North Carolina battered by fires, floods even as Isaias is downgraded to tropical storm
Isaias pummeled North Carolina after making landfall Monday night, bringing coastal and inland flooding and reaching sustained winds of 85 mph for a time.
Isaias became a Category 1 hurricane shortly before reaching land near Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina, around 11:10 p.m., according to the National Hurricane Center, but was downgraded to a tropical storm early Tuesday morning, with maximum sustained winds lowered to 70 mph.
CNN reports that despite the downgrade, the storm is still carrying dangerous, life-threatening conditions as it moves up the coast.
Residents in North Carolina were subject to flooding, wind damage, and even fires throughout Monday night and Tuesday morning.
Howling wind and water washing across in "one to two foot swells" closed a bridge in Sunset Beach, North Carolina and streets in Holden Beach quickly became rivers as floodwaters rose.
Nearly 245,000 customers were left without power after the storm reached the coast and according to the Horry County Fire Rescue in South Carolina multiple structures in Ocean Isle Beach reportedly caught fire.
At approximately 11:40 p.m., there were reports of multiple structure fires in the area of Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina.— Horry SC Fire Rescue (@hcfirerescue) August 4, 2020
Horry County Fire Rescue is providing multiple units to help in response.#HCFR pic.twitter.com/L6cqjO6j9T
A hurricane warning was in effect from the South Santee River area in South Carolina to Surf City, North Carolina, meaning hurricane conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area, NHC said.
Storm surge in some parts of the hurricane warning area is expected to reach up to 5 feet.
The top is coming off the Apache Pier pavilion area in Myrtle Beach. pic.twitter.com/9lSahS5VWG— John Combs (@JohnCombs98) August 3, 2020
Communities on North Carolina's eastern coast, like Cape Fear, were given curfews Monday as Isaias drew closer. Most of the curfews began around 5 and 6 p.m. Monday and ended between 6 and 9 a.m. Tuesday.
In other parts of the coast, citizens and tourists were evacuated. The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NDOT) evacuated more than 3,000 people off Ocracoke Island Monday.
After pummeling the Carolinas, Isaias is forecast to gradually weaken as it brings strong winds all along the East Coast on Tuesday, including in Washington, DC, Philadelphia and New York. Philadelphia is forecast to see winds of 60-65 mph, while New York will see winds of 65-70 mph.
The storm could bring the strongest winds to New York City since Superstorm Sandy almost eight years ago, said Ross Dickman, the meteorologist-in-charge at the NWS office in New York.
"The wind and flooding impacts from Isaias will be similar to what the city has seen from some of the strongest coastal storms," such as nor'easters -- "but we haven't seen one this strong in many years," he said.
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