NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Tropical storm force winds and some hurricane conditions are now being felt in the central islands of The Bahamas as Hurricane Isaias barrels closer to the northwest part of the archipelago.
“Tropical storm conditions are now being experienced in and around Crooked Island and Acklins and conditions are beginning to subside over the Turks and Caicos Islands,” said the Department of Meteorology, advising residents to rush to complete all preparations to mitigate damages and secure all loose items around their property.
“Residents are strongly advised to remain indoors while experiencing hurricane and tropical storm force winds.
“Tornadic activities are possible in severe thunderstorms.”
A hurricane warning remains in effect for the entire Bahamas.
A hurricane warning means hurricane conditions are being experienced or could be experienced somewhere in the warning are within 36 hours.
As of 11am, the center of the storm was located around 75 miles northwest of Matthew Town, Inagua; and 99 miles south of Clarence Town, Long Island.
As of 2pm, the storm was 245 miles southeast of New Providence.
The storm was moving northwest at 16 miles per hour, slowing from the 20 miles per hour on Thursday night.
Isaiash is expected to continue to move away from Inagua and pass west of Acklins, Crooked Island, Long Island, Exuma and east of Ragged Island today.
During a National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) press conference today, Director of the Department of Meteorology Trevor Basden warned residents in the southeast Bahamas against taking chances despite an easing of the storm over their respective islands. He said lightening could still be present.
He also said while there was moderate rain in the south, “greater activity” was expected from the storm as it moves over the central Bahamas.
Tropical force winds are expected to impact New Providence around 8pm, according to Basden.
He said hurricane force winds seem to be just escaping the island by some five to six miles, but it may get a touch of some hurricane force winds tomorrow morning.
Grand Bahama and Abaco can expect to feel tropical storm force winds around 6am to 7am tomorrow.
The western side of Grand Bahama is expected to be impacted by hurricane force winds of around 80 mph.
As of 2pm, maximum sustained winds were 75 miles per hour with higher gusts, losing some strength since this morning, when the storm had maximum sustained winds of 80 miles per hour — a rapid increase in speed since last night.
On Thursday night, the storm had maximum sustained winds of 60 miles per hour.
However, some strengthening is expected today, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The storm could have maximum sustained winds of 90 miles per hour within 36 hours, according to the agency’s wind projections.
“Although some slight weakening has occurred, radar data from the aircraft and the Bahamas radar indicate about a 60 percent eyewall has formed in the northeastern semicircle, which is an indication that the cyclone is trying to reorganize,” the National Hurricane Center said.
“As a result, strengthening is still expected during the next day or so, especially tonight and Saturday morning during the convective maximum period when the hurricane will be moving over the Gulf Stream where SSTs (sea surface temperature) are 30 degrees Celsius or warmer and while the vertical remains reasonably low.”
Hurricane storm force winds extend outward up to 35 miles from the center, and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 205 miles from the center.
At 4pm, Basden said those winds were reaching as far as Eleuthera.
Storm surge of three to five feet above sea levels can be expected throughout The Bahamas.