Bahamas bracing for Hurricane Isaias
Nassau – Hurricane Isaias was moving towards the Bahamas on Friday with maximum sustained winds of 80 miles per hour (mph) as the government there warned the population to take the storm seriously.
Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said that the lockdown of the country as part of the efforts to deal with the coronavirus (COVID-19) “will be relaxed” to allow for storm preparations and to respond following its passage.
“Effective Friday, 31 July, 2020, a curfew will be in place from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. This will remain in effect until further notice,” he said.
Minnis added that based on current indicators and data provided by health officials, a lockdown will still be necessary following the passage of the storm.
“Current indicators and data reveal that much stronger protective and mitigating measures are absolutely necessary and will have to be implemented,” he said, adding “I beg you, do not use this period for hurricane preparation to go socializing and visiting friends or family.
“If you do not need to be out, please, please, stay at home. We are in the midst of a pandemic and if we do not act responsibly, the consequences could be dire. During this time, I ask you to be respectful, courteous and helpful to others,” Minnis said.
The Miami-based National Hurricane Centre (NHC) in its latest bulleting at 8 a.m. said that the hurricane was about 30 miles northwest of Great Inagua island and that a hurricane watch remains in effect for most of the chain of islands.
The NHC said Hurricane Isaias is moving towards the northwest near 17 mph and a generally northwestward motion with some decrease in forward speed is expected for the next couple of days followed by a turn toward the north-northwest.
“On the forecast track, the centre of Isaias will move near or over the Southeastern Bahamas today. Isaias is forecast to be near the Central Bahamas tonight, and move near or over the Northwestern
Bahamas and be near or east of the Florida peninsula on Saturday and Sunday.
“Maximum sustained winds are near 80 mph with higher gusts. Some strengthening is possible today, and Isaias is expected to remain a hurricane for the next few days,” the NHC added.
It said hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 205 miles.
The NHC said that the hurricane could produce a dangerous storm surge with water levels rising by as much as three to five feet above normal tide levels in areas of onshore winds in the Bahamas.
“Tropical storm conditions will continue across portions of the Dominican Republic and the Turks and Caicos this morning. Hurricane conditions are expected to begin in the southeastern Bahamas this morning and spread into the central and northwestern Bahamas tonight and into Saturday,” it added. (CMC)