Isaias Brings Wind, Rain And Tornado Risks Up Through The Northeast Into Canada
Updated at 10:25 a.m. ET
Isaias is flooding low-lying areas of South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia as it plows its way up the Mid-Atlantic coast. Isaias is now a tropical storm after hitting the shore as a hurricane late Monday night. It's bringing threats of flash floods and tornadoes as it heads to the Northeast.
Isaias remains fearsome: Just before 9 a.m. ET, a weather station at York River East in Virginia reported wind gusts up to 94 mph, the National Hurricane Center says.
"Very heavy rainfall and life-threatening flash and urban flooding are expected along the storm's track up the Eastern Seaboard," the National Weather Service says. "A few tornadoes will be possible from the Virginia Tidewater into New England."
At 10 a.m. ET, the hurricane center reported tornadoes over eastern Maryland and the Delmarva Peninsula.
Isaias made landfall in North Carolina around 11:10 p.m. ET Monday, blasting ashore with sustained winds of 85 mph near Ocean Isle Beach, N.C., just above the border with South Carolina, the National Hurricane Center said.
Nearly 370,000 power outages have been reported in North Carolina, the state's Emergency Management division said Tuesday morning. Most of those outages are in the eastern half of the state, where at least five counties each report more than 20,000 outages.
Anyone still in the storm's path should expect its arrival soon: Isaias is rushing toward the north-northeast, moving at 35 mph as of 10 a.m. ET. Its forward motion has sped up consistently after coming ashore moving around 22 mph. And its effects arrive even sooner, as outer bands of rain stretch for hundreds of miles. As of 8 a.m., Isaias was extending tropical storm-force winds outward up to 140 miles.
Strong winds snapped thick pine trees in Suffolk, Va., west of Virginia Beach, damaging multiple homes and prompting the city to open an emergency shelter in a high school. A hotel also had its roof blown off, according to Kiahnna Patterson of local TV news station WAVY. She adds that local officials believe a tornado may have touched down in the area.
Since its center moved over land, the storm has weakened slowly — roughly nine hours after landfall, it was still clocking sustained winds of 70 mph, according to the NHC's 8 a.m. update. Those strong winds are expected to down trees and cause power outages.
"A faster rate of weakening is expected to begin tonight, and the system is forecast to become post-tropical tonight or early Wednesday," the NHC says.
The center of the storm was over land for hours and is now about 50 miles south of Annapolis, Md. — but Isaias' surge of ocean water still poses a dire threat for a broad swath of the coast.
Over the past 12 hours, Isaias has put roughly 1,000 miles of the U.S. East Coast under a storm surge warning, from Folly Beach, S.C., near Charleston, to Martha's Vineyard, Mass. The current outlook warns of a peak surge of 3-5 feet for much of North Carolina's coastline, and of 1-3 feet for areas to the north, including the Chesapeake Bay and Delaware Bay.
The system is bringing heavy rain and strong winds far inland. In just one hour, Isaias dropped an inch of rain in Raleigh, N.C., the National Weather Service's office there reported. The city is about 150 miles northwest of Morehead City, on the coast.
As it brings perilous amounts of water, the storm is not expected to linger. By Tuesday night, the weather service says, the center of Isaias will be moving into southern Canada.
Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.