Hurricane Isaias lashes Bahamas, nears Florida

Hurricane Isaias strengthened slightly when it hit the Bahamas on Saturday, hitting Florida and was expected to approach the southeast of the state later in the day before traveling the US east coast.

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Isaias carried sustainable winds of 140 km / h and was located 125 kilometers south-southeast of the Bahamas capital, Nassau, at 5 am ET, heading northwest, the US National Hurricane Center said.

Its center was approaching the island of Andros in the Bahamas and would pass over or near the islands in the central and northwestern Bahamas on Saturday, bringing the danger of harmful storms up to 1.52 meters above normal tide levels, he said. the NHC.

The storm, category 1 on the Saffir-Simpson scale, in five stages, prompted authorities in some parts of Florida to close the COVID-19 test sites and people to stock up on essentials.

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Residents fill and collect sandbags before Hurricane Isaias is scheduled to arrive in Doral, Florida, on Friday. (Liza Feria / Reuters)

Isaias was expected to cause heavy rains on the state's Atlantic coast, starting the previous Friday, before reaching the eastern Carolinas early next week, the NHC reported.

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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has established a state of emergency for a dozen counties on the Atlantic coast, which facilitates resource mobilization. North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper followed suit.

2 deaths in the Dominican Republic

The storm caused at least two deaths in the Dominican Republic and felled trees, flooded streets and cut power to thousands of homes and businesses in Puerto Rico, according to media reports.

WATCH Puerto Rico hit by Isaias:

Widespread damage reported as the storm gains hurricane strength en route to the US East Coast. 1:01

Public beaches, parks, marinas and golf courses were closed in Miami-Dade County on Friday.

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Miami-Dade and Broward counties also closed the drive-through and walk-up test sites for COVID-19, as the state at the epicenter of the country's outbreak reported a record increase in coronavirus deaths for the fourth consecutive day.

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DeSantis said the test sites would remain open on the west coast of Florida, and tests at hospitals and community centers could also continue.

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