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Raleigh, N.C. — Overnight, Tropical Storm Isaias developed into a Category 1 hurricane. The storm, currently approaching the Bahamas, is forecast to impact Florida this weekend and North Carolina by Monday.
The storm was listed at 80 mph just after midnight on Friday. It was 80 miles southeast of the Great Inagua Island in the Bahamas and moving northwest at 18 mph.
Isaias is forecast to be near the central Bahamas late Friday and move near or over the northwestern Bahamas and near South Florida on Saturday. Tracks indicate it could impact the Carolinas early Monday morning.
On Thursday while still a tropical storm, Isaias knocked out power, toppled trees and caused widespread flooding and small landslides in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, where at least 35 people were rescued from floodwaters and one person remained missing. A hurricane warning was in effect for the northwestern Bahamas, including Andros Island, New Providence, Eleuthera, Abaco Islands, Berry Islands, Grand Bahama and Bimini.
The Thursday 11 p.m. update from the National Hurricane Center has the storm maintaining 60 mph winds. The current path of the storm has it impacting the North Carolina coast as early as Monday morning with the threat continuing into early Tuesday before heading out to sea.
Flooding would be the biggest risk with the storm, mainly at the coast.
There is a threat for rip currents starting Friday. WRAL meteorologist Kat Campbell said there will be a high rip current risk from Wilmington to Ocracoke Island. A moderate rip current threat will be in effect north of Ocracoke Island and south of Wilmington.
A Tropical Storm Watch was issued Thursday afternoon for parts of the Florida coast. There is a risk for storm surges, heavy rain and winds along the Florida coast this weekend.
Campbell said winds are forecasted to be about 75 mph if the storm brushes the Outer Banks.
In the Dominican Republic, Tropical Storm Isaias would move through mountainous terrain, which can “tear apart” tropical systems, according to WRAL meteorologist Zach Maloch.
But water temperatures are warm, and there is plenty of moisture in the atmosphere, which will help this system grow, Maloch said.
The path of the storm will ultimately determine its intensity, he said. If it stays over open water, it will gain strength. But if the storm’s path is over land, it will not been as intense.
Isaias is the earliest “I-named storm” on record, according to The Associated Press.
There a few things meteorologist are watching with this storm system:
- Ocean temperatures: tropical wave has enough moisture to keep some organization
- Dry air to the north: might slow development
Central North Carolina has a chance of storms every afternoon this week.