NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Isaias has been downgraded to a tropical storm as it exits Andros and shifts eastward toward Bimini, according to the National Hurricane Center.
However, Senior Deputy Director in the Department of Meteorology Jeffrey Simmons warned residents against “relaxing” as the storm was projected to re-intensify around 11pm as it passes over Bimini, bringing strong hurricane force winds to the island.
The storm is expected impact Bimni by 10pm.
The storm was expected to impact Freeport, Grand Bahama, with sustained hurricane force winds of up to 85 miles per hour.
But as of 5pm, the storm had sustained winds of 70 miles per hour, losing its hurricane classification.
It was 95 miles south of Freeport and 115 miles south-east of Fort Lauderdale.
To the shift away from Grand Bahama, Simmons said: “Here is what that did. That put Bimini in trouble. Bimini is to the east out there, so now Bimini — we always had the warning out for everybody, including Bimini, but we did not expect Bimini to get any strong winds like that. Those strong winds that western Grand Bahama would have gotten later tonight, Bimini will now be getting them.
“They are starting to feel it now. It will get worse around 10pm. Bimini can expect some strong tropical force winds, about 50-60 miles per hour.”
“As a matter of fact, the models have it (Isaias) re-intensifying as it passes near that area. We’re talking in the next four hours. Right now, it is off the northern coast of Andros, heading [in a] continuous motion and there is a possibility that it could be facing intensification in the next few hours.”
Given the current strength of the storm, Simmons was asked if Isaias could form into a hurricane again.
He said: “Yes. So, they are looking at it actually coming just above hurricane strength again at around 11 o’clock tonight, and that’s about the time the center will be passing Bimini.”
Meanwhile, Grand Bahama and Abaco which were bracing for impact can now expect moderate rains and winds. Grand Bahama was no longer in the cone of the storm.
Simmons said: “Grand Bahama seems to have gotten out of it a bit.”
A hurricane warning remains in effect for the northwestern islands of The Bahamas.
“Hurricane and tropical storm conditions will continue to spread over portions of the northwestern Bahamas tonight,” the National Hurricane Center said.
“Hurricane conditions are expected to reach the coast within the hurricane warning area in Florida on Sunday and will spread northward through Sunday night.”
Meanwhile, a weather system located 500 miles east of the northern Leeward Islands had a 60 percent chance of cyclone formation over the next five days.
On its current track however, the storm is expected to remain in the Atlantic.