Hurricane Isaias made landfall in North Carolina around 11:10 p.m. ET on Tuesday, according to the National Hurricane Center. After weakening to a tropical storm, the system regained its hurricane status a few hours before making landfall in the U.S. Nearly 120 million Americans are in the path of the storm.
Isaias made landfall in southern North Carolina near Ocean Isle Beach with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph. The storm is expected to rip up the East Coast on Tuesday, bringing with it as much as 6 inches of rain, flooding, power outages and damaging winds. New York City could see its highest gusts since Superstorm Sandy.
Warnings stretch from North and South Carolina to Maine. New Jersey governor Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency for the entire state. At least two people were killed over the weekend in the Dominican Republic as the storm passed through the Caribbean.
Isaias lit up the sky overnight with a spectacular show featuring thousands of lightning bolts, as seen from a U.S. weather satellite in space.
Beneath the clouds, strong winds and high surf pounded the coasts of Florida and Georgia causing flooding, beach erosion and the evacuation of a water-locked hospital in Cape Canaveral. But the bulk of the storm just swiped the coast of those two states and remained at sea.
To prepare for the storm, North Carolina has already shut down some testing centers and the governor there is warning those who need to leave the coast to avoid staying in shelters to prevent spreading COVID-19. However, for those who do need them, there will be temperature checks and anyone running a fever will be sent to another shelter where they will be isolated.
“We’re anticipating landfall in North Carolina, South Carolina border tonight,” said Drew Pearson, the emergency management director in Dare County, North Carolina. “Our biggest concern is storm surge. We have very low lying areas. We’ve evacuated Hatteras Island down to our south.”
“This storm will bring dangerous weather conditions to much of our state overnight — heavy rains, flash floods,” North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said.
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.
“We’re from Michigan, so we get snow and go through it all,” Aliyah Owens, who arrived in Myrtle Beach for a summer vacation Sunday, told CBS affiliate WBTW-TV. “A little water isn’t going to hurt.”
The hurricane center warned that storm surges between 1-5 feet are likely between South Carolina and Martha’s Vineyard, with the highest levels expected from the South Santee River in South Carolina to Cape Fear in North Carolina.