(Miami) Hurricane Isaias reached the Bahamas archipelago on Friday, where it should strengthen before touching on Saturday Florida, an American state that counts already among the most affected by the recrudescence of the COVID pandemic – 14 in the USA.
Leila MACOR with Daxia ROJAS in Washington
France Media Agency
Isaias went overnight from Thursday to Friday from tropical storm status to category 1 hurricane (out of 5), with winds blowing up to 130 km / h, depending on latest bulletin from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) at 20 h (0 h GMT).
It should “strengthen in the evening (Friday) and Saturday morning”, and “remain a hurricane in the next two days”, said the NHC.
Its winds began to sweep the south-eastern Bahamas on Friday, already devastated in September 924 by Category 5 Hurricane Dorian, which had made at least 47 dead, hundreds of people missing and billions of dollars in property damage.
Isaias should move during the night towards the center of the archipelago, before touching Saturday and Sunday the east coast of the Florida peninsula, on a part of which a “hurricane vigilance” advisory has been issued.
The hurricane “could bring heavy rains in southern and eastern Florida from Friday”, which could cause in places “flash floods” and “flooding in cities”, Florida Emergency Management Agency notified.
During his visit to the Dominican Republic, including 14 of 32 provinces had been placed on red alert, Isaias was killed and caused river flooding.
Roads submerged by mud, high-voltage lines torn off, decapitated trees and vegetation, flooded houses… It also caused a lot of damage on Friday in Puerto Rico, American territory.
In order to prepare for the worst, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis urged his people to get ready and stockpile food for “at least seven days.”
The Republican leader also declared a state of emergency on Friday for counties on the state's east coast, from Miami-Dade to Nassau.
“The situation is constantly evolving and can change quickly,” he warned at a press conference.
NASA for its part said it is closely monitoring the progress of the hurricane, which could delay the return to Earth, after two months of mission to the International Space Station, of the manned capsule of SpaceX, supposed to return Sunday afternoon off Florida.
The arrival of a hurricane as Florida has become one of the epicenters of the COVID pandemic – 14 in the United States is a disaster scenario for this state, whose hospitals are already overwhelmed.
“The Covid is serious. A hurricane is serious. If we combine them, the result is worse than the sum of the two […]. It will have a multiplier effect, not a cumulative effect, “former head of emergency management in that state, Bryan Koon, said in April.
President Donald Trump visited the “Sunshine State” on Friday, which recorded a record number of deaths from the virus in 24 hours for the fourth consecutive day.
Florida deplored Friday 257 deaths in one day, thus surpassing the results of the previous days (253 dead Thursday , 216 Wednesday, 186 Tuesday).
It also has more than 445 00 0 cases detected since the start of the pandemic, exceeding New York, long the epicenter of the American epidemic in the spring.
Florida has nevertheless started to close COVID testing centers – 16, often set up in tents, in anticipation of the arrival of the hurricane.
“These are temporary structures that cannot withstand the winds of a tropical storm,” the Florida emergency management agency explained before Isaias take hurricane status.
The counties testing centers, fewer in number than those run by the state, will remain open.