Isaias weakens slightly, but is forecast to strengthen again

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  • NOAA graphic showing the potential path of Isaias as of 5 p.m. Saturday.
    NOAA graphic showing the potential path of Isaias as of 5 p.m. Saturday.
  • Sand piled at Peters Point for residents to use in sandbags. A red warning flag indicates dangerous water conditions.  Robert Fiege/News-Leader
    Sand piled at Peters Point for residents to use in sandbags. A red warning flag indicates dangerous water conditions. Robert Fiege/News-Leader
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Red flags are flying on the beaches of Amelia Island warning swimmers that conditions are dangerous and to stay out of the rough seas and rip currents being generated ahead of now-Tropical Storm Isaias. Today the county government also added Isaias to its current state of emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Sand and sandbags will be available Sunday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at Peters Point Beachfront Park and Hilliard Road Yard.

The storm was downgraded from Category 1 hurricane status Saturday, but forecasters believe it will strengthen again.

The National Weather Service’s Jacksonville Office put the following message on Twitter at 5 p.m. Saturday: “🌀 Back to a TS for now, but forecast to regain hurricane strength overnight. 
⏰Timing is slower.
✅No changes to local warnings and watches issued earlier.”

From the 5 p.m. Eastern Saturday update from the National Hurricane Center: “At 500 PM EDT (2100 UTC), the center of Tropical Storm Isaias was located by an Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft near latitude 25.1 North, longitude 78.7 West. Isaias is moving toward the northwest near 10 mph (17 km/h). A general northwestward motion with some decrease in forward speed is expected for the next day or so, followed by a north-northwestward motion by late Sunday and a turn toward the north and north- northeast on Monday and Tuesday with an increase in forward speed.

“On the forecast track, the center of Isaias will approach the southeast coast of Florida tonight and move near or along the east coast of Florida Sunday and Sunday night. On Monday and Tuesday, the center of Isaias will move quickly from offshore of the coast of Georgia into the southern mid-Atlantic states. Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 70 mph (110 km/h) with higher gusts. Some restrengthening is forecast, and Isaias is expected to regain hurricane strength tonight. Slow weakening is expected to begin Sunday night and continue through Monday.

“Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 105 miles (165 km) from the center. During hew past couple of hours, a Weatherflow observing site at the Dania Pier in Broward County, Florida, reported a wind gust to 59 mph (94 km/h) in an outer rainband. More recently, a wind gust to 41 mph (67 km/h) was reported by a Weatherflow site in Juno Beach, Florida. The estimated minimum central pressure based on reconnaissance aircraft data is 993 mb (29.33 inches).”

From Nassau County Emergency Management:

“The National Hurricane Center has added Nassau County to its list of counties under a Tropical Storm Watch.

“Isaias continued moving northwest at 12 mph after striking the Bahamas earlier today. Sustained winds are 80 mph up to 35 miles out from the eye.

“There are no indications Nassau will experience anything stronger than Tropical Storm-force winds and rain amounts in the 1 to 3 inch range as Isaias is expected to stay off shore as it passes the county.

“Nassau County Emergency Management Director Greg Foster says plans are in place for all contingencies. The County’s emergency shelter for residents with special needs is on standby and Nassau County Public Works will have sandbag operations open at both Peters Point and its Hilliard Road Yard on Sunday for residents in low-lying areas that need to mitigate possible flooding.”