Isaias was forecast to return to hurricane strength Monday before making landfall in the Carolinas, where coastal residents were warned to brace for flooding rains and storm surge. The U.S. National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane warning from South Santee River, South Carolina, to Surf City, North Carolina.
Isaias was still a tropical storm at 5 p.m. ET with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph, but it was expected to strengthen into a Category 1 hurricane later Monday, with winds of 74 mph or more.
“We are forecasting it to become a hurricane before it reaches the coast this evening,” senior hurricane specialist Daniel Brown said. “It’s forecast to produce a dangerous storm surge, of 3 to 5 feet in portions of North and South Carolina.”
Isaias — pronounced ees-ah-EE-ahs — could bring heavy rains, too — up to 8 inches in spots as it moves up the coast, Brown said — and “all those rains could produce flash flooding across portions of eastern Carolinas and mid-Atlantic, and even in the northeast U.S.”
Isaias killed two people in the Caribbean and roughed up the Bahamas but remained at sea as it brushed past Florida over the weekend, providing some welcome relief to emergency managers who had to accommodate mask-wearing evacuees in storm shelters.
In Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, people walking dogs strolled the sand Monday morning under overcast skies while children played in surf that gently lapped the shore.