Hurricane Isaias

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Hurricane IsaiasCategory 1 hurricane icon.png
Current storm status
Category 1 hurricane (1-min mean)
09L Geostationary VIS-IR 2020.jpg
Satellite image
NHC AL092020 5day cone no line and wind.png
Forecast map
As of:1:00 a.m. EDT (05:00 UTC) August 4
Location:34°36′N 78°06′W / 34.6°N 78.1°W / 34.6; -78.1 (Hurricane Isaias) ± 20 nm
About 30 mi (45 km) NNW of Wilmington, North Carolina
Sustained winds:70 kt (80 mph; 130 km/h) (1-min mean)
gusting to 80 kt (90 mph; 140 km/h)
Pressure:990 mbar (hPa; 29.18 inHg)
Movement:NNE at 19 kt (22 mph; 35 km/h)
See more detailed information.

Hurricane Isaias (/ˌsɑːˈɑːs/)[1] is an active tropical cyclone that struck Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, and The Bahamas and is currently impacting the East Coast of the United States and threatening Eastern Canada. The ninth tropical storm and second hurricane of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, Isaias originated from a tropical wave off the coast of Africa that was first identified by the National Hurricane Center on July 23, 2020. The tropical wave gradually became more organized, and obtained gale-force winds on July 28, before organising into Tropical Storm Isaias on July 30. Isaias marked the earliest ninth named storm on record, surpassing 2005's Hurricane Irene by eight days. Isaias strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane the next day, reaching a peak intensity of 85 mph (137 km/h) and a pressure of 987 mb. On August 1, the storm made landfall on North Andros, Bahamas and subsequently weakened to a tropical storm before paralleling the east coast of Florida and Georgia. As it approached the Carolina coastline, it reintensified back into a hurricane before making landfall near Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina.

Numerous tropical storm watches and warnings as well as hurricane watches and hurricane warnings were issued for the Lesser Antilles, Greater Antilles, Bahamas, Cuba, and the East Coast of the United States. Isaias caused devastating flooding and wind damage in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Several towns were left without electricity and drinking water in Puerto Rico, which prompted a disaster declaration by President Donald Trump. In the Dominican Republic, two people were killed by wind damage. A woman was killed in Puerto Rico after being swept away in flood waters.

Meteorological history[edit]

Map plotting the track and the intensity of the storm, according to the Saffir–Simpson scale

The National Hurricane Center first began tracking a vigorous tropical wave off the west coast of Africa on July 23.[2] The wave gradually organized and became better defined, developing a broad area of low pressure.[3] Though the circulation was broad and disorganized, convection continued to increase over the system, and the system obtained gale-force winds on July 28. Although the system still lacked a well-defined center, its tropical-storm-force winds and imminent threat of tropical cyclonegenesis to land areas prompted its designation as Potential Tropical Cyclone Nine at 15:00 UTC on July 28. The system moved just south of Dominica on July 29, and at 03:00 UTC on the following day, the system organized sufficiently to become a tropical cyclone. Due to its precursor disturbance already having gale-force winds, it was immediately declared a tropical storm and given the name Isaias.[4] When Tropical Storm Isaias formed, it became the earliest ninth named storm on record, breaking the record of Hurricane Irene in 2005 by eight days. Isaias continued strengthening after reaching tropical storm status, with one-minute sustained winds reaching 60 mph (95 km/h) on July 30 as it made landfall on the southern coast of the Dominican Republic. Contrary to predictions by meteorologists, the mountainous terrain of Hispaniola did not weaken the storm, as the system had a broad circulation and developed a new low-pressure center to the north of the island, thus maintaining its intensity.[5]

Early the next day, hurricane hunters unexpectedly found that Isaias strengthened, reaching its initial peak intensity as a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 80 mph (140 km/h) and a pressure of 990 mbar (29.23 inHg).[6] Moderate to strong southwesterly wind shear and dry air entrainment began affecting the storm a few hours later, resulting in the low-level center being exposed near the western edge of the convection. After a brief weakening trend, Isaias began to intensify again, with deep convection firing over the exposed center and an eye feature forming on Bahamian radar. Later that evening, data from another hurricane hunter reconnaissance aircraft confirmed a closed eyewall and a lower minimal central pressure of 987 mbar (29.15 inHg).[7] The storm strengthened afterwards to obtain its peak intensity with winds of 85 mph (14p km/h) despite a somewhat ragged appearance.[8] At 15:00 UTC on August 1, Isaias made landfall on Northern Andros Island, Bahamas with winds of 80 mph (130 km/h), slightly weaker from its peak.[9] Land interaction along with the continued effects of wind shear and dry air continued to weaken the system, and it dropped below hurricane strength at 21:00 UTC as its center became completely devoid of convection, although a large burst of convection formed over the center shortly after it moved back over water.[10] As the storm neared Southeast Florida, a strong mid-level circulation formed just northeast of the low-level center, spawning intense convection mainly north and east of the LLCC. The storm then paralleled the east coast of Florida and Georgia with its winds fluctuating between 65–70 miles per hour (105–113 km/h). As the storm turned northeastward, it entered a more favorable environment for strengthening, with wind shear relaxing just enough to allow the storm to redevelop intense convection. The storm began to quickly reintensify, regaining hurricane status at 00:00 UTC on August 4 before reaching a secondary peak intensity with winds of 85 mph (140 km/h) and a pressure of 988 mbar (29.18 inHg).[11][12] At 03:10 UTC, the hurricane made landfall near Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina at the same intensity.[13]

Current storm information[edit]

As of 12:00 a.m. EDT (03:00 UTC) August 4, Hurricane Isaias is located within 20 nautical miles of 34°36′N 78°06′W / 34.6°N 78.1°W / 34.6; -78.1 (Isaias) about 30 miles (45 km) north-northwest of Wilmington, North Carolina. Maximum sustained winds are 70 knots (80 mph; 130 km/h), with gusts up to 80 knots (90 mph; 150 km/h). The minimum barometric pressure is 990 mbar (29.23 inHg), and the system is moving north-northeast at 19 knots (22 mph; 35 km/h). Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 25 miles (40 km) from the center while tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 125 miles (205 km) from the center of Isaias.

For the latest official information, see:

Watches and warnings[edit]

Hurricane Warning
Hurricane conditions
expected within 36 hours.
Tropical Storm Warning
Tropical storm conditions expected within 36 hours.
Storm Surge Warning
Life-threatening inundation from storm surge possible within 36 hours.
Storm Surge Watch
Life-threatening inundation from storm surge possible within 48 hours.


Potential Tropical Cyclone Nine over the Windward Islands on July 29.

Greater and Lesser Antilles[edit]

Numerous tropical storm, hurricane, and storm surge watches and warnings were issued for areas in the path of Isaias. The first tropical storm watches and warnings were posted for Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands,[14] the Leeward Islands, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti[15] when the system was designated Potential Tropical Cyclone Nine.

The Bahamas[edit]

With the system approaching and strengthening, hurricane warnings were posted for The Northwestern Bahamas at 00:00 UTC on July 31. The sudden upgrade to hurricane status caused all of the warnings in the Bahamas to change to under hurricane warnings at 03:40 UTC.

People living on Abaco and Grand Bahama islands were evacuated before the storm. Many of the citizens were still living in temporary structures due to damage caused by Hurricane Dorian a year ago in 2019. Many of the structures were weak and could be easily destroyed by tropical storm and hurricane-force winds. The meteorology department of the Bahamas advised citizens to "hunker down." [16] The government of the Bahamas lifted the COVID-19 lockdown instituted for controlling the virus before the storm so people could freely travel to safer places. Shelters were opened on larger islands in the island chain, with people on smaller, less populated, islands needing to travel to reach a shelter. Bahamas Power and Light shut off electricity to areas at high risk of flooding on New Providence, the most populous island in the Bahamas, until it was safe to re-energize.[17]

United States[edit]

Tropical storm watches were first initiated in Southeast Florida at 21:00 UTC on July 30 with more watches and warnings going up as the storm got closer. Hurricane warning were issued as the storm approached, but they were downgraded to tropical storm warnings when the storm weakened. Hurricane Warnings were issued for areas near the South Carolina-North Carolina border after the storm was forecasted to reach minimal hurricane status again just before landfall. At one point, Tropical Storm Watches and Warnings extended over 1,000 miles from Florida to Maine.[18][19] Tornado watches were also issued in Northeastern South Carolina and Eastern North Carolina.[20]

In anticipation of the storm, the state of Florida closed COVID-19 testing sites on July 30 due to potential impacts from Isaias.[21] The next day, Florida governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for the eastern coast of Florida ahead of Isaias.[22]

In Georgia, beaches were closed and the Coast Health District suspended all operations. The Sidney Lanier Bridge in Glynn was closed at 6 a.m. on August 3 as the storm approached. Savannah's Talmadge Memorial Bridge was also scheduled to close at 2 p.m. that day, but remained open. Inspections were planned for both bridges after the storm passed.[23][24]

On July 31, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency ahead of the storm. A mandatory evacuation of Ocracoke Island, North Carolina, was issued that same day.[25]

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio stated in a press conference on July 31 that the city would be monitoring the storm but that the projections looked "pretty favourable." [26] On August 2, in a press call with reporters, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said that models showed Isaias hitting the NYC and Long Island area with sustained winds of 50 to 65 mph and 3 to 6 inches of rain by Tuesday, August 4 in conjunction with a press release by New York City Emergency Management.[27][28] On August 3, the National Weather Service issued a Tropical Storm Warning for the New York City, with Emergency Management issuing a Travel advisory that evening, stating that the strongest of the storm would be from 12 PM to 2 PM (EST) on August 4.[29][30]



Most of the Caribbean islands were suffering from moderate to severe drought conditions from an unusually dry spring and early summer. The drought was particularly severe in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, with the governor of Puerto Rico declaring a state of emergency in late June and ordering rationing of water, subjecting residents in affected areas to 24-hour water shutoffs every other day. Heavy rain from Isaias and its precursor disturbance alleviated drought in many areas of the Caribbean.[31]

Lesser Antilles[edit]

The precursor to Isaias brought squally conditions to the Windward Islands. Rainfall peaked at 3.13 inches (8.0 cm) in the town of Salisbury, on the island of Dominica.[31]

Greater Antilles[edit]

Pitahaya River in Luquillo, a northern municipality of Puerto Rico, on August 1 after being flooded by Isaias' rains.

In Puerto Rico, about 448,000 customers and 23 hospitals[32] lost power and about 150,000 customers lost water service due to electric blackouts and blocked intakes.[33][34] The entire town of Yauco had no power, and all roads leading to the town were either flooded or blocked by fallen trees.[35] Many surrounding towns in eastern Puerto Rico also had no drinking water nor electricity from a lack of access to the areas of damage. Three gates on the Carraízo reservoir dam in Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico, were opened because of runoff from Isaias.[36] A woman was dragged by a river in Rincón, Puerto Rico while she was crossing a bridge due to heavy rain; she was found dead two days later.[37][38] Due to the extensive damage, President Donald Trump approved an emergency declaration request from Puerto Rico's governor Wanda Vázquez Garced.[36]

One person was killed in El Seibo Province, in the Dominican Republic, when a power line fell on his horse a few feet away from him, killing him and the animal.[39] A 5-year-old boy was also killed when a tree fell and crushed his home in Altamira in Puerto Plata province.[40] Widespread flooding was reported in Hato Mayor del Rey, a town of 70,000 inhabitants.[41]

The Bahamas[edit]

Isaias passed over the Bahamas from July 31 to August 1, hitting some areas still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Dorian a year before. Tropical-storm-force winds and heavy rain damaged roofs and toppled trees.[17] Initial damage assessments began on August 2, with reports indicating damage in the Berry Islands and Andros Island was generally minor.[42]

United States[edit]


The outer rainbands of Isaias began to impact the Florida Peninsula on August 1, bringing gusty winds, heavy rainfall, and flooding to the area. There were some reports of power outages due to downed power lines, but damage was mostly minor and far less than originally expected due to a weakened Isaias.[43]

The Carolinas[edit]

Hurricane Isaias generated the third highest high tide ever recorded in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and trees and power lines were knocked down in Myrtle Grove, North Carolina by the rapidly-forming northern eyewall as the storm came ashore. Almost 200,000 people lost power at the height of the storm.[44] Favorable conditions also led to numerous tornado warnings, with at least one tornado touching down and doing damage in Bald Head Island, North Carolina.[45][46][47]

New Jersey[edit]

A wind gust of 70 miles per hour (110 km/h) was recorded at the Ocean County Airport in Ocean County. This was not from inside the storm itself, but rather a thunderstorm from an outermost rainband. [48]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Atlantic Basin Storm Name Pronunciations: 2015–2020" (PDF). Miami, FL: National Hurricane Center. 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 20, 2015. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  2. ^ "Five-Day Graphical Tropical Weather Outlook". July 23, 2020. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  3. ^ "Five-Day Graphical Tropical Weather Outlook". July 26, 2020. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  4. ^ Richard Pasch (July 30, 2020). "Tropical Storm Isaias Discussion Number 7". Miami, FL: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved July 30, 2020.
  5. ^ Daniel Brown (July 30, 2020). "Tropical Storm Isaias Discussion Number 10". Miami, FL: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  6. ^ Eric S. Blake (July 31, 2020). "Hurricane Isaias Special Discussion Number 12". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  7. ^ "Hurricane Isaias Intermediate Advisory Number 15A". Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  8. ^ "Hurricane ISAIAS". Retrieved August 1, 2020.
  9. ^ "Hurricane ISAIAS". Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  10. ^ "Tropical Storm ISAIAS". Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  11. ^ "Hurricane ISAIAS". Retrieved August 3, 2020.
  12. ^ "Hurricane ISAIAS". Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  13. ^ "Hurricane ISAIAS". Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  14. ^ CappucciMeteorologist, Matthew CappuccicloseMatthew; GangEmailEmailBioBioFollowFollow, Capital Weather. "Tropical storm warnings issued for Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands with Isaias likely to form". Washington Post.
  15. ^ News, A. B. C. "Tropical Storm Isaias expected to develop today, impact Caribbean". ABC News.
  16. ^ "Hurricane Isaias batters Bahamas on way to Florida coast". AlJazeera. August 1, 2020. Retrieved August 1, 2020.
  17. ^ a b "Hurricane Isaias Damages Roofs, Knocks Down Trees in Bahamas". The Weather Channel.
  18. ^ "Hurricane ISAIAS Advisory Archive". Retrieved August 1, 2020.
  19. ^ Team, WGME Weather Authority (August 3, 2020). "Tropical Storm Warning issued for parts of Maine as Isaias moves north". WGME. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  20. ^ "Storm Surge Warning and Tornado Watch in effect for Hatteras and Ocracoke islands". Island Free Press. August 4, 2020. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  21. ^ Jones, Judson; Holcombe, Madeline (July 30, 2020). "Tropical Storm Isaias is heading heading toward the US, forcing Florida to close state-run testing sites". CNN. Retrieved July 30, 2020.
  22. ^ Massarelli, Katelyn (July 31, 2020). "Governor declares State of Emergency for Florida's east coast counties ahead of Hurricane Isaias". WBBH. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  23. ^ "Carolinas, Georgia Make Final Preparations for Arrival of Tropical Storm Isaias; Evacuations in Outer Banks". The Weather Channel. Retrieved August 3, 2020.
  24. ^ Cawthon, Graham (August 3, 2020). "DOT: Talmadge Bridge remains open as Tropical Storm Isaias passes by". WJCL. Retrieved August 3, 2020.
  25. ^ Robles, Dalisa (July 31, 2020). "Gov. Roy Cooper declares State of Emergency for N.C." WNCT. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  26. ^ "Mayor says storm projections 'favorable' for NYC as Isaias approaches Florida". WPIX. July 31, 2020. Retrieved August 2, 2020.
  27. ^ Del Signore, John (August 2, 2020). "Tropical Storm Isaias On Track To Blow Through NYC Tuesday". Gothamist. Retrieved August 2, 2020.
  28. ^ "NYC Emergency Management is Closely Monitoring Tropical Storm Isaias for Any Potential Impacts to NYC This Week". August 2, 2020. Retrieved August 2, 2020.
  29. ^ "National Weather Service Watch Warning Advisory Summary". National Weather Service. August 3, 2020. Retrieved August 3, 2020.
  30. ^ "NYC Emergency Management Issues Travel Advisory Tuesday Morning Through Tuesday Night". NYC Emergency Management. August 3, 2020. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  31. ^ a b Masters, Jeff (July 29, 2020). "Rain from Potential Tropical Cyclone Nine brings drought relief to Caribbean islands". Yale Climate Connections. Retrieved August 1, 2020.
  32. ^ "La tormenta tropical Isaías deja sin electricidad a 23 hospitales de Puerto Rico en plena pandemia". - Últimas Noticias. July 31, 2020.
  33. ^ Retrieved August 4, 2020. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  34. ^ "La AAA abre las compuertas de Carraízo tras aumento súbito del nivel del embalse". El Nuevo Día.
  35. ^ "Flooding in Puerto Rico after Tropical Storm Isaias. July 30 2020".
  36. ^ a b "Tropical Storm Isaias Triggers Flooding, Knocks Out Power to Tens of Thousands in Puerto Rico". July 30, 2020. Retrieved July 30, 2020.
  37. ^ "Hallan cuerpo de mujer arrastrada por río en Rincón". Primera Hora.
  38. ^ "Hallan cuerpo de conductora que fue arrastrada por golpe de agua en Rincón".
  39. ^ Abed-nego Paulino (July 30, 2020). "Agricultor muere electrocutado en El Seibo durante el paso de tormenta Isaías". El Dia. Retrieved July 30, 2020.
  40. ^ Ron Brackett (July 31, 2020). "Isaias Kills 2 in Dominican Republic; Dozens Rescued in Puerto Rico". The Weather Channel. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  41. ^ Vega, Manuel Antonio. "Unas 700 viviendas afectadas por inundaciones dejadas por Isaías en Hato Mayor".
  42. ^ "Pm And Nema Team Assess Damage From Isaias". The Tribune. August 2, 2020. Retrieved August 3, 2020.
  43. ^ "Isaias could become hurricane as it pulls away from Florida". WESH. August 3, 2020. Retrieved August 3, 2020.
  44. ^ Freedman, rew; weather, rew FreedmanEditor focusing on extreme; Change, Climate; SamenowEditor, the environment EmailEmailBioBioFollowFollowJason SamenowcloseJason; Weather, Writer Covering. "Strengthening Hurricane Isaias charging into the Carolinas, poised to sweep up East Coast". Washington Post. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  45. ^, daryl herzmann. "IEM :: Storm Based Warning Polygon Visual Summary". Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  46. ^, daryl herzmann. "IEM :: Storm Based Warning Polygon Visual Summary". Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  47. ^ "Storm Prediction Center Today's Storm Reports". Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  48. ^ @NWS_MountHolly (August 3, 2020). "" (Tweet). Retrieved August 4, 2020 – via Twitter.

External links[edit]