Tropical Storm Isaias could strengthen to hurricane as it heads to Carolinas

ABC NewsBy EMILY SHAPIRO, MELISSA GRIFFIN and DANIEL MANZO, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — Tropical Storm Isaias is working its way up the southeast coast of the U.S. and is expected to make landfall in the Carolinas late Monday night.

With winds around 70 mph, the storm would have to strengthen a bit to make landfall as a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 74-95 mph.

Hurricane warnings have been issued for parts of the Carolinas and tropical storm alerts stretch from Florida to New England as the storm approaches northeastern South Carolina and southern North Carolina.

Isaias is forecast to bring torrential rain, flash flooding and storm surge to the East Coast, as well as dangerous winds to the Northeast.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency on Friday. Some coastal communities are under evacuation orders.

The rainfall total may reach seven inches, Cooper said Monday.

He urged residents to stay inside during heavy winds and warned them to be mindful of downed trees and powerlines.

The last hurricane to make landfall in North Carolina was Dorian in 2019. The last hurricane to make landfall in South Carolina was Matthew in 2016.

After landfall in the Carolinas, Isaias will weaken and make its way up the East Coast.

Isaias will reach the Mid-Atlantic by early morning Tuesday and the Northeast by Tuesday night.

Over six inches of rain are forecast for the Mid-Atlantic.

The heaviest rainfall is expected to hit along the Interstate 95 corridor from Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia to New York City.

Damaging winds are also forecast for New Jersey, New York City and Long Island.

Wind gusts may climb over 70 mph on the Jersey Shore, which could cause widespread power outages.

Rip currents and storm surge are also expected at the Jersey Shore, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy warned Monday, recommending that residents stay inside on Tuesday.

New York City is expected to get hit by tropical-storm force winds, storm surge and several inches of rain, city officials said.

Lower Manhattan is particularly vulnerable to storm surge, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday. Emergency management crews are deploying flood protection measures, he said.

“We are not taking any chances at all,” de Blasio said.

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