By Mike S Payton, Contributing Reporter
DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA – As of 5AM today, Friday, July 31st, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Isaias, which reached hurricane strength late Thursday, is now expected to become a Category 2 storm with maximum winds of 100 mph.
In an update at 11AM today, the NHC said tropical storm conditions will continue across portions of the Turks and Caicos this morning. Hurricane conditions in the southeastern Bahamas will spread northwestward into the central and northwestern Bahamas tonight and into Saturday.
Tropical storm conditions are expected in the warning area in Florida beginning Saturday. Hurricane conditions are possible in the Hurricane Watch area beginning Saturday night and continuing into Sunday.
Delray Beach Emergency Manager Chris Bell spoke on a city update yesterday, and said, “This has been a strange one, it took a really long time to organize for kind of an eye of the storm to be identified by the Weather Service in the National Hurricane Center and so that makes it more difficult to predict the pathway.”
“What we do know right now is the cone includes Palm Beach County and Delray Beach, so it’s important for all of our residents and visitors to take precautions now, regardless of whether this is Tropical Storm strength a low strength hurricane,” he said.
Rainfall from Friday night through Monday will swash South Florida into east-Central Florida with 2 to 4 inches, and isolated maximum totals of 6 inches. These rainfall amounts could result in isolated flash and urban flooding, especially in low-lying and poorly drained areas.
It’s highest wind speeds are supposed to be over the central and northwestern Bahamas early Saturday with 100 mph maximum sustained wind speeds, but the center of Isaias’ track will be off the coast of Miami Saturday afternoon with 90 mph winds and 115 mph gusts.
Emergency Manager Bell said, “We’re going to get a significant amount of rain, it looks like, and high winds and so now is the time to do that preparation to get everything out of your yard that’s not permanent. To finish trimming those trees, to make sure you’re ready if we have to lose power for a day or two, things like that.”
The Palm Beach Post wrote that Palm Beach County has about a 40 to 60 percent chance of experiencing tropical-storm-force winds from Isaias. A tropical storm watch means damaging winds are expected within 48 hours.