TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Tropical Storm Isaias has strengthened to become a Category 1 hurricane as it continues its trek toward the United States.
The National Hurricane Center issued a special advisory at midnight saying Hurricane Isaias had strengthened with maximum sustained wind speeds now up to 80 mph. The NHC does not expect much change in Isaias’ strength in the next 48 hours.
As of 5 a.m. ET, Hurricane Isaias is about 15 miles south-southwest of Great Inagua Island in the Bahamas. It’s moving northwest at about 17 mph.
Isaias is still expected to move over or near the southeastern Bahamas overnight before reaching the central Bahamas on Friday night. The forecast then brings it near or over the northwestern Bahamas and near South Florida on Saturday.
A hurricane warning has been issued for the Bahamas.
According to the NHC, Isaias could start impacting Florida on Saturday. A tropical storm watch has been issued for the east coast of Florida from Ocean Reef to Sebastian Inlet including Lake Okeechobee. A tropical storm watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible in the area, generally within 48 hours.
“Tropical storm conditions are possible along portions of the Florida east coast beginning Saturday,” the latest NHC advisory said. “While storm surge watches are not currently needed for this area, they may be required tonight or early tomorrow if the forecast track shifts closer to the coast.”
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for:
- Northwestern Bahamas: Andros Island, New Providence, Eleuthera, Abacos Islands, Berry Islands, Grand Bahamas Island and Bimini
- Southeastern Bahamas: The Acklins, Crooked Island, Long Cay, the Inaguas, Mayaguana and the Ragged Islands
- Central Bahamas: Cat Island, the Exumas, Long Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:
- Dominican Republic: The entire southern and northern coastlines
- Haiti: North coast from Le Mole St Nicholas eastward to the northern border with the Dominican Republic
- Turks and Caicos Islands
A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for:
- Florida’s east coast: From Ocean Reef to Sebastian Inlet
- Lake Okeechobee