Hurricane Isaias Batters The Bahamas & Caribbean Before Headed Toward Florida
MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP/CNN) -- Hurricane Isaias crossed over the Bahamas' Andros Island late Saturday morning, whipping it and nearby islands with heavy rain and strong winds as the storm headed closer to Florida.
Isaias snapped trees and knocked out power while raking Andros, with about 8,000 of the Bahamas' roughly 385,000 residents.
Officials in the Bahamas opened shelters for people in Abaco island to help those who have been living in temporary structures since Hurricane Dorian devastated the area, killing at least 70 people, last year.
Just to the east, power outages were reported across the Bahamas' New Providence island, including the capital of Nassau, as the storm pushed down trees and power lines, Eyewitness News Bahamas reported.
Isaias also caused damage in the Caribbean.
On Thursday, while still a tropical storm, it uprooted trees, destroyed crops and homes and caused widespread flooding and small landslides in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.
One man died in the Dominican Republic.
In Puerto Rico, the National Guard rescued at least 35 people from floodwaters that swept away one woman, whose body was recovered Saturday.
Concerns about the coronavirus and the vulnerability of people who are still recovering from Dorian were adding to worries about the Category 1 storm.
Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis relaxed a coronavirus lockdown as a result of the storm, but imposed a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew. He said supermarkets, pharmacies, gas stations and hardware stores would be open as long as weather permitted.
"The center of COVID-19 now is in Grand Bahama," the island's minister, Sen. Kwasi Thompson, told government-run ZNS Bahamas. "No one wanted to see a situation where we are now facing a hurricane."
The Bahamas has reported more than 570 confirmed COVID-19 cases and at least 14 deaths. It recently barred travelers from the U.S. following a surge in cases after it reopened to international tourism.
Paula Miller, Mercy Corps director for the Bahamas, told The Associated Press that people on Grand Bahama were still standing in line for gas on Saturday ahead of the storm.
"People are doing the best they can to prepare, but a lot of businesses still have not fully repaired their roofs or their structures" since Dorian, said Miller. "Even a lower level storm could really set them back."
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press and CNN contributed to this report.)
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