Doyle Rice USA TODAY
After lashing portions of the Caribbean with rain and wind, Tropical Storm Isaias is now forecast to become a hurricane on Friday, the National Hurricane Center said.
A tropical storm watch has been posted for parts of the east coast of Florida, as the projected path of the storm continues to keep most of Florida in its possible track.
“Isaias is forecast to be near the central Bahamas Friday night and move near or over the Northwest Bahamas and near South Florida on Saturday,” the hurricane center said.
The hurricane center added that “there is a risk of impacts from winds, heavy rainfall, and storm surge this weekend along the Florida east coast and spreading northward along the remainder of the U.S. east coast through early next week.”
The forecast track of Tropical Storm Isaias shows it strengthening into a hurricane as it moves up the U.S. East Coast over the next few days.
National Hurricane Center
Isaias is a large cyclone with tropical-storm-force winds extending up to 240 miles from its center. Portions of Florida could start feeling tropical-storm-force winds as early as Friday night, but more likely Saturday morning, the National Weather Service said.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said residents could feel the impacts from the storm into early next week. He encouraged everyone to prepare by having at least seven days of supplies.
On Thursday, Isaias’ rain unleashed small landslides and causing widespread flooding and power outages across Puerto Rico.
The storm knocked out power to more than 400,000 customers across Puerto Rico, according to the island’s Electric Power Authority. Minor damage was reported elsewhere in the island, where tens of thousands of people still use tarps as roofs over homes damaged by Hurricane Maria in September 2017.
As of 5 p.m. ET, Isaias had 60 mph winds and was centered about about 250 miles southeast of the southeastern Bahamas, according to the hurricane center.
It was moving west northwest at 20 mph, and its center was expected to move over Hispaniola (which consists of the countries of Haiti and the Dominican Republic) later on Thursday and near the southeastern Bahamas by early Friday.
Isaias: How to pronounce this new storm name and how hurricanes get their names
Isaias is the earliest ninth Atlantic named storm to form in an Atlantic hurricane season, according to Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach. The previous record was Irene on Aug. 7, 2005, Klotzbach tweeted.
So far this year, Cristobal, Danielle, Edouard, Fay, Gert and Hanna have also been the earliest named Atlantic storms for their alphabetic order.