East Coast Battered by Heavy Winds and High Waters as Isaias Moves North

PHILADELPHIA (CN) — Tropical Storm Isaias is slamming the Northeast with strong winds and heavy rainfall, leaving many cities flooded and many homes without power as it quickly moves north.

Isaias, pronounced ees-ah-EE-ahs, made landfall near Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina, late Monday night but Florida felts it impact a day earlier with heavy flooding in regions otherwise striken by surging Covid-19 cases. 

The National Hurricane Center originally had deemed Isaias a Category 1 hurricane on Monday but downgraded that designation Tuesday morning to a tropical storm. It predicts the East Coast will see anywhere from 1–8 inches of rainfall throughout the day. 

By 1 p.m. Tuesday the storm had already passed through the Carolinas, most of Virginia and Maryland. New Jersey and parts of Philadelphia felt Isaias’ effects next as the storm barrels toward New York, moving at 35 mph with sustained winds at about 70 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.

In New Jersey, a weather-tracking station recorded a wind gust of 109 mph at around 11 a.m. Tuesday, according to the Hurricane Center.

More than 1 million customers have lost power from North Carolina to New Jersey as of Tuesday afternoon, according to PowerOutages.us.

There have been more than a dozen reported tornadoes since Monday night, and many cities remain in a tornado warning through Tuesday afternoon. In North Carolina, two people have died from a tornado that swept through a mobile home park.

New Jersey issued a state of emergency in preparation for the storm, as did North Carolina whose Governor Roy Cooper activated 150 troops from the National Guard on Sunday to help with storm preparations.

“We’ve been grateful for their work overseas and here during this pandemic,” Cooper tweeted Sunday. “And we appreciate our first responders who are going the extra mile yet again to protect our communities.”

People walk on the flooded Sea Mountain Highway in North Myrtle Beach, S.C., as Isaias neared the Carolinas on Monday night. (Jason Lee/The Sun News via AP)

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy urged residents to stay safe.

“The safety of our residents is our main priority, and we urge everyone to be informed of local weather conditions and to stay off the roads,” Murphy in a statement Monday.

Weather Channel meteorologists have predicted that the strongest threat for tornadoes will be from northern Delaware to Long Island and lower Connecticut.

The storm is set to hit New York City later Tuesday afternoon, threatening to bring wind speeds the state has not seen since Hurricane Sandy in 2012. 

In preparation, NYC placed “tiger dams” throughout the city in an effort to combat flooding, along with permanent fixtures that have been in place over the years. 

Mayor Bill de Blasio reflected on the damages to the city in 2012 caused by Sandy at a Monday press conference, noting that this storm may not be as bad but still urged residents to take it seriously.

“We’re expecting a lot less, thank God, with this storm, but it reminds you of what people went through and why it is so important to protect this neighborhood and neighborhoods that are vulnerable,” said de Blasio.

The National Hurricane Center is predicting Isaias to hit the New England area at around 2 p.m. Tuesday and make its way into Southern Canada in the early hours Wednesday.

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