Updated at 7:45 p.m. on Aug. 2
A state of emergency is in effect for much of North Carolina as Tropical Storm Isiais approaches. The brunt of the storm is expected to hit the piedmont and coastal plane late Monday and into Tuesday.
In an update Sunday afternoon, Governor Roy Cooper said the storm should not alter people's COVID-19 safety precautions.
"Our state has weathered more than our fair share of storms in recent years," Cooper said. "We know how to plan, prepare, and respond when it's over. Nothing about that has changed. But this time we will have to do it with a mask on."
TS #Isaias evening update:
• Forecasted winds have increased slightly across the east, w/ tropical storm force winds possible across much of eastern NC. Strongest wind gusts expected in SE NC (50 - 75+mph). Strong winds & heavy rain will likely lead to downed trees & power lines pic.twitter.com/Hnh5L2oaeu
— NC Emergency Managem (@NCEmergency) August 2, 2020
Officials expect the storm will cause widespread power outages and downed trees across much of the eastern half of the state.
Florida’s east coast is getting heavy rain from Tropical Storm Isaias, with state officials dealing with surging cases of the coronavirus. Isaias weakened from a hurricane to a tropical storm Saturday but still hit Florida with heavy rain and flooding. The National Hurricane Service said the storm was strengthening slightly Sunday evening, crawling about 65 miles off the east coast of Central Florida, and about 410 miles south of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Updated at 8:50 a.m. on Aug. 2
The National Weather Service on Sunday issued tropical storm and flash flood watches for portions of central and southeastern North Carolina as Isaias makes its way toward the area.
Isaias weakened from a hurricane to a tropical storm late Saturday afternoon, but was still expected to bring heavy rain and flooding as it barrels toward Florida and later track up or just off the Eastern seaboard early in the week.
Tropical Storm and Flash Flood Watches have been issued for portions of central and southeastern NC this morning as #Isaias makes its way toward the area. We will share updated briefings on the storm and potential impacts throughout the day #NCwx pic.twitter.com/AynXZC3fcX
— NWS Raleigh (@NWSRaleigh) August 2, 2020
The Outer Banks is likely to receive significant impacts from the storm early next week. Officials there closed facilities at Cape Hatteras National Seashore starting Sunday.
According to the National Hurricane Center, Isaias should begin impacting North Carolina on Monday. However, dangerous rip currents are already occurring along the coastline now.
“We all need to be prepared for the dangers that Isaias could bring,” Governor Roy Cooper said Saturday afternoon. “As we learned with Hurricane Florence, even a category one storm can bring severe impacts, and we should not take this lightly.”
While the path of the storm’s center remains uncertain, state and local officials are preparing for impacts in Eastern North Carolina with sustained winds of 70 mph on Monday, particularly affecting communities along Interstate 95 and eastward.
Cooper also authorized the activation of up to 150 members of the North Carolina National Guard to be used if needed in hurricane response, and water rescue teams are preparing to respond if they are needed.
“North Carolina will feel impacts from this storm,” said NC Emergency Management director Mike Sprayberry. “No one should take this lightly. We have learned from past storms that they can be unpredictable and take a sudden turn for the worse, so now is the time to be prepared with a plan and an emergency kit.”
12:16 p.m. on Aug. 1
Dare County officials have ordered a mandatory evacuation for all visitors on Hatteras Island ahead of Hurricane Isaias. That evacuation began at noon Saturday. A mandatory evacuation for all residents and property owners goes into effect at 6 a.m. on Sunday.
The order is for evacuation Area "A." The order covers all areas of Hatteras Island, including the villages of Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Avon, Buxton, Frisco and Hatteras Village. An evacuation order is also in effect for Ocracoke Island, which was slammed by last year’s Hurricane Dorian.
— Dare County EM (@DareCountyEM) August 1, 2020
Dare County officials will meet Sunday morning to discuss evacuation orders for other areas of Dare County.
Hurricane Isaias has snapped trees and knocked out power while blowing through the Bahamas on Saturday. It's headed toward the Florida coast, where officials have closed beaches, parks and coronavirus testing sites.
Florida authorities say they've prepared shelters, but so far don't expect to have to evacuate people. On Friday, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency to help the state prepare for the hurricane.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Isaias had maximum sustained winds of 85 mph Saturday morning and some strengthening was possible. It was centered about 50 miles south of Nassau in the Bahamas.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.