Temporary Downgrade for Isaias, But “Don’t Be Fooled” Warns Governor

August 1, 2020, PM Update – Hurricane Isaias was downgraded to a tropical storm earlier this evening but has shifted slightly west and will impact Florida’s East Coast, with hurricane conditions expected Sunday.  Forecasters expect Isaias to intensify overnight back into a hurricane, prompting Governor DeSantis in his 5pm address to the state to say, “Don’t be fooled.  We expect the storm to be upgraded back to a hurricane later tonight.  Even a tropical storm can create damage and downed trees and limbs onto power lines.  Expect some power to go out.

At the 5pm update, Isaias was located 115 miles southeast of Ft. Lauderdale, moving northwesterly at 10 mph with sustained winds of 70 mph – just under the 74 mph threshold for a hurricane.  Forecasters say the storm’s center is expected to come very close to the Treasure Coast on Sunday morning (Indian River, St. Lucie, and Martin Counties).  The center is expected back off the Northeast Florida coast by Monday afternoon and then head up the coast toward the Carolinas.

Rainfall totals are expected to be 2-4” over a widespread area, with some spots potentially getting 6”, which would be enough to cause life-threatening flash floods.  Northeast Florida is expected to receive 1-2 inches of rain.

There is a Storm Surge Watch in effect tonight from Jupiter Inlet to Ponte Vedra Beach with 2-4 feet of surge possible.

Current Warnings/Watches:

Hurricane Warning from Boca Raton to the Flagler/Volusia County border
Hurricane Watch from Hallandale Beach to south of Boca Raton Florida
Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for…
* North of Ocean Reef to south of Boca Raton Florida
* Lake Okeechobee
* Volusia/Flagler County Line to Ponte Vedra Beach Florida
Tropical Storm Watch from North of Ponte Vedra Beach Florida to Altamaha Sound, Georgia

Some shelters are open and others being readied.  Palm Beach County has opened five shelters and has been evacuating residents voluntarily from its Zone A along the beaches and low-lying areas.  Indian River County and adjoining inland Okeechobee County also have shelters open.  Brevard County (Melbourne) has shelters ready to open if necessary, as do counties north to the Georgia state line.  The state has secured four hotels in a four-county area to serve as non-congregate shelters, given the coronavirus social distancing restrictions.  They are prepared to secure more if the situation requires it.  Emergency management officials will avoid mandatory evacuations if at all possible, said the Governor, urging people instead to consider sheltering in place in a hurricane if safe to do so or going to live with other family/friends outside the expected impacted area instead of going to shelters due to the coronavirus fear.

FEMA has approved the pre-landfall emergency declaration and request by Governor DeSantis Friday to the President through FEMA’s Southeast Regional Administrator.  That means the 19 counties will be eligible for 75% federal cost share for preparation and related expenses.

Click here for the full National Hurricane Center briefing with maps.   You can also review our past Hurricane Updates and click here to subscribe to future Updates.

Please know that we at Lisa Miller & Associates are here 24/7 for you …don’t forget it.  It may sound trite but we are all in this together, my friends and colleagues.  Please prepare and be aware!

Lisa & the LMA team

Here’s the latest News from the Governor’s Office of specific state preparedness actions to respond to COVID-19 and Tropical Storm Isaias:

  • The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) is prepared to support any requests for assistance from health care facilities and special needs shelters due to Isaias.
  • The Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) has sent PPE shelter kits with gloves, hand sanitizer and masks to sustain 10,000 people for 96 hours to counties in Tropical Storm Isaias’ path.
  • The Division has pre-staged 1.8 million meals and 9.4 million water bottles for counties experiencing impacts from Tropical Storm Isaias.
  • The Division is working with private-sector partners to monitor fuel activity. At this time, there are no reports of shortages.
  • FDEM has deployed staff to county Emergency Operations Centers in the storm’s path to assist with local response efforts.
  • The Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) is closely monitoring field offices that may be potentially impacted by the storm and has distributed guidance and communication to staff in the event of office closures.
  • The Agency made outreach calls to critical health care facilities along the eastern seaboard that are in a surge zone for the storm’s path. All nursing homes and assisted living facilities have a generator on-site.
  • The Agency is ensuring health care facilities in the storm’s projected path are updating the Emergency Status System and providing notification of any plans to evacuate.
  • The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) is currently monitoring Isaias and any evacuation orders and shelter openings along Florida’s East coast.
  • DEO is preparing to deploy potential disaster resources as needed in response to Tropical Storm Isaias’s impacts. This includes the Business Damage Assessment Survey, Emergency Bridge Loan and Disaster Unemployment Assistance.
  • DEO is also coordinating with state and local partners to determine proactive action, updates or unmet needs from the private sector.
  • The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) closed 22 State Parks for day use and eight campgrounds with overnight accommodations are currently closed in response to Tropical Storm Isaias. Florida State Park closures can be found at https://www.floridastateparks.org/StormUpdates.
  • DEP has completed pre-storm beach surveys.
  • Pre-storm prep guidance has been distributed to all hazardous waste, drinking water and wastewater facilities.
  • DEP has issued Emergency Orders which authorize repairs, replacement, restoration, and certain other measures made necessary by Tropical Storm Isaias.
  • DEP is coordinating HART team resources for deployment in impacted areas if needed.
  • Dam Safety Alerts have been sent out to 60 dam owners.
  • Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) continues to closely monitor Isaias and stands ready to assist.
  • FHP is in communication with law enforcement and transportation partners to identify and assist with any local needs before, during and after the storm.
  • FHP has Quick Response Force Troopers strategically located across the state and available if needed.
  • FHP continues to urge motorists to use extreme caution if driving during storm conditions.
  • All Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) facilities and centers are on alert, monitoring weather advisories and have completed pre-storm preparations for Tropical Storm Isaias.
  • The Florida Department of Management Services’ (DMS) State Purchasing team continues to lead Emergency Support Function (ESF) 7, providing critical procurement and consultation support during the emergency.
  • The DMS Telecommunications team continues to lead ESF 2, providing critical telephonic communication and direct connectivity support during the emergency.
  • The DMS Real Estate Development and Management team continues to work with facility managers in potential areas of impact for coordinating state building closures.
  • DMS continues to encourage state employees in potential areas of impact to make plans, prepare kits, and stay informed.
  • The Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) worked with AHCA to issue new telemedicine guidance for Developmental Disabilities Individual Budgeting (iBudget) Waiver adult day training (ADT) providers.
  • The Florida National Guard (FLNG) is continues to monitor Isaias and is prepared to mobilize support as state response efforts continue.
  • Approximately 1,467 Florida National Guardsmen are mobilized to support Florida’s response to COVID-19.
  • FLNG has expanded its support to mobile testing teams and the community-based and walk-up test sites. To date, the FLNG has assisted in the testing of more than 999,000 individuals for the COVID-19 virus.
  • Through Executive Order 20-181, Governor DeSantis authorized the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to suspend the size and weight restrictions for vehicles transporting emergency equipment, including fuel, to disaster impacted areas of our state quickly and efficiently.
  • FDOT is currently monitoring Isaias and will shore up construction sites and monitor drainage in and around the state’s roadways to help ensure the safety of the traveling public.
  • As Tropical Storm Isaias approaches Florida’s coast, Volunteer Florida is working with partners and Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) to prepare resources and potential response efforts, including shelter operations. The agency is also preparing to assist with coordinating volunteer opportunities through Volunteer Connect, Florida’s official volunteer opportunities platform.