Tropical Storm Isaias is intimidating the U.S. East Coast, but weather officials say it’s not time to worry yet.
“(Friday) morning we’re going to have a better idea what’s going on with this storm. It’s been taking a more easterly track, which is good for us,” said Alec Eaton, director of the Glynn County Emergency Management Agency. “There’s a 5 to 10 percent chance of tropical storm wind conditions if it were to stay at its present strength.”
The storm could strike the Golden Isles by Sunday evening or Monday morning, but much depends on how the storm acts after crossing the islands in the West Indies, he explained.
The storm’s intensity plays a large role, Al Sandrick, meteorologist with the National Weather Service station in Jacksonville, explained. A more intense storm will likely head back out to sea while a weaker one may tend to strike toward land. Warm water is also a factor in increasing intensity, and there’s plenty of that off the Atlantic Coast right now, Sandrick said.
Either Isaias hits Florida and heads north towards the Golden Isles or pulls back into the Atlantic Ocean. There’s plenty of gradient in between, however. It might dissipate before it reaches the Golden Isles, hit the islands while skimming the mainland or track off the coast altogether, Eaton said.
“Right now, just giving it time and letting Mother Nature decide what she wants to do,” Eaton said. “The biggest thing is to monitor (the storm) and be aware of what’s going and hope it goes more eastward.”
Now is the time to update evacuation plans, especially in light of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.
“Everything economic is real challenging right now, so finding friends and family who can help you is a huge component this year,” Eaton said. “Contact friends and family outside the county to see if you can find people to house you if it gets bad.”
Emergency kits should include, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the typical first aid kit, flashlight, portable radio, extra batteries, a gallon of clean water, a seven-day supply of prescribed medication, a cell phone charger, non-perishable food, emergency contact information, extra cash and sanitation supplies.
“This year we added sanitation supplies,” Eaton said.
Sanitation supplies include masks, hand sanitizer, wet wipes and disinfectant.
Preparedness is essential, and plans should be based on the best information available, Sandrick said. Social media is not the source of that unless it comes from someone who is an authority on the subject.
“Anyone who tells you they have the correct answer right now is selling you some incorrect information,” Sandrick said. “Monitor (information on the storm) right now and be careful of what you see on social media.”