brien.
What Can You Do To Protect Yourself During Severe Weather Conditions?
Eversource has released a list of precautions civilians can take ahead of hurricanes and tropical storms.
- Secure windows and glass doors with shutters, boards, and tape.
- In the event of high winds, fasten outdoor objects.
- Tighten sliding glass doors with a wedge to prevent intercept potential dislocation from their tracks.
- Prepare a cooler with ice and perishable items to use in case of an outage.
- Arrange sensitive electronic equipment and plug them into surge protectors/suppressors. Surge suppressors will protect your electronics by diverting excess electrical energy away from your devices.
Ideally, these preparations should be made “a day or two ahead of the storm impacting your area,” Eversource suggests.