Isaias weakens; may strengthen on path to virus-hit Florida

Sea spray, sand and winds sweep across South Ocean Boulevard in Palm Beach, Fla., as Palm Beach County readies for Hurricane Isaias on Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020. Isaias snapped trees and knocked out power as it blew through the Bahamas on Saturday and churned toward the Florida coast, where it is threatening to complicate efforts to contain the coronavirus in a hot spot. (Thomas Cordy/The Palm Beach Post via AP)

RALEIGH — North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper urged state residents on Saturday to be prepared for Isaias, which weakened to a tropical storm but was expected to regain hurricane strength as it nears Florida.

“As we learned with Hurricane Florence, even a category one storm can bring severe impacts, and we should not take this lightly," Cooper said.

Cooper authorized the activation of up to 150 members of the state’s National Guard on Saturday in case they are needed for hurricane response.

While the National Hurricane Center says Isaias should start impacting North Carolina on Monday, the governor’s office says dangerous rip currents are already occurring along the coastline now.

As of midday Saturday, local officials had ordered evacuations for Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands, Ocean Isle Beach and Holden Beach.

“North Carolina will feel impacts from this storm,” said Mike Sprayberry, the state's emergency management director. “No one should 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, the governor's office said, particularly affecting communities along Interstate 95 and eastward.

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