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Hurricane Isaias Came Ashore Near North Carolina's Ocean Isle Beach

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

All right. So that's the situation in that particular county in North Carolina. We're going to turn now to NPR's Sarah McCammon, who is in Virginia Beach, watching all this unfold and tracking the storm. Hi, Sarah.

SARAH MCCAMMON, BYLINE: Hi, Rachel.

MARTIN: So give us the bigger picture. I mean, what are you hearing from officials about the impact of this storm in North Carolina but along the East Coast?

MCCAMMON: Right. Well, first of all, this storm has been a really tough one to predict. It's kind of been going back and forth between a tropical storm and a hurricane. And it did, of course, make landfall, as we heard, last night around 11 in North Carolina as a hurricane. So now officials are cleaning up, putting the power back on - or trying to, at least. I know hundreds of thousands of people in coastal North Carolina lost power. And this isn't over yet, Rachel? It's a tropical storm, but it's still a significant tropical storm moving northward up the East Coast.

MARTIN: Right. And as we heard in that previous conversation, I mean, this is compounded by the pandemic, right? It makes it really difficult to evacuate and shelter people as normal, doesn't it?

MCCAMMON: Absolutely. I mean, this time of year in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast along the coast, the message is always be ready. Have your flashlights. Have your water ready. Have an evacuation plan if you need one. But there's another layer to this, as we've heard from lots of officials, that both residents and emergency managers have to think about. Here's what North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said yesterday.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ROY COOPER: Now, I know that North Carolinians have had to dig deep in recent months to tap into our strength and resilience during the pandemic. And that hasn't been easy. But with this storm on the way, we have to dig a little deeper. Let's keep each other safe from the wind and water, as well as from the virus.

MCCAMMON: And we've heard some concern that people might be confused about what they should do, given the pandemic and these storms. Gov. Cooper a couple days ago said, look. The safest place has been your home, but it might not be for some people right now. And there were evacuations in parts of North Carolina. And really, as we heard a moment ago, across the region, people are being encouraged - if they have to go to a shelter, they're being checked for symptoms. They're being socially distanced. But they're being encouraged if they can, if they must leave their homes, to stay with family and friends or maybe in a hotel, really trying to both keep people safe from the storms and from this virus.

MARTIN: Right. So what now? People are worried about flooding?

MCCAMMON: Absolutely. That is a concern both for places where Isaias has already hit and beyond, as it continues to move northward. Gov. Cooper in North Carolina said, you know, the region loses a lot of people who go out after these storms and drive around on flooded roads. The National Weather Service is warning about the risk of flash flooding along the coast in the Mid-Atlantic region. The storm is moving northward toward D.C. and beyond, supposed to go all the way to Maine in the coming day or two. And there are concerns about life-threatening flash flooding for much of the region. Also, tornado warnings and watches - we've seen some come and go in my area and the Virginia Beach area this morning.

And, Rachel, I would just note that after this storm, there is still a lot of hurricane season left to go. I mean, historically, the most active part comes in late August and September. And this has already been a really busy, really active hurricane season with so many named storms early and some records set already. So whatever the rest of the week holds for this storm, Isaias, there's a lot more to watch for in the months to come.

MARTIN: Yeah, indeed. OK. NPR's Sarah McCammon reporting on this storm from Virginia Beach, Va. Sarah, thank you.

MCCAMMON: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.