After Isaias weakened to a tropical storm on Saturday, its intensity is not predicted to be as strong over Eastern North Carolina as expected.
The forecast track remained close to Florida’s coast as of 8 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 2, and the storm is predicted to approach the South Carolina and North Carolina coast late Monday and early Tuesday.
According to the National Weather Service in Morehead City, though Isaias is no longer a Cat 1 hurricane, people should still prepare for the possibility of flash floods and tornadoes.
"Anywhere in Eastern North Carolina could see tornadoes," NWS warning coordination meteorologist Erik Heden said. "Our biggest concern is the flash flooding. We’ve got 2 to 4 inches of rain predicted, isolated up to 6. Since the rivers are so low, they would approach minor flood stage, and if we get more rain than that, it could be a little higher."
Heden asked media to inform people of the risk of rip currents and tornadoes "although the storm intensity is not expected to be as strong over our area as previously thought."
Heden said ENC will receive heavy rains upstream, causing the rivers to rise, approaching minor flood stage late this week.
As of 11 a.m. on Sunday, a Tropical Storm Warning has been issued from South Santee River in South Carolina to Surf City in North Carolina. A Tropical Storm Watch has been issued for the North Carolina coast from north of Surf City to Duck, including Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds.
"It’s really important to still be prepared because impacts occur beyond just wind," Heden said. "If it’s a hurricane or tropical storm, it’s only related to wind. Any tropical cyclone could produce dangerous impacts. We’ve already seen it with rip currents, and could see tornadoes, flash flooding, and minor river flooding.
"It’s important that even though it’s not as strong as a hurricane, we are still going to be impacted and it could be potentially life threatening. Wind is traditionally not the biggest killer of people as water, so it’s still something to respect."
Meanwhile, officials in Lenoir, Craven, Onslow, and Jones counties are making preparations and urging the public to remain vigilant.
Lenoir County Division of Emergency Management deputy director Samuel Kornegay said Sunday that no state of emergency has been declared but the county may see some areas with flash flooding.
He said Lenoir Community College’s gymnasium will open as a shelter if needed.
"There may be some areas with that, with flash flooding, but we will continue to monitor them and address them as they rise," Kornegay said. "We are not planning at this time to open any shelters, but if the storm increases, we would potentially open them."
Kornegay urges people to be prepared as the storm’s tracts could shift.
"As the storm comes closer to our area, there is uncertainty in the track," Kornegay said. "Going ahead and preparing and having those plans, items, and your kit ready is important for you to weather however the storm decides to impact us."
Craven County Government urges citizens to make preparations for the potential of high winds, heavy rain, power outages and localized flooding.
"Craven County is continuing to monitor the progression of Tropical Storm Isaias," Craven County public information officer Amber Parker said. "We are continuing to make preparations for heavy rains and high winds. Craven County prepares for a worst case scenario while hoping for the best case scenario."
Citizens are urged to have a plan. Check emergency supply kits for humans and pets.
Make preparations earlier than normal due to COVID-19 and social distancing. Residents are also encouraged to add hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol, liquid soap, sanitizing wipes and at least two cloth face coverings for each person over the age of two. Also, prepare by having an adequate supply of flashlights, batteries, bottled water, non-perishable foods and medicines. Citizens using home oxygen should have an alternative oxygen supply.
Know a safe place to shelter and to have several ways to receive weather alerts such as National Weather Service cell phone alerts, NOAA Weather Radio or follow the @NWS Twitter alerts. If staying with family or friends to evacuate from the storm, talk to them about how everyone can best be protected from COVID-19. Consider if either of the households have someone who is at higher risk of developing severe illness from COVID-19. Be sure to follow every day preventative actions, including covering coughs and sneezes, washing hands well and often, and avoiding touching eyes, noses and mouths with unwashed hands. Have a plan for what to do if someone starts to show COVID-19 related symptoms.
Mariners and boat owners need to make preparations for high winds to secure all vessels and/or relocation of boats affected by the East Front Street Bridge and Rail Road Bridges before notice of closure to boat traffic is issued.
Individuals planning to travel should use extreme caution and good judgment when planning travel routes and should never drive through standing or rushing water. Remember, "Turn Around Don’t Drown."
Craven County Government Emergency Management updates will appear on the Craven County website at cravencountync.gov, on the Craven County Facebook page @cravencounty and the Craven County Twitter account @cravencountync.
Visit the Craven County website to register to receive emergency notifications via text, email and phone calls through the CodeRed Emergency Notification System.
Jacksonville Mayor Sammy Phillips signed a State of Emergency Declaration on Friday should it be needed. The declaration will take effect at 6 p.m. Sunday, August 2, as there continues to be a threat from Tropical Storm Isaias.
According to a Jacksonville press release, there are no curfews in effect, and there is no evacuation order for the city, nor any other restrictions related to Isaias at this time.
Phillips does urge residents to be mindful that there are considerable risks associated with the storm. High winds, heavy rain and tornadoes are possible in the Jacksonville area.
Jacksonville residents are asked to visit jacksonvillenc.gov/connect to sign up for texts, emails and phone alerts for emergencies through Jacksonville Connect.
Residents are also asked to take emergency precautions for the storm as conditions could cause wind damage and power outages. According to the press release, residents should have food and supplies for three to five days without power. Those who might not feel comfortable in their regular residence, might want to reach out to family or friends as shelters, should they open, will have COVID-19 precautions and limited space.
In preparing for the storm, Jones County Government has decided to open the storm shelter on Monday, August 3, at noon.
According to a press release, Jones County Government is taking precautions to reduce the possible spread of COVID- 19 among residents who seek safety in a storm shelter.
The following CDC guidelines have been implemented into storm shelter preparations to reduce being exposed to or transmitting the COVID-19 virus:
All residents must check in at Jones Senior High School for screening prior to being in the shelter.
Residents should practice social distancing. Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arm’s length) from other people outside your household.
Residents need to bring supplies such as: non-perishable food, prescriptions, hygiene items, activities for their children, face coverings/masks, hand sanitizer, and sanitizing/disinfecting wipes.
If a resident feels sick when they arrive at the shelter or start to feel sick while sheltering, they should tell a shelter staff immediately.
Transportation to the shelter will be available to residents. Residents will need to call the EOC at 252-397-0007 to set up transportation starting tomorrow morning at 7:00 am.
According to the press release, Jones County Government is encouraging residents if applicable to make plans to stay with family or friends at a safe place inland or at a hotel to reduce chances of being exposed to or transmitting the COVID-19 virus.