Hurricane Isaias lashes Bahamas on way to virus-hit Florida

MIAMI (AFP) – Hurricane Isaias lashed the Bahamas as it churned towards Florida, United States (US), bringing new dangers to the American state suffering record deaths from an unrelenting coronavirus outbreak.

The category one storm, packing winds of up to 136 kilometres an hour, gained strength after sweeping over the Dominican Republic.

As of 0600 GMT yesterday, it was an expansive storm, moving northwest at a speed of 14 miles per hour, kicking up heavy squalls and whipping the Bahamas as well as the Turks and Caicos island chains with strong winds, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

“Hurricane conditions and dangerous storm surge are expected in portions of the Bahamas through Saturday, and hurricane warnings are in effect,” it added.

Hurricane warnings were up across the low-lying Bahamas while parts of Florida’s east coast – including Palm Beach, the location of US President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort – were under a hurricane watch. Florida could start feeling the effects of the storm soon, according to the NHC.

The body warned Isaias will produce heavy rains and “potentially life-threatening flash and urban flooding”, especially in low-lying and poorly drained areas across southern areas.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed an emergency declaration for counties on the exposed Atlantic coast.

Home Depot aisles are stocked with hurricane supplies as Hurricane Isaias approaches South Florida. PHOTO: AP