Thousands of East Coast residents were still without power a week after Tropical Storm Isaias barreled through more than 12 eastern states, including New York and New Jersey, on August 4.
Isaias made landfall in North Carolina on August 3 as a Category 1 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 85 miles per hour before weakening to a tropical storm. Damage to Caribbean islands and along the U.S. Atlantic coast stemmed from flooding, power outages, downed trees, and tornadoes.
Like every disaster, Isaias will give rise to criminal activity. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) reminds us that crooks posing as contractors may press homeowners into paying out their insurance claim before repairs are completed. Once they collect the payment, they disappear without completing the promised work. To keep from becoming a victim of these contractor scams, follow these tips from the NICB. The tips include getting more than one estimate and getting everything in writing.
Another post-disaster scam is the sale of flooded vehicles. Dishonest dealers can buy flooded vehicles, clean them up and sell them to unsuspecting buyers. If you are shopping for a used vehicle, NICB recommends checking a few items, such as water stains and mildew that could indicate whether the vehicle is a flood recovery vehicle or not.
NICB also provides a free tool called VINCheck that allows consumers to check a vehicle for a “red flag,” such as theft, accident damage, or salvage titles.
During the evening of August 3 Hurricane Isaias hit North Carolina, flooding areas along the shore as well as inland. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) reports that at the time of its landfall near Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina, shortly after 11 p.m., Isaias carried sustained winds of 85 mph and was classified as a Category 1 hurricane. Isaias was downgraded to a tropical storm early on August 4, when its maximum sustained winds fell to 70 mph.
Forecasters warned that Isaias remains a dangerous, life-threatening storm as it moves up the Eastern Seaboard and could bring the strongest winds to New York City since superstorm Sandy in 2012.
Damaging winds, torrential rain, power outages and tornadoes are expected to affect metro areas including Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Boston. Residents in all coastal states should heed evacuation orders.
Hurricane preparedness guidance is available from Triple-I here.
A broad area of low pressure called Potential Tropical Cyclone 9 will likely become Tropical Storm Isaias in the eastern Caribbean. If it were to get named, it would be the fifth named storm to form this July. The most Atlantic named storms to form in July on record (since 1851) is 5 in 2005.
The storm has potential to generate flash floods and mudslides in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands as it strengthens. Tropical storm-force gusts could arrive in Florida as early as Friday night, but Saturday is much more likely, according to the National Weather Service Miami.
South Florida’s chances for experiencing tropical storm-force winds (speeds of at least 39 mph) stand at 15 percent to 25 percent in the next five days, the weather service said. It also said that “most of the rainfall this week will be over the interior and Gulf coast of southern Florida,” with rain chances increasing for Florida’s east coast on Friday.
Residents of Florida are strongly encouraged to prepare for Isaias and other storms during this above average hurricane season, and especially with the additional challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony said in a news conference that the biggest problem officials anticipate is the ability to effectively social-distance while taking in large numbers of people at county storm shelters.
South Floridians should “start to examine what other opportunities or options they may have to be out of South Florida, to push inland or even to push out of the state in advance,” he said.
Click here for Triple-I’s hurricane preparedness tips.