Tropical Storm Isaias lashes US north-east, at least three dead

2020-08-05 09:30:07.300 | view 85 | share : |

New York August, 5 (dpa) - Tropical Storm Isaias barrelled up the US east coast on Tuesday, causing tornadoes, floods and power outages in its path, and killing at least one person in New York City and two more in North Carolina.

The storm brought heavy rains, powerful winds and tornadoes to states including New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, according to the US national hurricane service (NHC), with New York City under a tornado watch until the afternoon.

Tornadoes, seen more often in the south or mid-west, are rare in north-eastern states.

The NHC warned that the storm would continue across the New England states during the night, with tropical force winds expected to cause power outages and tree damage.

At around 9:50 pm (0150 GMT) it confirmed that the storm's centre had reached New England and was trekking north-north-east at around 64 kilometres per hour (km/h).

Earlier one man died in New York City's borough of Queens when a tree fell on his parked van and crushed it, local channel NBC4 reported.

Strong winds "that could knock down trees and power lines" blew through New York City, the NHC said, with gusts of 140 km/h expected, likely the highest since Super Storm Sandy in 2012.

"Everyone take this very seriously. Between the rain, flooding potential, the winds, even potential tornadoes, that's a lot," New York Mayor Bill de Blasio told a news conference. "Don't go outside if you don't need to."

He added that barriers and dams had been erected in parts of Manhattan that had been battered by Sandy.

The city's restaurants and bars, relying on outdoor operations due to the coronavirus pandemic, were forced to pack up their outside furniture.

The governor of neighbouring New Jersey, Phil Murphy, announced a statewide state of emergency, shutting down all state offices and advising people not to drive.

Around 3 million people were without power at least temporarily in five states, according to a power outage tracking website, with most in New Jersey.

The NHC warned of "potentially life-threatening urban flooding" in Philadelphia, Washington and other cities.

Isaias hit the east coast late on Monday with maximum sustained winds of 140 km/h, though it weakened after it made landfall near Ocean Isle Beach in North Carolina and was downgraded to a tropical storm, according to the NHC.

At least two people died and a dozen more were injured when a tornado spawned by Isaias ravaged a mobile home park in North Carolina's Bertie County, leaving a field of debris in its wake, according to a county news release.

Around 355,000 people were without power, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said during a television appearance, but noted that "overall ... the damage was not in any way as a great as it could've been."

Early on Tuesday, streets and shops were flooded in the tourist city of Myrtle Beach in North Carolina, the Washington Post reported.

Isaias had passed over parts of the Bahamas as a hurricane on Saturday, but weakened again into a tropical storm on its way towards the east coast of Florida. The storm did not hit land in Florida, despite initial predictions it would.