FLORIDA (AP) — Forecasters declared a hurricane warning for parts of the Florida coast Friday as Hurricane Isaias drenched the Bahamas on a track for the U.S. East Coast.
Officials in Florida said they were closing beaches, marinas and parks in Miami-Dade County beginning Friday night. Mayor Carlos Giménez said the county had 20 evacuation centers on standby that could be set up with COVID-19 safety measures.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said that the state was “fully prepared for this and any future storm during this hurricane season,” with stockpiles of personal protective equipment, generators, bottled water and meals ready to be distributed.
“Being prepared now is the right thing to do,” DeSantis said. “But it also helps you as we see other storms, which will likely form over the next months of hurricane season.”
But he urged people to have seven days with of food, water and medication ready and said that state-run coronavirus testing sites in the areas where the storm could hit will be closed.
“The tropical storm warning is now in effect from Ocean Reef to the Sebastian Inlet. This means tropical storm force winds are likely within 36 hours,” DeSantis said. “I want Floridians to know that the state of Florida is fully prepared for this and any future storm during this hurricane season. The Division of Emergency Management has had the state operations center at level one since March, allowing them to actively plan for hurricane season even while responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Authorities in North Carolina ordered the evacuation of Oracoke Island, which was slammed by last year’s Hurricane Dorian, starting Saturday evening.
A hurricane warning was in effect for in the Bahames for Andros Island, New Providence, Eleuthera, Abacos Islands, Berry Islands, Grand Bahama, Bimini, Acklins, Crooked Island, Long Cay, Mayaguana, Ragged Islands, Cat Island, the Exumas, Long Island, Rum Cay, and San Salvador.
Meanwhile, officials in the Bahamas evacuated people in Abaco who have been living in temporary structures since Dorian as well as people living in the eastern end of Grand Bahama.